Good morning. Here’s what you need to know right now:1. President Obama will address the nation this evening to explain US involvement in the Libyan civil war. Libyan “rebels” regained lost ground over the weekend, thanks in large measure to US-led air support.
2. Senior U.S. officials took to the chat shows yesterday to all but rule out an international intervention to stop political violence in Syria, despite a vicious crackdown against dissidents there.
3. Civil unrest in Syria and Jordan is causing increasing alarm among US policy-makers. Chaos in Syria could render all US-led Middle East peace efforts moot. Unrest in Jordan could further isolate Israel.
4. German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling party suffered a humiliating defeat on Sunday. The defeat weakens her ability to “manage” eurozone debt issues.
5. Socialist and National Front candidates fared well in local elections across France. French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s UMP party candidates fared poorly, garnering only 20% of the vote nationally.
6. “The rich world is getting close to the point where it won’t be able to bear the costs of another disaster.” Mark Whitehouse reports on the staggering debt loads in the “developed” world.
7. Congressional leaders are growing increasingly pessimistic about the prospects for a budget deal. Absent agreement, the US government will have to shut down.
8. Social conservatives are driving the GOP presidential campaign agenda in Iowa. Rep. Michele Bachmann was the star of the Conservative Principles Conference in Des Moines on Saturday.
9. The Indiana Tea Party has targeted six-term US Senator Richard Lugar for defeat. Senator Lugar, along with Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, is the GOP’s longest-serving US Senator.
10. Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee remains the front-runner for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination, according to the most recent Gallup poll.
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