The Top 10 Stories of May 15, 2012

By Duane Shank 5-15-2012

Quote of the day.
"The church is supposed to be the lobbyist of the poor, and the church has given up on its calling and resigned itself to a powerless position. We've sort of forgotten that for a long time. These are some of the signs that we''re stepping up. We need to reclaim that heritage." Shanta Premawardhana, president of the Seminary Consortium for Urban Pastoral Education in Chicago, on clergy engaging people of faith in conversations during the upcoming NATO Summit about why they should work to end poverty, world hunger, and war.
(Chicago Tribune)

1. Top nine reasons Congress is broken.
Nearly three dozen D.C. insiders recently gathered at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars to discuss why Congress isn’t working. From that conversation comes this list of the nine toughest problems facing Congress today.
(Christian Science Monitor)

2. Budget time bomb sends shivers across economy.
Across the U.S. economy, anxiety is rising about the potential for widespread disruptions after the November election, when a lame-duck Congress will have barely two months to resolve a grinding standoff over taxes and spending.
(Washington Post)

3. Over 55 and jobless, Americans face tough hunt.
The number of long-term unemployed workers aged 55 and older has more than doubled since the recession began, and their chances of reentering the workforce are grim.

4. A generation hobbled by the soaring cost of college.
Nearly everyone pursuing a bachelor''s degree is borrowing money, and as prices soar, a college degree often comes with an unprecedented financial burden.
(New York Times)

5. Pakistan signals end to blockade of Nato supplies.
Top Pakistani leaders will on Tuesday (today) discuss ending a blockade of foreign military supply routes into Afghanistan and repairing US relations, signalling a rapprochement ahead of a Nato summit.

6. Iran sees success in stalling on nuclear issue.
As Iran starts a critical round of talks over its nuclear program, its negotiating team may be less interested in reaching a comprehensive settlement than in buying time and establishing the legitimacy of its enrichment program,
(New York Times)

7. Syria’s resurgent Muslim Brotherhood.
After three decades of persecution that virtually eradicated its presence, the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood has resurrected itself to become the dominant group in the fragmented opposition movement pursuing a 14-month uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.
(Washington Post)

8. Palestinian prisoners end hunger strike.
Israel delivered significant concessions to end a mass hunger strike by around 2,000 Palestinian prisoners on Monday, in a deal that was hailed as a victory by Palestinian leaders on the eve of the most symbolic day in their calendar.

9. Africa must boost food output.
The United Nations Development Programme says Africa needs to boost agricultural productivity if it is to sustain its economic boom. … But it says sub-Saharan Africa cannot sustain its present economic resurgence unless it eliminates the hunger that affects nearly a quarter of its people.

10. European crisis.

Hollande sets out growth agenda.
New French President Francois Hollande called for a European pact for growth to balance out German-driven austerity measures in his inaugural address on Tuesday.

Merkel won't budge on austerity.
Europeans hoping that mounting international opposition will make her drop her austerity plan to save the euro -- a policy that is causing so much pain in ailing economies like Greece and Spain -- are likely to be disappointed.
(Spiegel Online)

Greek deadlock heightens fears.
Political deadlock in Greece rattled world markets Monday, reviving fears that the fractious Mediterranean country could spurn an international bailout, abandon the common European currency and risk a fresh round of world economic turmoil.
(Washington Post)

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