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: Petraeus brings unique experience to expected CIA role
Analysts and sources say a combination of experience working with the CIA in the field and political considerations are behind President Barack Obama's expected nomination of Gen. David Petraeus to be the next director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
CNN: Experts: Panetta's political savvy a plus for Defense
CIA Director Leon Panetta is a smart choice to replace Defense Secretary Robert Gates because of his political skill and maturity, his many years of government experience, and his knack of generating trust with others, observers say.
CNN: Reid: No 'lines in sand' on debt talks
The high stakes negotiations underway over raising the nation's debt ceiling are more important than the budget talks earlier this month that prevented a government shutdown, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said Wednesday. That's because the "full faith and credit" of the United States would be damaged for "generations to come" if the U.S. defaults on its debts, he said.
CNN: Obama releases original long-form birth certificate
The White House released copies of President Barack Obama's original long-form birth certificate Wednesday, seeking to put an end to persistent rumors that he was not born in the United States.
CNN: Giffords leaves Houston, heading for Florida shuttle launch
A plane carrying U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords departed Houston on Wednesday headed for Florida, where she is scheduled to attend the Friday launch of the space shuttle Endeavour, commanded by her husband, Mark Kelly.
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CNN: At least 67 dead as storms slash through southern states
Severe storms pummeled Alabama and cut a path of destruction across several other southern states Wednesday, killing at least 67 people across the region, leveling buildings and trapping residents in their homes. Alabama appeared to be the hardest hit Wednesday night, with at least 45 people killed in severe storms and tornadoes, said Lauree Ashcom, a spokeswoman for the Alabama Emergency Management Agency.
CNN: Virginia Tech appeals fines from 2007 shooting rampage
Virginia Tech is appealing the $55,000 it was fined by the federal government for failing to provide a timely warning about a shooter on the loose in 2007, the Virginia attorney general said Wednesday… "The main purpose of the appeal is to compel the DOE (Department of Education) to treat Virginia Tech fairly and to apply a very poorly defined and subjectively applied federal law consistently and correctly," Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli said in a statement
Washington Post: Checklist could spot children with autism earlier
Pediatricians could diagnose children with autism earlier by asking parents to fill out a simple, five-minute checklist when they take their babies in for their first-year checkups, according to research released Thursday. The federally funded study involving more than 10,000 infants found that the questionnaire appeared to identify about half of children who eventually would be diagnosed with the brain disorder.
CNN: Apple blames iPhone tracking file on 'bug'
After a week of silence, Apple on Wednesday responded to widespread complaints about iPhones and iPads tracking their users' whereabouts by saying "the iPhone is not logging your location" and announcing an upcoming mobile software update.
CNN: U.S. astronauts not sure where they go next
As the space shuttle program winds down with the last launch scheduled this summer, many in the astronaut corps are wrestling with what to do next. For the foreseeable future, Russian rockets will be the only way for U.S. astronauts to get to space.
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CNN: Rival Fatah, Hamas movements reach unity deal
The politically divided Palestinian territories took a major step toward reconciliation Wednesday when the rival movements of Hamas and Fatah announced a deal to form a unity government, officials from both groups said.
CNN: Misrata: Front and center in Libyan battle
CNN traveled to the city of Misrata, the brutal front line in the fight for control of Libya, to see the results of the battle between Gadhafi loyalists and rebels firsthand.
New York Times: A Syrian Beacon Pays Price for Its Dissent
In the besieged city of Dara’a, which has become a symbol of Syria’s uprising, residents on Wednesday told of shortages of bread and even baby formula. Some stick a pole wrapped in a scarf out the door to see whether snipers are lurking. Doctors in a mosque have resorted to using sewing needles to stitch wounds, amid shortages of bandages and disinfectant.
Los Angeles Times: Mexico: Mass grave toll climbs; government defends itself
The number of bodies pulled from two sets of clandestine graves - one in the border state of Tamaulipas and the other in Durango state to the southwest - is climbing toward 300 as violence in Mexico takes an often mind-numbing toll. In a meeting with the media - in which questions were not allowed - federal Atty. Gen. Marisela Morales on Tuesday upped the toll around the Tamaulipas city of San Fernando to 183. Separately, officials in Durango said the corpses there total 96 as of Wednesday.
CNN: Mexico's drug policy not a 'war,' security spokesman says
A top Mexican official says Mexico's drug policy is not a "war" against drug cartels, but a comprehensive strategy of the federal government to dismantle criminal organizations while at the same time strengthening institutions.
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CNNMoney: Bond yields up on Bernanke's inflation concerns
U.S. Treasury prices declined Wednesday, following growing investor concerns about inflation stemming from an updated 2011 economic outlook from the Federal Reserve and comments from the bank's chairman Ben Bernanke.
CNNMoney: Wal-Mart: Our shoppers are 'running out of money'
Wal-Mart's core shoppers are running out of money much faster than a year ago due to rising gasoline prices, and the retail giant is worried, CEO Mike Duke said Wednesday. "We're seeing core consumers under a lot of pressure," Duke said at an event in New York. "There's no doubt that rising fuel prices are having an impact."
Financial Times: Japanese production suffers record fall
Japanese factory output suffered a record decline in March as the devastating tsunami crippled supply chains across the world's third-largest economy. The government said production plummeted 15.3 per cent in March from February, the biggest decline since records began in 1953, and worse than analysts had expected.
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