April 14th, 2009
05:10 AM ET
6 years ago

POLITICAL HOT TOPICS: Tuesday, April 14, 2009

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The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world.

WASHINGTON/POLITICAL
For the latest political news: www.CNNPolitics.com.

CNN: Obama eases Cuba travel restrictions

President Obama lifted all restrictions Monday on the ability of individuals to visit relatives in Cuba, as well as to send them remittances.

CNN: Obama didn't raise U.S. terrorist attack risk, most say in poll

A new poll indicates Americans don't agree with former Vice President Dick Cheney's recent assertion that President Obama's actions have increased the chances of a terrorist attack against the United States.

CNN: Activists gear up for national 'Tax Day Tea Party'

Legions of small-government, anti-tax activists around the country are mobilizing for a second wave of nationwide "Tea Party" demonstrations on Wednesday to protest the fiscal policies of the Obama administration.

CNN: Clinton to visit Haiti, announce $50 million in aid

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton this week turns the spotlight on the poorest country in the Americas: Haiti.

NYT: U.S. May Drop Key Condition for Talks With Iran

The Obama administration and its European allies are preparing proposals that would shift strategy toward Iran by dropping a longstanding American insistence that Tehran rapidly shut down nuclear facilities during the early phases of negotiations over its atomic program, according to officials involved in the discussions.

Jerusalem Post Exclusive: Israel, US to hold largest-ever joint missile defense drill

In the face of Iran's continued pursuit of nuclear capability, Israel and the United States will hold an unprecedented and massive exercise later this year to jointly test three different ballistic missile defense systems, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

Washington Post: Leaning on Fiat's Sense of Direction To Guide Chrysler

When corporate executives brief Wall Street analysts, they can usually be counted on to put their companies' performances in the best light. But Fiat's engaging chief executive Sergio Marchionne rarely minces words. After taking the wheel at the Italian automaker in 2004, he promised analysts he would do "radical surgery" because "we've got an organizational structure that needs to be snapped out of its stupor."

Washington Times: Steele takes gloves off in Obama attack

Republican National Chairman Michael S. Steele has launched a direct attack on President Obama in a new mass mailing, accusing the president of being part of the "blame America first" crowd, The Washington Times has learned.

NYT: Labor Groups Reach an Accord on Immigration

The nation’s two major labor federations have agreed for the first time to join forces to support an overhaul of the immigration system, leaders of both organizations said on Monday. The accord could give President Obama significant support among unions as he revisits the stormy issue in the midst of the recession.

Washington Post: U.S. Appears Set To Boycott U.N. Session on Racism

The Obama administration appears to be standing by its decision to boycott the World Conference Against Racism next week in Geneva, despite efforts to focus and tone down language in a draft conference document viewed as hostile toward Israel.

Bloomberg: Latin America to Push Obama on Cuba Embargo at Summit

When Barack Obama arrives at the fifth Summit of the Americas this week, Cuba will be at the heart of the U.S. relationship with the rest of the hemisphere, exactly as it has been for half a century.

Business Week: A Telecom Opening in Cuba

President Barack Obama's decision to allow U.S. telecommunications companies to obtain licenses to operate in Cuba is a cautious first step toward any possible thaw in U.S. trade relations with the Caribbean nation, trade experts say. But Obama held back from bolder steps that he could have taken.

LA Times: Portuguese water dogs play key role in genetics research

Nobody knows Bo like geneticists know Bo.

NYT: Investigators Take Closer Look at Rep. Jackson in Blagojevich Case

Representative Jesse L. Jackson Jr. went to see the Illinois governor in December to press for an appointment to the United States Senate seat being vacated by Barack Obama. Mr. Jackson took along a black binder filled with letters of support, poll numbers and lists of his accomplishments over 13 years in Congress.

Chicago Tribune: Indicted Blagojevich to be arraigned Tuesday

Former Gov. Rod Blagojevich is scheduled to make his first appearance in federal court Tuesday since he stood before a judge in a jogging suit just hours after his December arrest on corruption charges.

Washington Post: Fenty-Council Ticket Spat Returns With the Spring

In baseball, this is what you might call another kind of lockout. Several D.C. Council members said they and some of their constituents were kept away from yesterday's home opener at Nationals Park because Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) was withholding 19 tickets to their suite at the stadium.

USA Today: Al Gore on board for $20M stem cell venture

Former vice president Al Gore is entering the stem cell arena with an announcement today of a $20 million biotech venture in the hot area of "induced pluripotent" stem cells.

NATIONAL
For the latest national news: www.CNN.com.

CNN: Police: Child found in submerged luggage may have been raped

A Sunday school teacher accused of killing a Tracy, California girl may also have raped the 8-year-old, authorities say.

CNN: Phil Spector found guilty of actress' 2003 murder

After about 30 hours of deliberation, a jury on Monday convicted music producer Phil Spector of second-degree murder in the death of actress Lana Clarkson more than six years ago.

CNN: 3 'phenomenal shots' ended pirate hostage crisis

In the end, it was a single moment that brought the hostage crisis to its dramatic finish.

CNN: Passenger lands turboprop plane after pilot dies

It's a nightmarish scenario straight out of the movies: A passenger is forced to land a plane after its pilot becomes incapacitated.

WSJ: Smaller Cars Get Low Grades

Drivers have long wondered how size affects safety in car crashes. Many small cars perform well in safety tests but appear, intuitively at least, to be at a disadvantage in collision with larger vehicles.

Lexington Herald-Leader: Car battery plant to employ 2,000

A consortium of more than 50 companies wants to build an advanced car battery manufacturing plant in Kentucky that would cost more than $600 million and employ as many as 2,000 people.

WSJ: The Safety Lessons of Columbine, Re-Examined

The carnage at Columbine High on April 20, 1999, prompted a swift and aggressive response around the U.S.

Baltimore Sun: Legislature passes immigrant driver's license bill

Illegal immigrants would be stripped of Maryland driver's licenses by 2015 under a last-minute legislative compromise that seeks to end the state's status as a haven for foreigners seeking government-backed credentials.

USA Today: New oil with zero trans fat could revolutionize frying

What may be the next big thing in the quest for the perfect low-fat french fry will sprout from Iowa ground this summer.

WSJ: Harassment Is Said to Persist at a Mint Branch

Female employees say little has changed three years after the Denver branch of the U.S. Mint agreed to make its work environment less hostile toward women, according to a filing Monday with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

LA Times: AIDS patients in the South find little support

Sheila Holt moved to this small town from New Jersey two years ago to take care of her ailing mother. But as a former heroin addict with HIV, she found that rebuilding her life in the South was harder than she had imagined.

INTERNATIONAL

For the latest international news: http://edition.cnn.com/

CNN: U.N. condemns North Korean rocket launch

The U.N. Security Council on Monday adopted a declaration condemning North Korea for launching a rocket earlier this month.

CNN: Pirates vow to kill U.S., French sailors

Two pirates in Somalia vowed revenge Monday, after the U.S. military killed three pirates and freed a U.S. ship captain who had been held hostage for several days.

CNN: Poland hostel fire kills at least 21

Polish authorities declared Tuesday a day of mourning after a massive hostel fire killed 21 people.

London Times: Student visa scam allowing terror suspects into Britain

A suspected terrorist linked to an alleged al-Qaeda plot to attack Manchester was a student at a bogus college that sold places on fake courses to hundreds of Pakistanis seeking entry to Britain.

BBC: Journalist goes on trial in Iran

An Iranian-American journalist accused of spying in Iran went on trial this week and a verdict is expected soon, an Iranian official has said.

NYT: Allied Militants Threaten Pakistan’s Populous Heart

Taliban insurgents are teaming up with local militant groups to make inroads in Punjab, the province that is home to more than half of Pakistanis, reinvigorating an alliance that Pakistani and American authorities say poses a serious risk to the stability of the country.

CS Monitor: Where will captured Somali pirate get justice?

Justice Department officials are examining a trove of evidence against the lone surviving Somali who allegedly helped hold an American captain for ransom off the coast of Somalia.

The Economist: Thailand's ugly crisis

The Thai new year dawned on Monday April 13th not with water fights but with live rounds and tear gas as the army moved against red-shirted protesters who last week had seized control of much of the government district of Bangkok, laying siege to Government House, the prime minister’s seat.

London Times: Regrets, but no apology from Brown over e-mails sent by Damian McBride

Gordon Brown bowed to pressure and expressed his “great regret” last night over a smear campaign planned by his former head of strategy and planning in No 10.

McClatchy: Iraq, once a country of fervent readers, now starves for books

When Maysoon Kadhim began working on her master's thesis at Baghdad University two years ago, she braced for the challenge. After all, her paper's subject is Shakespeare, whose prose can perplex even native English speakers.

Times of India: Dubai claims world's first cloned camel

The United Arab Emirates today claimed its own version of Dolly the sheep, the world's first cloned mammal, after the birth of a cloned camel in Dubai this month.

BUSINESS
For the latest business news: www.CNNMoney.com.

CNN: Goldman reports $1.8 billion profit

Goldman Sachs reported a much stronger-than-expected first-quarter profit Monday, bouncing back from its worst quarter as a public company.

CNN: GM recalling 1.5 million cars over fire fears

The possibility of engine fires has prompted General Motors to recall nearly 1.5 million passenger sedans manufactured between 1997 and 2003, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced Monday.

CNN: Geithner to host global finance meeting

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner will host a meeting of international finance ministers next week, the Treasury Department said Monday.

WSJ: Tax Refunds Give Boost to Consumer Spending

Individual federal tax refunds are way up this year, helping to buttress consumer spending amid the recession. But the refund-fueled boost could wear off within a few weeks, posing a challenge to recovery.

Financial Times: Global ad spending to fall by 7%

Declines in global advertising will be much worse than expected, says a leading media buyer , which will on Tuesday unveil the grimmest forecasts yet seen for the advertising market and traditional media companies.

Washington Post: Fewer Funds Are Raising Capital for Start-Ups

Only 40 venture capital funds nationwide raised money during the first three months of the year, marking the lowest level of institutional funding in six years.

Financial Times: SEC to review whether BofA broke the law

The Securities and Exchange Commission is reviewing whether Bank of America broke the law by not telling shareholders about Merrill Lynch’s plan to pay out $3.6bn in bonuses before they voted for a government-backed merger of the two banks.

Bloomberg: Life Insurers Profit as Retirees Fear Outliving Cash

Sales of so-called immediate annuities are climbing as retirees are drawn to lifetime payments guaranteed by U.S. insurance companies.

Forbes: Some Banks Should Stay Under The TARP

Banks are racing to repay government funds handed to them under the Treasury Department's Troubled Asset Relief Program, but shareholders may want them to hold onto that money for a while.

Business Week: The Fragile Flight of the Twitterlings

Twitter executives don't disclose much about their plans to make money from the microblogging site. But that's not stopping scores of other companies trying to build their own businesses on the back of the increasingly popular communication tool. Take Tweetie, whose downloadable software makes Twitter available on Apple's (AAPL) iPhone. Sales of the $2.99 application have been climbing "exponentially," says developer Loren Brichter.

In Case You Missed It
To watch the latest interviews and reporting: http://www.cnn.com/video.

CNN: Is Cuba ready for U.S. tourists?

Some think there's work to do before U.S. tourists hit Havana streets. Morgan Neill reports.

CNN: Stimulus dollars at work

President Obama says stimulus spending is coming in ahead of schedule. CNN's Jessica Yellin takes a look.

CNN: Chef keeps it simple

Former White House chef David MacFarlane talks about his new restaurant. CNN's Chris Welch reports.

CNN: Teens stay clean at special HS

Recovering teens can go to special high schools to help them stay clean. Dr. Sanjay Gupta reports.


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