The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world. Click on the headlines for more.
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CNN: Gingrich's presidential demands
If presidential debate organizers want former House Speaker Newt Gingrich to participate in their forums, they'll have to meet his stipulations. "I would not participate if it was a hostile reporter asking 'gotcha' questions with a certain time limit," Republican Gingrich said on C-SPAN's "Washington Journal" Sunday. He said instead of participating in debates sponsored by the media, candidates should invite news outlets to cover their debates.
McClatchy DC: Jim DeMint still battling to keep Murkowski from Senate
For all his success in helping elect ultraconservatives to the Senate, Sen. Jim DeMint now must face the difficult consequences of one spectacular, all but certain failure. Even as DeMint says he would welcome fellow Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski back to the Senate, the South Carolinian is still urging conservative activists around the country to donate money to replace the Alaskan incumbent with tea party favorite Joe Miller.
The Guardian: Sarah Palin drops 2012 presidency hint with staff visit to Iowa
Sarah Palin has dropped another hint of her intention to run for the White House in 2012, dispatching aides to scope out office space in Iowa, the first stop in the presidential race. The "will she, won't she?" speculation about Palin in 2012 has become a Washington parlour game – as well as generating free publicity for her new book, which goes on sale this week. In the course of making arrangements for that tour, two aides organizing Palin's visit to Des Moines on 27 November told locals they were looking into office space and other logistical needs for the coming year, the Guardian has learned.
Des Moines Register: Mike Huckabee in Iowa: “Considering” 2012 run.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said in Iowa Sunday he is considering a 2012 presidential campaign, but stopped short of giving a time frame for a decision as other prospective candidates have. Huckabee, the winner of Iowa’s leadoff Republican caucuses in 2008, also distanced himself from comments he made a year ago when he suggested it was less than likely he would run for the GOP nomination a second time. “I’m not on a timetable. I’m not on somebody’s calendar to say this is the time when I have to decide,” Huckabee said a press conference before headlining a meeting of evangelical conservatives in Des Moines. “Am I keeping the option open? Yes. Am I open to it, considering it and giving — you know — thought? Of course. I think it would be foolish not to in light of having been through it, understanding what it’s about.”
Las Vegas Sun: After divisive election cycle, GOP shows unity in D.C.
Like incoming high-schoolers deciding which lunch table to eat at, many Republican freshmen came to Congress for orientation last week wondering if they’d have to choose which crowd to get in with — the GOP establishment or the Tea Party. But after a week in town, they all appear to be part of one big clique. Although Democrats were unable to keep party divisions under wraps, the elected Republican caucus — in the House at least — sailed through its first week in Washington with nary a blip of discord, maintaining a completely unified front as it voted unanimously for leaders and certain policy platforms, such as a ban on earmark spending in the coming Congress. That unity — and the comparative discord among Democrats and their disappearing Blue Dogs — suggests that the Tea Party may not have to expend so much strength storming into Washington as it thought it would have to in the short term.
Wall Street Journal: State Tests Limits of Spending Cuts
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour hailed the Republican wave at the polls this month as a sign that voters want politicians who can cut spending and reduce taxes. It's just the kind of image that Mr. Barbour is trying to cultivate as he weighs a run for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination. …Yet as states nationwide confront budget shortfalls—more than 30 are facing deficits totaling more than $127 billon over the next two fiscal years, according to the National Association of State Budget Officers—Mr. Barbour's tenure offers a lesson about how governing has a way of clouding the clearest of intentions.
Washington Post: White House takes a more modest Plan B to Cancun climate talks
This is what the 2010 midterm elections will change about U.S. climate policy: Cap-and-trade was dead. Now it will be deader. …But, observers say, the election may do relatively little to alter U.S. climate policy before United Nations climate talks begin in Cancun on Nov. 29. The Republican wins will finally bury the Obama administration's Plan A, which included passing a landmark climate bill in Congress. But that plan was, in essence, already defunct. And the new GOP majority will have few easy options for undoing the White House's Plan B, a set of new regulations that will cut emissions from power plants and factories.
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CNN: Enhanced pat-downs necessary for now, TSA chief says
Enhanced security pat-downs that have been vilified by travelers as legal groping are here to stay, at least for now, the federal official in charge of transportation security told CNN on Sunday. John Pistole, the administrator of the Transportation Security Administration, said he understood public discomfort over having a stranger touch the buttocks, breasts and genitals in trying to find possible hidden explosives, but he called the extra screening necessary.
CNN: Mullen: Marines will comply with 'don't ask, don't tell' repeal
The head of the U.S. Marine Corps will fully cooperate with a repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy barring openly gay and lesbian soldiers from the military, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen said Sunday. In an interview on CNN's "State of the Union," Mullen said there was "no question" that Marine Commandant Gen. James Amos, an opponent of repealing the "don't ask, don't tell" policy at this time, would implement all necessary changes to allow openly gay Marines to serve if Congress passes a repeal measure.
Wall Street Journal: Dependents Under Scrutiny
More employers are scrutinizing employees' health-insurance dependents in order to weed out ineligible beneficiaries. Employers are looking to cut costs amid a sputtering economy and worries that health-care reform will accelerate rising corporate health-care expenses. So some companies are conducting audits to verify dependents' eligibility, to make sure they aren't paying for people they shouldn't be.
Washington Post: New embryonic stem cell experiment
Government regulators have given the go-ahead to a second study that will for the first time carefully test a treatment created using human embryonic stem cells in people, according to the company sponsoring the experiment. The Food and Drug Administration approved a request by Advanced Cell Technology Inc. of Marlborough, Mass., to inject cells created from human embryonic stem cells into the eyes of 12 patients suffering from advanced cases of a disease that causes blindness.
CNN: U.S. gas prices up nearly a nickel heading into holidays
With Thanksgiving on the horizon, U.S. gas prices are up nearly a nickel to the highest price since early May, according to a new survey of filling stations. The latest Lundberg Survey of cities in the continental United States was conducted Friday. It showed the national average for a price of self-serve unleaded gasoline at $2.87, an increase of 4.5 cents from the last survey two weeks earlier, survey publisher Trilby Lundberg said. That's the highest price since May 7, when the national average per gallon was $2.92, Lundberg said. However, this price hike may be the last for the near future, as oil prices have declined in recent days to about the same level as a month ago, she said.
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CNN: Top U.S. Adm. calls North Korea 'belligerent'
The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff described the behavior of North Korea as "belligerent" on Sunday, following a report that the country is stepping up its nuclear program. "It confirms or validates the concern we've had for years about their enriching uranium which they've denied routinely," Adm. Mike Mullen said on CNN's "State of the Union." "All of this is consistent with belligerent behavior, the kind of instability creation in a part of the world that is very dangerous."
Los Angeles Times: Taliban scorns plan giving NATO option to linger in Afghanistan
The Taliban on Sunday scoffed at NATO plans to hand over most security responsibilities to Afghan forces in the coming three years while retaining an option to keep international troops in the country beyond that time if necessary. In a statement issued the day after the military alliance wrapped up a summit in Lisbon, the Islamist movement also denounced the Western-backed government of President Hamid Karzai, saying it had no legitimacy in the eyes of the Afghan people. "In the past nine years, the invaders could not establish any system of governance in Kabul, and they will never be able to do so in the future," said the statement, which was e-mailed to journalists and posted on the group's website.
CNN: Ireland requests billions in euro loans from EU
Ireland has formally requested substantial "financial assistance" from the European Union and International Monetary Fund to buttress the government and bolster its struggling banking sector, Prime Minister Brian Cowen said Sunday night. "I want to assure the Irish people that we have a better future before us," Cowen said in announcing the request, as well as pledging substantial budget cuts and tax hikes.
CNN: 29 trapped miners rescued in China
Twenty-nine miners trapped in a flooded mine in China were rescued after more than 30 hours, with crews lifting them out in rapid succession, state television reported Monday. The miners emerged from the mine one after another and were loaded on gurneys, as state television broadcast the event live from Sichuan province. The crowd clapped as the last miner emerged from the Batian Coal Mine in Neijiang. It took rescuers less than an hour to pull out all 29 miners.
New York Times: Importing Coal, China Burns It as Others Stop
Even as developed countries close or limit the construction of coal-fired power plants out of concern over pollution and climate-warming emissions, coal has found a rapidly expanding market elsewhere: Asia, particularly China. At ports in Canada, Australia, Indonesia, Colombia and South Africa, ships are lining up to load coal for furnaces in China, which has evolved virtually overnight from a coal exporter to one of the world’s leading purchasers. The United States now ships coal to China via Canada, but coal companies are scouting for new loading ports in Washington State.
USA Today: Study links lower carbon emissions to recession
Worldwide emissions of carbon dioxide, widely blamed as the chief cause of global warming, dropped from 2008 to 2009, largely because of the global economic slowdown, according to a study released Sunday. It was the first decline since the late 1990s. …The emissions decrease of 1.3% from 2008 to 2009 was directly related to the economic crisis, says study lead author Pierre Friedlingstein of the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom. "There is a close link between the world's gross domestic product and emissions of carbon dioxide," he says.
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Indianapolis Star: State 'cybershames' businesses that owe taxes
When the state Department of Revenue decided to go after businesses that failed to pay sales and withholding taxes, collectors needed to look no further than the Statehouse. While state Rep. Robert Behning, R-Indianapolis, went about his business serving the state's taxpayers, his actual business, Berkshire Florist, owed those taxpayers more than $30,000. Berkshire and about 25,000 other Indiana businesses are on the "cybershame" list of those who owe delinquent taxes that's been posted on the state's website since the first of the year.
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