The Top 10 Stories of March 4, 2013

By Duane Shank 03-04-2013

Quote of the day.
"I think what I did today should have been done a longtime ago. It needed to be done. It needed to be spoken because we have to live with the truth, and it is the truth." Kevin Murphy, police chief of Montgomery Ala. on why he apologized to Rep. John Lewis for the police failure to protect Freedom Riders during a trip to Montgomery in 1961.
(NBC News)

1. As automatic budget cuts go into effect, poor may be hit particularly hard.
The sequestration cuts, as they are called, still contain billions of dollars in mandatory budget reductions in programs that help low-income Americans, including one that gives vouchers for housing to the poor and disabled and another that provides fortified baby formula to the children of poor women.
(New York Times)

2. Obama renews offer to cut social safety nets.
President Obama raised anew the issue of cutting entitlements such as Medicare and Social Security as a way out of damaging budget cuts, as both sides in Washington tried to limit a fiscal crisis that may soon hit millions of Americans. 

3. Americans’ reaction to sequestration might change course of politics.
It’s a high-stakes gamble for the two major parties, with the winner likely to dominate the debate and perhaps elections for years.
(McClatchy News)

4. Working in secret, House has its own bipartisan immigration plan.
A bipartisan group of members of the House of Representatives is close to introducing its own immigration bill, which would grant legal status to many of the nation’s estimated 11 million illegal immigrants but — in a significant departure from similar proposals in the White House and Senate — isn’t expected to include new paths to citizenship.
(McClatchy News)

5. Report may ease path for new pipeline.
The State Department issued a revised environmental impact statement for the 1,700-mile Keystone XL pipeline on Friday that makes no recommendation about whether the project should be built but presents no conclusive environmental reason it should not be.
(New York Times)

6. Putting a stop to human trafficking.
A wave of efforts to stop human trafficking has spread across the country as lawmakers and others look to combat the problem through law, policy, and grass-roots activism.
(USA Today)

7. Women emerge as crisis leaders in macho Balkans.
Historically given little say in the politics of the conservative region, they are increasingly taking top leadership posts, signaling that the traditional rules are changing as Balkan countries shake off their war pasts and move toward membership in the European Union.
(Associated Press)

8. U.S. Afghan officials at odds over fate of military bases.
As the U.S.-led military coalition begins to bring home most of its 100,000 troops and tens of billions of dollars in equipment, coalition officials are negotiating with Afghanistan over whether to raze or hand over the hundreds of checkpoints, guard towers, isolated outposts, and sprawling bases that American and NATO forces built to wage the 11-year war.
(Chicago Tribune/Los Angeles TImes)

9. Kerry releases $250 million in U.S. aid to Egypt as reward for political reforms.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday rewarded Egypt for president Mohammed Morsi''s pledges of political and economic reforms by releasing $250 million in American aid to support the country''s "future as a democracy."

10. China defends growing military spending.
China has defended its booming military spending saying vast investments in the armed forces have contributed to global peace and stability, despite concerns among the U.S. and Beijing''s Asian neighbours over sharpening territorial disputes.
(Al Jazeera)

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