Scouting’s woes. Walt Disney World is cutting grant funding to local Boy Scout troops in Florida over a policy that bans gay adults from serving as leaders. In January, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) opened membership to openly gay youth but still prohibits gay adults from participating. BSA now faces criticism from both sides: Gay rights groups say the change was not inclusive enough, while conservatives think it went too far. The change prompted a group of conservative scout leaders to organize Trail Life USA, a new Christian alternative to the Boy Scouts. In a letter to area scout leaders, the BSA Central Florida Council president said, “We recognize that many scout units have received financial support over the last several years from this grant opportunity and are sad to see it go. The National BSA Council has reached out to [Walt Disney World] to try to resolve the situation, however, according to WDW, their views do not currently align with the BSA and they are choosing to discontinue this level of support.”
Bloated budget. President Barack Obama’s 2015 budget request will arrive on Capitol Hill tomorrow. He will ask for $300 billion in new infrastructure spending and $56 billion for job training, manufacturing hubs, and early education. The administration says it will pay for new spending by closing tax loopholes. But Republicans say new taxes will further hurt the economy. The president rescinded his earlier offer to Republicans to include entitlement cuts in next year’s budget.
Terror in Pakistan. Eleven people died earlier today in a rare terror attack in the heart of the Pakistani capital Islamabad. Armed men and two suicide attackers stormed a court complex, hurling grenades and firing assault weapons at lawyers, judges, and court personnel. No one immediately claimed responsibility for the assault. Just days ago, the Pakistani Taliban announced a one-month ceasefire. This attack raises questions about the group’s ability to control its various factions. Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been trying to negotiate a peace settlement with militants in the northwest who have waged a bloody war against the government for years.
The connected life. Last week the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, featured the latest advances in what techies call the “internet of things.” The four-day conference featured numerous devices that connect to the internet and collect data about users’ everyday lives. Included were fitness devices from Sony and Samsung that connect with smartphones, and fabric embedded with heart-rate and other sensors to track physical activity. Procter and Gamble's Oral-B even unveiled its new internet-connected toothbrushes. The conference also showcased the next generation of mobile devices, including cheaper smartphones and a tablet that’s only 7.18 millimeters thick.