5 Big Stories You Might Have Missed

Photo: AGF s.r.l./REX Shutterstock.
One of the big problems with news is that there's so much of it! It's our job, and even we can find it hard to keep up. So, as we head into the weekend, we thought we'd recap some of the week's big stories you might have missed — so, at the very least, you'll have something to say over cocktails tonight.

The Pope agreed to leave our "radical feminist" nuns alone.
On Thursday, the Vatican announced that it was giving up a years-long investigation into America's nuns. 

The announcement ends a feud that began when William Levada, an American Cardinal, released a report that accused the nuns of spending too much time helping the poor and not enough condemning things like abortion and homosexuality. These “radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith” required drastic changes, Levada's report said, but Pope Francis, whose life’s work has been dedicated to a more social-justice oriented Catholic Church, disagreed. 

Francis started making nice with American nuns in December, when he praised them for their work educating and caring for those in need, NPR reported at the time.
We might finally get a new (female) Attorney General. 
Loretta Lynch was picked to be the new U.S. Attorney General in November. Lynch, who'd be the first African-American woman to hold the job, sailed through her confirmation hearings. Since then? Nothing. 

Republicans, who control the Senate, have been refusing to hold a vote to confirm her, even though it seems likely she has enough votes to pass, and if she did get the job, she'd replace Eric Holder (who most Republicans kinda hate). So, what's the holdup? A fight over the abortion restrictions in a bill aimed at fighting human trafficking that Senate Republicans have said they're going to pass before they get to Lynch. 

What's changed? Yesterday, in a sit-down with Rachel Maddow, Democratic Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid suggested that he'd figured out some kind of trick to get Lynch in. He wasn't specific on how he'd do it — but he was confident. "We’ve put up with this far too long and we’re going to need to have a vote on her very soon that’s created by Mitch McConnell, or I’ll create one," Reid said.
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Spring could bring a huge refugee crisis in the Mediterranean.
The U.S. is not the only developed country with an immigration crisis on its hands: Since January, more than 900 people have died while attempting to cross the Mediterranean from Africa to Europe, CBS News reports, and more than 31,000 have tried to make the journey. 

This week saw multiple disasters: On Monday, 400 people were feared drowned after a boat sank off the coast of Libya, and a fight between refugees of different faiths ended when a group of 15 Muslims threw 12 Christians overboard.

As the weather gets warmer, the crisis threatens to grow to epidemic proportions: According to the Italian coastguard, 10,000 people were rescued just last weekend alone (compared to only 17 people who were rescued during the same time last year).
Americans have been sentenced for the massacre of Iraqi civilians.
In 2007, four American security contractors opened fire in a square in Baghdad, killing 17 Iraqi civilians, including a 9-year-old boy. The massacre was particularly troubling because the men weren't in the Armed Forces — they were hired guns, working for a company called Blackwater. 

For years since, the case has been marred by infighting among government officials and serious errors by the prosecution. This week, justice was finally served. The four were found guilty and handed long prison sentences — a life sentence to one man and 30 years to the three others. At the ruling, Judge Royce Lamberth said, “The overall wild thing that went on here just cannot ever be condoned by the court.”

Congress will weigh in on a nuclear deal with Iran.
Obama spent much of this year fighting for a historic deal with Iran that would further block the country from developing a nuclear bomb, in exchange for lifting crippling economic sanctions. And, he succeeded: The framework of the deal was agreed to earlier this month.

But, after that massive diplomatic win abroad, he failed to win over either party at home. This week, President Obama agreed to allow Congress to review any deal the U.S. makes with Iran over nuclear programs, opening the door for them to block the deal by refusing to lift sanctions. 

Earlier, Obama had said he would veto any bill that gave Congress a say over the accords, but he caved after Democrats joined Republicans to push for a say. 

The U.S. and six other countries have been in talks with Iranian leaders for more than a year, and the deadline for a final agreement is June 30. 


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