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: McCain says 'don't ask, don't tell' is working
Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain criticized the Obama administration's decision to try to repeal the "don't ask, don't tell" policy that prevents gay service members from serving openly in the military, saying Sunday that "the system is working." "The military is at its highest point in recruitment, in retention, in professionalism, in capability," McCain said on CNN's "State of the Union." "So to somehow allege that this policy has been damaging the military is simply false." Instead, McCain called the attempt at repeal "a political promise made by an inexperienced president or candidate for president of the United States."
CNN: McCain compares Palin to Reagan
Sen. John McCain helped catapult former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin to the national stage and now he's equating her to former President Ronald Reagan. He made the comparison Sunday when asked if Palin is "divisive." "I think anybody that has the visibility that Sarah has is obviously going to have some divisiveness," McCain said on CNN's "State of the Union." "I remember that a guy named Ronald Reagan used to be viewed by some as divisive."
CNN: Senators show that politics, not policy, is holding up START treaty
The Republican senator who opposes ratification this year of a new nuclear arms treaty with Russia made clear Sunday that politics, not policy, is the main issue. Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl told NBC's "Meet the Press" program that the Senate won't have enough time in December's "lame-duck" session to properly consider the so-called START Treaty with Russia.
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CNN: Oregon mosque attended by bomb plot suspect target of apparent arson
The FBI announced a $10,000 reward Sunday for information leading to the arrest of the person or people responsible for an apparent attack on an Oregon Islamic center that was attended by the man authorities say was behind a foiled bomb plot at a recent Portland Christmas tree lighting. A fire appears to have started sometime early Sunday morning at the Salman AlFarisi Islamic Center in Corvallis, Oregon, authorities said. The building suffered some fire and smoke damage. Mohamed Osman Mohamud, who was seized in connection with the plan to detonate what he thought was an explosives-laden van at a Portland tree-lighting ceremony Friday night, occasionally attended the center, the mosque's imam told CNN.
CNN: Somali-American accused of bomb plot in Oregon to appear in court
A 19-year-old Somali-American, accused of planning to detonate what he believed was a vehicle bomb, is expected to make an initial appearance in a Portland, Oregon, federal court Monday. Mohamed Osman Mohamud, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Somalia, was arrested after he attempted to detonate what he believed was an explosives-laden van parked near a tree-lighting ceremony in Portland's Pioneer Courthouse Square Friday, officials said. But the bomb turned out to be fake, thanks to an undercover operation designed to undermine the plotter.
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CNN: WikiLeaks begins releasing trove of U.S. diplomatic messages
The online whistle-blower site WikiLeaks began publishing more than 250,000 diplomatic cables from U.S. embassies around the world Sunday, spawning sharp condemnation from the White House and congressional leaders. WikiLeaks, which said its servers were under electronic attacks Sunday afternoon, said the documents represent the largest-ever disclosure of confidential information and give the world "an unprecedented insight into the U.S. government's foreign activities." "The cables show the U.S. spying on its allies and the U.N.; turning a blind eye to corruption and human rights abuse in 'client states'; backroom deals with supposedly neutral countries; and lobbying for U.S. corporations," the site's editor-in-chief and spokesman, Julian Assange, said in a statement released Sunday evening.
CNN: WikiLeaks documents reveal Arab states' anxiety over Iran
U.S. diplomatic cables obtained by the website WikiLeaks and published by newspapers in the United States and Europe on Sunday reveal considerable anxiety among the Gulf states about Iran's nuclear program, with the Bahrain's king warning, "The danger of letting it go on is greater than the danger of stopping it." The cables, many marked "Secret," were among several hundred thousand obtained by WikiLeaks and published by newspapers Sunday. They reveal great concern among Arab states about Iran's regional ambitions. One cable describes a meeting between Saudi King Abdullah and White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan and other U.S. officials in March 2009.
CNN: U.S. role in Yemen covered up by its president, WikiLeaks file reveals
In public, Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh has consistently played down any U.S. military role in air strikes against al Qaeda targets in Yemen, but one of the secret U.S. cables published by WikiLeaks paints a different picture. In a meeting with U.S. Gen. David Petraeus in the capital of Sana'a in January, President Saleh agreed to continue covering up the latest plan to use U.S. fixed-wing bombers with precision weapons to attack terrorists in his country. The Yemeni president told Petraeus that would be preferable to the continued use of long-range cruise missiles, which Saleh said were "not very accurate." "We'll continue saying the bombs are ours, not yours," Saleh said, according to the diplomatic cable written by the U.S. ambassador at the time, Stephen Seche. That comment prompted Saleh's deputy "to joke that he had just 'lied' by telling Parliament" that the U.S.-made bombs were used in attacks by Yemeni forces.
CNN: South Korea warns of 'firm' response to future attacks
South Korea will "firmly" respond to future provocations from North Korea, South Korean President Lee Myung-bak said Monday, declaring that his nation "cannot remain patient" in the face of continued hostility from Pyongyang. "Fellow citizens, at this point, actions are more important than words," Lee said in a televised address Monday morning. "Please have trust in the government and the military and support us." The divided peninsula - tense at the best of times - has been near the boiling point since Tuesday, when four people died in a North Korean artillery barrage that targeted the South Korean island of Yeonpyeong. Lee called that attack an "inhuman crime" that followed decades of previous attacks from North Korea, including the sinking of the South Korean warship Cheonan in March.
Bloomberg: China's Defense of North Korean Ally Risks Alienating Top Trading Partners
China’s reluctance to restrain North Korea comes with a price, putting it at odds with its three biggest trading partners and threatening to drive South Korea and Japan into a closer alliance with the U.S. China has avoided blaming its ally of 60 years for last week’s artillery attack on South Korea, which killed four people. Instead, it criticized joint naval exercises by South Korea and the U.S. that began yesterday in the Yellow Sea. In doing so, President Hu Jintao is putting political priorities ahead of the economic interests that helped China’s gross domestic product expand more than 90-fold in the past three decades to become the world’s second largest. Combined trade with the U.S., Japan and South Korea, which have all urged China to restrain the regime in Pyongyang, is almost 300 times larger than its commerce with North Korea.
CNN: New round of climate talks set to start in Cancun
The latest round of United Nations climate change talks begins Monday in the coastal resort city of Cancun, Mexico. Representatives from 194 countries are scheduled to attend. Negotiators will try to close the political gap between commitments to reduce carbon emissions made by developed and developing nations. "We are very proud to be the hosts of an unprecedented effort of the international community to stop the global warming caused by humans," Mexican Foreign Minister Patricia Espinosa told reporters over the weekend. "If we do not do it now, it will become not only more costly in terms of finances and human lives, but also the various forces of nature that we will have to adapt to will become more dangerous."
CNN: Haiti's government declares elections success; candidates allege fraud
Haitian officials declared the country's national elections a success - just hours after two-thirds of the candidates in the presidential race called for an annulment of the vote due to irregularities. Pierre Opont, the director of Haiti's main electoral body, told reporters Sunday night that the election had "successfully concluded." But he noted that 56 of the country's 1,500 polling centers had reported "incidents," and that the national police reported one death related to the election activities.
CNN: Ivory Coast awaits results after tense runoff election
Officials in Ivory Coast said partial results are expected Monday in a presidential runoff election that was marked by a fewer voters at the polls and more violent disturbances than last month's first round. A soldier and a civilian were killed and three others were critically injured during the runoff, the government's communication ministry reported on national television Sunday evening. In addition, at least four others were killed in clashes between rebels and government troops in the northern part of the country, the ministry said.
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CNN: Black Friday: More shoppers, modest sales
Preliminary reports of sales on Black Friday weekend are coming in. The verdict so far: The crowds were bigger. People walked away with arms full of goodies. And shoppers spent modestly more, although sales may have been stronger online and in the days surrounding Friday. With shoppers scooping up discounted items, total sales on Friday rose a slight 0.3% over last year to $10.7 billion, while customer traffic increased 2.2%, according to ShopperTrak, which records sales and customer traffic at more than 70,000 stores and malls.
In Case You Missed It
CNN's Candy Crowley and her executive producer Tom Bettag recap this morning's interview with Sen. John McCain.
CNN's Susan Candiotti profiles a Korean college student who faces deportation if the Dream Act doesn't pass.
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