Quote of the day.
"It may be happening, but Americans don''t like it. It is clear that a lot of Americans don''t think this is a good state of affairs." Frank Newport, Gallup''s editor in chief, on a new survey showing more than three in four of Americans say religion is losing its influence in the U.S.
(CNN Belief Blog)
1. Letters to NYC mayor test positive for ricin.
Two threatening letters containing traces of the deadly poison ricin were sent to Mayor Michael Bloomberg in New York and his gun-control group in Washington, police said.
2. For Medicare, immigrants offer surplus.
Immigrants have contributed billions of dollars more to Medicare in recent years than the program has paid out on their behalf, according to a new study, a pattern that goes against the notion that immigrants are a drain on federal health care spending.
(New York Times)
3. Tax breaks tilt toward the rich.
The 10 largest breaks in the U.S. tax code will save taxpayers more than $900 billion this year, with a little more than half the benefits flowing to the richest 20 percent of households, congressional budget analysts said Wednesday.
4. Eric Holder to meet with news executives.
Attorney General Eric H. Holder, Jr., is scheduled on Thursday to begin a series of meetings with top news executives as part of an ongoing review of how federal authorities investigate reporters.
5. Public colleges are often no bargain for the poor.
Many public colleges and universities expect their poorest students to pay a third, half, or even more of their families’ annual incomes each year for college, a new study of college costs has found.
6. Hungry Britain.
More than half a million Britons have resorted to using food banks to stave off hunger and destitution, the government has been warned. Major charities signaled their alarm over a dramatic rise in the nation''s "hidden hungry" – families who are forced to ask for help to feed themselves – because of wage cuts, the squeeze on benefits, and the continuing economic downturn.
7. Syrian regime says it has Russian missiles.
Syrian President Bashar Assad said the regime has received the first shipment of sophisticated Russian anti-aircraft missiles, while the main Western-backed opposition group announced Thursday that it will not participate in peace talks — a double blow to international efforts to end the country''s devastating civil war.
8. Fearful Myanmar Muslims shelter in monastery.
More than 1,000 Muslims who fled Myanmar''s latest bout of sectarian violence huddled Thursday in a Buddhist monastery guarded by army soldiers as calm returned to this northeastern city, though burnt out buildings leveled by Buddhist rioters still smoldered.
9. Pakistani Taliban pick new number two after drone strike.
Pakistani Taliban militants have chosen a new deputy commander to replace their previous second-in-command who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in the North Waziristan region.
10. Honduras street gangs declare truce.
The two most notorious and violent street gangs in Honduras have promised to end the violence which has claimed tens of thousands of lives.Mara Salvatrucha and Mara 18 Street said they would commit to zero crime and zero violence on the streets.