POLITICAL HOT TOPICS: Tuesday, June 21, 2011
June 21st, 2011
04:16 AM ET
1 year ago

POLITICAL HOT TOPICS: Tuesday, June 21, 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 speak on Afghanistan troop withdrawal this week
President Barack Obama will give a speech on the Afghanistan troop drawdown on Wednesday, a senior administration official said Monday. The news came hours after White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters that Obama had yet to make a final decision on the size and scope of the troop withdrawal, but would do so "soon."

CNN: White House: Internal legal opinions on war powers decision varied
GOP legislators return Tuesday from a long weekend in their districts and might vote this week on measures to restrict funding for the Libya mission to protest what some say is President Barack Obama's violation of the war powers law. Obama is in a standoff with House Speaker John Boehner over the issue.

Washington Post: White House, lawmakers speed up debt-reduction talks
The White House and congressional leaders are accelerating negotiations over the biggest debt-reduction package in at least two decades amid mounting concern that the effort is running out of time. Over the next six weeks, negotiators must strike a bipartisan compromise to slice more than $2 trillion from the federal budget by 2021, reduce the complex plan to writing and persuade a bitterly divided Congress to support it. But one or both chambers is due to be on break for three of those weeks.

CNN: Supreme Court rules for Wal-Mart in massive job discrimination lawsuit
The Supreme Court put the brakes on a massive job discrimination lawsuit against mega-retailer Wal-Mart Stores Inc., saying the plaintiffs had not shown justification for sweeping class-action status that could have potentially involved hundreds of thousands of current and former female workers. The 5-4 ruling Monday - which addressed the claims in the lawsuit only in terms of whether they supported such a huge class action - was a big victory for the nation's largest private employer, and the business community at large.

CNN: Bipartisan resume, non-traditional stands a concern for Huntsman
He's a motorcycle-riding Mormon who speaks fluent Mandarin, a soft-spoken father of seven with eclectic political connections. Jon Huntsman is a former two-term Republican Utah governor and former ambassador to China for President Barack Obama, whom he once described as a remarkable leader. Therein lies a primary problem - as in campaigning during the primaries.

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

CNN: Talks to continue in New York Senate over same-sex marriage bill
The New York Senate failed to bring to the floor a bill that would legalize same-sex marriage Monday, but talks will continue Tuesday, according to a spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos. Monday was technically the last official day of the legislative session, but votes are still pending on two other major pieces of legislation, one dealing with rent control in New York City and one on a property tax cap for the whole state. …The bill, if approved, could pave the way for New York to become the nation's sixth state to legalize same-sex marriage.

CNN: California lawyer sues State Dept. over revoked green card lottery
California immigration lawyer has sued the State Department after the agency tossed out the results of a green card lottery, shattering the dreams of applicants notified that they had won a chance to live in the U.S. legally. The so-called diversity visa lottery allows foreigners to submit applications on the State Department website every year.

CNN: Arizona evacuees return home as crews contain wildfire
Nearly two weeks after the biggest wildfire in Arizona history swept through their community and obliterated dozens of homes, barns, sheds and one truck, residents of the tiny town of Greer are back in their homes. Greer residents were ordered to evacuate on June 6, two days before the Wallow Fire blew through their town of about 200 inhabitants and scorched at least 22 homes and 24 outbuildings. Residents with proper identification were allowed to return Monday.

CNN: ATF acting director may resign over Fast and Furious program
Kenneth Melson, acting director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, is expected to resign under pressure, perhaps in the next day or two, in the wake of the controversy over Operation Fast and Furious, two senior federal law enforcement sources said Monday. In the operation, straw buyers were allowed to purchase illegally large numbers of weapons, some of which ended up in the hands of cartels in Mexico.

CNN: Nation's mayors pass resolution to 'bring U.S. war dollars home'
Acknowledging it is out of the ordinary for city mayors to take a stand on military policy, the U.S. Conference of Mayors passed a resolution Monday calling for an early end to the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. "This is not a war resolution," said the newly elected president of the group, Democratic Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. "What we wanted to make clear," he told reporters afterward, is that "the best way to support and honor those troops is to give them a job when they come back home."

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

CNN: Syrian president's promises met with skepticism abroad
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad offered vague promises of reform and clear threats against protesters Monday, as he addressed his nation and the rest of the world, whose leaders called for swift changes, some saying he had passed the point of no return. …The Syrian leader said he was "working on getting the military back to their barracks as soon as possible" but also warned the government would "work on tracking down everyone who shed blood or plotted in shedding the blood of the Syrian people, and we will hold them accountable."

CNN: Sudanese troops to withdraw from disputed region under deal
Representatives of Sudan and Southern Sudan have signed an agreement calling for the immediate withdrawal of Sudanese troops from the disputed Abyei region. The agreement, signed in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, also calls for the deployment of a brigade of that country's troops to serve as peacekeepers.

CNN: Flight recorders found in Russian plane crash that kills 44
Investigators recovered the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder from the wreckage of a Russian jetliner Tuesday that crashed in the country's northwest, killing 44 people and injuring 8 others, the Emergency Situations Ministry said. The dead included 36 Russians, four people with joint U.S.-Russian citizenship, a Swede, a Dutchman and two Ukrainians, according to the ministry.

CNN: 175 killed from China floods; more than 1.6 million evacuated
At least 175 people have died from flooding this month in southern and eastern China, the country's Ministry of Civil Affairs said Monday. Another 86 people are missing from the flooding that began with rainfall on June 3. The ministry said 13 provinces have been affected, more than 1.6 million people have been evacuated, and the direct economic losses has reached 35.02 billion yuan ($5.4 billion).

Los Angeles Times: Mexican journalist, family slain
A newspaper columnist known for writing about corruption and drug violence was slain early Monday – along with his wife and son – by gunmen who broke into the family home as they slept. Miguel Angel Lopez Velasco was shot to death in the port city of Veracruz, the latest of nearly 70 Mexican journalists slain since 2000 and the second to be killed in Veracruz this year. The press in Mexico has increasingly become a target of warring drug cartel factions and corrupt local governments.

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

CNN: FCC moves to fight mystery fees on your phone bill
"Cramming," the illegal practice of fraudulent phone bill charges, has been around for decades. But with the exploding growth of cell phones, it's gotten worse. On Monday, the FCC announced that it will propose new rules to increase phone bill transparency and disclosure in an effort to combat cramming.

Wall Street Journal: Feds Sue Bankers Over Fall in Bonds
Federal regulators accused J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. and Royal Bank of Scotland Group PLC of duping five large credit unions into buying more than $3 billion in mortgage bonds that were "destined to perform poorly," and that quickly sank the credit unions. The two civil lawsuits filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Kansas City, Kan., by the National Credit Union Administration are the most aggressive move yet by U.S. regulators to recover losses from Wall Street firms for alleged wrongdoing before and during the financial crisis.

CNNMoney: Stocks rise as investors grapple with Greece
U.S. stocks managed decent gains Monday, even as investors remained cautious about Greece's debt crisis. After slipping about 0.3% in the opening minutes, the major indexes turned higher, with the Dow Jones industrial average closing up 76 points, or 0.6%. …The gains were limited as investors grappled with the latest news on the Greek debt crisis. European finance ministers said Monday that the country won't receive fresh loans until mid-July.

In Case You Missed It…
CNN's Diana Magnay looks at one of Greece's lucrative assets, the port, and it's impact on workers.
http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/world/2011/06/21/magnay.greece.fire.sale.cnn


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