Quote of the day.
“That’s prime land. I’ve raised 294 bushels of corn an acre there before, with water and the Lord’s help. It’s over.” Ashley Yost, Haskell County, Kan., whose farm is on the southern High Plains Aquifer, which is now so low that crops can't be watered.
(New York Times)
1. Oklahoma lowers tornado death toll amid frantic search.
Emergency workers searched for survivors in the rubble of homes, schools, and a hospital in an Oklahoma town hit by a powerful tornado, but officials on Tuesday sharply lowered the number of deaths caused by the storm. The Oklahoma state medical examiner's office said 24 bodies had been recovered from the wreckage of Monday's storm.
2. Immigration bill nears finish line.
The Senate Judiciary Committee will almost certainly pass the sprawling immigration overhaul bill by the end of the week, setting up a floor fight for early June.
3. Farmers hope immigration bill yields more foreign ag workers.
Farmers across the country warn that shoppers will find even more imported food on their store shelves if Congress fails to pass immigration legislation that would guarantee them enough workers to milk their cows and harvest their fruits and vegetables.
4. Labor unions break ranks with White House on ObamaCare.
Months after the president’s reelection, a variety of unions are publicly balking at how the administration plans to implement the landmark law. They warn that unless there are changes, the results could be catastrophic.
5. Are prayers before public meetings Okay?
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday agreed to examine whether offering a prayer before a town meeting violates the First Amendment’s separation of church and state.
(Christian Science Monitor)
6. Countries have repressed religious freedom with laws.
Countries around the world, including allies of the United States, have used laws on blasphemy and apostasy to suppress political opponents, the State Department said on Monday in an annual report chronicling a grim decline in religious freedom that has resulted in rising bigotry and sectarian violence.
(New York Times)
7. Syrian bishops kidnapped in Aleppo still missing.
One month after two Orthodox Christian bishops were kidnapped by gunmen in Syria, officials say they still have no idea what has happened to the missing prelates.
8. Hezbollah in big Syria battle.
Lebanese Hezbollah guerrillas have fought their biggest battle yet for Syria's beleaguered president, prompting international alarm that the civil war may spread and an urgent call for restraint from the United States.
9. Afghan peace process stalled by larger fears.
Amid the scattered but steadily mounting carnage of the Taliban’s annual spring offensive, including a suicide bombing Monday that killed a provincial council head, hopes of stirring life into peace talks with the Islamist insurgents seem to be dying here with each new suicide attack, kidnapping, and roadside bombing.
10. Disputes over foreign policy divide presidential candidates in Iran.
Relief for Iran’s ailing economy will be the top priority of Iranians on June 14, when they vote to replace Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president. Foreign policy, however, will take on extra significance in the election, as Iran struggles to undo the economic and diplomatic isolation of the past four years.