The Top 10 Stories of February 7, 2013

By Duane Shank 2-07-2013

Quote of the day.
“If you want to go to a university where the government decides what kind of subjects are fit for discussion, I suggest you apply to a school in North Korea.” Michael Bloomberg, mayor of New York City, defending Brooklyn College’s decision to co-sponsor a panel discussion about a movement that calls for economic boycotts and sanctions against Israel.
(New York Times

1. Senators, Brennan brace for CIA hearings showdown.
Obama’s nominee to head the Central Intelligence Agency, John Brennan, will address what role the targeted killings of terrorists, either by using drone strikes or other means, have played and should play in national security policy.
(NBC News)

2. Congress to see memo backing drone attacks on Americans.
The White House on Wednesday directed the Justice Department to release to the two Congressional Intelligence Committees classified documents discussing the legal justification for killing, by drone strikes and other means, American citizens abroad who are considered terrorists.
(New York Times)

3. Democrats seek to stave off $1 trillion in cuts.
With at least one million jobs on the line, Senate Democrats on Wednesday said they were closing in on legislation to temporarily head off nearly $1 trillion in cuts that were already affecting Pentagon decision-making and could force significant reductions in staffing and services across the government.
(New York Times)

4. Long-term jobless folks' outlook brightens.
The prospects of the nation's most beleaguered workers — the long-term unemployed — are improving. The number of Americans out of work at least six months fell to 4.7 million in January, down from 5.5 million a year ago and the lowest since June 2009.
(USA Today)

5. United States could fall short of its 2020 climate goal.
The United States is not on track to meet its international commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 2020, according to an analysis released Wednesday by the World Resources Institute.
(Washington Post)

6. For U.S. leader in Afghan war, much time making peace.
After 19 months in Afghanistan, Gen. John R. Allen, the commander of American and coalition forces here, is leaving a war that has become as much about damage control and crisis diplomacy as fighting the Taliban.
(New York Times)

7. Iran's supreme leader rejects direct talks with U.S.
Iran's supreme leader Thursday strongly rejected proposals for direct talks with the United States, effectively quashing suggestions for a breakthrough one-on-one dialogue on the nuclear standoff and potentially other issues. 
(Associated Press)

8. Tunisia political crisis deepens after assassination.
The killing of anti-Islamist politician Chokri Belaid sparked violent protests. The prime minister then announced plans for a new, technocratic government. But the ruling Islamist party Ennahda rejected the move.

9. Syria capital Damascus sees heavy fighting.
Fierce fighting broke out in the Syrian capital, Damascus, as rebels attacked forces loyal to President Bashar al-Assad, witnesses and rebels said. Much of the violence was centered around the Jobar district and a key junction on the Damascus ring road.

10. Indian investors are forcing Ethiopians off their land.
Ethiopia's leasing of 600,000 hectares (1.5m acres) of prime farmland to Indian companies has led to intimidation, repression, detentions, rapes, beatings, environmental destruction, and the imprisonment of journalists and political objectors.

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