Abortion march — Abortion opponents from across the country marched on the Supreme Court on Friday to protest the landmark ruling that established a constitutional right to abortion. Though some in the crowd were veterans of previous marches held annually since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973, the majority seemed to be teenagers and young adults, many of whom carried signs identifying themselves as part of a “pro-life generation."
U.S. apologizes to Philippines — The U.S. ambassador to the Philippines apologized Friday for the grounding of a U.S. naval ship on a reef in a marine sanctuary, the latest in a string of embarrassing episodes for the U.S. military in the country at a time when the administration is pushing a “pivot" to Asia and the U.S. military has increased its presence in the Philippines. The area struck by the minesweeper is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is described by the organization as “a pristine coral reef" that is home to more than 350 species of coral and almost 500 types of fish.
Deadly protests in Iraq— At least seven protesters and two soldiers were killed Friday in clashes that started after Iraqi army forces opened fire on demonstrators who had pelted them with rocks on the outskirts of Fallujah, west of Baghdad. It was the first deadly confrontation in more than a month of anti-government protests by mostly Sunni opponents of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
Obama chief of staff — President Barack Obama selected a close aide and foreign policy adviser as his next chief of staff on Friday. Denis McDonough, a deputy national security adviser and a longtime aide to the president, will replace outgoing Chief of Staff Jack Lew, Obama’s nominee to lead the Treasury Department.
Syria conflict — The United Nations said a record number of Syrians streamed into Jordan this month, doubling the population of the kingdom’s already-cramped refugee camp to 65,000. More than 30,000 people arrived in Zaatari in January — 6,000 in the past two days alone, the U.N. said.
Former CIA officer sentenced — A former CIA officer was sentenced Friday to 30 months in federal prison for disclosing classified information to journalists. John Kiriakou, a 14-year CIA veteran, pleaded guilty in October to identifying an undercover operative who was involved in the use of severe interrogation techniques, including waterboarding, on terrorism suspects during the George W. Bush administration.
Immigration reform — A working group of senators from both parties is nearing agreement on broad principles for overhauling the nation’s immigration laws, representing the most substantive bipartisan effort toward comprehensive legislation in years. The six members have met quietly since the November election, most recently on Wednesday. Congressional aides stressed there is not yet final agreement, but they have eyed next Friday as a target date for a possible public announcement.
Chambliss to retire — Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., one of the Republicans most vulnerable to a conservative primary challenge, said Friday that he will retire in 2014 rather than seek a third term. Chambliss said in a statement that he was confident he would have won re-election and cited the deteriorating state of Washington politics as his main reason for retiring.
15,000 crocodiles on the loose — About 15,000 crocodiles escaped from a South African reptile farm along the border with Botswana, a local newspaper reported Thursday. Driving rains forced the Limpopo River over its banks Sunday morning near the Rakwena Crocodile Farm. The farm’s owners, fearing that the raging floodwaters would crush the walls of their house, opened the gates, springing the crocodiles, the report said. About half of the reptiles have been captured, with thousands still on the loose.
— From wire reports