Good morning! Here’s what you need to know:1. defence Secretary Robert Gates said Monday that the U.S. will lessen its involvement in Libya over the coming days but it remains uncertain who will take control of the no-fly zone. Allied forces remain divided over NATO’s role in the conflict – Italy and the U.K. have argued in favour of NATO command while France seems determined to sideline the alliance.
2. U.S. officials say it was “a miracle” Yemen’s president still clings to power after a wave of public officials – including the country’s senior military leader – defected to the opposition Monday, Karen DeYoung reports for the Washington Post. Of all the political upheavals in the Middle East, the uprising in Yemen – a key counterterrorism ally – could pose the most significant threat to U.S. security interests.
3. Israel launched air strikes in the Gaza Strip Monday night, wounding at least 19 people, in response to weekend mortar attacks by Hamas militants, Reuters reports. The Hamas attacks ended a two-year cease-fire underscore the rising tensions in Gaza.
4. criticising NATO-led forces, Afghan President Hamid Karzai announced today that national security forces will soon take control of seven areas around the country, despite fears that corruption and weak military strength could impede the transition.
5. External power has been reconnected to all six reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, according to the Wall Street Journal. Officials warned that many steps remain before the cooling systems can be turned on, but expressed confidence that they were on track to regain control of the plant.
6. European finance ministers set terms Monday for a future bailout fund able to lend €500 billion to cash-strapped euro-zone states. The key difference between the current, temporary fund is that the new fund requires the 17 euro-zone countries to put up €80 billion in cash.
7. The Social Security Disability Insurance program is set to be the first major federal benefit program to run out of money, the WSJ reports. This is primarily because states – who get to choose who qualifies – are bleeding the funds dry.
8. New York City may need to cut spending by another $600 million, Bloomberg reports. The mayor’s budget relied on $400 million in aid and a law ending $200 million in annual payments to retired cops and firefighters, but state lawmakers appear unlikely to approve either proposal.
9. Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder introduced a set of bills yesterday to overhaul local governance and state municipal aid. Snyder – who warns that hundreds of the state’s municipalities are at risk for financial collapse – proposes that a new “metropolitan authority” replace existing county and city governments.
10. Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour is embracing his white, Southern, ex-lobbyist background as he tests the waters for a GOP presidential bid in 2012. The Washington Post’s Karen Tumulty explores the unlikely candidacy of the ultimate Washington insider.
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