April 28th, 2009
05:12 AM ET
6 years ago

POLITICAL HOT TOPICS: Tuesday, April 28, 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: White House apologizes for low-flying plane
A White House official apologized Monday after a low-flying Boeing 747 spotted above the Manhattan skyline frightened workers and residents into evacuating buildings.

CNN: Bipartisanship didn't last long in Obama's first 100 days
There's little debate that Democrats who run Congress mark President Obama's 100-day milestone with some significant victories.

CNN: Republicans blast 'special rules' in budget proposal
As the final details of a proposed budget deal were worked out Monday, Republican lawmakers slammed Democrats for including special rules to speed up legislation for health-care reform.

CNN: Fox won't air Obama's prime-time press conference
Fox Broadcasting Company announced Monday it will not carry President Barack Obama's prime time press conference marking his first 100 days in office, the first time a broadcast network has refused an Obama administration request for that valuable airtime.

CNN: Obama more popular than his policies, poll shows
A new national poll suggests that President Obama is personally more popular than his policies.

The Washington Times: Top Dem: Forced to strip flu-fighting funds
A top House Democrat on Monday accused fellow lawmakers of forcing him to strip millions of dollars out of the recovery act he said would have helped prepare to fight the new swine flu outbreak.

NYT: U.S. Plans Attack and Defense in Cyberspace Warfare
When American forces in Iraq wanted to lure members of Al Qaeda into a trap, they hacked into one of the group’s computers and altered information that drove them into American gun sights.

WSJ: Obama Seeks to Reverse Mountaintop-Mining Rule
The Obama administration on Monday sought to reverse a last-minute Bush administration rule that made it easier for companies that mine for coal by shearing off mountaintops to dump waste near rivers and streams.

LA Times: FBI monitored members of O.C. mosques at gyms, alleged informant says
As part of their anti-terrorism efforts, FBI agents monitored popular gyms throughout Orange County to gather intelligence on members of several local mosques, according to a man who claims to have been a key informant in the operation.

Washington Post: Plan to Cut Weapons Programs Disputed
Some of the nation's largest defense contractors, labor unions and trade groups are banding together to argue that the Obama administration is putting 100,000 or more jobs at risk by proposing deep cuts in weapons programs.

McClatchy: 100 days: Obama dumps Bush's world view, but now what?
The "Axis of Evil" is gone. The "global war on terrorism" is no more. "You are either with us or against us" is a thing of the past, replaced by reaching out to global foes and friends alike.

WSJ Op-Ed: Stephens: The Politics of Liberal Amnesia
Nancy Pelosi is "pushing back" against charges that she was aware of - and acquiesced in - the CIA's harsh interrogations of terrorist detainees nearly from the moment the practice began, reports the Politico Web site. Maybe she's suffering from amnesia.

Denver Post: Publishers unleash books about Bo
Who let the "first dog" books out? In first place: Michigan's Sleeping Bear Press, which managed to get "First Dog" on bookstore shelves by mid-April, albeit with a slightly generic pup.

NYT: How ’07 ABC Interview Tilted a Torture Debate
In late 2007, there was the first crack of daylight into the government’s use of waterboarding during interrogations of Al Qaeda detainees. On Dec. 10, John Kiriakou, a former C.I.A. officer who had participated in the capture of the suspected terrorist Abu Zubaydah in Pakistan in 2002, appeared on ABC News to say that while he considered waterboarding a form of torture, the technique worked and yielded results very quickly.

Washington Post: Quiet Prayer in D.C. Churches for Obama's Decision
Ursula Holmes was settled into her usual pew toward the rear of Washington's Nineteenth Street Baptist Church when President-elect Barack Obama saw her. Both he and his wife, Michelle, paused, stooped down and took hold of her hand as they left church after a Sunday service in January.

NYT: Obama Is Nudging Views on Race, a Survey Finds
Barack Obama’s presidency seems to be altering the public perception of race relations in the United States. Two-thirds of Americans now say race relations are generally good, and the percentage of blacks who say so has doubled since last July, according to the latest New York Times/ CBS News poll.

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

CNN: WHO raises pandemic alert level; more swine flu cases feared
The World Health Organization raised its pandemic alert level Monday in response to the outbreak of swine flu that originated in Mexico, as the global count of confirmed cases increased and governments initiated various steps to try to stem the spread.

CNN: Pandemic: What would happen next?
The world hasn't seen a pandemic in 41 years, when the "Hong Kong" flu crossed the globe and killed about one million people worldwide. If swine flu reaches pandemic levels, what would happen next?

CNN: Americans not losing their religion, but changing it often
Ingrid Case was a devoted church-goer as a child, not only attending Sunday school, but also serving as an acolyte at her Episcopalian church in Greeley, Colorado.

CNN: Ship's cook seized by pirates blames employers
A crew member on a U.S.-flagged cargo ship captured by pirates off the coast of Somalia is suing his employers, claiming they sent him into pirate-infested waters without adequate protection, his attorney said Monday.

CNN: FBI: Wanted professor bought plane ticket to Netherlands
A former University of Georgia professor, wanted in the fatal shootings of his wife and two other people over the weekend, purchased a plane ticket to the Netherlands for May 2, authorities said Monday.

Business Week: Swine Flu: Lessons from SARS
Narayanan Viswanathan knows firsthand not to underestimate the economic impact of a potential pandemic such as the swine flu outbreak that has been spreading from Mexico. Viswanathan was in Taiwan as manager of a software development project for carmaker China Motor in spring 2003 when word first spread that an outbreak of a deadly, unknown virus dubbed severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) was striking victims in East Asia.

Newsweek: Should We Panic?
Swine flu is nothing to sneeze at: the H1N1 strain of the virus wreaked serious havoc in Mexico, killing nearly 150 people so far. In the United States, however, only 44 people have been diagnosed as having swine influenza, and the majority of them became ill during travels in Mexico. So officials don't believe the disease is currently spreading from person to person in the United States. That's just one indication that the U.S. may emerge from this scare in better shape than it's southern neighbor.

NYT: On Voting Rights, Test of History v. Progress
Ellen D. Katz is a liberal law professor and a big fan of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which she calls the most effective civil rights legislation in American history. “It’s sacred,” she said. “It’s holy.”

Washington Post: Preservation Group Lists 11 Sites in Need
The National Trust for Historic Preservation, which today releases its annual list of the most endangered historic places in the United States, is urging the federal government to do more to encourage homeowners and businesses to recycle existing structures rather than build new ones.

WSJ: Jobless Tap Power of Merchandising
Stephanie Aucoin got a job offer the same day she was stopped in an elevator by an executive who noticed her new yellow wristband with "Laid Off Need a Job.com" embossed with black letters.

CS Monitor: Is a bad economy good for the environment?
The phrase “It’s not easy being green” may never seem truer than during this economic slide.

LA Times: FAA urged to do more to bolster California air traffic controller ranks
Though hiring is underway to offset a dramatic loss of air traffic controllers to retirement, the Federal Aviation Administration must concentrate on training new workers and retaining veteran controllers at busy Los Angeles International Airport and two key radar facilities in California that guide planes between airports, a new audit shows.

Washington Post: Key Posts Remain Vacant as Untested Pandemic Response Plan Implemented
As they confront the growing swine flu crisis, President Obama's administration is attempting to implement a never-before-tested pandemic response plan while dozens of key public health and emergency response jobs in the administration remain vacant.

NYT: Assessing the Danger of New Flu
Sorting through the “marquee flus” of recent years — SARS, avian flu and now swine flu — is complicated.

Miami Herald: State introduces Web-based reading aid
The Florida Department of Education unveiled a new reading assessment program Monday intended to use Web-based technology to quickly identify a student's strengths and weaknesses in reading.

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

CNN: Top U.S. military official 'alarmed' over Pakistan
Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is "very alarmed by the growing extremist threat in Pakistan and remains frustrated particularly by the political leadership's inability to confront that threat," his spokesman said Monday.

CNN: N. Korea seen as using bargaining chips
North Korea's announcement last week that it has begun reprocessing nuclear fuel rods at the Yongbyon nuclear facility about 60 miles (nearly 100 kilometers) north of the capitol, Pyongyang, raises questions about the secretive nation's agenda.

CNN: Brown: Afghanistan is 'crucible of terror'
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown reiterated the UK's commitment to the war in Afghanistan during a surprise visit to the country and warned that a "crucible of terrorism" existed in the Taliban-dominated border region with Pakistan.

Jerusalem Post: US senator to push 'tough dialogue' law
US Senator Joe Lieberman told The Jerusalem Post Monday that any engagement with Iran must come with "not just carrots but sticks" and that he is introducing legislation to deliver just that.

WSJ: U.S. Lawmakers Weigh Plan to Speed Aid to Pakistan
Senior congressional Democrats are weighing a plan to speed emergency aid to Pakistan, and could force a vote as soon as next week on legislation that would help stabilize the troubled U.S. ally.

Al Jazeera: Venezuelan-Palestinian ties opened
Venezuela and the Palestinian Authority have established diplomatic relations.

BBC: Science cash 'to beat food riots'
Food riots are a real threat in some developing and emerging countries unless funds for agricultural research are increased, says a UK scientist.

WSJ: China Faces a Grad Glut After Boom at Colleges
Zhang Weidong has been making the rounds at this city's weekend talent fair for more than a month now and can't understand why he hasn't landed a job.

CS Monitor: Berliners choose ethics over religion in classrooms
God may be “back,” as a bestseller puts it. But Berlin voters have little faith that the Almighty belongs in their schools.

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

CNN: Too little, too late for GM and Chrysler
With bankruptcy looming at General Motors and Chrysler LLC, both troubled automakers have announced new moves to try and avoid that fate.

CNN: GM goes for broke
General Motors announced plans Monday to cut 23,000 U.S. jobs by 2011, drop its storied Pontiac brand and slash 40% of its dealer network in its latest bid to stay out of bankruptcy.

NYT: G.M.’s Latest Plan Envisions a Much Smaller Automaker
For all the uncertainty swirling around General Motors, the troubled automaker said Monday that one thing was clear: it must become drastically smaller if it hopes to remain a viable company, regardless of whether it has to file for bankruptcy.

WSJ: State Law Targets 'Minimum Pricing'
In a move that could lead to lower prices for consumers across the country, Maryland has passed a law that prohibits manufacturers from requiring retailers to charge minimum prices for their goods.

Miami Herald: South Florida housing recovery hindered by wary lenders
President Barack Obama took aim at the housing crisis during his first 100 days with a broad plan to stabilize the market by trying to prevent foreclosures, pushing down mortgage rates and offering a handsome tax credit to new buyers.


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