Quote of the day.
"Mass shootings … are the tragedies that capture the public''s attention. But every day, 33 Americans are being killed, mostly with handguns and distressingly often, by a family member or intimate partner." Mark Glaze, director of Mayors Against Illegal Guns.
1. 15 G.O.P. Senators urge Hagel’s withdrawal.
A group of 15 Republican senators insisted on Thursday that President Obama withdraw the nomination of Chuck Hagel to be defense secretary, the latest move in a contentious battle to block the confirmation of their former colleague.
(New York Times)
2. Labor and business reach rare agreement on immigration.
Two of the nation’s most powerful interest groups – labor and business, often at loggerheads – have come to a rare agreement on the guiding principles for handling future low-skilled immigrant workers.
3. White House changes course on sequester.
But a week before the sequester deadline, they’ve decided to change course, summoning cops, teachers, nurses and first responders to the White House for meetings on how to pitch their case to lawmakers on Capitol Hill reluctant to cut a deal.
4. Military brass warn budget cuts will impair readiness.
After staying largely on the sidelines of the debate over deficit reduction, the U.S. military’s service leaders have begun painting a stark picture of the toll a congressionally mandated budget cut could take on the readiness of the world’s largest armed forces.
5. Governors fall away in G.O.P. opposition to more Medicaid.
Under pressure from the health care industry and consumer advocates, seven Republican governors are cautiously moving to expand Medicaid, giving an unexpected boost to President Obama’s plan to insure some 30 million more Americans.
(New York Times)
6. Panetta, NATO partner, differ on troop numbers.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and his German counterpart offered conflicting accounts Friday of a discussion about how many U.S. and European forces would remain in Afghanistan after the anticipated end of combat after 2014.
7. Ninety killed in Thursday''s Damascus bombings.
Ninety people died in Thursday''s four bombings across Damascus, a violence monitoring group said, making it one of the bloodiest days in the Syrian capital since the outbreak of a revolt against President Bashar al-Assad nearly two years ago.
8. IAEA sees mixed signals from Iran in new nuclear report.
Days before the start of crucial talks with world powers, Iran appears to be simultaneously hitting the gas and brake pedals on its nuclear program, speeding up production of enriched uranium while limiting its stockpile of the type of fuel that could be easily converted for use in atomic bombs.
9. Egypt to hold parliamentary elections.
The election comes at a time when Egypt is gripped by unrest, insecurity and a crippling economic crisis — the country is deeply divided between Morsi''s supporters and a liberal-led opposition.
10. Eurozone downturn and deficits to persist.
The eurozone recession will persist into 2013, the European Commission has conceded in its latest forecast.Governments face an uphill battle to rein in their overspending, with Spain, France and Portugal all failing to cut their deficits to agreed targets.