Top news: A governing body of the Iranian government issued its list of approved presidential candidates and excluded two leading contenders -- Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei -- a decision that all but guarantees that the next Iranian president will be drawn from a conservatives slate of candidates considered close to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Rafsanjani, who served as president from 1989 to 1997, is seen as a favorite among centrist, urban youth and as someone who might be wiling to introduce some liberal economic reforms and allow more personal freedoms. Mashaei, who has been endorsed by current President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, fell out with the ruling clerics over his more liberal interpretation of Islam. Neither man is an out and out reformer, but the two men with significant popular followings of their own at least represent a challenge to the ruling establishment's choke-hold on power.
Their exclusion now puts the spotlight on a group of eight men approved as candidates by the Guardian Council that includes Saeed Jalili, Iran's top nuclear negotiator; Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf, the mayor of Tehran; Ali Akbar Velayati, the Ayatollah's foreign policy advisor; and Hassan Rowhani, a former nuclear negotiator. Of these men, only Rowhani has shown a willingness -- and a mild one at that -- to break with the regime.
United States: In a 13-5 vote, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a sweeping overhaul of U.S. immigration laws that would provide a road to citizenship for the millions of undocumented immigrants living in the United States. The full Senate is expected to take up the measure next month.
- Syria's main opposition group issued a call to all rebels in the country to reinforce the city of Qusair, where rebels are fighting a losing battle against Hezbollah and government troops.
- A car bomb killed 20 Sunni Muslims as they were leaving evening prayers at a Baghdad mosque.
- Seven Egyptian security officers kidnapped in the Sinai were freed.
- Chinese Premier Li Keqiang began a two-day visit to Pakistan, a stay that comes on the heels of his trip to India.
- Kim Jong Un sent a high-level envoy to Beijing for talks with Communist Party officials amid strains in the two countries' relationship. Separately, Kim named a hardline general as his new military chief.
- The central bank of Japan says that the country's economy is picking up amid new measures to stimulate demand.
- A bill legalizing same-sex marriage passed the British House of Commons amid signs of increasing strains in David Cameron's governing coalition.
- The German government said it supports adding Hezbollah to the European Union's list of terrorist groups.
- The largely immigrant suburbs outside of Stockholm were struck by riots for the third straight night that have seen over 100 cars set on fire and were sparked by a police killing.
- Three former Ford executives were charged with crimes against humanity for acts targeting union workers during the country's military dictatorship.
- Thousands of Mexican troops were dispatched to the state of Michoacan to regain control of the province from the cartel the Knights Templar.
- The Venezuelan National Assembly approved a plan to import 39 million rolls of toilet paper and relieve a shortage of the good.
- A report from the Kenyan Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission named the country's president, Uhuru Kenyatta, and his deputy, William Ruto, in connection post-election violence in 2007.
- In a move aimed at facilitating peace talks with Boko Haram, Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan ordered the release of all women held on terror-related charges.
- Four government soldiers and 15 rebels died in fighting between the Congolese army and M23 rebels near Goma.
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