The Top 10 Stories of March 13, 2013

By Duane Shank 3-13-2013

Quote of the day.
"I believe people who are impoverished and can''t afford a lawyer deserve one. If we can''t provide that, then what kind of society do we really have?" Al Flora, Luzerne County, Penna., chief public defender, on the consequence of budget cuts leaving his office overwhelmed with cases.
(USA Today

1. White House names new Faith-Based Office director.
The White House announced today President Obama''s appointment of Melissa Rogers to serve as the new director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, and special assistant to the president.
(Christian Post

2. Cardinals fail to elect pope after three ballots.
Black smoke rose from above the Sistine Chapel for a second day on Wednesday after a secret conclave of cardinals held two more inconclusive votes for a new pope to lead the troubled Church.

3. Ryan sets stage for a budget duel.
On Tuesday, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) rolled out a 10-year spending plan that would revive the most controversial prescriptions from last year’s GOP budget, including a partial privatization of Medicare and a repeal of the health-care law that is Obama’s signature policy achievement.
(Washington Post)

4. ''Grand bargain'' a tough sell in Congress.
For all the talk of a presidential "charm offensive" and possible thaw in partisanship, ample signs show that Congress is far from reaching a "grand bargain" to shrink the deficit.
(Associated Press)

5. Judiciary approves gun background checks.
The Senate Judiciary Committee approved a Democratic bill calling for background checks on all gun sales, which could potentially lead to the biggest change in U.S. gun laws in years.

6. Majority of British children will soon be growing up in struggling families.
Within two years, almost 7.1m of the nation’s 13m youngsters will be in homes with incomes judged to be less than the minimum necessary for a decent standard of living.
(The Independent)

7. Syria military shows strain in a war it wasn''t built to fight.
The Syrian military’s ability to fight rebels and hold territory has steadily eroded, forcing it to cede the job of running many checkpoints to paramilitary groups, give up a provincial city last week without much of a fight and even enlist the top state-appointed Muslim cleric as a recruiter.
(New York Times)

8. Iraq fears return of sectarian war.
Shias and Sunnis increase attacks amid concern Syria war could raise violence to levels of deadliest period in nation''s history.

9. Investigator from UN gives Iran harsh review.
With presidential elections approaching in June, Iran has cracked down on journalists, rights activists and lawyers apparently in a bid to stifle dissent, a United Nations investigator said on Tuesday.
(New York Times

10. The two Sudans reach deal to resume oil flow.
The armies of the two countries have also agreed to withdraw troops from contested border areas, in the latest attempt to set up a buffer zone after fighting last year.
(Al Jazeera)

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