The Top 10 Stories of July 19, 2013

By Duane Shank 7-19-2013

Quote of the day. “If there is a law that I feel that does not conform with the Pennsylvania constitution and the U.S. Constitution, then I ethically cannot do that as a lawyer.” Kathleen Kane, Pennsylvania Attorney General, on why she won’t defend the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, joining a growing number of state officials who are refusing to defend state laws they believe are unconstitutional. (Washington Post)  

1. Billions in debt, Detroit tumbles into insolvency. Detroit, the cradle of America’s automobile industry and once the nation’s fourth-most-populous city, filed for bankruptcy on Thursday, the largest American city ever to take such a course. (New York Times)  

2. Senate negotiators strike deal on student loan rates. Instead of a fixed rate set by Congress as in the past, the rates for college and graduate school will go up and down with the market. They will be set once a year based on the Treasury’s 10-year borrowing rate, (McClatchy News)  

3. Sensenbrenner and Lewis partner again on Voting Rights Act. The white Wisconsin lawyer and the black preacher from Georgia strode into the Senate hearing room together and took their seats, shoulder-to-shoulder, at the witness table. Veteran lawmakers and experts in civil rights law, they had been here before. (Washington Post)  

4. Senate confirms nominees as G.O.P. discontent rises. President Obama’s executive branch nominees continued to cruise through the Senate on Thursday, including his controversial pick to be labor secretary, Thomas E. Perez, as Republican anger over a deal to avoid a weakening of the filibuster seeped into the open. (New York Times)  

5. Catholic college heads appeal to Catholics in House on immigration. Nearly 100 current and former heads of Catholic colleges and universities are appealing directly to Catholic members of the House of Representatives to "draw wisdom and moral courage from our shared faith tradition" in supporting comprehensive immigration reform. (Catholic News Service)  

6. World pays tribute as ''improving'' Mandela turns 95. South Africa and the world showered tributes on Nelson Mandela on Thursday as the anti-apartheid leader turned 95 in hospital and his doctors reported he was "steadily improving" from a six-week lung infection. (Reuters)  

7. Kerry to meet Palestinian president in peace talks bid. The state department announced the plan after Mr Kerry met the Palestinian chief negotiator, Saeb Erekat, in Amman. Palestinian officials who met earlier did not endorse a new US plan. (BBC)  

8. USAID announces assistance program for Afghan women. The U.S. Agency for International Development announced a new $200 million assistance program for Afghan women Thursday, amid fears that gains in women’s rights and development made over the past decade will dissipate after the withdrawal of foreign combat troops next year. (Washington Post)  

9. Obama considering military power in Syria, top general tells Senate. The top US military officer told a Senate panel Thursday the Obama administration is deliberating whether to use military power in Syria, where a civil war entering its third year has killed almost 93,000 people. (Guardian/AP)  

10. Egypt’s military and Islamists are far from a deal. More than two weeks after the military removed President Mohamed Morsi from power, intense efforts to bring the generals and the ex-president’s Islamist supporters to an agreement have so far come up empty, deepening Egypt’s political crisis. (New York Times)

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