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Quote of the day.
“This was a ridiculous and draconian idea that should never have gone so far. Rather than tackling a double-dip recession, the commission is worried about double-dipped bread.” Martin Callanan, a British member of the European Parliament, on a proposal to bar restaurants from serving olive oil in cruets or dipping bowls.
(New York Times)
1. Obama: U.S. at ‘crossroads’ in fight against terrorism.
President Obama said Thursday that the United States has reached a “crossroads” in its fight against terrorism and that it is time to redefine and recalibrate a war that eventually will end.
2. UN rapporteur Emmerson hails ''historic'' Obama drone vow.
The lawyer leading a U.N. drone inquiry has praised a speech by U.S. President Barack Obama as a "significant step towards increased transparency.''
3. Immigration talks show sign of life.
For the second time in two weeks, House lawmakers in both parties emerged from a closed negotiation with a tentative agreement to rewrite the nation’s immigration laws. But now they have to put those ideas into text, when that accord could all fall apart.
4. House approves Republican student loan bill.
The House approved a Republican proposal Thursday to allow interest rates on federal student loans to rise or fall from year to year with the government’s cost of borrowing, ending a system in which rates are fixed by law.
5. Boy Scouts approve plan to accept openly gay boys.
After lengthy and wrenching debate, local leaders of the Boy Scouts of America have voted to open their ranks to openly gay boys for the first time, but heated reactions from the left and right made clear that the BSA''s controversies are far from over.
6. Is Keystone pipeline losing Democratic support?
The most interesting aspect of this week’s House vote in favor of constructing the Keystone XL pipeline was not the fact that it passed — which was widely expected — but the fact that it got 20 fewer votes than a similar proposal received one year ago.
7. Russia says Syria will attend Geneva peace talks.
The Syrian government has agreed to participate in an international peace conference coordinated by Russia and the United States, a spokesman for the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Friday.
(New York Times)
8. U.S. effort for Mideast talks elicits praise, reservations.
Wrapping up his fourth Holy Land trip in three months, Secretary of State John F. Kerry voiced optimism Thursday that his low-profile campaign to relaunch U.S.-brokered peace talks is making headway.
(Chicago Tribune/Los Angeles Times)
9. Darfur conflict displaces 300,000.
Some 300,000 people have fled resurgent fighting in Sudan''s Darfur region in the first five months of this year, the U.N.''s top humanitarian official said.
10. North Korea agrees to return to nuclear talks.
At a meeting on Thursday between vice-marshal Choe Ryong Hae and Liu Yunshan, a senior figure in the Chinese Communist party, North Korea heeded China''s wishes after months of rising friction between the allies, according to reports.