Trending In Our News Feeds – Obama commences ‘Operation Dessert Schmooze.’ On his first day is Israel, President Obama met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and lauded America’s “unbreakable alliance” with Israel. During his visit with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas today, Obama emphasized his support for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The most notable moment of the trip so far: Obama declared that if confirmed, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s use of chemical weapons would constitute grounds for U.S. involvement in Syria.
EU issues ultimatum to Cyprus. The EU has threatened to cut off emergency aid to Cyprus if the country is unable to raise 7 billion euros by Monday. The Cypriot government has drafted a plan to raise 5.8 billion euros through a bond sale. The remaining 1.2 billion would be raised through tax increases. Cyprus’ parliament will vote on the proposal by the end of the week.
Happy Birthday, Twitter. Seven years ago, Twitter founder Jack Dorsey sent out the site’s first ever bite-sized morsel of news: “just setting up my twttr.” Twitter has since changed the way we interact with the news, as well as each other. In celebration of Twitter, The Washington Post looks at social media use around the world, and NPR considers Twitter as a tool for free speech. In other social media news, YouTube announced it now has more than one billion users. That’s more than 1/7 of the world’s population.
Leading pediatric group supports gay marriage. The American Academy of Pediatrics announced its support for same sex marriage as part of a scientific report released today. The report cites data that children raised by gay parents are not negatively affected in any significant way. Some members of the scientific community have dismissed the report, claiming there is not enough data to support this conclusion.
Big Bang theory confirmed by scientific data. The European Space Agency released a map of the oldest light in the universe today, providing strong support for the Big Bang theory of the creation of the universe. The map suggests the universe is approximately 13.8 billion years old – 50 million years older than scientists previously thought.
Pope to hold major service in youth jail. The Vatican announced today that Pope Francis will hold the important service commemorating the Last Supper, Holy Thursday, in the chapel of a youth jail. Vatican spokesmen said they could not remember the last time the service was not held in a major Vatican or Roman basilica.
Hat tip: Mike Allen
Status Updates – 10 years in Iraq. Our good friends at the Truman Project and Center for National Policy have published a compilation of compelling personal stories to mark the 10-year anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Editor-in-chief of the Truman Doctrine blog Danny Gaynor provides an introduction to the project. Read all the stories here.
Today is your last chance to enter our March Madness pool! Deadline is noon to get in on the action. You can follow our live coverage of March Madness, here.
Must Reads From PolicyMic – I Love You New York City, But Your Rent Prices Are Too Damn High (Danielle Schlanger, @deschlanger) – New York City has long been the gateway to adulthood for college graduates. But all that could change soon, thanks to the City's ever-increasing, outrageous rent prices.
[17 Mics, 8 Comments, 48 Shares]
Westboro Baptist Church Gets Some Surprising New Neighbors (Christine Salek, @christinesalek) – A non-profit organization purchased the house across from the homophobic Westboro Baptist Church, painted it in the colors of the LGBT flag, and plans to use it as a gay rights advocacy center.
[17 Mics, 18 Comments, 171 Shares]
8 Things in Destiny's Child's "Bug A Boo" That Just Aren't Things Anymore (Zak Cheney-Rice) – It's fun to laugh at stuff that's dated, and it doesn't get much more dated than "Bug A Boo." I'll page you about it.
[11 Mics, 1 Comments, 24 Shares]
The Iraq War Will End Up Costing AT LEAST $6 Trillion (Robert Taylor, @Westernerd) – The costs of war can be seen not only in the trillions spent and wasted, but on the wealth, innovation, and economic progress that could have been created through the free market instead.
[9 Mics, 5 Comments, 117 Shares]
Are the Republicans and Democrats Trading Places On Foreign Policy? (Drew Mendelson, @drewmendelson) – Republicans are still very much focused on strong national security policies, despite the recent surge of libertarian politicians. Similarly, the appearance of shifting Democratic foreign policy runs only skin deep.
[5 Mics, 0 Comments, 15 Shares]
Correction: In yesterday’s Mic Check, we credited a story on the significance of Obama’s visit to the Middle East to “Audrey Bloomfield.” The author’s name is “Aubrey.”
What We’re Sharing – The story of the Iraq War, told through newspapers’ front pages (BuzzFeed).
You can only learn so much from economists: The limitations of the economic lens (Forbes).
A new type of Silicon Valley innovation: Meet the Googles, FBs, and Twitters of gun control (Mother Jones).
Are hipsters good for urban development? Reporters at The Daily Beast argue yes, and no.
Internet data mining: A look at how your computer knows so damn much about your personal life (The Week).
People all over the world enjoy coffee, but they each make it their own way. The Greek kind will make you live longer, apparently (Smithsonian, Yahoo).
Abandoned no more: A Russian artist turns decaying buildings into art (Laughing Squid).
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