The Top 10 Stories of February 21, 2012

By Duane Shank 2-21-2012

Quote of the day.
“It doesn’t matter who the dead are or who they belong to. They deserve a proper Islamic burial.” - Abdul Hakim, who retrieves insurgents’ bodies from American and Afghan authorities and returns them to their families and comrades.
(Washington Post)

1. Ultrasound abortion bill nears vote in Virginia.
"The bill, which could pass the Republican-led House of Delegates as early as Tuesday, is one of the stronger ultrasound laws passed by states in recent years. If it is adopted, Virginia will become the eighth state to require ultrasounds before abortions."
(New York Times)

2. January numbers confirm spending trend.
"Super PACs and other groups dominated the race for the Republican presidential nomination last month, raising and spending tens of millions of dollars outside the traditional campaign system and playing a key role in extending an already tumultuous contest."
(Washington Post)

3. Growth of U.S. slowest since '30s.
"The U.S. population is growing at the slowest rate since the Great Depression after two decades of robust increases. For two consecutive years since 2009, the population has grown just 0.7% a year, down from annual increases around 1% in previous years and the lowest since the late 1930s."
(USA Today)

4. Fracking debate divides New York landowners.
"As the state prepares to lift a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, also called fracking, many people debate the risks of leasing mineral rights to extraction companies."
(Los Angeles Times)

5. Syrian violence rages amid truce talks.
"Syrian government forces are said to be bombarding the city of Homs, ignoring calls from the International Committee of Red Cross for a two-hour daily truce to facilitate delivery of humanitarian aid to civilians trapped by the unremitting violence."
(Al Jazeera)

6. Iran threatens pre-emptive action.
"Iran has stepped up its rhetoric with the west by warning that it could launch pre-emptive action if its enemies put the regime''s national interest at risk, raising the stakes over sensitive nuclear talks in Tehran."

7. Nato apologises for Afghan Koran 'disposal.'
"Rumours that a Koran had been burnt led to a large protest outside the US air base at Bagram about 60km (40 miles) north of Kabul.Police told the BBC that at least 1,000 people took part in the demonstration."

8. Dossier details Egypt’s case against democracy groups.
"The Egyptian prosecution’s summary of the case against at least 16 Americans and others from five democracy and human rights groups focuses largely on the testimony of their accusers, with evidence primarily limited to proof that their organizations used American and other foreign funds for payrolls and rent."
(New York Times)

9. Greeks face further wage cuts as price of latest bailout.
"EU officials say planned 15% wage cuts – on top of 30% already suffered – will not be enough."

10. Darfur rebels free peacekeepers.
"A rebel group in Sudan''s Darfur region has freed 49 international peacekeepers it had captured earlier, according to its spokesman."
(Al Jazeera)

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