The Top 10 Stories of February 20, 2013

By Duane Shank 2-20-2013

Quote of the day.
"Typically, over the last couple of decades, when Americans moved, they moved to improve their lives. This is the shock: For the first time, Americans are moving for downward economic mobility. Either they lost their house or can't afford where they're renting currently or needed to save money.” Michael Stoll, chairman of UCLA's public policy department and author of a new report on changes in American society.
(USA Today)

1. With cutbacks days away, Obama tries to pressure G.O.P.
Days away from another fiscal crisis and with Congress on vacation, President Obama began marshaling the powers of the presidency on Tuesday to try to shame Republicans into a compromise that could avoid further self-inflicted job losses and damage to the fragile recovery.
(New York Times)

2. Choices loom for Obama on climate change.
President Barack Obama is talking about climate change like it was 2009. The president, who rarely uttered the words "climate change" or "global warming" during the second half of his first term and during the re-election campaign, has re-inserted it boldly back into his lexicon.
(Associated Press)

3. Justices to hear appeal of individual donation limits.
The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Tuesday to consider taking another step toward dismantling campaign finance laws, potentially freeing wealthy donors to give as much as they want in any election cycle and raising the possibility that it could overturn limits that apply to individual candidates as well.
(Los Angeles Times)

4. Obama reaches out to Republican senators on immigration.
Facing criticism for failing to reach out to Republicans negotiating an immigration overhaul, President Obama placed phone calls Tuesday afternoon to three GOP senators involved in an eight-member bipartisan group working on the issue.
(Washington Post)

5. U.S. Catholics urge cardinal to skip papal vote.
A U.S. Catholic group has called for an American cardinal accused of covering up sexual abuse by priests not to take part in electing a new pope, saying he would taint the new pontiff with the same scandal that dogged Pope Benedict XVI.
(Al Jazeera)

6. Georgia inmate granted stay of execution 30 minutes before lethal injection.
Warren Hill, an intellectually disabled prisoner, had been spared the death chamber just 30 minutes before he was due to die by lethal injection in Georgia despite a U.S. supreme court ban on executions of people with learning difficulties.

7. U.S. drone strikes in Afghanistan rose sharply last year.
The number of U.S. drone strikes in Afghanistan rose sharply last year compared with 2011, the United Nations said Tuesday. The increase was a sign that drones are taking a greater role as Americans try to streamline the fight against insurgents while preparing to withdraw combat forces in less than two years.

8. Palestinians in prisons refuse meals in protest.
Hundreds of Palestinian security prisoners in Israeli jails refused meals on Tuesday in solidarity with four hunger-striking detainees, and supporters held protests in the West Bank, as the Palestinians sought to pressure Israel before President Obama’s visit to the region next month.
(New York Times)

9. Greeks strike, march in protest against austerity.
Tens of thousands of anti-austerity demonstrators took to the streets of Athens on Wednesday as unions staged a general strike to protest government spending cuts and tax hikes, which some predict will push unemployment to an alarming 30 percent.
(Associated Press)

10. Russia warns of 'mutual destruction' in Syria.
Russia has urged the warring sides in Syria to halt their almost two-year conflict and start talks, warning that both sides risk "mutual destruction." Sergei Lavrov, Russia's foreign minister, said on Wednesday that Moscow was working to encourage dialogue between the rebels and the regime of president Bashar al-Assad.
(Al Jazeera)

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