Lunchtime Links – March 16, 2010

A 4.4-magnitude earthquake shook Southern California early this morning. No major damage has been reported. The quake struck at 4 a.m. local time about 11 miles outside downtown Los Angeles.

Health care reform legislation is nearing critical votes as President Obama and Democratic leaders try to rally the needed House votes for passage to move the bill forward, in which abortion remains a key sticking point.

An increasing number of Americans are vague on the religious significance of Easter.

A powerful cyclone has hit northern Fiji, damaging buildings and crops, and forcing at least 5,000 people to leave their homes.

A German priest who is at the center of rapidly growing church sex abuse scandal has been suspended. Peter Hullerman has been working in the church for 30 years since he was convicted by a German court of molesting boys. Pope Benedict XVI is involved in the circumstances, raising the interest level considerably. Previously known as Archbishop Joseph Ratzinger, the future pope responded to early accusations of molestation against Hullerman by allowing him to move to Munich for therapy in 1980.

There are no clear favorites who have emerged as “American Idol” begins to trim down its 12 finalists tonight, which includes Lacey Brown, the daughter of two Texas pastors.

The Connecticut women’s basketball team will put its record 72-game winning streak on the line as the heavy favorite to win the NCAA Tournament.

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