POLITICAL HOT TOPICS: Tuesday, May 17, 2011
May 17th, 2011
04:30 AM ET
3 years ago

POLITICAL HOT TOPICS: Tuesday, May 17, 2011

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.

WASHINGTON/POLITICAL
For the latest political news: http://www.CNNPolitics.com

CNN: Obama to spell out Middle East policy in wake of 'Arab Spring'
President Barack Obama will use a major speech this week on the Middle East to reaffirm basic U.S. principles and policies regarding the region while also toughening his administration's stance against Syria's crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators, administration officials said Monday. The speech Thursday at the State Department also will address the ongoing fight against al Qaeda following the May 2 killing of its leader, Osama bin Laden, as well as the current status of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, said the officials, who spoke on condition of not being identified.

CNN: Kerry: Pakistan to return tail of chopper used in bin Laden raid
Pakistan on Tuesday will return the tail of a U.S. helicopter that was damaged during the raid that killed terror leader Osama bin Laden, a move that is part of a process to improve cooperation between the two nations, Sen. John Kerry said. The helicopter crashed during the raid of the al Qaeda leader's compound on May 1.

Washington Post: U.S. speeds up direct talks with Taliban
The administration has accelerated direct talks with the Taliban, initiated several months ago, that U.S. officials say they hope will enable President Obama to report progress toward a settlement of the Afghanistan war when he announces troop withdrawals in July. A senior Afghan official said a U.S. representative attended at least three meetings in Qatar and Germany, one as recently as “eight or nine days ago,” with a Taliban official considered close to Mohammad Omar, the group’s leader.

Los Angeles Times: Schwarzenegger fathered a child with longtime member of household staff
Former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and his wife, Maria Shriver, separated after she learned he had fathered a child more than a decade ago — before his first run for office — with a longtime member of their household staff. Shriver moved out of the family's Brentwood mansion earlier this year, after Schwarzenegger acknowledged the paternity. The staff member worked for the family for 20 years, retiring in January.

CNN: Gingrich separates himself from GOP on Medicare?
Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich may have appeared to significantly separate himself Sunday from a leading House GOP proposal to institute a voucher program in place of Medicare, but a Gingrich spokesman insists there is actually little difference between the former House Speaker and Republicans on the Hill.

CNN: Romney dials for dollars
Fundraisers working for Mitt Romney rose before dawn Monday to gather throughout the Las Vegas Convention Center hoping to give his run for the 2012 Republican nomination a financial boost. As a result campaign aides announced late Monday a much bigger haul than some donors had predicted: $10.25 million. Approximately 800 participants in the eight hour "Call Day" phoned donors across the country.

Variety: Fred Thompson on Trump: "I Think He Played It Beautifully"
Fred Thompson, who momentarily gave up a TV career to run for president in the last cycle, didn't sound surprised that Donald Trump didn't enter the presidential race. …"I think in his case he is in a more solid position than ever for his show, he got publicity from the campaign, and he probably got a better deal with NBC," Thompson said in an interview with Variety. "I think he played it beautifully."

NATIONAL
For the latest national news: http://www.CNN.com

CNN: Louisiana residents evacuate as spillway fills lowlands
Residents in Louisiana's Atchafalaya River basin packed up treasured possessions and scrambled to build makeshift levees Monday as federal authorities diverted more water their way from the swollen Mississippi. "We just moved in here, and now we're in the process of moving everything out," said Jake Nolan, of the town of Krotz Springs. But he added, "I have no choice. If not, I'm going to lose everything."

CNNMoney: California's $10.8 billion budget battle
California Governor Jerry Brown unveiled a revised budget Monday that calls for a $9.3 billion tax extension, coupled with a $2.6 billion cut in spending. …The governor did not unveil the draconian spending cuts that some observers had thought he would. Instead, he continued to press for an extension of tax hikes currently set to expire. And he still wants voters to have a say on the extension of the levies.

Washington Post: Study: $2 trillion needed for U.S. infrastructure
The United States is falling dramatically behind much of the world in rebuilding and expanding an overloaded and deteriorating transportation network it needs to remain competitive in the global marketplace, according to a new study by the Urban Land Institute. Burdened with soaring deficits and with long-term transportation plans stalled in Congress, the United States has fallen behind three emerging economic competitors — Brazil, China and India, the institute said.

NPR: Supreme Court OKs More Warrantless Searches
The U.S. Supreme Court has made it significantly easier for police to force their way into a home without a warrant. On Monday, the court, by an 8-1 vote, upheld the warrantless search of an apartment after police smelled marijuana and feared that those inside were destroying incriminating evidence. The Constitution bars warrantless searches except in certain circumstances — for example, when police fear that evidence of a crime is being destroyed. The question in this case was whether police, by themselves creating such emergency circumstances, unconstitutionally evade the warrant requirement.

INTERNATIONAL
For the latest international news: http://edition.cnn.com

CNN: IMF chief jailed on Rikers Island, charged with attempted rape
The head of the powerful International Monetary Fund will spend the next few days in an 11-by-13-foot cell at New York's Rikers Island jail complex - a far cry from the $3,000-a-night luxury suite where he allegedly chased a housekeeping employee naked down a hallway and attempted to sexually assault her.

New York Times: Debt Talks Continue, Minus a Key Figure
European finance ministers on Monday pressed ahead with efforts to control the debt crisis, approving a bailout package for Portugal and demanding that Greece start a privatization program before it gets any further help. Still, the absence of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, cast a long shadow over the meeting, depriving ministers of the advice of a powerful and experienced European with a pivotal role on the global financial stage.

CNN: New explosions rattle Tripoli as prosecutor seeks Gadhafi's arrest
Crowds in Tripoli gathered Tuesday morning outside two burning buildings - the aftermath of what the Libyan officials said were NATO airstrikes on government facilities. Spokesman Musa Ibrahim said the buildings housed the ministry of popular inspection and oversight - a government anti-corruption body - and the head of the police force. There were no immediate reports of casualties.

CNN: Guatemalan police search for 'massacre' suspects
Guatemalan authorities were searching for suspects Monday, a day after security forces found 29 workers slain on a farm in a northern border province. …Authorities said they believe the Zetas drug cartel could be responsible for Sunday's killings, state media reported, citing national police director Jaime Otzin.

CNN: Military defuses bomb in Ireland ahead of Queen's historic visit
Irish military defused a bomb Tuesday on a bus headed to Dublin, ahead of a historic visit by Britain's Queen Elizabeth II to the city. The military stopped a private bus in Maynooth, evacuated the passengers and found a "viable device" early Tuesday morning, a spokesman for the Irish national police said. … The British foreign office said the Queen's visit will go ahead as planned.

BBC: Argentina Dirty War officers jailed for mass killing
A court in northern Argentina has sentenced eight former army officers to life imprisonment for killing unarmed civilians during the military rule, known as the Dirty War. Twenty-two people, mostly members of the Montoneros left-wing rebel group, were tortured and killed on 13 December 1976 after surrendering to the army. The group included several women who were raped.

BUSINESS
For the latest business news: http://www.CNNMoney.com

Huffington Post: Confidential Federal Audits Accuse Five Biggest Mortgage Firms Of Defrauding Taxpayers
A set of confidential federal audits accuse the nation’s five largest mortgage companies of defrauding taxpayers in their handling of foreclosures on homes purchased with government-backed loans, four officials briefed on the findings told The Huffington Post. The five separate investigations were conducted by the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s inspector general and examined Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo, Citigroup and Ally Financial, the sources said.

CNNMoney: Stocks end lower after fleeting advance
U.S. stocks ended a choppy session lower Monday as investors remain focused on oil prices and the debt crisis in Europe. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 45 points, according to early tallies. The S&P 500 lost 8 points, or 0.6%, and the Nasdaq Composite declined 45 points, or 1.5%. Stocks opened lower following a dour manufacturing report and weaker-than-expected earnings from home improvement retailer Lowe's (LOW, Fortune 500). After posting gains in the morning, stocks fell anew in the afternoon.

CNNMoney: Google enters the bond market
Google plans to raise cash by selling bonds for the first time in the company's history, the Internet search giant said Monday in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Google plans to raise $3 billion by selling $1 billion each of 3, 5 and 10-year notes. The world's largest search company respectively pegged interest rates at 1.25%, 2.13% and 3.63%.

In Case You Missed It…
Anderson Cooper elects real estate developer Donald Trump to a spot on AC360's RidicuList.
http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/bestoftv/2011/05/17/exp.ac.ridiculist.donald.trump.cnn


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