The Top 10 Stories of May 15, 2013

By Duane Shank 5-15-2013

Quote of the day.
"I know kids look up to me, but I don''t want to be known as just a baseball player. God gave me the opportunity and blessed me to accomplish good things in this sport. But if you don''t do something with it and help people with blessings you received, what does that really mean?” Carlos Beltran, St. Louis Cardinals'' All-Star right fielder, on why he spends time off working with underprivileged kids and visiting young cancer patients.
(USA Today)

1. Immigration bill is amended in response to Boston bombing
The Senate panel plowing through a huge immigration reform bill on Capitol Hill agreed on Tuesday to tighten the monitoring requirements of foreign students in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing.
(Washington Post)

2. House panel set to OK cut in food stamp program.
The House Agriculture Committee is set to consider small cuts to the $80 billion-a-year food stamp program in an effort to appease conservatives who say the food aid has become too expensive.
(Associated Press)

3. FBI starts criminal probe of IRS as report details unfair treatment.
The Internal Revenue Service asked “unnecessary, burdensome questions” of conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status, questions that unfairly delayed the applications, according to an investigative report obtained Tuesday by McClatchy.
(McClatchy News)

4. Justice Dept. defends seizure of phone records.
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Tuesday defended the Justice Department’s sweeping seizure of telephone records of Associated Press journalists, describing the article by The AP that prompted a criminal investigation as among “the top two or three most serious leaks that I’ve ever seen” in a 35-year career.
(New York Times)

5. Federal deficit shrinking faster than expected.
The federal deficit is shrinking more quickly than expected, and the government''s long-term debt has largely stabilized for the next decade, the Congressional Budget Office said Tuesday, in a report that could strengthen the Obama administration''s hand in the budget battles with congressional Republicans.
(McClatchy News)

6. Afghan commandos step up their combat role.
As other troops are withdrawn, Special Operations forces are expected to make up almost one-third of the American military presence in Afghanistan by next February.
(New York Times)

7. Germany can''t stop euro zone from sinking into recession.
Germany''s economy crept back into growth at the start of the year but not by enough to stop the euro zone from contracting for a sixth straight quarter, and France slid into recession.

8. North Korea sanctions delaying nuclear program.
International sanctions have curtailed North Korea''s ability to push ahead with its nuclear weapons program, according to a UN report, but doubts remain about how far China will go in implementing UN resolutions passed in response to Pyongyang''s nuclear and ballistic missile tests.

9. UN General Assembly to vote on Syria resolution; Russia opposed.
The U.N. General Assembly is set to vote on Wednesday on a draft resolution that condemns Syrian authorities and accepts the opposition Syrian National Coalition as party to a potential political transition.

10. Iran hard-liners urge election ban on top rivals.
Hard-line Iranian lawmakers petitioned authorities Tuesday to bar two prominent presidential contenders — a moderate former president and a protege of current President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad — from running in next month''s election in a further sign of intense political jockeying over the final ballot list.
(Associated Press)

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