The Common Good

The Top 10 Stories of June 20, 2012

Quote of the day.
“I lived behind a steel door that had two small slits in it, the space replaced with iron and wire, which was dirty and filthy. I had no television, no telephone and most importantly, I had no physical contact with another human being.” Anthony Graves, who spent a decade in solitary confinement before his conviction was overturned, in a Senate hearing on whether that form of imprisonment violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition of “cruel and unusual punishment.”
(New York Times)

1. Southern Baptists elect first black president.
Messengers to the June 19-20 SBC annual meeting elected New Orleans pastor Fred Luter by acclamation to lead the nation’s second-largest faith group behind Roman Catholics.
(Associated Baptist Press)

2. Food stamp funds may be reduced.
With 1 in 7 Americans now receiving food stamps, Republicans in Congress are leading efforts to cut back the social safety net program that has swelled to one of the largest in the federal government — and they are getting some support from Democrats.
(Los Angeles Times)

3. Americans see environment deteriorating.
On the eve of a conference on the state of the planet, a new Washington Post poll shows that most Americans think the world’s natural environment has deteriorated over the past decade, and more than six in 10 say human activity is making the problem worse.
(Washington Post)

4. U.S. trafficking report reveals 'modern slavery' toll.
More than 42,000 adults and children were found in forced prostitution, labour, slavery or armed conflict in 2011, a US government report has found. … But the number is just a fraction of the estimated 800,000 people trafficked across borders every year.

5. U.S., Israel developed Flame virus to slow Iran nuclear efforts.
The United States and Israel jointly developed a sophisticated computer virus nicknamed Flame that collected intelligence in preparation for cyber-sabotage aimed at slowing Iran’s ability to develop a nuclear weapon, according to Western officials with knowledge of the effort.
(Washington Post)

6. Private prison companies look to Canada.
US private prison firms are targeting Canada for fresh opportunities as pressure builds at home on the troubled multi-billion dollar industry from human rights groups and legal actions, and as more states look to scale back their reliance on them.

7. Developing countries to the rescue at G-20.
Although the gathering didn''t produce a solution for the ailing euro zone, it did outline the globe''s new balance of power. Developing countries projected optimism and wealth over the summit''s two days, while European and U.S. leaders struggled just to stay solvent.
(Associated Press)

8. UN mission 'morally obliged' to stay in Syria.
The head of the suspended United Nations'' observer mission to Syria has told the Security Council his monitors were repeatedly targeted by hostile crowds, but that the mission is morally obliged to stay in the country.
(Al Jazeera)

9. Mubarak in 'critical condition' in hospital.
Hosni Mubarak, the deposed Egyptian leader, has been revived and is on an artificial respirator after he suffered stroke, sources in the interior ministry and from his family told Al Jazeera.
(Al Jazeera)

10. Iran nuclear talks downgraded.
High-level negotiations between Iran and six world powers were suspended after two days of talks in Moscow failed to bridge differences over the future of Iran''s nuclear programme.

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