Britain has removed its embassy from Damascus while rebels retreat from another Syrian city; states will work to drug test welfare recipients; the oldest couple ever gets married; a federal judge is caught sending a racist joke to friends about President Obama; and a court will announce its decision on a Florida voting rights case today. Additionally, President Obama claims he has known about Jeremy Lin’s talents for a while; Andrew Breitbart dies; and Tim Tebow goes on a date with Taylor Swift.
Syrian rebels reportedly retreat from Bab Amr in face of army onslaught http://wapo.st/yRzEgP
Syrian resistance fighters are staging a tactical retreat from the Bab Amr area. After heavy shelling from Assad forces, the rebels have decided it was not in the citizens’ best interest for them to remain in the area. The
region lacks food, medicine, and weapons needed for protection. Also, Britain has closed its embassy in Damascus in order to protect their employees there. However, they will continue to pressure the Assad regime to end the current spat of violence.
States consider drug testing welfare recipients http://usat.ly/zArJnV
Florida has put in place a law to drug test every person attempting to receive welfare, while Missouri and Arizona have passed laws that will allow them to test people who they are suspicious of using drugs. The bills would require individuals to pay for the drug test and if they pass, they would be reimbursed for the costs. The idea is that these laws would prevent drug use and welfare fraud. Opponents of these bills feel they are unnecessary intrusions into the personal lives of the poor. Additionally, this would set the precedent of drug testing others who receive government funds such as soldiers and college students.
Ben Bernanke strikes cautious tone amid signs economic recovery accelerating http://wapo.st/yGJMRO
Chairman of the Fed, Ben Bernanke, is impressed with the growth and stability of the US economy as of late. Right now, the recovery is accelerating, European markets are starting to settle and the jobless rateis dropping. However, other indicators show that this may not be permanent.Local governments are laying off workers, it is still hard to get credit, the housing market has yet to fully recover and the prices of gasoline are rapidly increasing. The Fed has predicted that by 2014 the unemployment rate might fall to under 7 percent.
Elderly couple’s wedding may be one for the record books http://usat.ly/zZCxKF
A 98 year-old man married his 95 year-old beau on Wednesday. The couple, who tied the knot on leap day, are probably the oldest couple ever to be married, surpassing a French couple by about two years. The California couple, a widow and a widower, met 18 years ago on Yom Kippur. They never intended on getting married but after almost two decades of “living in sin” they decided they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together. After the two minute civil ceremony, the newlyweds celebrated by grabbing lunch at a nearby International House of Pancakes.
Egypt’s rulers face backlash after lifting travel ban on Americans http://bit.ly/zrE63p
Egyptians are not happy that their government has reneged on their plans to prosecute Americans and limit their travels. Previously, the Egyptian government filed charges against several foreign NGOs, accusing them of being American agents and then banning their travel outside of the nation. But since that decision, America has placed a ton of pressure on the current rulers. It has threatened to pull its more than $1 billion in aid to the Egyptian Army. Egyptian citizens are disappointed and feel that this shows that the new rulers are no more independent than Mubarak’s regime.
Federal judge forwards racially charged email about Obama http://bit.ly/wf2sKb
Chief US Judge Richard Cebull admitted to forwarding a racist joke about President Obama to several friends. Some of those friends then forwarded the e-mail on and did not take off Cebull’s name from the e-mail. The judge who was initially appointed by George W. Bush apologized for the e-mail. Additionally, he said that he did not forward the e-mail because of its racist nature but because it was anti-Obama. Critics of the e-mail feel that it puts into question whether Cebull can rule fairly on issues of race.
Romney Sets Off Furor on Contraception Bill http://nyti.ms/z0jt58
Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney came out against a Senate Bill that would allow employers to limit coverage if they have a moral or religious objective to the procedures. This bill is a cause many conservatives are behind and this stance would probably put Romney’s conservative credentials further into question. But when re-asked about the issue, Romney and his aides then said he was in favor of it. Critics of this bill feel that it would infringe on individual rights while supporters feel it protects religious rights.
Cuba drills for oil, but U.S. unprepared for spill http://wapo.st/zqBIaE
Cuba has enlisted companies from several nations to look into drilling for oil on its coast in the Atlantic Ocean. This is a frightening development for American environmentalists. The two nations are very close to each other
and if a spill occurs during Cuban drilling then the Florida coast would be affected. Further complicating this issue is that the US embargo on Cuba is still going strong. Therefore, US officials are not allowed to formally talk to Cuban officials to make sure that the drilling is smart and safe.
Florida voter restrictions challenged http://politi.co/zQXTot
Rock the Vote and other civic groups are challenging a Florida bill in court. The bill places onerous restrictions on third-party community registration. Attorney General Eric Holder has specifically criticized the Florida bill for its intentions to limit the vote.
After Many Tough Choices, the Choice to Quit http://nyti.ms/xqs5or
The New York Times has investigated Olympia Snowe’s decision to not seek re-election. Snowe, a moderate Republican who is a known supporter of women’s issues, has found her job in the US Senate increasingly stressful. The Maine Republican party has moved farther to the right, with the Governor’s office now occupied by a Tea Party member. Members of the Tea Party have harassed Snowe at home and national Republicans have pressured her in Washington to the point where she no longer desired to be a senator.
Obama: “I heard about Jeremy Lin early on,” http://usat.ly/wojqIb
Davy Jones Dead: ‘Monkees’ Star Was 66, http://abcn.ws/yhpUNw
Andrew Breitbart dead at 43, http://fxn.ws/wzHCPg
Justin Bieber gets $100,000 hybrid car for 18th birthday, http://on.msnbc.com/wxA2o7
Target pulls greeting card poking fun at Whitney Houston, http://bit.ly/zIRAHb
Tim Tebow Had A “Dinner Date” With Taylor Swift, http://deadsp.in/ADgMVj