Quote of the day.
"… in virtually every public controversy, most thoughtful people secretly believe both sides.The second, which has kept my confidence from turning into arrogance, is that it is entirely possible for you to disagree with me without being, on that account, either a scoundrel or a fool." - William Raspberry, longtime Washington Post columnist and Pulitzer Prize winner, with the two important lessons he said he had learned. Mr. Raspberry died yesterday at 76.
1. Worldwide celebration of Mandela Day.
In 2009, the United Nations agreed to commemorate Mandela's birthday every year to recognise the Nobel Peace Prize laureate's contribution to resolving conflicts and promoting race relations, human rights and reconciliation.
2. Groups seek to block Arizona immigration law.
Opponents of Arizona's hardline immigration enforcement law launched a new effort Tuesday aimed at thwarting a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that will allow police to enforce the so-called "show me your papers" provision.
3. Shift in welfare policy draws GOP protests.
A move by the Obama administration to give states more latitude in running federal welfare-to-work programs has set off a firestorm among Republicans, who say it undercuts the work requirements set forth in the 1996 overhaul of welfare policy.
(New York Times)
4. Gloomy forecast for states, even if economy rebounds.
The fiscal crisis for states will persist long after the economy rebounds as they confront rising health care costs, underfunded pensions, ignored infrastructure needs, eroding revenues and expected federal budget cuts, according to a report issued here Tuesday by a task force of respected budget experts.
(New York Times)
5. Greenland glacier loses large mass of ice.
A chunk of ice twice the size of Manhattan has parted from Greenland’s Petermann glacier, a break researchers at the University of Delaware and Canadian Ice Service attributed to warmer ocean temperatures.
6. Top defence officials killed in Damascus bomb.
Syrian defence minister and his deputy have been killed after a suicide bomber struck the National Security building in Damascus during a meeting of cabinet ministers and senior security officials, state media reported.
7. Taliban 'blow up' 22 NATO tankers.
The vehicles were hit by a pre-dawn explosion which triggered a huge fire that engulfed them in flames, … At the time, the trucks were parked overnight in Samangan province, as they headed from Uzbekistan towards Nato forces in the south.
8. Jihadists' fierce justice drives thousands to flee Mali.
The vast desert expanse of northern Mali has become a magnet for Islamic extremists who have tightened their grip on Timbuktu and other far-flung towns, imposing a strict form of justice that is prompting tens of thousands of people to flee what some are likening to an African Afghanistan.
(New York Times)
9. U.S. building missile defence radar in Qatar.
The Pentagon is building a missile defence radar station at a covert location in Qatar, The Wall Street Journal has reported. The site will be part of a system intended to defend the interests of the United States and its allies against Iranian rockets.
10. Greece again in a tough spot.
After months of political chaos and instability, Greece has fallen behind the requirements of a $160 billion bailout it received in March, and its ability to scrape together $3.8 billion to make an August debt payment to the European Central Bank is in question.