December 30th, 2009
05:33 AM ET
3 months ago

POLITICAL HOT TOPICS: December 30, 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: Source: CIA failed to circulate report about bombing suspect
The father of terrorism suspect Umar Farouk AbdulMutallab talked about his son's extremist views with someone from the CIA and a report was prepared, but the report was not circulated outside the agency, a reliable source told CNN's Jeanne Meserve on Tuesday.

CNN: Obama team more closely linking al Qaeda to terror attempt
In a marked shift from previous positions, senior Obama administration officials now say they are starting to see an al Qaeda connection to the attempted terror attack on a U.S.-bound airliner.

Washington Post: As standoff with Iran continues, U.S. prepares targeted sanctions
The Obama administration is readying sanctions against discrete elements of the Iranian government, including those involved in the deadly crackdown on Iranian protesters, marking a shift to a more aggressive U.S. posture toward the Islamic republic, U.S. officials said.

New York Times: Obama Curbs Secrecy of Classified Documents
President Obama declared on Tuesday that “no information may remain classified indefinitely” as part of a sweeping overhaul of the executive branch’s system for protecting classified national security information.

Wall Street Journal: Rich Cling to Life to Beat Tax Man
Nothing's certain except death and taxes - but a temporary lapse in the estate tax is causing a few wealthy Americans to try to bend those rules.

CBS News: Will GOP Call to Repeal Health Care Bill?
Prominent conservatives are calling for congressional Republicans to campaign in 2010 on a pledge to repeal the Democrats' sprawling health care legislation, but political and logistical realities could make repealing the bill a promise that is hard to keep.

Denver Post: Efforts already underway in Colorado to blunt federal health care reforms
Coloradans will likely be asked in November to blunt the impact of federal health-insurance reform with a state constitutional amendment that would attempt to undo some of what Congress is trying to pass.

Bloomberg: Trial Lawyers Sidestep Malpractice Curbs With Blitz in Congress
U.S. Senate staff members arriving at work by subway this month were greeted by signs proclaiming that “98,000 patients may die” through medical malpractice. On a single day in October, lawmakers received visits from more than 70 victims of doctors’ errors and the attorneys who represented them. And the trial lawyers’ political action committee gave members of the Democratic congressional majority more money than all but two other PACs.

Boston Globe: Officials lag in reporting information on donors
Many statewide candidates, including those running for governor, have paid little heed to a campaign finance law designed to let voters know which prospective officeholders are soliciting and accepting significant contributions from special interests.

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

CNN: Former Gitmo detainees investigated in airline bombing plot
U.S. counterterrorism officials are investigating possible links between the attempted Northwest Airlines bombing and two former Guantanamo Bay prisoners who say they are leaders in an al Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group based in Yemen, U.S. officials told CNN on Tuesday.

Washington Times: Awlaki personally blessed Detroit attack
The Nigerian accused of trying to blow up a Detroit-bound airliner had his suicide mission personally blessed in Yemen by Anwar al-Awlaki, the same Muslim imam suspected of radicalizing the Fort Hood shooting suspect, a U.S. intelligence source has told The Washington Times.

USA Today: WHO: Swine-flu peak has passed in U.S., Canada
The H1N1 swine flu has passed its second peak in the United States and Canada but is intensifying in South Asia and the Middle East, according to the head of the World Health Organization.

Washington Post: E. coli-tainted beef infects 21 people in 16 states
Twenty-one people in 16 states have been infected in recent days with a potentially lethal strain of E. coli bacteria, after consuming beef in restaurants supplied by the same Oklahoma meat company, federal officials said.

Concord Monitor: Anthrax vaccines offered
The state is offering vaccines to 80 people who may have been exposed to anthrax at a campus ministry center in Durham where a young woman is believed to have contracted the disease earlier this month during an African drum circle.

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

CNN: Officials: U.S., Yemen reviewing targets for possible strike
The U.S. and Yemen are now looking at fresh targets in Yemen for a potential retaliation strike, two senior U.S. officials told CNN Tuesday, in the aftermath of the botched Christmas Day attack on an airliner that al Qaeda in Yemen claims it organized.

Times of London: 'Hundreds of al-Qaeda militants planning attacks from Yemen'
Hundreds of al-Qaeda militants are planning terror attacks from Yemen, the country’s Foreign Minister said today. Abu Bakr al-Qirbi appealed for more help from the international community to help to train and equip counter-terrorist forces.

New York Times: Terror Inquiry Looks at Suspect’s Time in Britain
Hit hard by the London transit system bombings in 2005, Britain keeps a close eye on Islamic extremists, and MI5, the covert domestic security agency, has said it specifically monitors Muslim campus groups. Yet one student president of the Islamic Society at the prestigious University College London, a British security official said Tuesday, had “never shown up on the radar screen” as a threat.

CNN: Iran's president plays down Ashura protests
The Iranian president on Tuesday likened the anti-government protests during Sunday's observances of Ashura to "a theater play by the Zionists and the Americans," the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency said.

New York Times: China Willing to Spend Big on Afghan Commerce
Behind an electrified fence, blast-resistant sandbags and 53 National Police outposts, the Afghan surge is well under way.But the foot soldiers in a bowl-shaped valley about 20 miles southeast of Kabul are not fighting the Taliban, or even carrying guns. They are preparing to extract copper from one of the richest untapped deposits on earth. And they are Chinese, undertaking by far the largest foreign investment project in war-torn Afghanistan.

Christian Science Monitor: Israel and Egypt eye movement on peace process
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met in Cairo Tuesday with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in talks aimed at bringing Egyptian pressure on the Palestinians ahead of a flurry of diplomatic activity expected next week, including a visit from US Middle East envoy George Mitchell.

BBC News: US rejects Russian missile shield concerns
The United States has rejected fresh concerns raised by Moscow about its planned missile defence system. The State Department statement came after Russian PM Vladimir Putin said the US plans were holding up a new nuclear disarmament treaty.

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

Washington Post: E-mails inside AIG reveal executives struggling with growing crisis
The probing e-mails came from every direction inside insurance giant American International Group during the summer and fall of 2007, all with the same underlying question: Could Joe Cassano back up his assurances - to auditors, rating companies, colleagues and shareholders - that his Financial Products unit wasn't in trouble?

Wall Street Journal: GMAC Set for Another Cash Infusion
GMAC Financial Services is close to getting approximately $3.5 billion in additional aid from the U.S. government, on top of $12.5 billion already received since December 2008, according to people familiar with the situation.

Wall Street Journal: Questions Surround Fannie, Freddie
The government's move to ease the limits on the securities holdings of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac has ignited a debate among analysts about what the companies will do with their longer leash.

The Hill: Nokia hits Apple with patent infringement complaint over iPhone
Nokia on Monday filed a patent infringement complaint against Apple, broadening a high-stakes battle over mobile phones and computers. In a release, Nokia said Apple had infringed on its patents “in virtually all of its mobile phones, portable music players and computers.” Nokia filed the complaint Tuesday with the U.S.-based International Trade Commission.

In Case You Missed It

CNN's Jill Dougherty looks at how a terror suspect was able to hold onto his visa despite warnings to agencies.
http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/us/2009/12/30/dougherty.us.visa.lapses.cnn

Canada has banned carry-on luggage for passengers bound for the United States. CNN's Louise Schiavone reports.
http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/world/2009/12/29/schiavone.carry.on.cnn

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