Quote of the day.
“Violence is a big problem. Too many children are dying — too many children. We must do something. It will be hard. But the time is now. You must act. Be bold. Be courageous. Americans are counting on you.” Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, in a statement at a Senate hearing on gun control.
1. Teen's killing ignites outrage.
With outrage over Hadiya Pendleton's slaying spreading from City Hall to the White House, the 15-year-old became a symbol Wednesday of escalating violence in Chicago while fueling the national debate over guns and crime.
2. Hagel faces GOP grilling at confirmation hearing.
He takes to Capitol Hill on Thursday morning for his confirmation hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee, but despite what’s likely to be three or four hours of adversarial interrogation, it seems all but certain that the upper chamber will vote to confirm him.
3. On immigration, Obama assumes upper hand.
As the specifics of immigration legislation take shape on Capitol Hill, President Obama is making it clear that he wants the overhaul on his terms. Officials in the West Wing are convinced that the politics of the immigration issue have firmly shifted in their direction.
(New York Times)
4. House group secretly crafts immigration plan.
As a group of Senate stars tries to sell a new immigration proposal, their House counterparts are secretly toiling under the radar to craft their own plan in the next few weeks. But it will be no easy task to sell it to their colleagues.
5. Drone strike prompts suit, raising fears for U.S. allies.
The death of Malik Daud Khan, a Pakistani tribal elder, in a C.I.A. drone strike might have remained widely unremarked upon, lost amid thousands of others analysts have tallied in the American drone campaign, had not the British courts been brought into it.
(New York Times)
6. Israel hits Syrian arms convoy to Lebanon.
Israeli warplanes bombed a convoy near Syria's border with Lebanon, sources said, apparently targeting weapons destined for Hezbollah in what some called a warning to Damascus not to arm Israel's Lebanese enemy.
7. Opposition in Egypt urges unity government.
Facing dire warnings from the military about the country’s growing chaos, Egyptian opposition leaders banded together for the first time on Wednesday and pressed President Mohamed Morsi to form a national unity government as a way to halt the violence that has led to dozens of deaths over the past week.
(New York Times)
8. Diplomats: Iran prepared to up nuclear program.
The U.N. nuclear agency has told member nations that Iran is poised for a major technological upgrade of its uranium enrichment program. … The move would vastly speed up Tehran's ability to make material that can be used for both reactor fuel and nuclear warheads.
9. 'Mali militants in disarray' after French air strikes.
Three weeks of French targeted air strikes in northern Mali have left Islamist militants "in disarray," France's defence minister has said. Jean-Yves Le Drian said the jihadists had now scattered, marking a "turning-point" in France's intervention.
10. Israel must withdraw all settlers or face ICC.
Israel must withdraw all settlers from the West Bank or potentially face a case at the International Criminal Court (ICC) for serious violations of international law, says a report by a United Nations agency that was immediately dismissed in Jerusalem as "counterproductive and unfortunate".