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 to deliver speech on Afghanistan troop pullout
President Barack Obama will deliver a highly anticipated speech Wednesday evening about troop withdrawals from Afghanistan. …On Tuesday, an administration official told CNN that Obama will announce this week that 30,000 U.S. "surge" forces will be fully withdrawn from Afghanistan by the end of 2012. Members of Congress are being informed that 10,000 troops will be withdrawn by the end of this year, followed by another 20,000 next year, a congressional source said.
CNN: GOP reps mull resolutions as Kerry, McCain back Libya campaign
On Tuesday, House Speaker John Boehner proposed two resolutions on the Libya mission that could come up for votes on Thursday. One would be the same as a Senate resolution introduced by bipartisan senators who support the mission, and the other would limit U.S. involvement in the mission to a noncombat role while allowing many of the same functions being performed now by U.S. forces to continue.
CNN: Senate approves Panetta's nomination as defense secretary
The Senate on Tuesday gave final approval to CIA Director Leon Panetta's nomination to become defense secretary when Robert Gates steps down at the end of June. Panetta's approval on a unanimous 100-0 vote was widely expected after the former congressman and Clinton administration official received bipartisan support during his confirmation hearing earlier this month.
Washington Post: Senate budget chairman says $2 trillion not enough
The debt-reduction package emerging in talks between the White House and congressional leaders would not “fundamentally change” the alarming rate of growth in the national debt, the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee said Tuesday. Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) said the goal of slicing more than $2 trillion from the federal budget by 2021 falls far short of the savings needed to stabilize borrowing, reenergize the economy and avert the threat of a debt crisis.
CNN: Huntsman's future may hinge on his past
Jon Huntsman was out to show off his conservative side. Stepping into the 2012 race surrounded by his family, Huntsman announced his presidential campaign in the shadow of the Statue of Liberty, the same spot where Republican icon Ronald Reagan launched his successful 1980 general election run for the White House.
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CNN: Wildfires blaze in 12 states, forcing evacuations, killing 2
As a legion of firefighters battle the stubborn Wallow Fire in east central Arizona and west central New Mexico, colleagues in 10 other U.S. states also have their hands full with dozens more wildfires. The Wallow fire is just one of 53 large uncontained wildfires burning in the United States, from Alaska to Florida, according to the National Interagency Coordination Center. All told, the fires have burned 2,166 square miles or 1.4 million acres - nearly the size of Delaware.
CNN: Feds nab 2,400 in illegal immigrant sting
Federal officials announced Tuesday the arrests of more than 2,400 illegal immigrants in a seven-day crackdown targeting those who are convicted criminals. The operation, called Cross Check, was conducted by U.S. Immigration and Customs officials in May, federal officials said in a press release.
The South Carolina State: Police status checks to become law
A bill to require law enforcement officers to check the immigration status of drivers they pull over or suspect of breaking the law is headed to Gov. Nikki Haley’s desk. The Republican governor will sign the proposal into law, her spokesman said Tuesday. Republicans, including House Speaker Bobby Harrell, R-Charleston, said the bill will make South Carolina safer.
CNNMoney: California lawmakers lose pay until they pass balanced budget
California lawmakers will forfeit their pay until they pass a balanced budget, the state controller said Tuesday. …Lawmakers agreed on a budget that they said met the requirement. But Governor Jerry Brown swiftly vetoed it as unbalanced. Controller John Chiang agreed, saying the vetoed budget committed the state to $89.75 billion in spending, but only provided $87.9 billion in revenues.
CNN: Officers accused of shooting unarmed people to go on trial
A dark chapter in Louisiana's history will be revisited Wednesday as five current and former New Orleans officers go on trial and face charges of covering up shootings of civilians in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. The case involves the infamous shootings on Danziger Bridge and the trial is scheduled to start Wednesday morning in federal court in New Orleans.
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CNN: Greek leader survives confidence vote despite austerity protests
Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou's reshuffled Cabinet survived a vote of confidence early Wednesday despite widespread opposition to budget cuts he says are needed to prevent a government default. International lenders have demanded Greece cut spending, lay off public workers, raise taxes and raise 50 billion euros ($71 billion) through selling off state-owned enterprises in exchange for another bailout deal for the cash-strapped nation.
CNN: Arrest of Pakistani officer revives fears of extremism within military
Brigadier General Ali Khan was close to retiring at the end of a distinguished career in the Pakistani Army when he was detained early in May - and accused of links with an outlawed Islamist group. His arrest, which became public Tuesday, shocked fellow officers at army headquarters and again raises the specter that senior ranks of the Pakistani officer corps may be infiltrated by Islamist militants.
CNN: Mexican authorities: Top cartel leader captured
Federal police captured Jose de Jesus Mendez Vargas, also known as "The Monkey," in an operation in the state of Aguascalientes, Mexico's national security spokesman said. Spokesman Alejandro Poire called Mendez the "principal head" of La Familia Michoacana cartel and said his capture was the federal government's "most overwhelming blow" to the group.
CNN: Yemeni president to return this week, official says
Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh, who is being treated in Saudi Arabia after an attack on his compound, will return to Yemen on Friday, senior adviser Ahmed Al-Soufi told CNN. The ruling GPC party said the president will be received by celebrations, but anti-government demonstrators throughout the country likely would not welcome his return.
CNN: 2 killed in fighting in Syrian city
Clashes erupted between protesters and security forces in Homs, according to the Local Coordination Committee in Syria, a network of activists that promotes and documents demonstrations across the country. They occurred in al-Khalidiya neighborhood, and video said to be from the Homs unrest shows protesters running and throwing rocks and contains sounds of heavy gunfire. CNN cannot independently confirm the information.
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CNNMoney: JPMorgan pays $153 million to settle mortgage case
JPMorgan has agreed to pay $153.6 million to settle charges it misled investors in the sale of a complex mortgage-backed security, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced Tuesday. The charges stem from the 2007 sale of a collateralized debt obligation, or CDO, that JPMorgan Securities marketed to investors without disclosing that a hedge fund involved in the creation of the CDO was betting it would decline in value, according to the SEC.
CNN: Qantas settles with Rolls-Royce
Qantas has reached a settlement with engine-maker Rolls Royce over a 2010 incident that grounded its entire Airbus A380 fleet. Rolls-Royce agreed to compensate the airline in a deal worth US $100 million, Qantas CEO Alan Joyce said at a news conference. The deal was signed Wednesday morning and the terms will be kept confidential, according to Joyce.
CNNMoney: Verizon to end unlimited data option
Verizon Wireless will join competitors AT&T and T-Mobile next month in eliminating the option for customers to consume unlimited data on their mobile phones without paying additional fees. Company spokeswoman Brenda Raney confirmed that Verizon is moving to a "more usage-based model in July" for its smartphone data plans. She characterized the changes as "minor."
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A new baby is born to a Misrata family just hours before a Gadhafi rocket slams into their home. Ben Wedeman reports.
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