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 calls immigration reform critical, blasts GOP opponents
The president's speech was part of his administration's attempt to regain the initiative on a hot-button issue that has largely been ceded to state government leaders in recent months. It took place against a backdrop of intense political maneuvering on the part of both Democrats and Republicans seeking to use the issue to their own advantage in the 2012 election campaign.
POLITICO: Democrats to reintroduce DREAM Act
Senate Democrats will re-introduce the long-stalled DREAM Act, hoping to tap into momentum from President Barack Obama’s speech along the border Tuesday about America’s need to pass comprehensive immigration reform. …Foundering in Congress for a decade, the legislation was passed in the House but came up five votes short of overcoming a Republican filibuster in the Senate during last December’s lame-duck session.
Wall Street Journal: President to Renew Muslim Outreach
Mr. Obama is preparing to deliver that message in a wide-ranging speech, perhaps as early as next week, [senior U.S. officials] say. The president intends to argue that bin Laden's death, paired with popular uprisings sweeping North Africa and the Middle East, signal that the time has come to an end when al Qaeda could claim to speak for Muslim aspirations.
CNN: Sources: Bin Laden leads not producing 'smoking gun kind of stuff'
[A federal law enforcement source] would not specifically describe the intelligence picked up or how it's being pursued. However, the source said there are no active plots that have been uncovered and reiterated that intelligence analyzed from the seizure in Pakistan so far has been of an aspirational nature.
New York Times: Peace Corps Volunteers Speak Out on Rape
Jess Smochek arrived in Bangladesh in 2004 as a 23-year-old Peace Corps volunteer with dreams of teaching English and “helping the world.” She left six weeks later a rape victim after being brutalized in an alley by a knife-wielding gang. When she returned to the United States, the reception she received from Peace Corps officials was as devastating, she said, as the rape itself.
CNN: Gingrich set to announce bid for White House
Gingrich has traveled to key early voting states trying to build a network of support and meeting with fund-raisers. He has assembled a campaign team and told supporters he aims to raise $100 million. During his appearances, he has pushed a wide array of policy proposals as he has begun to lay the foundation of a campaign and prove he is a serious candidate - not just a symbol of the past.
CNN: Navy reverses itself on gay marriages on military bases
The Navy late Tuesday did an abrupt about-face, suspending earlier guidance that could have allowed same-sex marriages on military bases once the Pentagon scraps its present Don't Ask Don't Tell policy. A memorandum from the Chief of Chaplains, Rear Admiral M. L. Tidd, suspended one he issued about a month ago.
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CNN: Bulging Mississippi River heads south as residents watch, wait
The swollen Mississippi River rolled south Wednesday as communities along its delta braced for flooding, and vast farms remained under threat as it left a trail of submerged homes. …As it slowly headed south, flooding concerns turned to Louisiana and Mississippi, where it is expected to rise to levels unseen since 1927.
CNN: New emergency system to alert NYC and DC residents by cell phone
A new emergency alert system that sends notifications to cell phones in the event of a disaster or terrorist attack will be implemented in New York and Washington by the end of this year, officials said. Mobile customers will receive three types of alerts containing 90 characters or less, ranging from presidential alerts to child abduction bulletins. Phone carriers may allow subscribers to block all but presidential alerts, officials said.
Wall Street Journal: Facebook Security Flaw Exposed User Accounts
A security vulnerability on Facebook Inc. for years gave advertisers and other third parties a way to access users' accounts and personal information, according to security firm Symantec Corp. But Facebook said Tuesday it had fixed the problem and found no evidence of the issue resulting in private information being leaked.
Salt Lake Tribune: Federal judge blocks Utah law targeting illegal immigration
Utah’s enforcement-only immigration law was on the books for less than 15 hours before a federal judge blocked it from being enforced Tuesday afternoon during a hearing that took less than an hour. U.S. District Judge Clark Waddoups issued the temporary restraining order after the lawyer for the state couldn’t argue that there wouldn’t be “irreparable harm” to people if the law remained in effect.
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CNN: Japan nuclear crisis under review at 2-month mark
Japan's government and the owner of the damaged Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant are reviewing efforts to wind down the two-month crisis as thousands of nearby residents await word regarding planned evacuations. …Nearly 80,000 people have spent two months away from their homes in the 20-kilometer (12.5-mile) zone around the plant, while tens of thousands more are awaiting orders to evacuate more distant towns where radiation levels are likely to raise the long-term cancer risk.
FRANCE 24: Journalist released from Syrian detention describes harrowing ordeal
On Saturday, [Khaled Sid Mohand,] the freelance journalist who works for a French public radio station and a leading French daily, returned to France after a 23-day detention in a Syrian jail. …“The psychological torture was hearing the screams of all the other detainees,” Mohand told FRANCE 24 on Tuesday. “Any time they would take a detainee from his cell you would hear him scream like hell. Sometimes for 15 minutes, sometimes as long as an hour.”
New York Times: Catching Scent of Revolution, China Moves to Snip Jasmine
Since Tunisian revolutionaries this year anointed their successful revolt against the country’s dictatorial president the “Jasmine Revolution,” this flowering cousin of the olive tree has been branded a nefarious change-agent by the skittish men who keep the Chinese Communist Party in power.
ABC News: Pakistan Hints China Wants a Peek at Secret Helicopter
Pakistani officials said today they're interested in studying the remains of the U.S.'s secret stealth-modified helicopter abandoned during the Navy SEAL raid of Osama bin Laden's compound, and suggested the Chinese are as well. The U.S. has already asked the Pakistanis for the helicopter wreckage back, but one Pakistani official told ABC News the Chinese were also "very interested" in seeing the remains.
Der Spiegel: Pakistan's Effort to Resocialize Former Taliban
For two years, the Taliban terrorized the beautiful Swat Valley in northern Pakistan. Now that Islamabad has regained control, it is trying to resocialize those who supported the Islamist radicals. In "deradicalization" courses, they learn how they can be good Muslims without killing non-believers.
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Financial Times: Geithner hails 'progress' in China talks
The United States and China have claimed success after two days of negotiations ended in a series of deals on U.S. access to the Chinese market and Chinese access to sensitive U.S. technology. …The relatively concrete and specific results of the regular "strategic and economic dialogue" between the world's two largest economies suggest that reduced tension over China's undervalued currency is making progress easier on trade and investment issues.
CNN: Five things Microsoft may do with Skype
Tuesday's announcement that Microsoft has bought Skype is obviously huge business news, but millions of consumers aren't focused on that. Instead, many of the video and chat Web tool's 660 million users are focused less on the economic impact of the $8.5 billion deal and more on what the purchase will mean for their user experience.
CNNMoney: The Twitter bubble
Is Twitter worth $7 billion, as some people claim? Its top investor doesn't think so. Union Square Ventures' Fred Wilson called that valuation estimate "ridiculous" at Startup 2011, Silicon Alley Insider's annual conference. …At the conference, industry insiders transitioned from talk of a tech bubble to talk of Twitter's growing pains. And the message is clear. Everyone's concerned.
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Anderson Cooper pays tribute to Burt Reinhardt, a former CNN executive.