Quote of the day.
“The C.I.A. needs to answer for this. And they need to stop it.” - David Wright, the Pakistan country manager for Save the Children, on the recruitment of aid workers as intelligence operatives.
(New York Times)
1. Methodists vote against ending investments tied to Israel.
The United Methodist Church voted against two proposals on Wednesday to divest from companies that provide equipment used by Israel to enforce its control in the occupied territories.
(New York Times)
2. Pentagon trumps poverty programs.
Here come the House Republicans, marching into the sunlight by shifting billions from poverty programs to the Pentagon, all within hours of adopting an entirely new round of tax cuts for those earning more than $1 million a year.
3. More than 1 in 10 babies born premature.
Although more than 60% of preterm births are in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, early births are also a problem for some high-income countries, including the USA and Brazil. In the USA, about 12% of all births are preterm, a percentage far higher than in other developed countries.
4. Troops returning home to strained veterans-affairs system.
Of the 91,000 troops currently in Afghanistan, 23,000 will return to the U.S. by the end of the summer; the remaining 68,000 will gradually come home through December 2014. Many of these veterans will immediately require mental health, disability, education, employment and medical services, but these resources are under varying degrees of strain.
5. Fed official: Bank reforms losing steam.
A top federal regulator overseeing the banking sector said Wednesday that reforms begun after the financial crisis are still far from complete and raised concerns that the energy behind the effort may be fading.
6. Obama plan would ease rules on weapons exports.
The Obama administration is crafting a proposal that could make it easier to export firearms and other weapons to certain countries in an effort to boost sales for U.S. companies, increase trade and improve national security.
7. Afghanistan security deal Obama signed has holes.
The 10-year security compact that President Barack Obama signed with Afghan President Hamid Karzai contains promises the United States and Afghanistan cannot guarantee they will keep, and loopholes for both nations.
8. Chinese dissident seeks exile.
Blind Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng appealed on Thursday for asylum in the United States, throwing into doubt an agreement used to coax him out of hiding in the U.S. Embassy in Beijing and fanning U.S.-China tensions at a sensitive time.
9. Four killed as Syrian forces raid university.
Syrian security forces stormed dorms at a northwestern university to break up anti-government protests there, killing at least four students and wounding several others with tear gas and live ammunition,
10. U.N. threatens sanctions over Sudan dispute.
The UN Security Council unanimously passed a resolution giving Sudan and South Sudan only 48 hours to halt hostilities or face potential sanctions.