April 22nd, 2009
04:56 AM ET
6 years ago

POLITICAL HOT TOPICS: Wednesday, April 22, 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: Memo: Obama's Intel Director said interrogations yielded "high value" Info
In a previously undisclosed private memo, President Obama's intelligence director told colleagues that enhanced interrogation techniques used by the Bush administration yielded important information that helped America deal with the threat of terrorism.

CNN: Back to where it began: Obama revisits Iowa
Barack Obama heads to Iowa Wednesday, his first visit as president to the state that gave him his first victory in a long battle for the White House.

CNN: Harman: Alleged wiretap an 'abuse of power'
A key Democrat who reportedly was overheard on a National Security Agency wiretap discussing a deal with a suspected Israeli agent has called the wiretap an "abuse of power."

CNN: Borger: A little outrage, please, Mr. President
Inside the White House, the expectation was that the president's Latin American excursion would not be as much of a home run as his European economic summit. After all, he's less popular in that part of the world.

CNN: U.S. Senate confirms Hill as top envoy to Iraq
The U.S. Senate confirmed veteran diplomat Christopher Hill as U.S. ambassador to Iraq on Tuesday, voting 73-23 to put Hill in charge of the largest U.S. embassy in the world.

CNN: Shirtless Obama to appear on magazine cover
It's not every day a President of the United States lands shirtless on a magazine cover.

WSJ: New Military Command to Focus on Cybersecurity
The Obama administration plans to create a new military command to coordinate the defense of Pentagon computer networks and improve U.S. offensive capabilities in cyberwarfare, according to current and former officials familiar with the plans.

NYT: In Adopting Harsh Tactics, No Inquiry Into Their Past Use
The program began with Central Intelligence Agency leaders in the grip of an alluring idea: They could get tough in terrorist interrogations without risking legal trouble by adopting a set of methods used on Americans during military training. How could that be torture?

Washington Post: Geithner Hints at High Bar In Letting Banks Repay Aid
Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner said yesterday that the "ultimate test" for determining which banks can repay government bailout money is whether the entire financial system is capable of offering enough credit to revive the economy.

CNN: Senior White House aide leaving for new post
The first 100 days are not even up yet, but President Obama is already losing a top White House aide.

Bloomberg: Pelosi Wall Street Probe Follows Pecora After Crash
Wall Street may be heading for the deepest investigation of its practices since a congressional panel’s probe of abuses following the 1929 stock market crash.

Chicago Tribune: U.S. to clear way for offshore wind farms
The Interior Department has finalized sweeping rules that clear the way for the first offshore wind turbines to be erected along the Atlantic Coast, the most aggressive move yet from an administration that hopes to shift the nation's offshore energy goals from oil to wind power.

WSJ Op-Ed: Rabinowitz: Obama Blames America
The president of the United States has completed another outing abroad in his now standard form: as the un-Bush. At one stop after another - the latest in Latin America, where Hugo Chávez expressed wishes to be his friend - Barack Obama fulfilled his campaign vows to show the nations of the world that a new American leadership stood ready to atone for the transgressions of the old.

Washington Post Op-Ed: Kissinger: Obama's Foreign Policy Challenge
The vast diplomatic agenda that the Obama administration has adopted will test its ability to harmonize national priorities such as relations with Iran and North Korea with global and multilateral concerns. President Obama has come into office at a moment of unique opportunity. The economic crisis absorbs the energies of all the major powers; whatever their differences, all need a respite from international confrontation. Overriding challenges such as energy, the environment and proliferation concern them to a considerable degree and in an increasingly parallel way. The possibility of comprehensive solutions is unprecedented.

CNN: Hackers stole data on Pentagon's newest fighter jet
Thousands of confidential files on the U.S. military's most technologically advanced fighter aircraft have been compromised by unknown computer hackers over the past two years, according to senior defense officials.

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

CNN: Bush-era interrogation may have worked, Obama official says
The Bush-era interrogation techniques that many view as torture may have yielded important information about terrorists, President Obama's national intelligence director said in an internal memo.

CNN: Med student held without bail in possible Craigslist killing
A 22-year-old medical student suspected of killing a woman he may have met through a Craigslist online ad was arraigned Tuesday and will be held without bail.

CNN: New EPA chief says agency 'back on the job'
In a hallway lined with portraits of her predecessors, Lisa Jackson is reminded daily of her unique status - as the first African-American to head up the Environmental Protection Agency.

CNN: Suspect in ship hijacking charged with piracy
A Somali suspect in the hijacking of the U.S.-flagged Maersk Alabama has been charged with piracy, a count that carries a minimum life sentence.

CNN: Dad who killed family, self was $460K in debt, sheriff says
A man who shot his wife and three children to death before committing suicide in Middletown, Maryland, last weekend had about $460,000 in mortgage and credit card debt, the local sheriff said Tuesday.

LA Times: College Board steps into the immigration debate
The College Board is supporting legislation that would offer some undocumented youths a path to citizenship through college or the military.

USA Today: Former U.S. officers to train Mexican police in cartel fight
The U.S. and Mexico are drawing up plans to dispatch up to 300 former U.S. law enforcement officials to Mexico later this year to train thousands of Mexican police investigators in their escalating fight against drug cartels, federal officials said.

NYT: Large Urban-Suburban Gap Seen in Graduation Rates
It is no surprise that more students drop out of high school in big cities than elsewhere. Now, however, a nationwide study shows the magnitude of the gap: the average high school graduation rate in the nation’s 50 largest cities was 53 percent, compared with 71 percent in the suburbs.

Providence Journal: A call to end human trafficking
A diverse crowd of 275 to 300 protesters crammed the State House rotunda Tuesday evening to demand that lawmakers enact legislation to combat sex-trafficking in Rhode Island.

Washington Post: Washington Hotels Hold Their Own as Industry Lags
The hotel industry expects another difficult year as loans come due and occupancy rates drop, but the Washington area is expected to bear up somewhat better than other parts of the country.

Times of London: 'Cancer risk of nicotine gum and lozenges higher than thought'
Nicotine chewing gum, lozenges and inhalers designed to help people to give up smoking may have the potential to cause cancer, research has suggested.

NYT: Rare F.D.A. Meeting to Discuss Complaints on Device Approval
An unusual internal meeting scheduled for Wednesday at the Food and Drug Administration may signal how agency officials intend to handle the many controversies swirling around its embattled device division.

Denver Post: More families abandoning their pets in hard times
Behind boarded doors of foreclosed homes, in Dumpsters and in parking lots are an unprecedented number of abandoned dogs and cats. Their owners, desperate and broke, have left the animals to die without food or water. Real estate agents and landlords are finding the once-beloved family pets in vacated houses all over Metro Detroit.

LA Times: A $100-million bet on making fuel from trash
Arnold Klann has a green dream. It began 16 years ago in a sprawling laboratory in Anaheim. This year, he hopes, it will culminate at a Lancaster garbage dump.

Boston Globe: Accepting rejection
They have managed to get into one of the world's most selective colleges. Opportunity is knocking at their door.

Chicago Tribune: Sex ed: Abstinence-only programs under review
The birds and the bees may be universal, but what Illinois schoolchildren learn about their sexuality is not. And it's again up for debate.

CS Monitor: Top court clips police authority to search cars
Ending a decades-long trend favoring law enforcement, the US Supreme Court has moved to restrict the ability of police to conduct open-ended searches of automobiles during traffic stops.

Denver Post: Digging at mystery of methane in wells
Jesse Ellsworth thought something was wrong with his water when it began to smell funny and popped out of his faucet in bursts. Then, in February, the Fort Lupton resident launched an experiment: He flipped on the kitchen tap and touched a cigarette lighter to the stream. As flint sparked steel, the water lit on fire like a torch.

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

CNN: Hijacked train released in India
Suspected Maoist rebels who hijacked a train with 300 passengers onboard in eastern India ended their siege after a four-hour standoff Wednesday.

CNN: Voting begins in South African elections
South Africans headed to the polls Wednesday, in elections that the ruling African National Congress is expected to win in a landslide.

CNN: Fears grow for Sri Lankans' safety
Tens of thousands of Sri Lankan civilians fill a tiny strip of coastal land controlled by Tamil Tiger rebels, according to satellite imagery released Tuesday by the U.S. State Department.

CNN: Obama invites Mideast leaders for talks on 'comprehensive peace'
President Obama is launching an effort "to achieve a comprehensive peace in the Middle East," his spokesman said Tuesday.

Washington Post: Israel Puts Iran Issue Ahead of Palestinians
The new Israeli government will not move ahead on the core issues of peace talks with the Palestinians until it sees progress in U.S. efforts to stop Iran's suspected pursuit of a nuclear weapon and limit Tehran's rising influence in the region, according to top government officials familiar with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's developing policy on the issue.

LA Times: South Korea's 'seal men' suffer in downturn
Kim Young-bae spends his days with his nose inches from the pavement. The only things lower are the cigarette butts and the sewer grates.

BBC: Chavez rival seeks asylum in Peru
One of Venezuela's main opposition leaders, facing a corruption trial in his country, has asked for political asylum in Peru.

NYT: I.M.F. Puts Bank Losses From Global Financial Crisis at $4.1 Trillion
As finance ministers gather here this weekend for meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, they will focus on two eye-popping numbers: $4.1 trillion, the fund’s latest projected losses from the global economic crisis, and $1.1 trillion to help fix it.

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

CNN: Citi shareholders fume at annual meeting
Investor outrage boiled over during Citigroup's annual shareholder meeting Tuesday, as shareholders picked apart company management for what they viewed as a litany of failures over the past year.

CNN: Las Vegas tops foreclosure list
The 26 cities with the highest foreclosure rate in the nation are all located in 4 hard-hit states, with Las Vegas topping the list, according to a report released Wednesday.

CNN: Stocks recharge the advance
Stocks gained Tuesday, rebounding after the previous session's rally as worries about corporate results were countered by renewed hopes that the financial sector is closer to stabilizing.

WSJ: Roots of $3 Billion Fraud Case Lie in DVD Players, Not CDOs
Bernard Madoff bilked the public with fictitious securities transactions. Tom Petters, prosecutors allege, gulled his victims with nonexistent DVD players and flat-screen TVs.

Forbes: Yahoo! Silent On Microsoft
Beleaguered Internet portal Yahoo! reported first-quarter earnings of $118 million, or 8 cents per share, a decrease of 78% from the year-ago period.

WSJ: Crib Worries Spur Retailer, Agency to Act
Toys "R" Us Inc., the big toy retailer, has stopped ordering drop-side cribs because of safety concerns, the company's Chairman and Chief Executive Jerry Storch said Tuesday. The move comes as federal regulators are planning to launch Wednesday a push to set stronger standards for cribs following a series of recalls.

Business Week: Where Rental Properties Pay Off the Most
Few people these days have confidence in the real estate market. Sellers are anxious, buyers are cautious, and prices across the nation are tumbling, month after month. But for a careful investor, fear and uncertainty can set the stage for opportunity.

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

CNN: 'An abuse of power'
Rep. Jane Harman speaks with CNN's Wolf Blitzer about possibly being wiretapped by the federal government.

CNN: Middle East view of Obama
Wolf Blitzer talks with Queen Rania of Jordan about the Middle East and how President Obama is viewed in the region.

CNN: Romney: Obama 'timid'
Mitt Romney opens up about his latest critique of President Obama's early foreign policy tests.

CNN: How workers can help the planet
Van Jones, White House adviser on Green jobs, talks to CNN's Kristie Lu Stout about restarting the economy with eco ideas.


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