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: Alaska governor's office to release Palin e-mails
More than 24,000 pages of e-mails relating to Sarah Palin's term as governor are scheduled to be released Friday by the state of Alaska to CNN and other news organizations. …Among the material that will be made public are Palin's e-mails dealing with state business - using both her official account as well as private accounts, according to Linda Perez, the administrative director for current Gov. Sean Parnell.
CNN: Gingrich top aides abandon campaign
At least seven members of Newt Gingrich's senior campaign staff resigned Thursday, sources told CNN, but the Republican presidential candidate pledged he would start his campaign "anew." In addition, one of his national campaign co-chairs defected Thursday to former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty's presidential campaign, according to a Pawlenty campaign release. Former Gov. Sonny Perdue of Gingrich's home state of Georgia moved over to the competing campaign.
CNN: Romney to sit out Ames Straw Poll
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney is seeking the GOP nomination for president in 2012 but has opted out of the critical Iowa straw poll held in Ames. …Iowa GOP Chairman Matt Strawn responded to Romney's announcement in a written statement. "I'll leave it to the pundits and voters to assess the wisdom of skipping an event of tremendous importance to tens of thousands of Iowa Republicans and caucusgoers," he said.
CNN: Weiner says his wife wants him to stay in Congress, source says
Rep. Anthony Weiner has said he has no plans to resign over a "sexting" scandal, and that his wife wants him to stay in Congress, a Democratic source told CNN Thursday. Weiner made the remarks to a House Democratic colleague from New York on Wednesday afternoon, rejecting growing calls from fellow legislators - including key Democrats - for him to step down, said the source, who was familiar with the conversation.
New York Times: Ex-N.S.A. Aide Gains Plea Deal in Leak Case; Setback to U.S.
A former spy agency employee agreed late Thursday to plead guilty to a minor charge in a highly publicized leak prosecution, undercutting the Obama administration’s unusual campaign to prosecute government officials who disclose classified information to the press. The National Security Agency official, Thomas A. Drake, had faced a possible 35 years in prison if convicted on felony charges under the Espionage Act. Instead, he agreed to admit to a misdemeanor of misusing the agency’s computer system by providing “official N.S.A. information” to an unauthorized person, a reporter for The Baltimore Sun.
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CNN: Crews may get a break from winds as Arizona blaze rages on
Crews battling one of the worst wildfires in Arizona could get their biggest break yet Friday when the high winds driving the flames are expected to weaken. The blaze has scorched an area bigger than Los Angeles, sending thousands fleeing. Firefighters battling the so-called Wallow Fire gained ground Thursday for the first time since the blaze broke out in late May. They also confirmed that 29 houses have been destroyed.
CNN: Alabama governor signs tough new immigration law
Alabama's governor has signed what he billed as tough illegal immigration legislation, requiring police to check the status of anyone they suspect may be in the country illegally when stopped for another reason. The bill, due to take effect on September 1, was signed into law by Republican Gov. Robert Bentley on Thursday. …Civil rights groups and the Mexican government have been quick to condemn the move.
CNN: Chicago man convicted in Denmark plot, acquitted in Mumbai plot
Jurors found Chicago businessman Tahawwur Hussain Rana guilty on two counts of aiding a terrorist organization, but acquitted him on a charge connecting him to the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks in India. Rana was convicted on one count of conspiracy to provide material support in a planned attack against a newspaper in Denmark. He also was found guilty of providing material support to the Pakistan-based militant group Lashkar-e-Tayyiba.
CNN: Official: Mexican cartels use money, sex to bribe U.S. border agents
Mexican drug cartels have used cash and sexual favors as tools to corrupt U.S. border and customs agents, an inspector general investigation has found. In exchange, agents allow contraband or unauthorized immigrants through inspection lanes, protect or escort traffickers or leak sensitive information, said Charles Edwards, acting inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security. Testifying before a Senate subcommittee, Edwards cited the Zetas drug cartel as one of the leaders "involved increasingly in systematic corruption."
CNN: Jury set to begin deliberations in retrial of ex-governor Blagojevich
Federal jurors at the retrial of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich will begin deliberations Friday in the corruption case against him. Charges against Blagojevich include trying to peddle the U.S. Senate seat that belonged to Barack Obama before he resigned to become president. …The jury will weigh the ex-governor's guilt or innocence on 20 public-corruption-related counts. Jurors will try to do something that others convened last year could not do: reach a decision on all of the charges.
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CNN: NATO official: Gadhafi a legitimate target
A U.N. resolution justifies the targeting of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, a senior NATO military official with operational knowledge of the Libya mission told CNN Thursday. Asked by CNN whether Gadhafi was being targeted, the NATO official declined to give a direct answer. The resolution applies to Gadhafi because, as head of the military, he is part of the control and command structure and therefore a legitimate target, the official said.
Washington Post: Saleh’s relatives retain much power in Yemen
When embattled President Ali Abdullah Saleh abruptly left over the weekend for Saudi Arabia, he handed the reins of government to his vice president. But the real power remains in the hands of those Saleh trusted most to protect his 33-year rule: his eldest son and nephews. The son, Ahmed Ali, has moved into the presidential palace, while Vice President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, the acting head of state, remains in his office and rarely visits the palace, U.S. and Yemeni officials said.
CNN: Another slain Syrian teen allegedly tortured
A second Syrian teenager has been returned to his parents - lifeless, battered and, according to activists, a victim of torture. A video released Thursday by activists includes a woman wailing as a body is unwrapped at the hospital in Daraa. "My son, it's my son," the voice cries out. "This scar here, I swear its my son, I stitched this cut on him when he was little."
CNN: Japan adds four new areas to radiation threats
Four new areas in northern Japan have been added to the list of places affected by radiation originating from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, authorities said Friday. Three of the four are in the Ryozenmachi area, including about 180 households some 50 kilometers from the Fukushima plant, said Takayuki Sato, a Date city official
CNN: French finance minister visits China seeking support for top IMF job
French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde just wrapped up two days in China, her latest stop on her world tour to woo emerging nations to support her candidacy for chief of the International Monetary Fund. Lagarde on Thursday called her visit "very satisfying," before departing China for her next stop, Portugal.
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CNN: What we learned from the E3 Expo
Nintendo showed off a new version of the Wii - called the Wii U. Its controller has a giant screen built into it, enabling "second screen" effects. Microsoft will put live TV on the Xbox. And Sony, which is still dealing with its hacker woes, came out with a new portable gaming system called Vita. But that wasn't all the news from the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, which is seen as the biggest video gaming event of the year. Here's a behind-the-scenes look at a few lessons, big ideas and upcoming video game trends we took away from this massive conference.
Bloomberg: Bankrupt Borders Group Chain Looking to Liquidate Assets at 51 Stores
Borders Group Inc., the bankrupt bookstore chain, seeks court permission to liquidate assets at another 51 stores, even as it negotiates with landlords and lenders to avoid doing so. Closing the stores, including those at New York’s JFK International Airport and Penn Station, will result in a “significant loss of jobs” and may not give the best returns to creditors, Borders said. It plans to try to shorten the list of stores if it can bargain more concessions from landlords.
CNNMoney: Stocks rally after six-session losing streak
Stocks snapped a six-day losing streak on Thursday, with banks, utilities and energy shares leading the advance. The gains offered some welcome relief for Wall Street investors, who have been feeling the heat during the longest losing streak since July 2010. …Still, market sentiment remains pessimistic. The Dow and S&P 500 are still on pace to post their sixth-consecutive weekly loss.
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