Quote of the day.
"This is the first hopeful news concerning that unhappy country in a very long time. The statements made in Moscow constitute a very significant first step forward. It is nevertheless only a first step." Lakhdar Brahimi, U.N.-Arab League envoy for Syria, on a U.S.-Russian agreement to convene an international conference to find a political solution in that country.
1. Senate immigration bill brings flood of amendments.
Lawmakers filed a blizzard of potential amendments to a bipartisan Senate immigration bill Tuesday, setting the stage for weeks of intensive debate over how to reshape the nation’s border-control laws. About two-thirds of the 301 proposals came from Senate Republicans
2. As red ink recedes, pressure fades for budget deal.
After four years of trillion-dollar deficits, the red ink is receding rapidly in Washington, easing pressure on policymakers but shattering hopes for a summertime budget deal. Federal tax revenue is up and spending is down thanks to an improving economy, tax increases that took effect in January and the automatic budget cuts known as the sequester.
3. Obama urges prosecution for sexual assaults in military.
President Barack Obama delivered a blistering rebuke of sexual assaults in the military Tuesday, saying perpetrators are “betraying the uniform that they’re wearing” and that he’s told Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel the administration needs to "exponentially step up our game" to curb the abuse.
4. U.S. weighs wider wiretap laws to cover online activity.
The Obama administration, resolving years of internal debate, is on the verge of backing a Federal Bureau of Investigation plan for a sweeping overhaul of surveillance laws that would make it easier to wiretap people who communicate using the Internet rather than by traditional phone services,
(New York Times)
5. Miss. court blocks execution.
The Mississippi Supreme Court has indefinitely delayed Tuesday''s scheduled execution of Willie Jerome Manning amid questions involving evidence in the case, intervening hours before he was set to die for the slayings of two college students.
6. Western officials fear retaliation for airstrikes attributed to Israel.
The weekend airstrikes near the Syrian capital reportedly carried out by Israel have heightened concerns about terrorist attacks on Israeli tourists and other civilian targets in the coming weeks, U.S. officials and experts say, as Damascus and its allies vow to respond to what Syria has called an “act of war.”
7. Obama backs policy of South Korea’s president on North.
President Obama offered an endorsement Tuesday of South Korea’s new president, Park Geun-hye, and her blueprint for defusing tensions with North Korea, but warned that the first move was up to the erratic, often belligerent young leader in Pyongyang, Kim Jong-un.
(New York Times)
8. As Pakistan votes, the military watches sternly from its barracks.
When a rock-band song mocking Pakistan's army was mysteriously blocked on Internet sites recently, no one was surprised. But, as political parties jousted their way to this Saturday's elections, it was a small reminder of where power really lies.
9. Israel Prime Minister Netanyahu curbs settlement construction.
Israel's prime minister has issued an unofficial order to stop the approval of new plans or tenders for Jewish settlement construction in the West Bank, a leading pressure group says. Peace Now said it appeared Benjamin Netanyahu was responding to U.S. efforts to restart Middle East peace talks.
10. Save the Children mothers' index: 10 worst countries in sub-Saharan Africa.
The worst place in the world to give birth is the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where a woman has a one in 30 chance of dying as a result — while the best is Finland, where the risk of death is one in 12,200, according to a new analysis.