Quote of the day.
"You may not have actually done something wrong by the law of war, but by your own humanity you feel that it''s wrong." Elspeth Ritchie, former psychiatry consultant to the Army surgeon general, now chief clinical officer at the District of Columbia''s Department of Mental Health, on veterans suffering "moral injuries" — wounds from having done something, or failed to stop something, that violates their moral code.
1. Washington braces for whirlwind week.
A vote on President Barack Obama''s nominee to lead the Defense Department, Supreme Court arguments about the future of a key provision of the Voting Rights Act and the expected onset of automatic spending cuts known as the "sequester" mean the nation''s capital is bracing for a politically consequential week ahead.
2. Cuts before compromise?
Congress returns Monday with all eyes on a last Senate attempt to forestall across-the-board spending cuts March 1 that threaten to cripple government services this spring and roll back the clock to before Barack Obama’s presidency.
3. Seeing citizenship path near, activists push Obama to slow deportations.
As President Obama intensifies his campaign for a broad overhaul of the nation’s immigration system, advocates for America’s 11 million illegal immigrants are stepping up demands that he stop what has become one of the most aggressive and efficient efforts in decades to round up and deport people who are in the United States unlawfully.
(New York Times)
4. Senators near a deal on background checks for most private gun sales.
A bipartisan group of senators is on the verge of a deal that would expand background checks to all private firearms sales with limited exemptions, but significant disagreements remain on the issue of keeping records of private gun sales, according to aides familiar with the talks.
5. BP and Gulf states set for trial over oil spill.
The U.K. oil giant will be pitted against the U.S. states that were affected by the spill and the Department of Justice. It could face a fine of up to $17.6bn — the biggest civil fine in history.
6. U.S. troops arrive in Niger to set up drone base.
President Obama announced Friday that about 100 U.S. troops have been deployed to the West African country of Niger, where defense officials said they are setting up a drone base to spy on al-Qaeda fighters in the Sahara.
7. Afghanistan government accuses U.S. special forces of civilian death and torture.
The Afghan government has ordered U.S. special forces to leave one of Afghanistan''s most restive provinces, Maidan Wardak, after receiving reports from local officials claiming that the elite units had been involved in the torture and disappearance of Afghan civilians.
8. In Syria, new influx of weapons to rebels tilts the battle against Assad.
A surge of rebel advances in Syria is being fueled at least in part by an influx of heavy weaponry in a renewed effort by outside powers to arm moderates in the Free Syrian Army, according to Arab and rebel officials.
9. African leaders sign DR Congo peace deal.
Leaders from Africa''s Great Lakes regional nations have signed a new peace deal aimed at bringing stability to the war-torn east of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
10. Scandals and intrigue heat up at Vatican ahead of papal conclave.
As cardinals from around the world begin arriving in Rome for a conclave to elect a successor to Pope Benedict XVI, new shadows have fallen over the delicate transition, which the Vatican fears might influence the vote and with it the direction of the Roman Catholic Church.
(New York Times)