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: Obama to mark bin Laden's death at ground zero
Obama's visit will include a wreath-laying ceremony, the White House said. He does not plan to deliver a speech. He will also visit Engine Company 54, which lost 15 firefighters in the terror attacks on September 11, 2001. Former President George W. Bush will not appear alongside his successor. …"He appreciated the invite, but has chosen in his post-presidency to remain largely out of the spotlight," spokesman David Sherzer said in a statement.
CNN: Senators misled by likely fake bin Laden photos
Several senators said Wednesday they had seen a photograph of Osama bin Laden after he was shot, describing it to reporters and using it to help form their opinion on whether or not President Obama should release pictures of the dead terrorist. Now … those senators say they cannot be sure whether what they saw and talked to reporters about was real.
Army Times: Mission helo was secret stealth Black Hawk
The helicopters that flew the Navy SEALs on the mission to kill Osama bin Laden were a radar-evading variant of the special operations MH-60 Black Hawk, according to a retired special operations aviator.
Washington Post: Budget talks: Republicans offer to seek common ground with Democrats
On the eve of debt-reduction talks led by Vice President Biden, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.) said Republicans remain convinced that reining in federal retirement programs is the key to stabilizing the nation’s finances over the long term. But he said Republicans recognize they may need to look elsewhere to achieve consensus after President Obama “excoriated us” for a proposal to privatize Medicare.
CNN: CNN Poll: Half favor Obama on budget but majority oppose raising debt ceiling
Half of the people questioned in the poll say they prefer Obama's approach to the budget over the proposals from congressional Republicans, with 42% saying they prefer the GOP approach. "That's a switch from March, a when a plurality favored the Republicans," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "The numbers are virtually the same on Medicare, with 49% saying they prefer the president's approach compared to four in 10 who favor the GOP proposals on Medicare."
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CNN: Impact of record storms still being measured
"It will take us several weeks to get accurate numbers on property losses," said Yasamine R. August, a spokeswoman for Alabama Emergency Management. "Entire communities are gone." At least 178 tornadoes were part of the weather that raked the region April 27-28, making it the largest recorded tornado outbreak in U.S. history, the National Weather Service said Wednesday.
CNN: Texas Gov. Rick Perry's request denied
Perry requested a declaration from the president in mid-April to clear the way for federal funding and assist in state efforts to fight wildfires that have burned over 2.2 million acres of land. "I am dismayed that this administration has denied Texans the much needed assistance they deserve," Perry said, in a statement. "It is not only the obligation of the federal government, but its responsibility under law to help its citizens in times of emergency."
CNNMoney: Tax hikes on the way for Connecticut residents
Governor Dannel Malloy on Wednesday signed a $40.1 billion budget that raises taxes on sales, income, cigarettes and corporations. The two-year plan, which also cuts spending, depends on state employees agreeing to $2 billion in concessions between now and 2013. The governor said he could send out more than 4,000 layoff notices to the state's roughly 50,000 workers soon if a deal isn't reached.
Los Angeles Times: California has $2 billion in unexpected tax revenue
State officials are reporting an unexpected $2-billion surge in tax receipts that will help lawmakers close the remaining $15-billion budget deficit, and the Capitol is humming with hope that more is coming. But the windfall could complicate Gov. Jerry Brown's push for tax increases, which he says are needed for California's longer-term financial health.
Boston Globe: Anguished mother rips daughter’s tormenter
The mother of Phoebe Prince, the 15-year-old Irish immigrant who killed herself after being bullied by other students at her high school, condemned one of her daughter’s admitted tormenters in a searing courtroom scene yesterday, saying his relationship with the young girl was “predatory’’ and that his betrayal broke her spirit.
CNN: After hacks, Sony finds traces of Anonymous group
During the investigations, which have gone on for two weeks so far with many online networks offline, Sony discovered a file on its system named Anonymous that contained the group's sort of catchphrase, "We are Legion," wrote Kazuo Hirai, the Sony Computer Entertainment president and America division chairman in a letter to the U.S. Congress.
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CNN: Arrests reported to continue in Syria; rights group warns of torture
Syrian security forces arrested two people outside of the University of Damascus Wednesday as student demonstrators rallied for the release of political detainees, eyewitnesses told CNN. Army convoys and tanks rolled into the capital city, setting up what eyewitnesses described as a base in the central square.
CNN: Workers enter crippled nuclear reactor building
The workers went into the No. 1 reactor building shortly before noon to install air ducts for a ventilation system that will filter the air to reduce radioactive substances. Once the radioactive contamination in the air is reduced, workers will be able stay in the building longer to install a cooling system that TEPCO wants to use to do a cold shut down of the reactor.
CNN: Chilean experts to assist Mexican mine rescue team
Experts from Chile who helped rescue miners there in October were expected to arrive in northern Mexico Thursday, where nine workers remained trapped in a mine after an explosion, Mexico's foreign ministry said. … A blast Tuesday morning at the mine just outside Sabinas, Mexico, left 14 workers trapped inside. Search teams pulled out five bodies late Tuesday and early Wednesday, Mexico's labor secretary said in posts on his Twitter account.
New York Times: China Creates New Agency for Patrolling the Internet
China’s State Council Information Office said it was transferring its own staff of Internet regulators to the new agency, which would operate under its jurisdiction. Among many other duties, the agency will direct “online content management;” supervise online gaming, video and publications; promote major news Web sites; and oversee online government propaganda. The agency will also have authority to investigate and punish violators of online content rules, and it will oversee the huge telecommunications companies that provide access for Internet users and content providers alike.
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CNNMoney: Gasoline demand drops as price rises
Gasoline demand fell to 8.943 million barrels per day from 9.148 million a week ago, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. That suggests Americans are adjusting their consumption habits as prices shoot through the roof.
CNNMoney: GM recalls more than 150,000 Chevrolet Cruzes
General Motors has recalled 154,112 Chevrolet Cruze models in North America to inspect for proper installation of the steering wheel, the automaker said late Wednesday. …According to GM, there were no crashes or injuries associated with the recall.
CNNMoney: Banks' wrath: High ATM fees! 30% APRs! Vanishing rewards!
If you're a bank customer, you could soon be facing higher ATM fees, a $50 spending limit on your debit card, or a 30% late payment penalty on your credit card. And those debit rewards you've been enjoying? Say goodbye to those. …[C]onsumers are quickly becoming collateral damage in the "swipe fee war" raging between the banks and the Federal Reserve.
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