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: New face delivers GOP message
A Republican Congressman-elect is sending a message to the American people that the GOP understands their woes and the challenges that face the next Congress. "Fresh faces alone aren't enough to bring about the change in course the American people are demanding," Representative-elect Austin Scott said in the Republican weekly TV and radio address. "The real work lies ahead." The Georgia Republican emphasized the diversity of the freshman class, and said they're arriving at the Capitol with a clear message from voters to "listen up, stop the job-killing policies, stop the runaway spending and focus on getting our country back on track."
CNN: This time around, Nevada will matter
In the battle for the last GOP presidential nomination, Nevada was an afterthought. But a new move by Nevada Republicans should make the state a player in the next race for the White House. In 2012, Nevada will once again be third on the presidential primary and caucus calendar, the only western state with an early contest. But this time around, the caucus results on the Republican side will be binding.
Baltimore Sun: Maryland earmarks could be at risk
A moratorium on federal earmarks is expected to force Maryland colleges and universities, the state and local governments, private companies, charities and nonprofit organizations and other potential recipients to look elsewhere for future funding. In recent years, hundreds of millions of earmarked dollars have flowed to Maryland, but that source of federal largesse might be about to run dry. Republican lawmakers and President Barack Obama, eager to establish fiscal-conservative credibility with voters, have called for an end to the time-honored practice by members of Congress of directing federal money to pet projects, typically in their home district or state.
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CNN: Police: Second explosive found in record cache in San Diego County
Authorities have found a second homemade explosive and more of a type of explosive previously discovered in a house in an unincorporated area near Escondido, California, officials said Thursday. The house occupied by George Djura Jakubec, a computer software consultant who is now under arrest, has been described by authorities as a bomb-making factory. They say it holds the largest cache of the two homemade explosives ever discovered in one spot in the United States.
CNN: FedEx searching for missing radioactive package
FedEx could learn Friday what happened to a package containing radioactive materials that went missing a day before. The company said it is searching in the Tennessee area and that the item is safe as long as nobody tampers with the protective packaging around it. The item is a cylinder containing rods used for hospital machinery that were being sent to a person in Knoxville, Tennessee, said Sandra Munoz, a company spokeswoman.
Houston Chronicle: Smile, if you're in downtown Houston
The city is installing 250 to 300 cameras at downtown intersections in an effort to prevent and fight terrorism and crime, part of a security initiative sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The cameras, which the city began installing in earnest this summer, already have helped police catch car burglars in the act, said Dennis Storemski, the city's director of the Office of Public Safety and Homeland Security. Eventually, he said, the cameras could be used to allow dispatchers or officers approaching a crime scene to survey what's happening from their patrol vehicles before they arrive.
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CNN: N. Korea: Exercises bring war 'closer'
North Korea warned Friday that planned U.S. and South Korean military exercises beginning this weekend bring the Korean Peninsula "closer to the brink of war," according to state news agency KCNA. "The situation on the Korean Peninsula is inching closer to the brink of war due to the reckless plan of those trigger-happy elements to stage again the war exercises targeted against the DPRK," the report said. The warning came as Lee Hee-won, a presidential security aide, has been named South Korea's new defense minister after the resignation of Kim Tae-young a day earlier, the Defense Ministry's press office said Friday.
CNN: Islands, crabs and skirmishes: the Koreas' maritime mishaps
Across the seas and oceans of Asia, islands and the waters around them are frequently a source of dispute and even military confrontation. Japan and Russia squabble over Hokkaido; Japan and China claim sovereignty over islands in the South China Sea (Senkaku to the Japanese; Diaoyu to China). Several nations lay claim to the Spratley Islands. But the coastline of the Yellow Sea - where North and South Korea meet - is the most explosive of all. The Demilitarized Zone between the two Koreas has long been settled in the permafrost of a diplomatic cold war. Down to the last inch, the two sides know their limits. That's not so at sea, where the North and South have long disagreed on whose waters end where - especially in the Yellow (or West) Sea, which is dotted with islands.
China Daily: China, Russia quit dollar
China and Russia have decided to renounce the US dollar and resort to using their own currencies for bilateral trade, Premier Wen Jiabao and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin announced late on Tuesday. Chinese experts said the move reflected closer relations between Beijing and Moscow and is not aimed at challenging the dollar, but to protect their domestic economies. "About trade settlement, we have decided to use our own currencies," Putin said at a joint news conference with Wen in St. Petersburg.
Los Angeles Times: Sadr sees star rise again in Iraq
Anti-U.S. cleric Muqtada Sadr, whose feared militia was crushed by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki two years ago, has leveraged support for his former enemy's government into renewed influence over the country's security forces, governors' offices and even its prisons. In recent months, Maliki's government has freed hundreds of controversial members of the Shiite Muslim cleric's Mahdi Army and handed security positions to veteran commanders of the militia, which was blamed for some of the most disturbing violence in the country's civil war and insurgency against U.S. forces.
CNN: Residents: Mosque, other structures demolished in Palestinian village
A mosque and other structures were demolished by bulldozers in a Palestinian village in the West Bank early Thursday, according to village residents. The Israeli Civil Administration said the demolished structures did not have "the required permits in a fire area, risking the lives of the population." Residents of the village of Khirbet Yarza said they awoke Thursday to the sounds of bulldozers as Israeli personnel moved into the area. A mosque, seven metal structures, a tent and three animal sheds were demolished, residents said.
New York Times: New Political Landscape in U.S. Brings Mixed Blessing for Israel
When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel came to the United States recently for another round of tense talks with the Obama administration, he got a decidedly warmer welcome from one of the rising Republican stars on Capitol Hill, Representative Eric Cantor, the incoming majority leader of the House. But while Mr. Cantor and other newly empowered Republicans are eager to promote themselves as Israel’s staunchest defenders in Washington, the reconfigured American political landscape is a more complex and unpredictable backdrop for Middle East peacemaking. Scores of Tea Party-backed candidates are entering Congress, many of whom favor isolationist policies and are determined to cut American foreign aid, regardless of its destination.
CNN: Federal agents find another border drug tunnel
U.S. authorities say they have discovered another extensive drug tunnel that stretches from a home in Tijuana, Mexico, to San Diego, California. The half-mile tunnel, discovered Thursday morning in a warehouse in the Otay Mesa area of San Diego, is close to a similar one federal agents found earlier this month, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency said. In that case, authorities also seized about 30 tons of marijuana in what federal agents say is one of the largest marijuana seizures in U.S. history.
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CNN: Black Friday shoppers see pleasure where others see pain
Up to 138 million people plan to shop in U.S. stores on Black Friday and the weekend, according to a survey conducted for the National Retail Federation. The federation says it's not clear what percentage of U.S. holiday shoppers visit stores on Black Friday, but shoppers reported spending about $41.2 billion over 2009's Black Friday weekend. The federation forecasts that in-store retail sales for 2010's entire months of November and December will be $447.1 billion.
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