Quote of the day.
“The world has changed, but the current arsenal carries the baggage of the cold war. There is the baggage of significant numbers in reserve. There is the baggage of a nuclear stockpile beyond our needs. What is it we’re really trying to deter?” - Gen. James E. Cartwright, retired vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and a former commander of the United States’ nuclear forces, calling for a drastic reduction in the number of nuclear warheads.
(New York Times)
1. Catholic bishops threaten lawsuit over birth control mandate.
The Catholic Church's U.S. hierarchy warned Tuesday that without quick action by Congress, it will sue the Obama administration for mandating that insurance plans provide birth control to women without a co-pay.
2. Republicans pledge new standoff on debt limit.
Speaker John A. Boehner on Tuesday set the stage for a bruising election-year showdown on fiscal policy, vowing to hold up another increase in the federal debt ceiling unless it was offset by larger spending cuts.
(New York Times)
3. Quietly, the Republican Party is embracing gays.
A quiet transformation is taking place in the Republican Party, which has begun to embrace openly gay candidates – and among gay Republicans, who now feel more comfortable speaking out in a party that may have accepted them but didn’t always show it.
4. Report says female farmworkers suffer sex abuse.
Female farmworkers across the United States are commonly sexually harassed and assaulted, in part because their immigration status makes them fearful of calling police, according to a report being released Wednesday by Human Rights Watch.
5. Pakistan to attend Nato summit.
The move comes amid signs that Pakistan may be about to lift a blockade of Nato's ground supply lines to Afghanistan imposed in November, after a Nato air strike killed 24 soldiers.
6. Syrian rebels get influx of arms with U.S. help.
Syrian rebels battling the regime of President Bashar al-Assad have begun receiving significantly more and better weapons in recent weeks, an effort paid for by Persian Gulf nations and coordinated in part by the United States.
7. Iran's tough nuclear stance masks struggles at top.
The negotiating stance from Iranian officials never varies: The Islamic Republic will not give up its capabilities to make nuclear fuel. But embedded in the messages are meanings that reach beyond Tehran's talks with world powers.
8. Greeks vote with wallets in fear of euro zone exit.
Greeks are voting with their wallets and pulling euros out of the banks in fear that their country may leave the European single currency despite the declared determination of EU powers Germany and France to keep Athens in the monetary union.
9. UN warns of South Sudan hunger.
More than half the population of South Sudan are facing food shortages due to the continuing conflict with Sudan, the UN warns.
10. Canada ready to open its doors to more immigrants.
The government is under huge pressure to increase immigration levels, according to Citizenship and Immigration Minister Jason Kenney. It’s facing demands for more newcomers from business leaders and nearly every provincial premier.
(Toronto Globe & Mail)