The Top 10 Stories of March 20, 2013

By Duane Shank 3-20-2013

Quote of the day.
"I am excited that today I have achieved my dream of going back to school. I want all girls in the world to have this basic opportunity." Malala Yousafzai, a 15-year-old Pakistani who returned to school yesterday for the first time since she was shot in the head by the Taliban in October.
(Al Jazeera)

1. Finance bill would protect some favored programs.
With the expected Senate passage this week of broad legislation to finance the federal government through Sept. 30, a lucky few programs will be spared the brunt of the automatic spending cuts now coursing through the federal government.
(New York Times)

2. G.O.P. opposition to immigration law is falling away.
Republican opposition to legalizing the status of millions of illegal immigrants is crumbling in the nation’s capital as leading lawmakers in the party scramble to halt eroding support among Hispanic voters — a shift that is providing strong momentum for an overhaul of immigration laws.
(New York Times)

3. Feinstein: I won’t ‘play dead’ on assault ban.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein says she won’t “lay down and play dead” on an assault weapons ban after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid revealed the California Democrat’s measure won’t be part of the Senate Democratic gun control plan.

4. After decade of war, troops still struggling to find work.
This is what the end of a decade of war looked like in Oklahoma a few weeks ago: ex-soldiers in cheap new business suits; human resources managers with salesman smiles and stacks of glossy fliers; a former Marine speaking to a television news crew about the “tough times” and “nightmares” he has had since coming home.
(Washington Post)

5. Obama in Israel for first trip as president.
Calling the U.S. Israel's "greatest friend," President Barack Obama assured the Middle East ally of his administration's commitment to Israel's security while cautioning that the region's "winds of change bring both promise and peril."
(Associated Press)

6. Syria’s humanitarian crisis is ‘dramatic beyond description.’
The United Nations official responsible for aiding Syrian refugees painted his bleakest picture to date Tuesday, describing a humanitarian crisis that is “dramatic beyond description” and a country and people so destroyed that they could take years to recover under the best of circumstances.
(Washington Post)

7. Offer to Iran adds tension to U.S.-Israel talks.
An offer in the most recent round of negotiations over Iran's nuclear program has created anxiety in Israel and injected tension into President Obama's scheduled meetings Wednesday with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem.
(Chicago Tribune)

8. Fukushima blackout hints at plant’s vulnerability.
The stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant this week experienced its worst power failure since the disaster there in 2011, and though the plant’s operator said all electricity was restored by early Wednesday, the problem underlined its continuing vulnerability.
(New York Times)

9. South Korea on alert for cyber-attacks.
South Korea is investigating a suspected cyber-attack that paralyzed systems at major media and banks on Wednesday, amid speculation that the North could be responsible.

10. Guatemala genocide trial begins.
The trial of the former military ruler of Guatemala, Efrain Rios Montt, for genocide and crimes against humanity has begun in Guatemala City.

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