Quote of the day.
“To many Americans, we feel like a house divided that cannot stand. We find ourselves divided and desperately longing to find common ground. ... This may be, this bringing together of our country, a more important issue than anything else we face.” Rev. Adam Hamilton, Senior Pastor of Church of the Resurrection in Leawood, Kansas, in his sermon at the inaugural prayer service at Washington National Cathedral.
1. White House ‘will not oppose’ GOP plan to suspend debt limit until May.
House Republicans are advancing a novel plan to suspend enforcement of the federal debt limit through May 18, a move that would lift the threat of a government default and relieve the air of crisis that has surrounded their budget battle with President Obama.
2. Clinton: Nobody more committed to security.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton insisted on Wednesday that the department is moving swiftly and aggressively to strengthen security at U.S. installations missions worldwide after the deadly Sept. 11 raid on the consulate in Libya.
3. Hagel and McCain sit down to iron out a few differences.
For President Obama, the first test of his second term passed peacefully on Tuesday as his nominee for defense secretary, Chuck Hagel, sat down with the Republican who poses one of his biggest potential hurdles to Senate confirmation, Senator John McCain of Arizona.
(New York Times)
4. Obama stalls for time after Nebraska approves Keystone XL oil pipeline.
The decision on Keystone XL is widely seen as a key test of his administration's commitment to the environment. The project was propelled to the top of Obama's inbox on Tuesday when the the governor of Nebraska signed off on the pipeline, leaving it up to the White House to decide on the fate of the project.
5. Dem officials fret over Obama nonprofit.
Some key Democrats worry that President Obama’s new Organizing for Action group will marginalize the traditional party apparatus, cannibalizing dollars and volunteers while making it harder to elect down-ballot candidates.
6. Netanyahu suffers setback as centrists gain ground in Israel election.
Binyamin Netanyahu suffered a major setback in Israel's general election as results gave the narrowest of victories for the rightwing-religious block and a surprisingly strong showing for a new centrist party formed last year, forcing the prime minister to say he will seek a broad coalition to govern Israel.
7. U.S. begins French troop airlifts.
The U.S. military has begun airlifting French soldiers and equipment to Mali to support their operation against Islamist militants. Five U.S. flights had already landed in the capital, Bamako, with more planned in the coming days.
8. North Korea vows to boost nuclear arms program.
North Korea has pledged to strengthen its nuclear weapons program, after the U.N. Security Council voted to expand existing sanctions against Pyongyang.
9. Is Africa al-Qaeda's new launch pad?
As U.S. forces have largely left Iraq and plan a withdrawal from Afghanistan, intelligence experts see a global threat emerging on a continent that has frustrated foreign forces for much of the past century and provided the world's bad actors a refuge from international justice.
10. Andean glaciers melting at 'unprecedented' rates.
Andean glaciers are retreating at their fastest rates in more than 300 years, according to a new study.