The Top 10 Stories of March 19, 2013

By Duane Shank 3-19-2013

Quote of the day.
“When I say 2.5 million people have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, jaws drop. I know which lines are going to get gasps, and that’s one of them. I don’t think they appreciate how many people have served, and particularly the number who have had repeated deployments.” Paul Rieckhoff, chief executive officer of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.
(McClatchy News)

1. Pope Francis urges protection of nature, weak.
Pope Francis urged princes, presidents, sheiks, and thousands of ordinary people gathered for his installation Mass on Tuesday to protect the environment, the weakest, and the poorest, mapping out a clear focus of his priorities as leader of the world's 1.2 billion Catholics.
(Associated Press)

2. Struggling day laborers await immigration reform.
Millions of illegal immigrants are at the sharp end of a daily battle for survival as President Barack Obama pushes for immigration reform in Washington, months after Hispanic voters turned out to give the Democrat a second term.  

3. Assault weapons ban loses steam.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said on Monday that a controversial assault weapons ban will not be part of a Democratic gun bill that was expected to reach the Senate floor next month.

4. Congress works on budget for both 2013 and future.
Congress is finally cleaning up its unfinished budget business for the 2013 budget year with a bipartisan government-wide funding bill. But even as that measure heads toward approval, the House and Senate are gearing up for divisive votes that will underscore sharp differences on a bigger problem: how to fix the nation's long-term deficit woes.
(Associated Press)

5. Have political parties lost their purpose?
Democrats and Republicans may be worlds apart on most things, but at their headquarters just two blocks away from each other on Capitol Hill, each is confronting the same question: Have political parties lost their purpose?
(Washington Post)

6. When cold cases stay cold.
In 2006, the F.B.I. began a cold-case initiative that it described as a comprehensive effort to investigate racially motivated murders from the civil rights era. That effort became a mandate two years later when Congress passed the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act.
(New York Times)

7. Iraq rocked by wave of explosions.
Baghdad was convulsed by a deadly wave of explosions as terrorists detonated up to nine explosions in the course of a few hours on Tuesday morning on the 10th anniversary of the U.S.-led invasion.

8. A goal for Obama in Israel: finding some overlap on Iran.
If President Obama’s most obvious goal on his trip to Israel this week is to forge a connection with the Israeli people, his challenge behind closed doors is to persuade Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that he can rely on the United States to take care of Iran.
(New York Times)

9. U.N. chief urges approval of arms trade treaty.
U.N. secretary-general Ban Ki-moon has urged the world's nations to agree on a strong international treaty to regulate the multi-billion-dollar global arms trade in the next two weeks, saying it will save lives and make it more difficult for warlords and organized criminals to obtain weapons.
(Al Jazeera)

10. In effort to try dictator, Guatemala shows new judicial might.
Guatemala’s justice system has begun a transformation. In a show of political will, prosecutors are taking long-dormant human rights cases to court, armed with evidence that victims and their advocates have painstakingly compiled over more than a decade — as much to bear witness as to bring judgment.
(New York Times)

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