April 27th, 2009
05:00 AM ET
6 years ago

POLITICAL HOT TOPICS: Monday, April 27, 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: King: Second 100 days will be bigger test for Obama

As introductions go, it has been a fast-paced, fascinating first 100 days: an ambitious domestic agenda aimed at reinvigorating the economy and the government's reach into its workings, and several provocative steps on the world stage that, like at home, signal a clear break from the previous administration.

CNN: Official White House photographer gets inside view

It's early April, and President Obama is on his way to France with the nation's top diplomat at his side. As he and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton converse in a private room aboard Air Force One, a photographer peers through the half-open door and snaps a candid picture of the formerly bitter campaign rivals.

CNN: Senators rip WH for releasing interrogation memos

President Barack Obama's decision to release four Bush-era memos regarding the use of so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques" was heavily criticized Sunday as a couple of prominent senators told CNN's John King that the decision was a potentially dangerous mistake.

CNN: Gibbs issues 100-day grades for administration, press

Reporters are outshining the Obama administration in the first hundred days, at least according to the administration's press liaison.

CNN: Leahy wants to probe 'chain of command' on torture

An independent commission is needed to determine who authorized the use of abusive interrogation techniques against suspected terrorists, a leading advocate of such a panel said Sunday.

NYT: Shortage of Doctors Proves Obstacle to Obama Goals

Obama administration officials, alarmed at doctor shortages, are looking for ways to increase the supply of physicians to meet the needs of an aging population and millions of uninsured people who would gain coverage under legislation championed by the president.

LA Times: Obama has no flu symptoms after Mexico visit

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters that President Obama had shown no flu symptoms since returning from Mexico, where he stopped April 16-17 on his way to a regional economic summit.

Washington Post: Advisers Pressed On Memo Fallout

White House officials yesterday confronted more questions about President Obama's position on prosecution of former Bush lawyers who drafted memos legalizing harsh interrogation methods used on terrorism suspects.

NYT: U.S. Plans Informal Meetings With Cuba

Seizing the momentum from recent meetings with Latin American leaders, the Obama administration is quietly pushing forward with efforts to reopen channels of communication with Cuba, according to White House and State Department officials.

WSJ: Next Case: State vs. Federal Power

Four years ago, Eliot Spitzer, then the New York attorney general, asked several national banks to explain why they were disproportionately charging blacks and Hispanics high interest rates.

Chicago Tribune: Obama puts gun-control issue on back burner

In July 2007, when the presidency was still a long-shot proposition, Barack Obama stopped at Vernon Park Church of God in Chicago to deliver a fiery sermon challenging the government, the gun lobby and the public to do more to stop gun violence.

CS Monitor: What's behind Obama's big shift

On the basketball court, Barack Obama likes the old "up and under" move. When he has the ball, he'll fake one way, wait for the guy who's covering him to jump, then duck under him.

The Fresno Bee: Commencement commotion at UC Merced

UC Merced's commencement might have been a modest event with plenty of room for mom, dad and everyone else.

Washington Post: At These Dinners, Candor Is The Entree

Last Tuesday evening, Rahm Emanuel quietly slipped into an eighth-floor office at the Watergate.

WSJ: Panama to Signal Obama's Agenda

President Barack Obama has signaled in recent days a more positive stance toward free trade than he did on the campaign trail, pleasing business groups but courting a backlash among trade-skeptical Democrats in Congress.

Business Week: U.S. High-Speed Train Projects Get a Push

It may be old hat in Europe and Asia to rocket through the landscape on a 200-plus-mile-an-hour train. But in America, all that promoters of high-speed passenger rail service have to show for three decades of effort are dusty feasibility studies stretching from Florida to California.

NYT Op-Ed: Carter: What Happened to the Ban on Assault Weapons?

The evolution in public policy concerning the manufacture, sale and possession of semiautomatic assault weapons like AK-47s, AR-15s and Uzis has been very disturbing. Presidents Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and I all supported a ban on these formidable firearms, and one was finally passed in 1994. When the 10-year ban was set to expire, many police organizations — including 1,100 police chiefs and sheriffs from around the nation — called on Congress and President George W. Bush to renew and strengthen it. But with a wink from the White House, the gun lobby prevailed and the ban expired.

WSJ: GOP Seeks New Mexico Comeback

Republicans in New Mexico are maneuvering for a political comeback in a campaign that previews the themes the national GOP is likely to hit hard in 2010.

McClatchy: Obama's presidential style is a work in progress

As he entered office, President Barack Obama made a symbolic bow to frugality, putting off the costly redecorating of the Oval Office that his predecessors had done.

NATIONAL

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

CNN: Swine flu sparks global concern; Mexico epicenter of outbreak

Health officials around the world worked to contain what appears to be a spreading swine flu outbreak early Monday, while one out of every five residents of Mexico's most populous city wore masks to protect themselves against the virus.

CNN: Three wounded in Hampton University shooting

The campus of Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia, was locked down for several hours Sunday morning after a former student shot two people in a dormitory and then shot himself, university and police officials said.

CNN: Manhunt for professor continues, college town mourns 3 dead

Police searched without success Sunday for a University of Georgia professor who allegedly shot and killed his wife and two other people at a community theater group's reunion Saturday, then fled.

LA Times: Swine flu 'debacle' of 1976 is recalled

Warren D. Ward, 48, was in high school when the swine flu threat of 1976 swept the U.S. The Whittier man remembers the episode vividly because a relative died in the 1918 flu pandemic, and the 1976 illness was feared to be a direct descendant of the deadly virus.

Forbes: Flu Fog

The new strain of H1N1 swine flu that has spread from Mexico to other parts of the world, including areas of the United States, represents a real threat to public health, experts say. The headlines so far–about the United States government declaring a public health emergency; new cases emerging in New Zealand, Hong Kong and Spain; and the World Health Organization calling it "a public health emergency of international concern"–are certainly scary. The fact is, though, little so far is known about this influenza virus or its potential to harm.

Washington Post: Poor Neighborhoods, Untested Teachers

Students in the region's poorest neighborhoods are nearly twice as likely to have a new or second-year teacher as those in the wealthiest, a Washington Post analysis has found. The pattern means some of the neediest students attend schools that double as teacher training grounds.

NYT: Marriage Bill Poses a Test of Loyalties: Church vs. State

It was just three days after Gov. David A. Paterson introduced a bill that would allow same-sex couples to marry, and the Rev. Floyd H. Flake had some thoughts for any lawmaker who wanted to change New York’s definition of marriage.

LA Times: California counties cut healthcare to illegal immigrants

Forced to slash their budgets, some California counties are eliminating nonemergency health services for illegal immigrants - a move that officials acknowledge could backfire by shifting the financial burden to emergency rooms.

The Boston Globe: The duct-tape economy

Fixing is apparently the new buying. Cash-strapped consumers are postponing purchases and attempting to make do with their possessions, repairing old clunkers, mending clothes that haven't left the closet in years, and reviving troublesome laptops and broken blenders. The new thirst for thriftiness is providing a windfall to those on the front lines of repair – the cobblers, the tailors, the auto mechanics, and even the Geek Squad at Best Buy.

WSJ: There's No Place Like (Someone Else's) Home

The fragrance of sage-scented candles and sounds of jazz fill the air of a 2,600-square-foot house a block from the beach. Tiger-striped chairs flank tables crafted from exotic woods. Photos of a chubby baby hang on the walls. Whoever occupies 211 Windward Way, they seem to live the good life.

Anchorage Daily News: Bad drivers beware: Twitter peeps have your number

Forget about waving fists and wagging middle fingers, a few Alaska motorists are venting road rage with something more high tech: Twitter.

The Boston Globe: Stresses anew for refugees resettled in Vt.

The complexion of this overwhelmingly white city is undergoing a dramatic change from a continuing surge of refugees, many of whom are now encountering severe stress that officials and volunteers are scrambling to assess and address.

CS Monitor: Voters to decide the fate of faith in Berlin schools

In the United States, teaching religion in public schools is political dynamite. In France, forget it. But in Germany they've done it for decades.

US News & World Report: 10 Secrets to Finding Happiness During the Recession

How can we truly feel happy right now, in this moment when our 401(k)'s and house values are tanking? When our jobs are threatened or already lost? U . S . News posed this question to leading happiness researchers to find out what tools we can employ to stay upbeat in gloomy days.

USA Today: In Iowa, a historic day for gay couples

Shelley Wolfe and Melisa Keeton plan to be at the Polk County Recorder's office before it opens this morning.

INTERNATIONAL

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

CNN: Sri Lanka orders end to combat operations

Sri Lanka has ordered an end to combat operations against Tamil Tiger rebels in the country's north, the president's office said Monday.

CNN: Iraqi leader: U.S. raid that killed 2 breached accord

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki is accusing U.S. troops of violating the security agreement between the two countries after a raid in Wasit province Sunday that left two people dead, Iraqi State TV reported.

CNN: Clinton calls for 'open and fair' Lebanon elections

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Lebanon on Sunday to pledge U.S. support for the country and its push for free elections.

CNN: Taliban militants suspend talks

Taliban militants have suspended talks with the provincial government in the midst of fighting in the country’s volatile northwestern region.

CNN: Italian cruise ship thwarts pirate attack

The captain of an Italian cruise ship foiled an attack by pirates off the coast of Somalia on Saturday by ordering his security crew to fire back, Italy's ANSA news agency reported.

Jerusalem Post: 'Without benchmarks, US dialogue with Iran will fail'

Without a clear time frame and set benchmarks, the dialogue US President Barack Obama plans to hold with Iran will fail to stop the Islamic republic from obtaining nuclear weapons, Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Ya'alon has told The Jerusalem Post.

NYT: Mexican Tourism, Already Hurt by Violence, Bears Blow of a Health Scare

Mexico’s tourism industry was in crisis even before the government announced the presence of a deadly influenza virus a few days ago and began handing out surgical masks by the millions and shuttering virtually all public gathering spots in the capital.

Al Jazeera: Iraq: US raid broke security pact

Nuri al-Maliki, Iraq's prime minister, has denounced a US raid on targets near Baghdad as "a crime", saying that it violated the security pact between the two countries.

Washington Post: Hard Lines on Havana Soften in Miami

Edel Hernández arrived at the airport here last week with a giant duffel bag and a ball cap pulled low over his eyes. Two years earlier he had left Cuba, and he hadn't seen his wife since. "It's been hard," he said, his eyes welling as he tugged on the visor. "Really hard."

LA Times: Swat refugees nurse dreams of peace in Pakistan

The ragtag group of men rises out of a small gorge wedged between a gas station, a mosque and a community center, the sort of place you'd easily miss unless you ventured over a small garbage mound and down a dirt path obscured by trees.

BBC: Rwanda bans BBC local broadcasts

Rwanda has suspended BBC broadcasts in the local language Kinyarwanda because of what it says is bias in BBC reports concerning the 1994 genocide.

BUSINESS

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

CNN: Chrysler wins union concessions

The United Auto Workers announced Sunday that it has reached a tentative agreement on concessions in its contract with Chrysler LLC - a key step in final efforts to help the automaker avoid bankruptcy.

CNN: Stock rally: Meet more roadblocks

A stock rally that hit some potholes last week is likely to face more substantial roadblocks in the week ahead.

Bloomberg: Europe, U.S. Stock Futures Drop on Swine Flu; Asia Shares Fall

European and U.S. stock-index futures dropped and Asian shares retreated amid concern an outbreak of swine flu will prolong the global recession. Treasuries and the yen rose.

NYT: Geithner, as Member and Overseer, Forged Ties to Finance Club

Last June, with a financial hurricane gathering force, Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. convened the nation’s economic stewards for a brainstorming session. What emergency powers might the government want at its disposal to confront the crisis? he asked.

Washington Post: Small Businesses Brace for Tax Battle

Gail Johnson doesn't think of herself as wealthy. The former pediatric nurse has spent 20 years building a chain of preschools and after-school programs that accommodate sick children so working parents can keep their jobs.

LA Times: U.S. toxic-asset plan stirs fears

The Obama administration's impending effort to buy about $1 trillion in toxic assets in partnership with private investors - aimed at solving the most intractable part of the credit crisis - is now generating widespread fear that it is vulnerable to manipulation and carries sharp risks for taxpayers.

In Case You Missed It

To watch the latest interviews and reporting: http://www.cnn.com/video.

CNN: Paging Dr. Gupta: Swine flu

CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta dispels myths and answers questions about the danger of swine flu.

CNN: Interrogation memos debate

Sens. Feinstein, Graham and Lieberman weigh in on the controversy over the release of CIA interrogation memos.

CNN: Bipartisanship not 'dead'

Top Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett insists to CNN's John King that bipartisanship isn't dead in Washington.

CNN: Bull loose in supermarket

A bull that escaped from a cattle market runs loose through an Irish supermarket.


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