Quote of the day.
"The need is increasing, people don't realize [that]. They think the war is over and there's no servicemembers in the hospital, so there's no more need. But it's our long-term cases that need help forever, and now the returning vets that we find have PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and TBI (traumatic brain injury); and many, many, many suicidal situations, which is just a crisis." Susan Rocco, eastern-region case director for the military charity Semper Fi Fund.
1. G.O.P. resists Obama's push for tax rise to head off cuts.
House Republicans, shrugging off rising pressure from President Obama, are resolutely opposing new tax increases to head off $85 billion in across-the-board spending reductions, all but ensuring the cuts will go into force March 1 and probably remain in place for months, if not longer.
(New York Times)
2. VAWA reauthorization will be taken up by House Republican leaders.
House Republican leaders are ready to move forward on legislation reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act as soon as next week, a GOP source familiar with the plans told The Huffington Post.
3. Fla. Gov. Scott supports Medicaid expansion.
Gov. Rick Scott said Wednesday he supports expanding Medicaid and funneling billions of federal dollars to Florida, a significant policy reversal that could bring health care coverage to 1 million additional Floridians.
4. Some citizens detained at immigration officials' request.
Local law enforcement officials detained more than 800 U.S. citizens at the request of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement over a four-year period, according to an analysis of ICE statistics released by the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse on Wednesday.
(Chicago Tribune/Los Angeles Times)
5. Closing education achievement gap: blue-ribbon panel offers blueprint.
Better teacher training, accessible early-childhood education, and school-finance reform are key components to closing the achievement gap between minority and white students, says a report.
(Christian Science Monitor)
6. Activist investors put climate-change issue up for vote at PNC.
Activist investors have succeeded for the first time in placing a shareholder resolution on the risks of greenhouse-gas emissions up for a vote at a major bank, a step toward making climate change an important consideration for corporations.
(Los Angeles Times/McClatchy)
7. U.S. senator says 4,700 killed in drone strikes.
A U.S. senator has said that an estimated 4,700 people have been killed in America's secretive drone war, the first time a government official has offered a total number of fatalities caused by nearly a decade of drone strikes, local media reported.
8. Chinese plan to kill drug lord with drone highlights military advances.
China considered using a drone strike in a mountainous region of Southeast Asia to kill a Myanmar drug lord wanted in the murders of 13 Chinese sailors, but decided instead to capture him alive, according to an influential state-run newspaper.
(New York Times)
9. Taliban vow to keep targeting Afghan officials.
The Taliban vowed Thursday to target government employees and other Afghan civilians they consider linked to the U.S.-led coalition despite a warning from the United Nations that such killings may violate international law.
10. Syrian opposition says Assad cannot be part of deal.
The opposition Syrian National Coalition is willing to negotiate a peace deal under U.S. and Russian auspices to end the country's civil war but President Bashar al-Assad cannot be a party to any settlement, a communique drafted for an opposition meeting says.