Quote of the day.
“Iranians see our page and break down with excitement. They always thought we hated them. The power of this initiative is that it bypasses governments." - Michal Tami, an Israeli who with her husband, Roni Edry, launched a Facebook page to Iranians saying, “We will never bomb your country. We love you,” that has received daily responses from hundreds of Iranians.
1. NAACP delegation meets with Franklin Graham.
"Nineteen black religious leaders visited the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association headquarters in Charlotte, N.C., March 20 to meet with evangelist Franklin Graham."
(Associated Baptist Press)
2. Pope likely to repeat criticism of Cuba embargo.
"The Catholic Church's position on the U.S. economic embargo of Cuba is 'no mystery,' the Vatican spokesman said, and there's a good chance Pope Benedict XVI will publicly criticize the embargo when he visits Cuba."
(Catholic News Service)
3. House G.O.P. budget riles some on the right, Democrats see campaign issue.
"House Republicans pressed forward on Wednesday with a politically freighted budget and tax plan, taking fire from the left and the right, as well as from the powerful senior citizens lobby, AARP, which said the plan 'lacks balance' and 'jeopardizes the health and economic security of older Americans.'"
(New York Times)
4. Immigration issues touch denominations.
"More people in the pews are jumping into the debate and looking for a balance between justice and compassion."
5. Laws allowing self-defense killings at crux of firestorm.
"The Trayvon Martin tragedy is shining a national spotlight on 'stand your ground' laws in at least 21 states. The laws -- in places such as Texas, Idaho and Alaska -- allow everyday citizens to use deadly force against someone else if they fear for their life."
6. Justices expand defendants’ rights.
"A divided Supreme Court ruled for the first time Wednesday that the guarantee of effective legal representation applies to plea bargain agreements, significantly expanding the constitutional rights of defendants as they move through the criminal justice system."
7. Gunman dead as French siege ends.
"A police siege in the French city of Toulouse has ended with a man suspected of killing seven people now dead, the French interior minister has said."
8. Afghans likely to demand veto power over raids.
"Despite major differences, both sides are optimistic of reaching an understanding on the operations that will allow them to complete within two months a broader security accord."
9. UN Security Council backs Syria peace plan.
"The United Nations Security Council has adopted a statement backing joint UN-Arab League envoy Kofi Annan's plan for ending the year-long violence in Syria, as a government crackdown on opposition strongholds has continued."
10. Portuguese strike in protest at austerity measures.
"Portuguese strikers halted trains, shut ports and paralyzed most public transport on Thursday in protest at austerity measures and labor reforms imposed as a condition of a 78-billion-euro ($103 billion) EU-IMF bailout."