Quote of the Day.
“If we are ever going to get what we want, we have to be politically involved. Politics has a currency. It has votes and money. Our community has been known for votes, and now it has to be known for money.” Henry Muñoz III, San Antonio architectural-design-firm owner, on building a Latino political organization that will help shape the national debate.
1. Illegal immigration drops after decade-long rise.
New census data released Thursday affirm a clear and sustained drop in illegal immigration, ending more than a decade of increases. The number of illegal immigrants in the U.S. dropped to an estimated 11.1 million last year from a peak of 12 million in 2007, part of an overall waning of Hispanic immigration. For the first time since 1910, Hispanic immigration last year was topped by immigrants from Asia.
2. U.S.-approved arms for Libya rebels fell into Jihadis’ hands.
The Obama administration secretly gave its blessing to arms shipments to Libyan rebels from Qatar last year, but American officials later grew alarmed as evidence grew that Qatar was turning some of the weapons over to Islamic militants, according to United States officials and foreign diplomats.
(New York Times)
3. Egypt’s Republican Guard tanks and soldiers deploy around palace after deadly clashes.
The Egyptian army’s elite Republican Guard deployed with tanks around the presidential palace overnight following clashes between supporters of President Mohamed Morsi and opposition protesters in which six people died. The Republican Guard, whose job includes protecting the president, ordered demonstrators away from the perimeter of the palace, after more scuffles broke out Thursday morning.
4. U.S. reducing plans for large civilian force in post-2014 Afghanistan.
The Obama administration has ordered significant cutbacks in initial plans for a robust U.S. civilian presence in Afghanistan after U.S. combat troops withdraw two years from now, according to U.S. officials.
5. Even moderate Palestinians agree Hamas is winning leadership battle.
The U.N. recognition of Palestine as a nonmember observer state should have been one of the Palestinian Authority government’s greatest achievements. But hours after the historic vote last week, Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad publically concluded, "Hamas delivered. ... Hamas has won."
6. Clinton, U.N. envoy to meet over Syria.
The top U.S. and Russian diplomats will hold a surprise meeting Thursday with the United Nations' peace envoy for Syria, signaling fresh hopes of an international breakthrough to end the Arab country's 21-month civil war.
7. Palestinians urge U.N. action on Israeli settlements.
The Palestinians demanded urgent action by the U.N. Security Council and the international community on Wednesday to halt Israel's "illegal settlement campaign." Palestinian Charge d'Affaires Feda Abdelhady Nasser said in letters to the council, the General Assembly and the secretary-general that the intensification of the Israeli campaign is clearly part of "Israel's contemptuous response" to the assembly's overwhelming vote last week to recognize the state of Palestine.
8. Report: Arctic becoming a warmer, greener place.
The Arctic is becoming a greener and warmer place, according to a report released today by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The study, NOAA's 2012 "State of the Arctic" report card, said the cold region at the top of the world continued to break records, including loss of summer sea ice, lack of spring snow cover, and melting of the Greenland ice sheet.
9. U.S. unemployment aid applications drop to 370K.
The number of people seeking U.S. unemployment aid fell sharply last week as a temporary spike caused by Superstorm Sandy has faded. Weekly applications have fallen back to a level consistent with modest hiring.
10. Young immigrants want ‘Dream Warrior’ army.
The movement of young immigrants in the country without legal papers, who call themselves Dreamers, is held together by more than a commitment to push Congress for a pathway to citizenship. More than 600 leaders of United We Dream, the largest national network of those young people, came together for their congress here last weekend to celebrate and reinforce a common culture, based on their experience living with hidden identities and with a low-grade but constant fear of deportation.
(New York Times)