LONDON, England (CNN) - President Barack Obama will visit China this year, the White House said in a statement.
Obama met President Hu Jintao of China as world leaders gathered in London for Thursday's G-20 Summit.
The two agreed to set up a high-level strategic and economic dialogue chaired by Cabinet-level representatives - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner for the United States, and State Councilor Dai Bingguo and Vice Premier Wang Qishan for China.
Obama and Hu appear to have deferred the question of human rights, one of the greatest points of friction between the two sides.
"The two sides agreed to resume the human rights dialogue as soon as possible," the White House statement said.
China did not immediately confirm the details of the American announcement.
Updated: 9:54 a.m.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - A federal judge Wednesday scheduled a hearing on a request by prosecutors to dismiss the indictment against former U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, who was convicted of corruption in October.
U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan set the hearing for April 7.
Shortly after the announcement, Stevens expressed gratitude for the prosecutors' decision.
"I am grateful that the new team of responsible prosecutors at the Department of Justice has acknowledged that I did not receive a fair trial, and has dismissed all the charges against me," he said in a written statement.
"I am also grateful that Judge Emmet G. Sullivan made rulings that facilitated the exposure of the government's misconduct during the last two years. I always knew that there would be a day when the cloud that surrounded me would be removed. That day has finally come.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - House Republican leaders unveiled their alternative to the proposed Democratic budget Wednesday, calling for $4.8 trillion less in overall spending over the next decade - in part through a five-year freeze in most non-defense discretionary spending.
"The president's budget exploits the current economic crisis to justify trillions in new spending, taxes, and debt," Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan, the ranking Republican on the House Budget Committee, said in a written statement.
"Our budget alternative provides a path out of our current crisis - by restoring economic growth and job creation, controlling spending and deficits - and by lifting the crushing burden of debt and taxes from future generations."
The House GOP budget permanently extends all of former President George Bush's 2001 and 2003 tax cuts. Among other things, it also suspends capital gains taxes through 2010.
It also calls for establishment of a new tax system based on two rates. A 10 percent income tax rate would apply to couples making $100,000 or less, as
well as singles earning under $50,000. The income tax rate would rise to 25
percent for those earning more.
The House GOP budget also calls for a repeal of the estate tax, as well dropping the corporate tax rate from 35 to 25 percent. Capital gains and dividends would be taxed at 15 percent.
Defense spending would be increased by $5 billion compared to President Barack Obama's budget. The GOP proposal also calls for an additional $540 million in veterans' spending compared with Obama's proposal.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - House GOP Leader John Boehner predicted Wednesday that Republican Jim Tedisco, who is essentially locked in a dead heat in a special election for a House seat in upstate New York, would prevail after all the absentee ballots are counted.
"When all the ballots are counted, I'll be proud to escort Jim Tedisco down the center aisle of the House to be sworn in as our newest member," Boehner told reporters Wednesday morning.
After the votes were counted last night, Democrat Scott Murphy held an advantage of roughly five dozen votes over Tedisco, with thousands of absentee ballots had yet to be counted.
Murphy has not yet claimed victory in the race.
Rep. Chris Van Hollen, Chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, predicted Murphy would edge out Tedisco. "From 21 points down to securing a majority of the vote tonight, congratulations to Scott Murphy who ran an extraordinary campaign focused on his record as a successful businessman who helped to create jobs and his strong support for President Obama's economic recovery act," he said. "As votes continue to be counted, we're confident that Scott Murphy will expand his lead."
The special election was held to fill the vacant congressional seat of Kirstin Gillibrand, who was appointed to rpace Hillary Clinton in the Senate.
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sarah Palin will no longer headline a major Republican dinner in June, a Republican official told CNN Tuesday.
Former House speaker Newt Gingrich will replace Palin as the keynote speaker at a joint fundraising dinner held by the campaign committees of Senate and House Republicans.
The scheduling change follows a communications breakdown between Palin's political staff and her aides in Alaska that left the dinner's organizers unsure the Alaska governor would actually attend the Washington event.
Congressional Republicans announced earlier this month that Palin would deliver the keynote speech at the dinner, but the governor's staff in Alaska said the next day that the governor knew nothing about the speaking slot.
"I communicated with the governor directly and she did not know anything about it," a Palin aide told the Anchorage Daily News after the speech was announced. "I pointed out the [National Republican Senatorial Committee] press release and she was like, 'No.'"
The NRSC said at the time that aides at Palin's political action committee - SarahPAC - had agreed to attend the dinner, but that the governor's staff in Alaska had not been made aware.
(Updated after the jump with official NRSC, NRCC and SarahPAC statements statements)
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Justice Department asked a federal court Wednesday to "set aside the verdict and dismiss the indictment" in the corruption case against former Sen. Ted Stevens of Alaska, court documents show.
Stevens, 85, was convicted in October on seven counts of lying on mandatory financial disclosure forms.
Stevens hid "hundreds of thousands of dollars of freebies" he received from an oil field services company and its CEO, Assistant U.S. Attorney General Matthew Friedrich said.
Many of the alleged free services were given as part of a renovation of Stevens' Alaska home.
Stevens maintained his innocence even after the conviction, and his sentencing has been delayed amid charges by an FBI agent of prosecutorial misconduct.
London, England (CNN) - President Barack Obama is meeting with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev Wednesday morning at the G-20 summit and hopes to set a date for a joint of U.S.-Russian summit to be held in Moscow this summer, two senior U.S. administration officials said.
The two leaders will also discuss the negotiations of the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) to reduce their nuclear arsenals, the officials said.
That treaty expires on December 5.
In addition, the meeting will include such subjects as the controversial plan for a U.S. missile defense system based in Eastern Europe, Afghanistan, Iran, and the global economic crisis.
LONDON, England (CNN) - U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama arrived Wednesday at the British prime minister's residence for a morning meeting ahead of the G-20 summit.
It was all smiles as the Obamas greeted Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his wife, Sarah Brown, on a red carpet outside 10 Downing Street. The foursome waved to the press but made no comments before ducking inside.
The president and prime minister planned to hold a news conference after their meeting.
President Obama last visited Downing Street last July, when he was still a candidate.
PARIS, France (CNN) - French President Nicolas Sarkozy said Wednesday he is not satisfied with parts of the draft conclusions for the G-20 summit and may even leave if the results are "less than concrete."
"I will not associate with a summit that is useless," Sarkozy told Europe 1 radio Wednesday morning, a day before he meets other world leaders in London.
If the summit reaches only "false compromises" and nothing concrete, he might leave the summit, Sarkozy said - but he added that it's a step he's reluctant to take, and that he doesn't expect the summit to reach that stage.
"An empty chair would be proof of failure" at the summit, Sarkozy said.
Dozens of world leaders and financial chiefs from the Group of 20 nations are holding a summit Thursday in London. The global monetary crisis is expected to be the central issue.
Sarkozy said "sherpas," or representatives of the various world leaders, have been hammering out the summit's final communique for days. Some ideas are on the table, he said, but there are some items that France and Germany disagree with.
"It doesn't add up," Sarkozy said of the draft communique.
Still, three chapters are certain to be in the final document, Sarkozy said: regulation of the markets, more stimulus packages to put "fuel into the system," and making sure the poorest countries don't have to pay the most to resolve the financial crisis.
New York (CNN) - The special election for an empty Congressional seat in upstate New York has now turned into a dead heat with only a few votes separating the candidates on Tuesday night.
The race to fill the vacant House of Representative seat of democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand will be a close call.
When the final numbers were reported from all 610 precincts in the 20th Congressional District in upstate New York, Democrat Scott Murphy led his rival, Assemblyman Jim Tedisco, a Republican, with just 65 votes. In all Murphy had 77,344 votes and Tedisco had 77, 279 votes.
"No one has claimed victory," said John Conklin Director of Information for the New York State Board of Elections. There are still 10,000 absentee ballots to be counted and only 6,000 have been sent back to the board. He explained the local absentee ballots have until April 7th to be sent in and military or overseas ballots have until April 13th to be sent in.
According to Conklin late Tuesday night Republicans filed a lawsuit to have all of the absentee ballots impounded.
It could take up to 2 weeks for a winner to be announced.