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: Weiner resigns after sexting scandal
Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner heeded calls from across the political spectrum by resigning from office Thursday, saying the sexting scandal he first lied about and then admitted caused such a distraction that it was impossible for him to continue his work in Congress.
Washington Post: White House’s Daley seeks balance in outreach meeting with manufacturers
It was supposed to be the White House’s latest make-nice session with corporate America — a visit by Chief of Staff William M. Daley to a meeting with hundreds of manufacturing executives in town to press lawmakers for looser regulations. But the outreach soon turned into a rare public dressing down of the president’s policies with his highest-ranking aide.
CNN: Biden: Debt talks make progress but differences remain
Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday that he and congressional negotiators have done a “first serious scrub” of the entire federal budget but differences remain over big-ticket items that philosophically divide the two parties in their quest for an agreement that would raise the nation’s debt ceiling while putting in place long-term reductions to the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt.
Wall Street Journal: Key Seniors Association Pivots on Benefit Cut
AARP, the powerful lobbying group for older Americans, is dropping its longstanding opposition to cutting Social Security benefits, a move that could rock Washington's debate over how to revamp the nation's entitlement programs. The decision, which AARP hasn't discussed publicly, came after a wrenching debate inside the organization. In 2005, the last time Social Security was debated, AARP led the effort to kill President George W. Bush's plan for partial privatization. AARP now has concluded that change is inevitable, and it wants to be at the table to try to minimize the pain.
CNN: Gingrich fires back, vows to run ‘most positive’ campaign in U.S. history
For better or worse, the Newt of old is back. One week after losing much of his campaign staff over questions about his discipline and work ethic, Gingrich returned to his comfort zone Thursday at the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans. He marked his return with a freewheeling speech that touched on a wide array of subjects, including judicial restraint, estate tax and the Wright brothers.
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CNN: Winds threaten to blow fires across Arizona, New Mexico
Arizona and New Mexico face a heightened risk of fire as strong winds are forecast to sweep through both states Friday, according to the National Weather Service. The relentless winds threaten to spread an 11,600-acre fire in southern Arizona that torched 40 homes and forced the evacuation of hundreds on Thursday.
CNNMoney: Jerry Brown vetoes California budget
California Governor Jerry Brown vetoed Thursday the budget passed by state lawmakers the day before that relied on spending cuts, fund transfers and one-time revenue boosts. …"It continues big deficits for years to come and adds billions of dollars of new debt. It also contains legally questionable maneuvers, costly borrowing and unrealistic savings," he said. "We can - and must - do better."
New York Times: Republicans Urge Cuomo to Alter Same-Sex Marriage Bill
Several Republican senators in New York are urging Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to consider changing his proposed same-sex marriage bill to better protect religious institutions, addressing a concern that has emerged as one of the bill’s chief obstacles as the legislative session comes to an end. …Mr. Cuomo’s handling of the concerns will determine the fate of the measure, the Republicans said, which has been endorsed by 31 of the 62 members of the State Senate and cannot pass unless at least one more Republican lawmaker signs on.
CNN: Nuclear commission: U.S. reactors are safe, but ...
The Nuclear Regulatory Commission told Congress on Thursday that the likelihood of a Fukushimi Daiichi-type event in the United States is "very, very small." However, it said an ongoing study of the Japanese disaster will probably lead to changes to increase safety at the nation's 104 commercial power plants. The commission said, in a nutshell, it expects to require nuclear plants to be prepared for bigger natural disasters, to survive longer power outages and to consider the possibility of simultaneous disasters affecting multiple reactors, as happened in Japan.
CNN: U.S. Catholic bishops revise guidelines against sex abuse
To fight child abuse by priests, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops revised its 2002 charter Thursday, the group said. Child pornography is a crime against church law and the abuse of someone who is mentally disabled is equivalent to child abuse, the conference said in a statement on its revised Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People. The charter was created to battle the sexual abuse of minors by clerics, the conference said.
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CNN: Greek prime minister reshuffles cabinet
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou will reshuffle his cabinet in the midst of a national financial crisis, government spokesperson George Petalotis said Friday. Evangelos Venizelos has been named the new finance minister. He replaces Giorgos Papakonstantinou, who will become the environment minister. Venizelos had been serving as Greece's defence minister. …Papandreou faces opposition from his party over the austerity measures, which are intended to reduce the government deficit in order to secure a second bailout package from institutions including the International Monetary Fund and the European Union.
CNN: Syrian crackdown 'revolting,' State Department spokeswoman says
The State Department's new spokeswoman, Victoria Nuland, lashed out at Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Thursday, calling the Syrian government's repression of its citizens "revolting" and charging that Assad's "repression has only served to pour gasoline on the fire for change." Nuland, however, stopped short of calling on Assad to leave office.
CNN: Analysis: Al-Zawahiri takes al Qaeda's helm when influence is waning
Ayman al-Zawahiri's coronation as the king of al Qaeda came with some anxiety over another major attack and a barrage of questions about the future of the terror network. Since 1998, al-Zawahiri had been Osama bin Laden's personal physician and one of his closest confidants, a steadfast deputy who eulogized his boss after his death last month in Pakistan. But it took this many weeks for an al Qaeda announcement on its new leader, and that suggested to some analysts that there had been head-bashing over who should take the helm.
Washington Post: Afghans prepare to take over security
In this small, sweltering provincial capital in eastern Afghanistan, news usually takes one of two forms: the latest deadly attack by Taliban insurgents or the latest high-profile project of American military teams, who have built roads, bridges and waterworks. Yet many residents say they can hardly wait for U.S. troops to withdraw from Laghman Province, one of seven areas in the country that have been chosen for an early, partly symbolic transition from foreign to Afghan security control beginning next month.
CNN: Mexican authorities nab alleged violent cartel operative
Mexican federal police arrested a drug cartel operative accused of attacking a police station with a car bomb and participating in the killing of a man that was then posted on the Internet, authorities said Thursday. Marco Antonio Guzman Zuniga, nicknamed "Brad Pitt," was identified by police as a leader of La Linea, the Juarez cartel's enforcement arm. He was arrested Wednesday in the city of Chihuahua.
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CNNMoney: RIM shares sink 16% on slashed outlook and layoff plans
BlackBerry maker Research In Motion believes its white knight is coming. But while it waits, the company is drastically lowering its financial outlook and handing out pink slips. Very disappointing sales of BlackBerry smartphones and tablets during the last quarter led RIM to cut its full-year profit expectations by 30%. The Waterloo, Ontario-based company also announced that it will begin a program to "streamline operations," which will include layoffs.
Bloomberg: Capital One Buying ING Direct for $9 Billion
Capital One Financial Corp., the credit-card lender that expanded into branch banking, agreed to buy ING Groep NV’s U.S. online bank for $9 billion to gain deposits and access to 7 million customers. Capital One, this year’s top performer in the KBW Bank Index, will pay $6.2 billion in cash and $2.8 billion in stock, giving ING a 9.9 percent stake, the companies said yesterday. The deal would make McLean, Virginia-based Capital One the sixth-largest U.S. lender by deposits, up from seventh, and marks the nation’s biggest bank takeover since 2008.
USA Today: 2011 Chryslers, Dodges, Jeeps recalled for steering problem
Chrysler is recalling 11 of its 2011 models because a bad rivet could cause the steering wheel to collapse improperly in a collision. The recall covers more than 11,351 of its 2011 Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Caravan minivans, Chrysler 200 and Dodge Caliber and Avenger cars, Jeep Wrangler SUVs and Dodge Journey and Nitro and Jeep Compass, Liberty and Patriot crossovers. It involves vehicles of the 11 models built from mid-April to early May.
In Case You Missed It…
After taking Pres. Obama to task on the economy, a comment from Mitt Romney is under scrutiny. Anderson Cooper reports.