The Top 10 Stories of May 17, 2013

By Duane Shank 5-17-2013

Quote of the day.
"We have created new idols. The worship of the golden calf of old has found a new and heartless image in the cult of money and the dictatorship of an economy which is faceless and lacking any truly humane goal."Pope Francis in a speech yesterday on the economic and financial crisis. (Full text of the speech here.)

1.  House lawmakers reach tentative deal to revamp immigration.
Prospects for passage of a major immigration bill improved on Thursday when a bipartisan group of lawmakers in the House of Representatives declared they had reached a tentative deal, resolving disputes that had threatened to torpedo negotiations.
(Chicago Tribune/Reuters)

2. GOP weighs how far to take inquiries.
The most pressing question for Congressional Republicans is no longer how to finesse changes to immigration law or gun control, but how far they can push their cases against President Obama without inciting a backlash of the sort that has left them staggering in the past?
(New York Times)

3. IRS problem started with vague tax exemption rules.
For former IRS staff and tax experts, the case confirms what they view as one of the agency''s long-standing weaknesses: its inability to cope with the growing number of tax-exempt advocacy groups that appear to stretch the law to engage in politics.
(Los Angeles Times)

4. Obama administration issues draft fracking regulations
The Obama administration drew sharp criticism from environmental and oil industry groups Thursday when it issued a new draft of regulations for fracking on federal and Indian lands.
(Washington Post)

5. Baffling rise in suicides plagues U.S. military.
Of the crises facing American troops today, suicide ranks among the most emotionally wrenching — and baffling. Over the course of nearly 12 years and two wars, suicide among active-duty troops has risen steadily, hitting a record of 350 in 2012.
(New York Times)

6. Defense official says policy on drone strike authorization is fine.
A senior Defense Department official said Thursday that the Pentagon sees no need to change the broad congressional authorization under which the military conducts lethal drone strikes against terrorist targets and estimated that the war with al-Qaeda could continue for up to two decades.
(Washington Post)

7. Groups press big retailers on safety overseas.
A large coalition of religious groups and investors is pressing major American retailers to join a sweeping plan to improve safety in Bangladesh apparel factories, calling on them to act together to force changes in overseas workplaces.
(New York Times)

8. Russia mulls Afghan border troops.
Russia, predicting instability once NATO-led troops withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of next year, is considering deploying border guards on the Tajik-Afghan border.

9. Trial on Guatemalan civil war carnage leaves out U.S. role.
The long history of United States support for Guatemala’s military, which began with a coup engineered by the Central Intelligence Agency in 1954, went unacknowledged during the genocide trial and conviction of the man most closely identified with the war’s brutality, the former dictator Gen. Efraín Ríos Montt.
(New York Times)

10. Global warming has not stalled, insists world''s best-known climate scientist.
Suggestions that global warming has stalled are a "diversionary tactic" from "deniers" who want the public to be confused over climate change, according to the world''s best-known climate scientist, Prof. James Hansen, who first alerted the world to climate change in 1988.

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