The Top 10 Stories of July 26, 2013

By Duane Shank 7-26-2013

Quote of the day.
“This is the beginning of the end of mass incarceration.” Natasha Frost, associate dean of Northeastern University’s school of criminology and criminal justice, on statistics showing the prison population in the United States dropped in 2012 for the third consecutive year.
(New York Times)

1. White House prepares for budget showdown.
Senior White House officials are discussing a budget strategy that could lead to a government shutdown if Republicans continue to demand deeper spending cuts, lawmakers and Democrats familiar with the administration’s thinking said Thursday.
(Washington Post)

2. Justice Department to take on states over voting rights.
The Obama administration announced Thursday that it will legally contest a series of laws around the country as part of an aggressive campaign to fight a recent Supreme Court ruling that it says could reduce minority voting.
(McClatchy News)

3. Juror says Zimmerman 'got away with murder.'
A juror in the trial of George Zimmerman says the former neighborhood watch volunteer "got away with murder" when he was acquitted earlier this month in the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin.

4. Spy agencies under heaviest scrutiny since abuse scandal of the '70s.
On three fronts — interrogation, drone strikes, and now electronic surveillance — critics inside and outside Congress have challenged the intelligence establishment, accusing officials of overreaching, misleading the public, and covering up abuse and mistakes. 
(New York Times)

5. Pope Francis urges Catholics to shake up dioceses.
Pope Francis has shown the world his rebellious side, urging young Catholics to shake up the church and make a "mess" in their dioceses by going out into the streets to spread the faith.
(Associated Press)

6. Army accuses Morsi of murder, kidnapping.
Ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi is under investigation for an array of charges including murder, the state news agency said on Friday, stoking tensions as Egypt's opposing political camps took to the streets.

7. Iran is said to want direct talks with U.S. on nuclear program.
Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki of Iraq told the Obama administration this month that Iran was interested in direct talks with the United States on Iran’s nuclear program, and said that Iraq was prepared to facilitate the negotiations, 
(New York Times)

8. Japan plans marine force and drone fleet.
The Japanese government has said it needs to create a U.S. Marines-style force and a fleet of drone aircrafts as it faces territorial threats from China and North Korea.
(Al Jazeera)

9. Honduran gangs offer peace from prison.
The 18th Street gang and its arch rival, Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, have taken small, ­suspicion-filled steps in recent weeks toward what church leaders and their supporters at the Organization of American States are calling “a peace process,” careful to avoid the term “gang truce.”
(Washington Post)

10. Report says 220,000 died in Colombia conflict.
Almost a quarter of a million Colombians have been killed in the country's internal conflict since 1958, most of them civilians, a government-funded report has said.
(Al Jazeera)

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