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Obama agenda: A focus on sexual assault

“President Barack Obama is launching an initiative to combat sexual assault, particularly on college campuses, turning the spotlight on a problem that has devastated millions of Americans yet rarely receives such White House attention,” the AP writes. “Obama planned to sign a presidential memorandum Wednesday creating a task force to protect students from sexual assault, with a new White House report declaring that no one in America is more at risk of being raped or assaulted than college women. The report, ‘Rape and Sexual Assault: A Renewed Call to Action,’ says that 1 in 5 women have been sexually assaulted at college but that only 12 percent of student victims report the assault.”

“President Obama tries again Wednesday with his Commission on Election Administration,” USA Today writes. “Re-scheduling an event postponed Tuesday because of snow, Obama and Vice President Biden will receive a report from the commission on efforts to make voting more convenient.” 

AP: “Syrian peace talks began Wednesday in Switzerland with a bitter clash over President Bashar Assad's future. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Assad's decision to meet peaceful dissent with brutal force had robbed him of all legitimacy while Assad's foreign minister declared that no one outside Syria had the right to remove the government. The Syrian opposition said the whole point of the peace conference was to create a transitional government without Assad. Less than three hours into peace talks that have been on the verge of collapse since they were first floated, the two sides seemed impossibly far apart.” 

Reuters: “Afghanistan's government, increasingly at odds with Washington, is cracking down on advertisements that promote keeping U.S. troops in the country after 2014 and has already shut down a spot aired by the country's most widely watched broadcasters. The commercials - some funded by a U.S. organization - have drawn official criticism because they urge President Hamid Karzai to abandon his refusal to sign a security pact with the United States that would enable the troops to stay.”