The Top 10 Stories of February 16, 2012

By Duane Shank 2-16-2012

Quote of the day.
"We fully appreciate the need for the country to have appropriate defense, but urge the government to abandon this extraordinarily expensive project which relates to a defense context that has long since disappeared." - Jonathan Edward, general secretary of the Baptist Union of Great Britain, on why Christian leaders are urging the government to scrap plans to replace its fleet of nuclear-armed submarines.
(Associated Baptist Press)

1. Both sides eager to take birth control issue to voters.
"The furor over President Obama’s birth control mandate has swiftly entered a new plane, with supporters and opponents alike calling the subject a potent weapon for the November elections and mounting what they say will be prolonged campaigns to shape public perceptions of the issue: Is it about religious liberty or women’s health?"
(New York Times)

2. After surviving sectarian mob, Egyptian Christians expelled from village.
"The case sends a worrying signal that Egypt''s new parliament is allowing a Mubarak-era system of local justice to trump the rule of law."
(Christian Science Monitor)

3. GOP eases its culture of no.
"The payroll tax cut deal this week has delivered a shock to that culture of “no” — and more Republicans are suddenly saying “yes” to the idea that it’s OK to fold a losing hand, shuffle the deck and play for a bigger pot later."

4. As seniors climb from poverty, young fall in.
"The ratio of senior-to-child poverty was close in 1980: There were three counties with more than 20% of children living in poverty for every four counties with 20% of seniors in poverty. Now the two are reversed, and the gap has widened considerably."
(USA Today)

5. Xi calls for 'deep' U.S.-China ties.
"Chinese Vice-President Xi Jinping has called for deeper ''strategic trust'' in a speech to business leaders, on the second full day of his US visit."

6. Aggressive acts by Iran signal pressure on its leadership.
"A string of aggressive gestures by Iran this week — assassination attempts on Israelis living abroad that were attributed to Tehran, renewed posturing over its nuclear program and fresh threats of economic retaliation — suggest that Iranian leaders are responding frantically, and with increasing unpredictability, to the tightening of sanctions by the West."
(New York Times)

7. Syrian forces launch Deraa assault.
"Southern city comes under attack as Homs and Hama endure ongoing bombardments, with UN assembly set to discuss violence."
(Al Jazeera)

8. Karzai confirms Afghan-US talks with Taliban.
"Afghan president, acknowledging trilateral negotiations, says the Taliban is ''definitively'' interested in peace."
(Al Jazeera)

9. Thousands flee Somalia fighting.
"Thousands of internally displaced people in Somalia are forced to flee again to avoid heavy fighting in an area just south of the capital, Mogadishu."

10. Honduras' deadly prison fire stirs furor.
"Angered by a prison fire in Honduras that officials say killed more than 350 trapped inmates, rights advocates on Wednesday decried dangerous and overcrowded conditions that they say have long typified the country''s neglected prison system."
(Los Angeles Times)

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