Gay marriage — Dozens of prominent Republicans — including top advisers to former President George W. Bush, four former governors and two members of Congress — have signed a legal brief arguing that gay people have a constitutional right to marry. The document will be submitted this week to the Supreme Court in support of a suit seeking to strike down Proposition 8, a California ballot initiative barring same-sex marriage, and all similar bans.
Breast cancer — Advanced breast cancer has increased slightly among young women, a 34-year analysis suggests. The disease is still uncommon among women younger than 40, and the small change has experts scratching their heads about possible reasons. The results are potentially worrisome because young women’s tumors tend to be more aggressive than older women’s
Jackson’s seat — Riding a wave of super PAC spending that helped catapult her to the front of a crowded Democratic field, Robin Kelly, whose campaign called for tougher national gun laws, clinched her party’s nomination Tuesday night in a special primary election for the House seat vacated by Illinois Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.
Syria conflict — The Syrian government fired at least four ballistic missiles last week that hit civilian neighborhoods in Aleppo, Syria’s largest city, killing more than 141 people, including 71 children, according to a Human Rights Watch report released on Tuesday. Syrian anti-government activists had reported the missile strikes last week, but the Human Rights Watch report contained new details, with a death toll that was far higher than previously thought.
Aid for rebels — The Obama administration, in coordination with some European allies, is for the first time considering supplying direct assistance to elements of the Free Syrian Army as they seek to ramp up pressure on Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down and end nearly two years of brutal and increasingly deadly violence.
Severe storm — For the second time in a week, a major winter storm paralyzed parts of the nation’s midsection Tuesday, dumping a fresh layer of heavy, wet snow atop cities still choked with piles from the previous system and making travel perilous from the Oklahoma panhandle to the Great Lakes. The weight of the snow strained power lines and cut electricity to more than 100,000 homes and businesses. At least three deaths were blamed on the blizzard.
Oil spill — A ranking BP executive testified Tuesday that the London-based oil giant and its contractors share the responsibility for preventing blowouts like the one that killed 11 workers and spawned the nation’s worst offshore oil spill in 2010. A plaintiffs’ attorney pressed McKay to agree with him that BP bore ultimate responsibility for the blowout, but McKay insisted that managing the hazards of deepwater drilling are a “team effort."
Health care — Gov. Chris Christie, one of the most strident Republican critics of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, announced Tuesday he would accept federal money to expand the Medicaid program in New Jersey. The expansion, which the governor described in his annual budget address to the Legislature, would provide health insurance to 104,000 of the poorest 1.3 million residents currently living without it, though some groups say the number could be higher.
Basketball diplomacy — Former NBA star Dennis Rodman has brought his basketball skills and flamboyant style — tattoos, nose studs and all — to the country with possibly the world’s strictest dress code: North Korea. Kim Jong Un is said to have been a fan of the Chicago Bulls in the 1990s, when Rodman won three championships with the club. Arriving in Pyongyang, the American athlete and showman known as “The Worm" became an unlikely ambassador for sports diplomacy at a time of heightened tensions between the U.S. and North Korea.
India fire — A fire broke out at an illegal six-story plastics market in the Indian city of Kolkata early this morning, killing at least 18 people, police said. The blaze, which started before 4 a.m., was likely caused by a short circuit, said West Bengal fire minister Javed Khan. The fire was under control by mid-morning, he said, but toxic gases being released by the blaze were hampering rescue efforts.
— From wire reports