December 1st, 2009
05:50 AM ET
3 months ago

POLITICAL HOT TOPICS: December 1, 2009

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: Frequently asked questions about the mission in Afghanistan
President Obama is expected to announce Tuesday that he's sending more than 30,000 additional troops to Afghanistan and discuss the U.S. strategy there.

Wall Street Journal: Fight Looms on How to Pay for New War Plan
When President Barack Obama unveils his new Afghan war strategy Tuesday, he will face an immediate political fight over how to pay for it.

The Guardian: US bid to bypass Karzai's Afghan government upsets allies
The US is seeking to extend its control over the day-to-day running of Afghanistan with the appointment of an international "high representative" in Kabul in an attempt to bypass Hamid Karzai's much-criticised government.

Washington Post: A test for the blocks needed to rebuild a nation
The revised strategy for Afghanistan that President Obama will announce Tuesday is expected to focus new resources on training Afghan security forces and shoring up the central government, an approach certain to revive a debate about the possibilities and the limits of nation-building.

Christian Science Monitor: Will healthcare reform drive costs down? A little, report says.
A report released today by the Congressional Budget Office has set out what could be a decisive fault line in the Senate debate over healthcare reform. Proponents say the report shows healthcare reform will do no harm to Americans’ pocketbooks. Critics say that report shows the US is about to undertake a massive and uncertain reorganization of the healthcare industry for “no significant savings.”

CNN: Analysis: Contentious primaries will precede 2010 Senate elections
Sen. Arlen Specter's decision to leave the Republican Party in April handed President Obama a key vote in the Senate, and Specter was rewarded by quickly being endorsed by the president and Democratic leaders in his bid for re-election next year. But not every Democrat got in line behind Obama.

USA Today: Reid faces challenges at Capitol and in Nev.
In the Senate health care debate that began Monday, there is perhaps no more pivotal figure than Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid— a soft-spoken Nevadan with a colorful past and an uncertain political future.

Bloomberg: AIDS Conference Set for U.S. After Travel Ban Lifted
Health officials tackling the global AIDS epidemic will meet in the U.S. for the first time in 22 years after President Barack Obama lifted the ban on travel by people infected with HIV.

New York Times: Cole Attack Trial Will Test Tribunal System
[Abd al-Rahim al-] Nashiri’s case will be the marquee test of a new tribunal system designed to handle terrorism suspects. But the decision by Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. to prosecute him before a commission, while putting the self-proclaimed mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, before a civilian court, has set off a fierce debate.

CNN: Two Gitmo detainees transferred to Italy
Two Tunisian detainees whom the U.S. military had held at Guantanamo Bay have been turned over to the Italian government in Rome, the Justice Department announced.

Politico: GOP establishment scorns purity test
Establishment Republicans are recoiling at a draft proposal before the Republican National Committee that would bar party financial support for candidates who fail to meet eight of 10 issue tests.

Miami Herald: Court rejects grand jury
Gov. Charlie Crist's call for a statewide grand jury to investigate political corruption was rejected Monday by the Florida Supreme Court as too vague, so the governor's office quickly refiled its request. … The Republican governor, a candidate for U.S. Senate, called for the statewide grand jury on Oct. 14, citing a "rash of crimes" by public officials in Florida.

Washington Post: Salahis sought gala access through a Pentagon door
E-mails turned over to the Secret Service show that Tareq and Michaele Salahi had sought a top Defense Department official's help to gain access to last week's White House state dinner.

CNN: The D.C. power lunch: Where Washington's elite go to eat
While administrations come and go, and power in Congress teeters between political parties, one thing remains constant in the lives of Washington, D.C.'s, elite: the power lunch.

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

Seattle Times: Law-enforcement officials believe Clemmons has been sheltered by family, friends
Detectives have detained several of Clemmons' friends, family members and acquaintances — and could arrest and book many of them into jail for helping Clemmons elude capture, Troyer said. On Monday night, the Sheriff's Office launched a series of tactical operations targeting the homes of relatives and friends believed to be helping Clemmons, Troyer said.

Boston Globe: $68m in solar rebates goes fast
A $68 million state fund to provide sizable rebates to homeowners and business owners who install solar panels was expected to last three or four years. But the program – offering homeowners rebates that averaged more than $13,000 – proved so popular that the $68 million was tapped out in October, just 22 months after the program began.

Los Angeles Times: COBRA subsidies begin expiring for the unemployed
The stimulus act included $25 billion to help the jobless stay on their former employers' health plans for up to nine months, but the money is running out and Congress is unlikely to extend it soon.

Washington Post: Smokers take their last legal puffs in Va. restaurants
It was a gentlemen's protest: Scores of cigar-smokers filed into an upscale steakhouse in Reston on Monday night to light up their stogies over cocktails and beef Wellington and lament that the smoking police had finally come to, of all places, Virginia.

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

Telegraph UK: EU President takes office as Lisbon Treaty enters into force
The EU's first president, Herman Van Rompuy, officially took office Tuesday as the bloc's reforming Lisbon Treaty entered into force, giving the European project a human face as it enters a new era.

The Guardian: British sailors detained by Iran en route to Gulf yacht race
Britain was making frantic diplomatic efforts last night to stop a dispute with Iran over the seizure of five British sailors becoming an international crisis. The men were detained six days ago when their racing yacht was intercepted by Iran's navy while on its way from Bahrain to an event in Dubai but the incident was kept secret as the Foreign Office sought to establish what had happened and tried to avoid raising the political temperature.

Jerusalem Post: Palestinians to ask UN for state based on 1967 borders
Palestinian statehood is a "vital" component necessary for regional peace, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said, in a message to mark Monday's annual International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. But amid criticism of Israel's settlement activities during the two-day solidarity event, Israeli officials were bracing for Palestinian diplomats to declare new diplomatic strategies during a General Assembly debate on Monday.

Washington Post: U.S. and some allies at odds over Honduras presidential election
The United States split with some of its Latin American allies Monday over whether to recognize the results of Honduras's presidential election, with Washington commending the balloting but Brazil saying the vote will not erase the stain of a coup.

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

Bloomberg: Dubai World to Restructure $26 Billion of Debt
Dubai World said it began “constructive” talks with banks to restructure $26 billion of debt, including liabilities owed by units Nakheel World and Limitless World.

Wall Street Journal: Job Cuts Loom as Stimulus Fades
Highway-construction companies around the country, having completed the mostly small projects paid for by the federal economic-stimulus package, are starting to see their business run aground, an ominous sign for the nation's weak employment picture.

Wall Street Journal: Beijing Gives Nod to Modified Rice
China's government declared two strains of genetically modified rice safe to produce and consume, taking a major step toward endorsing the use of biotechnology in the staple food crop of billions of people in Asia.

Business Week: In Hunt for Students, Business Schools Go Global
U.S. B-schools are casting a wider net in search of international students. Forget China and India. Think Nigeria, Vietnam, and Kazakhstan

In Case You Missed It

Dubai Inc. in need of rescue?
http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/world/2009/11/30/dnt.boulden.dubai.inc.cnn

UK troop surge
http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/world/2009/12/01/ship.uk.afghan.troops.increase.itn

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