Trending In Our News Feeds – Obama travels to the Middle East. Today, the President makes his first trip to Israel, the West Bank, and Jordan in his four-plus years in office. The White House announced the purpose of the trip is to listen, rather than advance Middle East peace efforts, leading some to speculate that the trip is primarily an attempt to improve Obama’s weak approval ratings with Israelis. PolicyMic pundit Audrey Bloomfield argues the trip could be significant, if Obama is willing to consider the needs of both Palestinians and Israelis. Obama’s visit will last through Friday.
South Korea victim of cyber attack. Major South Korean TV networks and banks crashed for several hours today, in what officials suspect is a cyber attack carried out by North Korea. Skulls flashed across network screens following the crash, indicating that malicious code had been injected into the system.
Cyprus rejects bailout terms. Late yesterday, the Cypriot parliament unanimously rejected the EU’s terms for a bailout of Cyprus’ economy, which included a fine on private bank accounts. While Cyprus represents merely 0.2% percent of the euro zone economy, its economic collapse would threaten European and global financial stability.
Rand Paul supports citizenship for illegal immigrants. In a speech yesterday, Paul strongly implied his support for citizenship for hard-working immigrants. He said, “Prudence, compassion and thrift all point us toward the same goal: bringing these workers out of the shadows and into becoming and being taxpaying members of society.” The declaration marks a stark shift in attitude for Paul, who has previously supported harsh measures for keeping immigrants out of the U.S.
Elizabeth Colbert Busch wins South Carolina primary. Stephen Colbert’s sister easily won the Democratic primary for South Carolina’s first Congressional district. The Republican primary saw the resurgence of former governor Mark Sanford, who fell from political grace following an extramarital affair in 2009. Despite placing first in the primary, Sanford will participate in a runoff for the GOP nomination since no candidate won a majority vote.
Ohio teens arrested for social media threats. Police have arrested two high school girls for threatening the victim in the Steubenville rape trial over Twitter and Facebook. The state will form a grand jury in April to determine whether other teens should be charged in the case.
1 in 4 women assaulted in the military. A new report by NPR brings to life the issue of sexual assault in the military. Reporters Quil Lawrence and Marisa Peñaloza visit a support group for female veterans and share shocking statistics from a Pentagon report on sexual violence. One of the women in the support group shares, “The worst thing for me is that you don't have to worry about the enemy, you have to worry about your own soldiers.”
Pope Francis offered support for civil unions. The Pope’s authorized biographer has revealed that, in a closed-door meeting in 2010, Francis suggested that the Catholic Church support civil unions for gay couples. The Pope recommended the option as an alternative to legislation that would have legalized gay marriage in Argentina, which he vehemently opposed.
Status Updates – Rand Paul to Respond to Top PolicyMic Users By Video! Due to the overwhelming response to his PolicyMic editorial, Senator Paul will record a video reply to the top comments on his article! The video will be broadcast on PolicyMic on Thursday. Read the top comments, here.
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Must Reads From PolicyMic – The Millennial Generation Needs to Lighten Up (Jesse Merkel, @RedStateJD) – Millennials are largely humorless. If they want to make any meaningful contributions to the world, the first thing they need to do is stop taking themselves so seriously.
[30 Mics, 182 Comments, 64 Shares]
An Open Letter to the Pope From a Gay Man (Jacob Tobia, @JacobTobia) – What the pope does over the next decade will matter greatly to the world, and the LGBT community. On the day of the pope's inaugural Mass, a gay man shares his thoughts with the pope.
[13 Mics, 1 Comments, 432 Shares]
To Solve the Student Loan Crisis, Debt Should Be Rebranded As An Education Mortgage (R.P. Thead, @RP_Thead) – College tuition has increased by around 400% since most of us were born. We need to do something about student loans and debt.
[7 Mics, 10 Comments, 70 Shares]
4 Reasons the Summer Olympics Should Be Held in Los Angeles (Katie Kirnan, @katiekirnan) – The city of Los Angeles has confirmed its interest in hosting the 2024 Summer Games. LA’s gorgeous scenery and beautiful weather make the city of angels an ideal host for the Games.
[6 Mics, 3 Comments, 0 Shares]
2 Major Reasons Why the GOP's Minority Outreach Program Is Bound to Fail (Frank Hagler) – The RNC Growth and Opportunity Project confirms what we all suspected: The GOP is half-a-century out of touch with the African-American community.
[4 Mics, 0 Comments, 0 Shares]
What We’re Sharing – Protecting the president on an overseas trip: A former CIA agent tells us what it takes (Daily Beast).
Economic crises aren’t all bad. How recessions promote creativity (Guardian).
Malala Yousafzai is back in school. Vanity Fair has a great profile of the women’s rights wunderkind.
Wishing you had passed that soda ban, NY? Study links 25,000 U.S. deaths to obesity (ABC News).
An eruption of the Sun could wreak havoc on Earth, and we have no idea when it will happen (NY Times).
New bike device prevents theft and keeps you from crashing (Mashable).
Text messages will include facial expressions, if researchers have their way (PopSci).
The best restaurants in the world, according to Yelp (WSJ).
Just For Kicks – A Japanese company develops the world’s weirdest toy.
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