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 believes a significant deficit deal is possible this year
President Barack Obama believes "a significant deal" on deficit reduction remains possible this year so long as Republicans are willing to accept that no one will get everything they want in the negotiations, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Monday. Obama met with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, in the morning and later talked for an hour with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, to keep the negotiations going on a possible deficit reduction deal.
USA Today: Democrats pitch DREAM Act as needed economic patch
The last time the Obama administration made a hard push to legalize some of the children of illegal immigrants, officials focused on some of the inspirational and sympathetic stories of honor students who could gain legal status through the DREAM Act. As Democrats renew their push for that act in a Senate hearing Tuesday, the sales pitch will also focus on how those children can help the nation's foundering economy.
CNN: California ban on sale of 'violent' video games to children rejected
The Supreme Court has struck down a California law that would have banned selling "violent" video games to children, a case balancing free speech rights with consumer protection. "As a means of assisting concerned parents it (the law) is seriously overinclusive because it abridges the First Amendment rights of young people whose parents (and aunts and uncles) think violent video games are a harmless pastime," wrote Justice Antonin Scalia for the majority.
CNN: Pawlenty: Obama has 'failed' in the Middle East
In what his campaign is billing as a major foreign policy address Tuesday in New York, Republican presidential candidate Tim Pawlenty will accuse the Obama administration of dithering on Iran and failing to pursue American interests during the so-called "Arab Spring." President Barack Obama "has failed to formulate and carry out an effective and coherent strategy in response" to popular uprisings across the Middle East, Pawlenty plans to tell an audience at the Council on Foreign Relations, according to excerpts provided to CNN by his campaign.
CNN: Giffords makes public appearance with husband
U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords made a public appearance Monday evening in Houston with her astronaut husband at a NASA function, a spokesman said. The Arizona congresswoman appeared alongside Mark Kelly, who received a Spaceflight Medal during an awards ceremony at Space Center Houston.
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CNN: Judge blocks key parts of Georgia immigration law
A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction Monday temporarily blocking key provisions of a new Georgia law that aims to crack down on illegal immigration, while allowing other parts of the law to move forward. … "The apparent legislative intent is to create such a climate of hostility, fear, mistrust and insecurity that all illegal aliens will leave Georgia," [U.S. District Judge Thomas Thrash Jr.] wrote.
CNN: Blagojevich convicted on corruption charges
Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich was convicted Monday on 17 of the 20 public corruption charges against him related to his attempt to sell the U.S. Senate seat held by Barack Obama before he resigned to become president. …He was found guilty of all 10 counts involving wire fraud - each of which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. The other 10 involved extortion and bribery. Most of the counts have a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison.
CNNMoney: California budget deal reached
Conceding defeat on his tax extension proposal, California Governor Jerry Brown unveiled a budget Monday that imposes deep spending cuts. The plan, cobbled together with Democratic legislative leaders, calls for cuts of $650 million to the state's universities, as well as hundreds of millions of dollars of cuts to the judiciary, Brown said in a press conference.
CNN: NRC chairman tours Nebraska nuclear plants
A top manager at one of Nebraska's two nuclear power plants says he's "100 percent confident" the facility's countermeasures will keep the overflowing Missouri River from damaging critical gear and causing a hazard to the public. The Cooper Nuclear Power Station, about 80 miles south of Omaha, is still in operation and several feet above the swollen waterway. Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko toured the plant Monday, along with a plant north of Omaha that is already surrounded by floodwaters.
CNN: Wildfire closes Los Alamos National Laboratory for another day
A raging wildfire near the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico will keep the facility closed for a second day on Tuesday as firefighters battle brisk winds and warm temperatures, authorities said. "No other fires are currently burning on Lab property, no facilities face immediate threat, and all nuclear and hazardous materials are accounted for and protected," a statement from the lab said.
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CNN: Syrian dissidents allowed to meet in Damascus
Syria's embattled government allowed about 200 activists and intellectuals, including some it had previously jailed, to hold a conference on democratic reform Monday at a Damascus hotel. …But some of those who have been risking arrest or bodily harm as President Bashar al-Assad tries to suppress a wave of anti-government protests say the people in the hotel don't necessarily speak for them.
CNN: International Criminal Court issues arrest warrant for Gadhafi
The International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants Monday for Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and two of his relatives. …The warrants are "for crimes against humanity," including murder and persecution, "allegedly committed across Libya" from February 15 through "at least" February 28, "through the state apparatus and security forces," the court said in a news release.
CNN: IMF considers Lagarde, Carstens for top job
The International Monetary Fund could name a new managing director as early as Tuesday, choosing between contenders French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde and Mexican Central Bank chief Agustin Carstens. The candidates would fill the post that Dominique Strauss Kahn previously held but resigned from in the wake of charges relating to the alleged sexual assault of a hotel maid in New York.
CNN: Greek unions kick off 48-hour strike to protest planned cuts
City buses vanished from the streets of Athens and traffic was light Tuesday, as Greeks stayed home from work, kicking off a 48-hour general strike against anticipated austerity measures. Groups of protestors gathered in central Athens ahead of a march to the Greek parliament, which is set to vote on a tough five-year package of tax increases and spending cuts on Wednesday.
CNN: Chavez allies dismiss reports of cancer
A close ally of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez denied media reports that the South American leader has prostate cancer. "I would be the first to tell the country," said Rep. Fernando Soto Rojas, head of the National Assembly and a member of Chavez's United Socialist Party of Venezuela. Speculation has surged in media reports and online posts since officials announced that doctors in Cuba performed emergency surgery on Chavez to treat a pelvic abscess more than two weeks ago.
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CNNMoney: GSV investment values Facebook at $70 billion
Facebook mania sent GSV Capital's stock up more than 40% on Monday, after the fund announced that it had purchased a tiny stake in Facebook. … The Woodside, Calif., company said in a press release early Monday that it had acquired 225,000 Facebook shares at $29.28 each.
Bloomberg: Sprint’s Hesse Launches ’Nukes’ in 18-State Push to Stop AT&T
Dan Hesse’s White Room is closely guarded even within Sprint Nextel Corp. The chief executive officer carries the only key and draws black curtains over his scribblings before leaving. This is where Hesse retreats to map out “nukes” in red, blue and green ink, lately his tactics for stopping AT&T Inc.’s proposed takeover of T-Mobile USA. “Clearly, purely, we want to win and block the merger,” said Hesse, during an interview at the company’s Overland Park, Kansas headquarters. “This one poses real risks.”
USA Today: Target CEO talks prices, products and plans
What slowing economy? In this exclusive interview, Target CEO Gregg Steinhafel shows it's almost full-speed-ahead for the chain, in contrast to the jitters at many other retailers. He's presiding over the company's record number of remodeled locations this year (about 400), the opening of smaller urban stores, plans for an expansion into Canada and an overhaul of its website, which will soon operate independently of Amazon.
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