Quote of the day.
"We appeal to the people of South Africa and the world to pray for our beloved Madiba and his family and to keep them in their thoughts. We have full confidence in the medical team and know that they will do everything possible to ensure recovery.” Jacob Zuma, president of South Africa, in a statement after Nelson Mandela suffered a recurrence of his lung infection and was taken to a hospital.
1. Majority of justices question constitutionality of DOMA.
A majority of the Supreme Court on Wednesday appeared ready to strike down a key section of a law that withholds federal benefits from gay married couples, as the justices concluded two days of hearings that showed them to be as divided as the rest of the nation over same-sex marriage.
2. Nationwide gun-control campaign to put pressure on wavering U.S. senators.
Advocates for stricter gun laws are making their biggest push yet to bring wavering lawmakers into their camp, holding more than 140 public events in 29 states on Thursday designed to pressure senators into voting for universal background checks.
3. Immigration in spotlight as Senators tour Arizona.
Four United States senators came to this bustling city on the Mexican border on Wednesday searching for answers to the question that has ensnarled the debate over immigration reform: How secure is that border?
(New York Times)
4. How climate change threatens the seas.
"Ocean acidification," the shifting of the ocean's water toward the acidic side of its chemical balance, has been driven by climate change and has brought increasingly corrosive seawater to the surface along the West Coast and the inlets of Puget Sound, a center of the $111 million shellfish industry in the Pacific Northwest.
5. With vouchers, states shift aid for schools to families.
Instead of simply financing a traditional system of neighborhood schools, legislators and some governors are headed toward funneling public money directly to families, who would be free to choose the kind of schooling they believe is best for their children, be it public, charter, private, religious, online, or at home.
(New York Times)
6. Afghan villagers flee their homes, blame U.S. drones.
Barely able to walk even with a cane, Ghulam Rasool says he padlocked his front door, handed over the keys and his three cows to a neighbor and fled his mountain home in the middle of the night to escape relentless airstrikes from U.S. drones targeting militants in this remote corner of Afghanistan.
7. U.S. sends B-2s to South Korea for military drills.
In a show of force following weeks of North Korean bluster, the U.S. on Thursday took the unprecedented step of announcing that two of its nuclear-capable B-2 bombers dropped munitions on a South Korean island as part of joint military drills.
8. Aung San Suu Kyi surprise spectator at Burma Armed Forces Day parade.
Helicopters buzzed overhead, tanks thundered past, and fighter jets snaked into the sky during Burma's annual Armed Forces Day celebration on Wednesday, where one unexpected guest sat watching the pomp and ceremony from a front-row seat: opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
9. U.N. close to curbing arms trade with treaty.
The effort over many years to forge an international treaty regulating the booming $70 billion annual trade in conventional weapons headed toward fruition on Wednesday with a final draft sent to the governments of all United Nations member states for approval.
(New York Times)
10. Russia raids human rights groups in crackdown.
The sweeps, billed as an attempt to weed out "foreign agents," targeted human rights organizations, environmental advocates, women's groups, non-Orthodox churches, charities, and at least one French language school. Among the sites raided were the Moscow offices of the rights groups Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and Transparency International.