The Top 10 Stories of March 21, 2012

By Duane Shank 3-21-2012

Quote of the day.
"We've just got to be very, very creative about this. There's got to be an extra mile that we walk here to do this. And it's absolutely worthwhile." - Michele Deverich, executive director for a consortium of health care companies committed to hiring veterans. Nearly 30 percent of male and 36 percent of female veterans ages 18 to 24 were unemployed in 2011.
(USA Today)

1. Pope Benedict’s visit to Cuba looks to boost role of Catholic Church.
"The once-powerful Catholic Church in Cuba is hoping the German pontiff will awaken what Cardinal Jaime Ortega called last week a “a sleeping faith” and also help build on its budding relationship with the Cuban government."

2. Romney wins Illinois primary.
"With a huge spending advantage and just about all the state’s elected Republicans behind him, Romney was leading challenger Rick Santorum 47 percent to 35 percent with 98 percent of precincts reporting."
(Chicago Sun-Times)

3. House GOP renews budget clash with Obama.
"House Republicans renewed their commitment Tuesday to the politically risky strategy of targeting Medicare and other popular social programs to tame the national debt, unveiling a $3.5 trillion spending plan that would also slash the top tax rate paid by corporations and the wealthy."
(Washington Post)

4. Trayvon Martin is dead; nation is soul-searching.
"Spurred by social media and community rallies, the shooting death of a 17-year-old Florida youth has become the latest flashpoint over how young black men are perceived in the United States."
(USA Today)

5. Do 14-year-old killers deserve life without parole?
"Justice Anthony Kennedy took center stage Tuesday as the US Supreme Court began examining two cases testing whether life in prison without parole is cruel and unusual punishment for someone who committed murder at age 14."
(Christian Science Monitor)

6. 'Right to Work' bills face uncertain future in an election year.
"After costly, bruising political showdowns with union forces last year in Wisconsin and Ohio, Republicans in some state legislatures are facing a tugging match within their party — between passionate conservative members …  and a more moderate bloc not sure it is wise to take on labor so directly now."
(New York Times)

7. French school killings suspect says will surrender.
"A gunman suspected of killing seven people in the name of al Qaeda, including three children at a Jewish school, said on Wednesday he would hand himself over to police to end an hours-long siege in southwestern France."

8. U.S. general suggests Afghan force should stay level after ’12 drawdown.
"The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan said Tuesday that, once a scheduled 23,000 U.S. troops are withdrawn by the end of September, he does not expect to consider additional drawdowns until next year."
(Washington Post)

9. Syrian forces assault opposition strongholds.
"Syrian government forces have launched military assaults in different parts of the country, activists said, as Russia said Damascus was making "a lot of mistakes" in handling the unrest sweeping the country."
(Al Jazeera)

10. Iran ready to retaliate if attacked.
"Iran will retaliate against any attack by Israeli or US forces, the country''s supreme leader has said in a defiant address made shortly after US President Barack Obama had issued a message directly to the Iranian people."
(Al Jazeera)

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