Quote of the day.
“What was amazing was that suddenly everyone felt like family. Your feeling of disconnection from society is broken, and suddenly you are with people who agree on this one thing you have all been afraid to talk about.” - Rami Jarrah, 28, describing the moment he rose to join hundreds of people chanting for freedom in the landmark Umayyad mosque in Damascus, Syria, a year ago.
1. Catholic bishops: Contraceptive mandate is priority.
"Top U.S. Catholic bishops on Wednesday formally made their fight against a White House mandate for reproductive services the church’s top priority, saying “this struggle for religious freedom” demands their immediate attention."
2. Few churches overcome fear to build relationships.
"If there is any common thread to be found among evangelical churches in America when it comes to relationships with their Muslim neighbors it may simply be fear."
3. Can Santorum take battle all the way to convention?
"The question now, after victories Tuesday in the Alabama and Mississippi primaries, is whether Santorum will be able to parley those into a bounce big enough to propel him all the way to the Republican convention in August."
4. Women figure anew in Senate's latest battle.
"With emotions still raw from the fight over President Obama’s contraception mandate, Senate Democrats are beginning a push to renew the Violence Against Women Act, the once broadly bipartisan 1994 legislation that now faces fierce opposition from conservatives."
(New York Times)
5. Public rebuke of culture at Goldman opens debate.
"Criticism by Greg Smith, a largely anonymous 33-year-old midlevel executive who resigned Wednesday, sent ripple effects through Wall Street."
(New York Times)
6. Obama and Cameron pledge not to delay Afghanistan withdrawal.
"British and American forces remain on track to pull back from lead combat missions in Afghanistan next year, Barack Obama and David Cameron declared at the White House on Wednesday."
7. Karzai calls for NATO to leave villages.
"Afghanistan''s President Hamid Karzai called for NATO troops to leave Afghan villages after 16 civilians died in a shooting rampage by a U.S. soldier, underscoring Afghan fury over the massacre and clouding U.S. exit plans."
8. Gaza truce holds despite exchange of fire.
"The Israeli air force and Gaza fighters have traded sporadic fire overnight but a fragile truce between the sides that ended four days of violence appeared to be largely holding."
9. Report: U.S. asked Russia to deliver ultimatum to Iran.
"A leading Russian newspaper reported today that US Secretary of State Clinton requested that Russia tell Iran upcoming talks are the 'last chance' before it pursues a military option."
(Christian Science Monitor)
10. Netanyahu is preparing Israeli public opinion for a war on Iran.
"Since his return from Washington, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has mainly been preoccupied with one thing: Preparing public opinion for war against Iran."