Quote of the day.
"Legislators are much better informed on the issue. I think that legislators … have been watching what''s happening on the national level." - Tommy Norment, Virginia state Majority Leader, the only Republican who voted against a state immigration law when it died in a Senate committee.
1. Pope Benedict meets with Raul Castro in Havana.
Pope Benedict XVI''s whirlwind trip to Cuba neared its Wednesday climax — a papal Mass in Havana''s massive Revolution Square — after a day of largely private events Tuesday that were remarkable as much for their symbolism and irony as for their substance.
2. Justices skeptical of mandate.
Conservative justices attacked the heart of President Barack Obama’s health care law Tuesday, expressing deep skepticism that the government can force Americans to buy insurance.
3. Martin slaying sparks racial profiling discussions on Capitol Hill.
As Trayvon Martin''s parents, Tracy Martin and Sybrina Fulton, entered a crowded congressional hearing room Tuesday, time stood nearly still.
4. Group adds softer voice to debate on Iran.
Memo to Congress: Not all American Jews support a military strike on Iran, either by Israel or by the United States. Members of J Street, the dovish pro-Israel group formed four years ago in part as an alternative to the more hawkish American Israel Public Affairs Committee, made that point on Tuesday when they descended on Capitol Hill.
(New York Times)
5. World leaders vow to confront nuclear threat.
In a statement issued at the end of the two-day 53-nation nuclear summit, the leaders reaffirmed "shared goals of nuclear disarmament, nuclear proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy".
6. Blasts and bullets after Syria accepts peace plan.
Syrian government forces kept up heavy weapons fire and siege tactics against opposition strongholds on Wednesday despite President Bashar al-Assad''s acceptance of a peace plan calling for the army to withdraw to its barracks.
7. Baghdad hosts Arab League summit.
Arab foreign ministers have convened in Baghdad for the first Arab League summit in Iraq in two decades amid plans to ask their heads of state to urge a halt to the crackdown in Syria.
8. U.S. seeks more money for Afghan force.
In diplomatic demarches sent to 64 countries, and in direct appeals by the president and top aides, the administration has outlined a $4.1 billion annual budget for the Afghan army and police.
9. UN Security Council condemns Mali coup.
The United Nations Security Council has expressed deep criticism of the coup in Mali and added to international demands for the democratically elected government to be returned.
10. Plant probe finds high radiation.
One of Japan''s crippled nuclear reactors still has fatally high radiation levels and much less water to cool it than officials estimated, according to an internal examination that renews doubts about the plant''s stability.