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 rejects controversy over his stance on Middle East peace talks
In his first speech as president to the main American-Israeli advocacy group, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Obama sought to reassure the vital U.S. Jewish lobby of his administration's commitment to Israel's security while also making clear his desire to kick-start the stalled Israeli-Palestinian peace talks at a time when the entire Middle East landscape is changing amid the so-called Arab Spring demonstrations.
The Guardian: Barack Obama agrees to form joint national security body with UK
Barack Obama will announce during his first state visit to Britain this week that the White House is to open up its highly secretive national security council to Downing Street in a move that appears to show the US still values the transatlantic "special relationship". A joint National Security Strategy Board will be established to ensure that senior officials on both sides of the Atlantic confront long-term challenges rather than just hold emergency talks from the "situation room" in the White House and the Cobra room in the Cabinet Office.
Wall Street Journal: Spy, Military Ties Aided bin Laden Raid
In January, the chief of the military's elite special-operations troops accepted an unusual invitation to visit Central Intelligence Agency headquarters. There, Adm. William McRaven was shown, for the first time, photos and maps indicating the whereabouts of the world's most wanted man. A Wall Street Journal reconstruction of the mission planning shows that this meeting helped define a profound new strategy in the U.S. war on terror, namely the use of secret, unilateral missions powered by a militarized spy operation.
CNN: Pawlenty launches video promising to 'try something different'
On the eve of his formal presidential campaign kickoff, Tim Pawlenty pre-announced his candidacy in a video promising to "try something different. I could just tell you the truth." It was no secret that Pawlenty was making the announcement Monday in an event in Des Moines. But Pawlenty pre-empted his own moment with the video released late Sunday on his website and on social media, declaring, "I'm Tim Pawlenty and I'm running for president of the United States."
CNN: 2012ers hit the road
While the presidential waiting game continues, potential and declared 2012 GOP candidates are off on various travels this week, mostly in presidential-contest states.
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CNN: Tornado decimates Missouri city; number of deaths expected to rise
Residents in Joplin, Missouri, braced for news of fatalities Monday after a vicious tornado flattened buildings, tossed cars and hurled debris up to 70 miles away. "I would say 75% of the town is virtually gone," said Kathy Dennis of the American Red Cross. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon activated the Missouri National Guard and stressed urgency in rescuing survivors after the Sunday evening twister.
CNN: Imams accused of aiding Pakistani Taliban to appear in Florida court
Two Florida imams - a father and a son - face a federal judge in Miami on Monday on charges of funneling money to the Taliban in Pakistan. …The defendants are among a half-dozen indicted co-conspirators who, according to court documents, are accused of sending more than $50,000 to the Taliban.
Health.com: CDC: Autism, ADHD rates on the rise
The proportion of children and teens in the U.S. who have a developmental disability such as autism has increased 17% since the late 1990s, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. …This upward trend has been driven largely by surges in the number of children found to have autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, although the prevalence of stuttering and learning disabilities has also increased.
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CNN: Gulf states freeze Yemen deal as Saleh hangs on
Persian Gulf states have suspended efforts to ease embattled Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh from office after the president once again balked at signing a deal with opposition leaders, the group announced early Monday. The decision came after an emergency meeting of Gulf Cooperation Council foreign ministers, which convened late Sunday in the Saudi capital Riyadh. In a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency, the ministers said they were dropping the deal "for lack of appropriate circumstances for agreement."
CNN: EU foreign policy chief opens office in Libya's rebel-held Benghazi
The European Union's foreign policy chief is expected Monday to detail meetings with Libya's rebel leaders, a day after opening an office in the rebel stronghold of Benghazi in what is its clearest message that it recognizes Libyan opposition to Moammar Gadhafi's rule.
CNN: Gun battle rages on at Pakistan naval base
A gun battle between security forces and Taliban militants raged on Monday morning inside a naval base in Pakistan - more than 10 hours after attackers with guns and grenades stormed the compound in the coastal city of Karachi. At least four naval officials were killed and seven others wounded in the fighting on the grounds of the Mehran base, said Pakistani navy spokesman Irfan Ul Haq.
Financial Times: Pakistan turns to China for naval base
Pakistan has asked China to build a naval base at its south-western port of Gwadar and expects the Chinese navy to maintain a regular presence there, a plan likely to alarm both India and the US. “We have asked our Chinese brothers to please build a naval base at Gwadar,” Chaudhary Ahmed Mukhtar, Pakistan’s defence minister, told the Financial Times, confirming that the request was conveyed to China during a visit last week by Yusuf Raza Gilani, Pakistan’s prime minister.
CNN: Conservatives make some key wins in Spanish elections
Spain's opposition conservatives were heading to victory Sunday over the ruling Socialists in local and regional elections, with 84% of the vote counted, according to official results. …The elections came after a campaign overshadowed by week-long protests in Madrid and other cities over the nation's deep economic crisis.
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Washington Post: Justice Department, SEC investigations often rely on companies’ internal probes
As the U.S. government steps up investigations of companies suspected of paying bribes overseas, law enforcement officials are leaving much of the detective work to the very corporations under suspicion. The probes are so costly and wide-ranging that the Justice Department and Securities and Exchange Commission often let the companies investigate themselves and then share the results.
Wall Street Journal: VW Chops Labor Costs in U.S.
Volkswagen AG on Tuesday will celebrate the opening of a new Tennessee auto plant that gives the German auto maker much lower U.S. labor costs than not only its Detroit rivals but its Japanese competitors on American soil. The new plant will present a stiff challenge for Detroit auto makers, which restructured with the goal of achieving cost parity with Japanese companies building cars in the U.S.
New York Times: Talk Show Ends, and Oprah Moves On
Television stations are bracing for an afternoon ratings slump without [Oprah Winfrey]. Publishers and publicists are contemplating what the next best show for promoting their products will be. And Ms. Winfrey’s viewers are looking for something else to watch — and many of them are wondering where to find OWN, her five-month-old cable channel, where she will host a new show on a less demanding schedule next year.
In Case You Missed It…
The Irish village of Moneygall has been thrust into the spotlight after genealogists reveal Barack Obama has roots there. Brianna Keilar reports.