Quote of the day.
“As we have this important debate, let’s remember who we are and where our families would be today if earlier generations of Americans had decided to slam the door shut. The door to the American dream must always remain open.” Tom Donohue, U.S. Chamber of Commerce President, on why immigration reform is a priority this year.
(Christian Science Monitor)
1. An end run around the NRA. President Barack Obama is trying an end run around the NRA — rallying groups as varied as churches, medical organizations, retailers, and the Rotary Club to build support for new gun regulations.
2. Tough path seen by Obama on ban of assault arms.
While President Obama pledged to crack down on access to what he called “weapons of war” in the aftermath of last month’s schoolhouse massacre, the White House has calculated that a ban on military-style assault weapons will be exceedingly difficult to pass through Congress and is focusing on other measures it deems more politically achievable. (New York Times)
3. Green groups press Obama to kill Keystone XL pipeline.
More than 70 green groups urged President Obama in a Monday letter to kill the Keystone XL pipeline to make good on promises to address climate change. (The Hill)
4. Anti-gay sermon in 1990s forces pastor to drop out of Obama’s inauguration.
A conservative megachurch pastor was wiped from the inaugural program Thursday after a strongly anti-homosexuality sermon he gave in the 1990s surfaced, evidence of how fast Americans’ views on gays and lesbians are shifting and the political pitfalls for a liberal president attempting to reach out to religious conservatives.
5. U.S. faces critical adoption shortage.
Even before Russia acted in December, children available for U.S. adoptions had hit record lows, as countries restrict adoptions and fewer kids born in the USA are available.
6. Obama, Karzai meeting to discuss ending Afghan war.
Charting the course for a war's end, President Barack Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai meet Friday at the White House to discuss the future of the U.S. role in Afghanistan and the 66,000 American troops in harm's way.
7. Syria denounces U.N. envoy as biased.
Syria’s government appeared to distance itself from further engagement with the special peace envoy of the United Nations and the Arab League on Thursday, declaring them “flagrantly biased” even as efforts aimed at a political transition to end the nearly two-year-old Syrian conflict were accelerating.
(New York Times)
8. Thousands protest Quetta sectarian attacks.
Thousands of people have held a demonstration against the Pakistani government in the southwestern city of Quetta, a day after more than a hundred people were killed in a series of attacks and shootings there and elsewhere in the country.
9. U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan on rise.
The CIA has opened the year with a flurry of drone strikes in Pakistan, pounding Taliban targets along the country’s tribal belt at a time when the Obama administration is preparing to disclose its plans for pulling most U.S. forces out of neighboring Afghanistan.
10. Heat, flood, or icy cold, extreme weather rages worldwide.
The growing incidence and intensity of extreme weather events is a sign that climate change is not just about rising temperatures.
(New York Times)