The Top 10 Stories of February 8, 2013

By Duane Shank 2-08-2013

Quote of the day.
"I do worry sometimes that as soon as we leave the prayer breakfast, everything we''ve been talking about the whole time at the prayer breakfast seems to be forgotten on the same day as the prayer breakfast. You''d like to think the shelf life wasn''t so short. I go back to the Oval Office and I start watching the cable news networks and it''s like we didn''t pray." President Barack Obama speaking to the National Prayer Breakfast.

1. Lawmakers consider regulating drone strikes.
CIA Director-designate John Brennan''s vigorous defense of drone strikes to kill terror suspects — even American citizens — overseas is causing key lawmakers to consider lifting secrecy from what has become an important weapon in the fight against al-Qaida.
(Associated Press)

2. Immigration advocates begin lobbying campaign.
Immigration advocates, backed by the White House, have begun a nationwide lobbying campaign, including rallies in more than a dozen cities and a planned demonstration on the Mall.
(Washington Post)

3. Senators seek deal on gun-sale background checks.
A bipartisan quartet of senators, including two National Rifle Association members and two with "F" ratings from the potent firearms lobby, are quietly trying to find a compromise on expanding the requirement for gun-sale background checks.
(Associated Press)

4. White House director of faith-based office is leaving his post.
President Obama announced on Thursday morning at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington that Joshua DuBois, the young pastor he appointed four years ago to lead the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, would step down on Friday.
(New York Times)

5. Obama administration embraces major new cut in nuclear weapons.
Senior Obama administration officials have agreed that the number of nuclear warheads the U.S. military deploys could be cut by at least a third without harming national security, according to those involved in the deliberations. 
(McClatchy News)

6. Keystone XL: pressure on Kerry ahead of meeting with Canada counterpart.
The U.S. secretary of state, John Kerry, steps into America''s biggest environmental controversy on Friday in his first meeting with a foreign minister since his swearing in.

7. Senate hearing draws out a rift in U.S. policy on Syria.
Deep divisions in the Obama administration over rising violence in Syria spilled into public view for the first time in a blunt exchange between Senator John McCain of Arizona and the leaders of the Pentagon.
(New York Times)

8. Iranians brace for hard times as U.S. imposes new round of sanctions.
The U.S. imposed its newest round of sanctions on February 6, with the aim of blocking Iran''s ability to trade its oil for gold and precious metals, and blacklist financial, shipping and communications companies. Already feeling the strain, Iranians are bracing for more hard times.

9. Syrian troops battle rebels around Damascus.
Heavy fighting is continuing around the Syrian capital, as government forces try to halt a rebel advance. Activists said clashes continued in Jobar district in Damascus on Friday amid rocket shelling by government forces on the eastern district and nearby neighborhoods.
(Al Jazeera)

10. UN says bribe payments soar in Afghanistan.
A new United Nations report on corruption in Afghanistan has found that $3.9bn, twice the nation''s domestic revenue, was paid in bribes in 2012.
(Al Jazeera)

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