Pope Benedict Shocks the Flock

Roundtable: Brian Tucker, publisher and editorial director, Crain’s Cleveland Business; Kevin O’Brien, deputy editorial page editor, The Plain Dealer

Pope Benedict’s Resignation
The Pontiff’s decision to step down for reasons of ill health shocked the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics. He’s the first pope to resign in six centuries. Next month a conclave of cardinals will select the successor to the throne of St. Peter. Benedict XVI, known as a learned theologian, leaves behind a Vatican in need of a strong manager, one who can repair the damage done by a pedophilia scandal and get the church’s financial affairs in order.

Is Big Brother Watching?
The U.S military has been using drones - unmanned aircraft - to seek out and kill enemies since the first gulf war. But now, drones are finding increasing utility to agencies at home. Law enforcement agencies say they can help locate missing people; others can use the devices for chores like mapping and seeking out infrastructure trouble spots. Civil rights advocates say the state needs to pass laws ensuring personal privacy is protected.

State of the Union
President Obama’s speech to a joint session of Congress called on his political opponents to begin cooperating for the good of the country. He wants to spend heavily on fixing the nation’s deteriorating roads and bridges, creating jobs and ensuring preschool for all four-year-olds. He also called for an increase in the minimum wage. Republicans responded the President’s plans will require tax increases and boost the deficit.

Newsmaker: Ben Stehura, wrestling coach, Cleveland State University
One of mankind’s oldest forms of competition, wrestling, is being dropped from the 2020 summer Olympics, a result of a shocking preliminary decision this week by the International Olympic Committee. It’s not unusual for the IOC to drop sports; baseball and softball were eliminated after recent trials. But wrestling has been part of the games from their ancient beginnings and is immensely popular worldwide.

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