The Top 10 Stories of February 13, 2012

By Duane Shank 2-13-2012

Quote of the day.
"One of the things I've always loved about archaeology is the way it can tie up with legends and myths. The fact that we might have the Queen of Sheba's mines is extraordinary." - Louise Schofield, an archaeologist and former British Museum curator, who headed an excavation in northern Ethiopia that discovered an ancient gold mine.

1. Bishops reject White House's new plan on contraception.
"The nation’s Roman Catholic bishops have rejected a compromise on birth control coverage that President Obama offered on Friday and said they would continue to fight the president’s plan to find a way for employees of Catholic hospitals, universities and service agencies to receive free contraceptive coverage in their health insurance plans, without direct involvement or financing from the institutions."
(New York Times)

2. Obama's budget offers a preview of election face-off.
"The president's plan, due out Monday, aims to cast him as a guardian of the middle class, willing to ask the wealthy to pay more. Republicans say it should cut the deficit more, but they also want tax cuts."
(Los Angeles Times)

3. Critics of safety net increasingly depend on it.
"The government safety net was created to keep Americans from abject poverty, but the poorest households no longer receive a majority of government benefits. A secondary mission has gradually become primary: maintaining the middle class from childhood through retirement."
(New York Times)

4. Hopes dim in Middle East as war threats multiply.
"Fears of an as-yet-undefined Middle Eastern war are darkening the horizons of a region that only a year ago was celebrating the fall of dictators, the ascent of people power and the promise of a new era of democracy."
(Washington Post)

5. Admiral seeks freer hand in deployment of elite forces.
"As the United States turns increasingly to Special Operations forces to confront developing threats scattered around the world, the nation’s top Special Operations officer … is seeking new authority to move his forces faster and outside of normal Pentagon deployment channels."
(New York Times)

6. Car bombs 'target Israel envoys' in India and Georgia.
"Bombers have targeted staff at Israeli embassies in India and Georgia, officials say, with Israel accusing Iran of masterminding the attacks."

7. Russia 'to consider' Syria peacekeeping plan.
"Russia''s foreign minister says he is examining an Arab League proposal to send a peacekeeping mission to Syria, but that the bloodshed must end before any such mission takes place."
(Al Jazeera)

8. U.S. Navy: Iran prepares suicide bomb boats in Gulf.
"Iran has built up its naval forces in the Gulf and prepared boats that could be used in suicide attacks, but the U.S. Navy can prevent it from blocking the Strait of Hormuz, the commander of U.S. naval forces in the region said on Sunday."

9. Greece approves austerity cuts to secure eurozone bailout.
"Greece enacted billions of euros in spending cuts and fresh austerity measures last night in a volatile parliamentary vote aimed at avoiding default on its national debt and keeping the eurozone intact, despite some of the worst rioting and political violence witnessed in the country in years."

10. Venezuela picks Chavez challenger.
"Venezuela's opposition has chosen Henrique Capriles Radonski to stand against President Hugo Chavez in October''s presidential election. Mr Capriles, the governor of Miranda state, triumphed in the first ever opposition primary election."

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