Quote of the day.
"A lot of times families become afraid of interacting with their children because they are so sick and so frail, and music provides them something that they can still do." Elizabeth Klinger, music therapist in a newborn intensive care unit, on research suggesting that music may help those born way too soon adapt to life outside the womb.
1. Obama fires IRS chief.
Moving to quell a growing scandal, President Barack Obama on Wednesday fired the acting chief of the Internal Revenue Service and vowed to work closely with Congress in determining who ordered lower-level employees to target tea party groups and other conservative organizations.
2. House Republicans threaten to quit immigration group.
That the House’s eight-person bipartisan group appears to be breaking down is a major development in the immigration debate. If the House does not come out with its own plan, it will make immigration reform a lot more difficult.
3. White House pushes media shield law.
Under fire over the Justice Department’s use of a broad subpoena to obtain calling records of Associated Press reporters in connection with a leak investigation, the Obama administration sought on Wednesday to revive legislation that would provide greater protections to reporters in keeping their sources and communications confidential.
(New York Times)
4. House panel approves farm bill.
Moving in tandem with the Senate, the House Agriculture Committee approved its own new farm bill late Wednesday, promising billions in savings but also embracing a greater government role in farm policy than many free-market Republicans are likely to accept.
5. Some in Congress want changes in military law as a result of sex scandals.
Members of Congress said they are so angry about the crescendo of sex-crime scandalsin the armed forces that they are considering fundamental changes to military law and other measures that the Pentagon has resisted for years.
6. Early e-mails on Benghazi show internal divisions.
E-mails released by the White House on Wednesday revealed a fierce internal jostling over the government’s official talking points in the aftermath of last September’s attack in Benghazi, Libya, not only between the State Department and the Central Intelligence Agency, but at the highest levels of the C.I.A.
(New York Times)
7. Most U.S. clothing chains did not sign pact on Bangladesh factory reforms.
Nearly all U.S. clothing chains, citing the fear of litigation, declined to sign an international pact ahead of a Wednesday deadline, potentially weakening what had been hailed as the best hope for bringing about major reforms in low-wage factories in Bangladesh.
8. U.N. faults Assad forces but rebel unease grows.
The U.N. General Assembly condemned Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces and praised the opposition, but a decline in support for the resolution suggested growing unease about extremism among Syria's fractious rebels.
9. Pakistan's incoming prime minister turns pragmatic.
Nawaz Sharif's team has denounced claims by critics who call him soft on militants and emphasized that the tension between Pakistan and the United States tied to American drone strikes and other issues cannot be resolved through threats and condemnation.
10. Mali offered more than $4.1 billion in aid — with strings attached.
An EU-led donor conference agreed on Wednesday to provide $4.1 billion to fund a sweeping development plan for Mali, but European donors made clear that the interim government must live up to its promises to implement democratic and social reforms in exchange for the international lifeline.