The Top 10 Stories of July 23, 2013

By Duane Shank 7-23-2013

Quote of the day.
"There''s little doubt that things are getting worse. Aside from the fact the New Mexico economy has been so slow to turn around, the systems that generally serve people who are the working poor and suddenly lose their jobs or face greater hardship, all those systems have been strained beyond the max." Kim Posich, executive director of the New Mexico Center on Law and Poverty on the Kids Count survey released Monday by the Annie E. Casey Foundation that showed New Mexico with the highest child poverty rate in the U.S.
(Huffington Post/AP)

1. Poll finds black, white reactions to Zimmerman verdict vary wildly.
The not-guilty verdict in the trial of George Zimmerman has produced dramatically different reactions among blacks and whites, with African Americans overwhelmingly disapproving of the jury’s decision and a bare majority of whites saying they approve of the outcome.
(Washington Post)

2. Obama seeking to take credit and set course for economy.
President Obama is restarting a major effort this week to focus public attention on the American economy, a strategy aimed at giving him credit for the improving job market and lifting his rhetoric beyond the Beltway squabbles that have often consumed his presidency.
(New York Times)

3. Pelosi rolls out economic agenda for women.
The California Democrat launched a legislative agenda of family-friendly policies, such as paycheck fairness for women, an increased federal minimum wage, and President Barack Obama''s proposed early childhood education initiative.
(McClatchy News)

4. Michelle Obama speaking out on gun violence.
It''s a second term for Michelle Obama, too, and she''s shifting her social-issues emphasis to kids and gun violence after spending four years stressing better physical fitness for the young.
(Associated Press)

5. Al Qaeda growing, but less focused on U.S.
The number of Al Qaeda affiliates has expanded, as has their geographic scope, but the terror network has become more diffuse and decentralized, the RAND study found.
(Christian Science Monitor)

6. Pope Francis tries to bolster church in Brazil.
Brazil is a huge battleground for souls. It has one in 10 of all the world’s Catholics, making it enormously important to the Vatican. But for years now, Catholicism has been on the losing end of a pitched struggle with increasingly influential evangelical churches.
(Washington Post)

7. U.S. military intervention in Syria would create ''unintended consequences.''
The top U.S. military officer warned senators on Monday that taking military action to stop the bloodshed in Syria was likely to escalate quickly and result in "unintended consequences," representing the most explicit uniformed opposition to deeper involvement in another war in the Middle East.

8. Top U.S. general urges approval of continued military presence.
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said Monday that he wanted the United States and Afghanistan to complete a security partnership agreement by October, allowing for the continued presence of U.S. troops in Afghanistan beyond 2014.
(Washington Post)

9. Egypt starts amending constitution despite political divisions.
A panel of legal experts started work on Sunday to revise Egypt''s Islamist-tinged constitution, a vital first step on the road to fresh elections ordered by the army following its removal of Mohamed Mursi as president.

10. 4 decades after war ended, Agent Orange still ravaging Vietnamese.
During the Vietnam War, the U.S. Air Force sprayed more than 20 million gallons of Agent Orange and other herbicides over parts of southern Vietnam and along the borders of neighboring Laos and Cambodia. The herbicides were contaminated with dioxin, a deadly compound that remains toxic for decades and causes birth defects, cancer, and other illnesses.
(McClatchy News)

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