The Top 10 Stories of July 17, 2013

By Duane Shank 7-17-2013

Quote of the day.
“When I got to the mound, I see both sides, both teams in the dugout, and it was amazing. It almost made me cry, too. I was close. It was amazing, a scene that I will never forget.” Mariano Rivera, 43-year-old New York Yankees relief pitcher who is retiring after this season, on the standing ovation he received as he entered his 13th All Star Game last evening.
(New York Times)

1. Senators reach agreement to avert fight over filibuster.
Senate leaders reached an agreement on Tuesday to preserve the filibuster in exchange for confirmation votes on President Obama’s stalled nominees, ending, at least for now, months of partisan warfare that threatened the stability of several federal agencies and a generation of procedural traditions.
(New York Times)

2. Senate immigration gang targets House GOP.
Senators like John McCain (R-Ariz), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) met with tech giants such as Microsoft, Google, and Intel, and pro reform groups like to discuss a coordinated campaign to target more than 100 House Republicans on reforming the nation’s immigration laws when they are at home in their districts over the next month.

3. Holder denounces 'stand your ground' laws.
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. strongly condemned “stand your ground” laws Tuesday, saying the measures “senselessly expand the concept of self-defense” and may encourage “violent situations to escalate.”
(Washington Post)

4. Congress revisits Voting Rights Act.
Congress is taking the first steps toward bringing back pre-clearance of voting laws under the Voting Rights Act this week, as activists express tempered optimism in lawmakers' willingness and ability to act.
(Atlanta Journal Constitution/McClatchy)

5. Hagel orders 20 percent cut in Pentagon brass, senior civilians.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Tuesday that he has ordered a 20 percent cut in the number of top brass and senior civilians at the Pentagon by 2019, the latest attempt to shrink the military bureaucracy after years of heady growth.
(Washington Post)

6. Kerry briefs Arabs on peace bid, Egypt, Syria.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry briefed senior Arab officials Wednesday on his efforts to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and on American views of the crises and Syria and Egypt.
(Associated Press)

7. Egypt’s new government doesn’t include Muslim Brotherhood.
Egypt’s interim president swore in a new cabinet on Tuesday that was dominated by liberal and leftist politicians, sweeping away the brief era of Islamist political rule built by the country’s deposed president, Mohamed Morsi.
(New York Times)

8. Cuban weapons on board seized North Korean ship.
Cuba has admitted being behind a stash of weapons found on board a North Korean ship seized in the Panama Canal. The Cuban foreign ministry said the ship was carrying obsolete Soviet-era arms from Cuba for repair in North Korea.

9. EU takes tougher stance on Israeli settlements.
The European Union has dealt a harsh blow to the Israeli settlement enterprise in a directive that insists all future agreements between the EU and Israel must explicitly exclude Jewish colonies in the West Bank or East Jerusalem.

10. Syria crisis worst since Rwanda, UN says.
Six thousand people are fleeing Syria every day as the conflict intensifies and merges with violence in neighbouring Iraq, United Nations officials have said.
(Al Jazeera)

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