Quote of the day.
“This year’s commemoration of Nelson Mandela International Day comes at a moment of deep reflection on the life and work of Madiba, as the universally revered leader remains in the hospital.” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in his message for Nelson Mandela International Day. Mr. Mandela is 95 years old today.
1. Immigration could hinge on August recess.
The White House and its immigration reform allies are banking on the August recess as their next — and possibly last — major opportunity to compel House Republicans to act.
2. Florida case spurs painful talks between black parents and their children.
For many black residents, the verdict has spawned conversations that are personal and raw: discussions of sad pragmatism between parents and their children.
(New York Times)
3. In Senate, emotional appeal to restore 'heart and soul' of Voting Rights Act.
Rep. John Lewis (D) of Georgia, an icon of the civil rights movement, urged members of the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday to quickly restore a key section of the Voting Rights Act that recently had been struck down as unconstitutional.
(Christian Science Monitor)
4. Racial disparities in life spans narrow, but persist.
The gap in life expectancy between black and white Americans is at its narrowest since the federal government started systematically tracking it in the 1930s, but a difference of nearly four years remains, and federal researchers have detailed why in a new report.
(New York Times)
5. Skeptical Congress turns its spycam on NSA surveillance.
In an unusually critical oversight hearing Wednesday, lawmakers from both parties warned national security officials that they must change their use of sweeping National Security Agency surveillance programs or face losing the provisions of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that have allowed for the agency’s mass collection of telephone metadata.
6. UN nominee calls Syria inaction a disgrace.
A U.S. ambassador nominee to the United Nations has called the U.N. Security Council's response to Syria's civil war a "disgrace" at her confirmation hearing. Samantha Power, who was President Barack Obama's nominee for the position, made the statement before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday.
7. Arab League backs Kerry peace plan.
The Arab League has given its backing to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry's plan for restarting peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians.
8. Flow of U.S. military gear out of Afghanistan disrupted amid row.
An escalating dispute between the Afghan government and the United States over customs procedures has halted the flow of U.S. military equipment across Afghanistan’s borders, forcing commanders to rely more heavily on air transport, which has dramatically increased the cost of the drawdown.
9. Panama charges North Korea ship's crew.
Panama has charged the crew of a North Korean ship detained in Panama after it was found to be carrying weapons. Prosecutor Javier Caraballo accused the 35 crew members of endangering public security by illegally transporting war material.
10. Climate change is happening too quickly for species to adapt.
A study has shown that the speed of evolutionary change is far outstripped by the rate of global warming, meaning many creatures will face extinction.