Quote of the day.
"It seems that the authorities are increasingly getting the upper hand online. Basically they are already shutting off access to all interesting Web sites. We will resemble an isolated island in a changing world if this happens." - Maysam, a prominent Iranian blogger, on Iran’s cyber police trying to get control over what is uploaded, posted, and discussed on the Internet.
1. Bishops were prepared for battle over birth control coverage.
"When after much internal debate the Obama administration finally announced its decision to require religiously affiliated hospitals and universities to cover birth control in their insurance plans, the nation’s Roman Catholic bishops were fully prepared for battle."
(New York Times)
2. First new U.S. nuclear reactors in decades approved.
"A consortium of utilities in the South won government approval Thursday to construct two new atomic energy reactors at an estimated cost of $14 billion, the strongest signal yet that the three-decade hiatus of nuclear plant construction is finally ending."
(Los Angeles Times)
3. States line up to challenge Voting Rights Act.
"Conservative activists and Republican attorneys general have launched a series of lawsuits meant to challenge the most muscular provision of the Voting Rights Act 0f 1965 before a Supreme Court that has signaled it is suspicious of its constitutionality."
4. Farmers still fighting for immigrant guest-worker program.
"California and Southern farmers renewed their case Thursday for some kind of an agricultural guest-worker program, but they''re sailing against the wind. Make that a hurricane."
5. Education gap grows between rich and poor.
"A body of recently published scholarship suggests that the achievement gap between rich and poor children is widening, a development that threatens to dilute education’s leveling effects."
(New York Times)
6. Explosions hit Aleppo as Homs siege continues.
"Syria state TV says 'terrorist gangs' attacked bases in northern city, as activists warn of 'major assault' in Homs."
7. Deadly drone strike signals renewed U.S.-Pakistan cooperation.
"A U.S. drone strike reportedly killed a notorious Pakistani al Qaida operative before dawn Thursday in a tribal area bordering Afghanistan, the latest sign that the United States and Pakistan are stepping up coordinated intelligence operations despite a downturn in relations."
8. India explores economic opportunities in Iran.
"India emerged as a major new irritant on Thursday in Western efforts to isolate Iran, announcing that it was sending a large trade delegation there within weeks to exploit opportunities created by the American and European antinuclear sanctions that are increasingly disrupting Iran’s economy."
(New York Times)
9. UN delegation arrives amid Maldives unrest.
"A delegation from the UN has arrived in the Maldives seeking assurances on the 'security' of former president Mohamed Nasheed, who resigned on Tuesday amid what he called 'nothing short of a coup.'"
10. Public rage in Greece over EU/IMF austerity demands.
"Striking Greek workers denounced a new wave of austerity on Friday as a demand too far by the IMF and EU, but Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos told the nation it had to decide within days whether to take the pain and stay in the euro or not."