The Top 10 Stories of April 1, 2013

By Duane Shank 4-01-2013

Quote of the day.
"We ask the risen Jesus, who turns death into life, to change hatred into love, vengeance into forgiveness, war into peace." Pope Francis, in his Urbi et Orbi (To the city and the world) speech on Easter Sunday.

1. Senate group resolves key immigration issues. 
With business and labor now in agreement, a bipartisan group of senators has resolved all major issues in a pending deal to overhaul the immigration system and aims to unveil it after Congress reconvenes in the second week of April. 

2. House group nears immigration deal. 
A small, bipartisan House group is nearly finished with its immigration reform plan, which it hopes to announce the week of April 8 when Congress returns from recess.

3. As views shift on guns, Reid corrals Senate. 
Mr. Reid’s evolution from a proponent of gun rights to the shepherd of legislation that would expand background checks, among other gun control measures, emerges from a complex web of political calculations that have come to define his leadership style over the last decade. 
(New York Times)   

4. Exxon Mobil pipeline leaks ‘a few thousand’ barrels of oil.
Exxon Mobil said that one of its pipelines leaked “a few thousand” barrels of Canadian heavy crude oil near Mayflower, Ark., prompting the evacuation of 22 homes and reinforcing concerns many critics have raised about the Keystone XL pipeline that is awaiting State Department approval.
(Washington Post)   

5. Hagel warns of big squeeze at the Pentagon. 
Mr. Hagel did not hide the quiet storm that is gathering, one that will test his empathy with the enlisted ranks as he begins to make tough calls over coming weeks about further shrinking the Pentagon after more than a decade of war and free spending. 
(New York Times)  

6. Social conservatives fight back. 
Leading cultural conservatives, including the movement’s standard-bearers from the past two presidential campaigns, have had it with Republican elites faulting them for the party’s losses and are finally ready to point a finger back at the establishment.

7. Israel set to jail teenage conscientious objector for eighth time. 
It is a routine Nathan Blanc knows well. At 9 a.m. on Tuesday morning, the 19-year-old will report, as instructed in his draft papers, to a military base near Tel Aviv. There he will state his objection to serving in the Israeli army. 

8. Painful payment for Afghan debt: A daughter. 
It is a story of the way the war has eroded the social bonds and community safety nets that underpinned hundreds of thousands of rural Afghans’ lives. Women and girls have been among the chief victims — not least because the Afghan government makes little attempt in the camps to enforce laws protecting women and children, said advocates for the camp residents. 
(New York Times)   

9. South Korea warns it will retaliate if North attacks. 
South Korea has said it will strike back with immediate and overwhelming force if North Korea launches an attack on its territory, days after Pyongyang said it had entered a "state of war" with its neighbor. 

10. Scores killed in Nigeria religious violence. 
At least 36 people have died and dozens of houses have been burned in religious clashes central Nigeria over the past week. Security tightened after Christian villagers in Plateau state accuse ethnic Fulani Muslims of burning their homes. 
(Al Jazeera)

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