The Top 10 Stories of February 20, 2012

By Duane Shank 2-20-2012

Quote of the day.
"When you know about those situations those kids are bringing into the school and we are asking them to sit down and concentrate and do their work, and they might be hungry and we haven't been made aware of it yet - we definitely want to do everything we can to help the kids.” - Doug White, principal of Garfield Elementary School in inner-city Kansas City, on why his school, like many others, is now providing three meals a day to eligible students.
(Miami Herald/McClatchy)

1. Santorum defends remarks on Obama's faith.
"Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum denied Sunday that he had questioned President Obama's Christian faith, but said the president held an environmental belief 'that elevates the Earth above man.'"
(Los Angeles Times)

2. Immigrants trickling back to Alabama.
"No one knows how many people initially left the state, so it’s impossible to say how many have returned. But some illegal immigrants are trickling back, unable to find work elsewhere and missing the place that had been home for years."

3. Voting Rights Act under siege.
"An intensifying conservative legal assault on the Voting Rights Act could precipitate what many civil rights advocates regard as the nuclear option: a court ruling striking down one of the core elements of the landmark 1965 law guaranteeing African Americans and other minorities access to the ballot box."

4. For women under 30, most births occur outside marriage.
"After steadily rising for five decades, the share of children born to unmarried women has crossed a threshold: more than half of births to American women under 30 occur outside marriage."
(New York Times)

5. Canada revs up for fight over oil pipeline.
"Canada's planned Northern Gateway pipeline would send tar sands oil to its West Coast for export to Asia. Supporters see it as a defiant stance against the U.S."
(Los Angeles Times)

6. UN nuclear inspectors visit Iran.
"UN nuclear inspectors are back in Iran for a second time in a month, hoping to make progress in talks on the country's nuclear programme."

7. U.S. military chief cautions against Israeli attack on Iran.
"The United States is stepping up efforts to dissuade Israel from attacking Iran''s nuclear facilities, with a strong public warning by the US military''s most senior figure and the dispatch of two high-ranking officials to Jerusalem."

8. NATO transfer to Afghan forces highlights issues.
"The problems that have long plagued the Afghan police and army -- repeated turncoat shootings aimed at Western mentors, drug use, inadequate vetting of recruits and vulnerability to insurgent infiltration -- are coming into sharper focus."
(Los Angeles Times)

9. Two Senators Say U.S. Should Arm Syrian Rebels.
"With the Syrian government continuing its deadly crackdown on its citizens, two senior American senators who were on their way to the Middle East spoke out strongly on Sunday in favor of arming the Syrian opposition forces."
(New York Times)

10. North Korea raises alert for live-fire drill.
"Secretive North Korea raised its military alert ahead of a live-fire artillery drill by rival South Korea amid heightened tension on the peninsula during a delicate transition of power in the impoverished North."

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