Quote of the day.
“It was obvious, Father said, that we must either steal food or slowly starve. And in that dangerous enterprise we must have the help of some power beyond ourselves. So, standing before us all, he said a prayer to St. Dismas, the Good Thief, who was crucified at the right hand of Jesus, asking for his aid. I’ll never doubt the power of prayer again.” Mike Dowe, 85, a prisoner of war during the Korean War, speaking of Father Emil Kapaun, who died in 1951 in a North Korean prison and is being awarded the Medal of Honor today for his ministry to fellow POWs.
(Washington Post and Saturday Evening Post)
1. Senators outline bipartisan deal reached on gun background checks.
The proposal stopped short of the expansive system sought by President Obama and many gun-control advocates. But it won swift bipartisan backing and became the template for what would be the most consequential congressional action on firearm regulations since the 1990s — suddenly upending the polarized politics of gun control.
2. Broad outlines of Senate immigration agreement emerge.
A bipartisan group of senators has largely agreed on a broad immigration bill that would require tough border measures to be in place before [undocumented] immigrants could take the first steps to become American citizens, according to several people familiar with drafts of the legislation.
(New York Times)
3. Can Gang of 8 stay tight?
The ideologically diverse Gang of Eight senators weathered months of painstaking negotiations to piece together a complex immigration plan it will soon unveil. But the eight still face one of their biggest tests: Can they remain united once it leaves their hands?
4. Obama budget opens rift for Democrats on benefits.
President Obama’s new budget has opened a debate over what it means to be a progressive Democrat in an age of austerity and defines him as a president willing to take on the two pillars of his party — Medicare and Social Security — created by Democratic presidents.
(New York Times)
5. House Republicans push to give Keystone pipeline approval authority to Congress.
Promoters of the Keystone XL pipeline are agitating for its fast approval now that the State Department has downplayed the project’s impact on global warming. Energy leaders in the House of Representatives back a bill to force the government to approve it, and the premier of the Canadian province of Alberta is in Washington lobbying for the project.
6. North Korea delivers new round of war rhetoric.
North Korea delivered a fresh round of rhetoric Thursday with claims it had "powerful striking means" on standby for a launch, while Seoul and Washington speculated that the country is preparing to test a medium-range missile during upcoming national celebrations.
7. France begins withdrawing troops from Mali.
Paris, which sent 4,000 troops to Mali in January to block a feared advance on the capital Bamako from the north, is preparing to hand over to a U.N.-mandated African force of 6,300 in the coming weeks.
8. Intrigue swirls as Iran prepares to choose next president.
The reform movement that took to the streets to protest alleged vote-rigging in Iran''s last presidential election has been crushed. The supreme leader has made it clear that such behavior will not be tolerated this time.
(Los Angeles Times)
9. Mishaps underscore weaknesses of Japanese nuclear plant.
More than two years after multiple meltdowns at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, a series of recent mishaps — including a blackout set off by a dead rat and the discovery of leaks of thousands of gallons of radioactive water — have underscored just how vulnerable the plant remains.
(New York Times)
10. Guinea-Bissau bottom in index of commitment to tackling hunger.
Guatemala ranks first and Guinea-Bissau last in a new index measuring political commitment to tackling hunger and undernutrition in 45 developing countries.