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, Hill leaders hold 'constructive' debt talks, schedule more
President Barack Obama and congressional leaders from both parties launched a new round of negotiations on a deficit reduction deal Thursday and quickly scheduled a second meeting for Sunday, signaling a shared desire to ensure the federal debt ceiling gets raised to avoid possible default next month.
CNN: Liberals warn Obama against cutting entitlement benefits
Sensing a shift away from their priorities, progressive Democrats and advocacy groups warned Thursday they could turn on President Barack Obama if a deficit-reduction deal reduces benefits in entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare.
CNN: House defeats measure cutting funding for Libya operations
The Republican-controlled House of Representatives narrowly defeated a measure Thursday that would have barred any fiscal year 2012 Pentagon funds from being used to provide U.S. support for the NATO-led military campaign in Libya. The bipartisan amendment, sponsored by Reps. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, and Justin Amash, R-Michigan, lost in a 199-229 vote.
The Hill: Top Obama adviser says unemployment won't be key in 2012
President Obama’s senior political adviser David Plouffe said Wednesday that people won’t vote in 2012 based on the unemployment rate. Plouffe should probably hope that’s the case, since dismal job figures aren’t expected to get any better for Obama and the economy on Friday.
Reuters: Texas Governor Perry likely to run in 2012
Among political insiders in the Texas state capital, one thing is considered certain: Governor Rick Perry will jump into the Republican presidential race in the next few weeks. …Perry's entry in the 2012 race would shake up a field of potential challengers to President Barack Obama that has drawn yawns from Republican activists, potentially elevating him near the top of a pack that also includes conservative rivals Michele Bachmann and Tim Pawlenty.
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CNN: Atlantis gears up for shuttle program's final mission
Atlantis is scheduled to blast off into space Friday for the final mission of NASA's 30-year shuttle program. The launch is set for 11:26 a.m. ET. …The launch time remains unchanged, despite only a 30% chance of favorable weather, according to NASA. The agency decided early Friday to proceed with fueling Atlantis.
CNN: Mexican national executed in Texas
Humberto Leal Garcia Jr., a Mexican national convicted of raping and killing a 16-year-old girl in 1994, was executed by lethal injection Thursday evening in Texas. The case's flurry of legal appeals and pleas for clemency were prompted by an international dispute over the rights of the foreign-born on American death rows. The Supreme Court earlier denied a stay of execution for the convicted killer, despite opposition from the Obama administration and the Mexican government.
CNN: Cheating scandal brings preliminary reforms to Atlanta schools
Atlanta's schools will flag suspicious test scores and achieve a culture of integrity in the wake of a cheating scandal that could lead to criminal charges against some principals and teachers, officials vowed Thursday. Interim Superintendent Erroll B. Davis Jr. received school board approval to mandate ethics training for employees and provide remedial help to perhaps thousands of Atlanta Public Schools students who may have improperly advanced because of the cheating.
Baltimore Sun: In-state tuition opponents have signatures for referendum
Opponents of in-state tuition breaks for illegal immigrants have submitted more than enough valid signatures to suspend the controversial new law until voters have their say next year, state elections officials said Thursday. In the first day of reporting since petition organizers turned in the final batch of signatures last month, the Maryland Board of Elections announced that it had validated more than 63,000 names — far more than the roughly 55,736 needed to trigger a referendum in 2012.
CNN: Montana farmers fret at oil spill's impact
Surveying his land that lies in the shadow of the Rocky Mountains, farmer Mike Scott states the obvious. "We are in the middle of Montana," he said. "You don't expect to have an oil spill." But an oil spill is exactly what Scott and hundreds of other Montana residents who live on the Yellowstone River are grappling with after an Exxon Mobil pipeline fouled the waters a week ago with about 42,000 gallons of crude oil.
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CNN: Miliband: British PM showed 'apalling error of judgment'
Labour leader Ed Miliband called on British Prime Minister David Cameron on Friday to admit the "appalling error of judgment" he made in hiring former News of the World editor as his director of communications, as the fallout from the paper's phone hacking scandal spreads.
CNN: Syria's 'secret doctors' risk their own lives
For his own safety we are not identifying him. He is terrified that the Syrian regime will detain, torture, or even kill him. Still he persists and says it's worth the risk. Its even worth the risk of talking to CNN he insists, because he believes the world needs to know. He is the founder of an underground illegal network of medics, who call themselves the "Damascus Doctors". They established a Facebook page, their intent not only to save lives, but also the doctor says, to expose the regime's crimes.
CNN: Crowds gather in Cairo's Tahir Square for planned protest
Hundreds of people began gathering at Cairo's Tahrir Square Friday morning ahead of a planned rally to urge the interim government to speed up reforms. Many Egyptians are angry at the slow pace of change since President Hosni Mubarak resigned on February 11 after protests.
CNN: Fresh sectarian clashes raise death toll in Pakistan's Karachi to 60
Fresh clashes in the Pakistani city of Karachi killed seven people on Friday, raising the death toll in the ongoing sectarian violence to 60 this week, police said. The clashes have been blamed on a bitter rivalry between the political parties of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) and the Awami National Party (ANP).
CNN: Official: Somali terrorist suspect was in contact with Anwar al-Awlaki
Accused Somali terrorist suspect Ahmed Abdulkadir Warsame had been in direct contact with the radical American-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, and they may have been in the same place for a period of time, a U.S. official said Thursday. That information came two days after an indictment unsealed in New York provided further evidence of links between al Qaeda affiliates in Somalia and Yemen, a growing concern to counter-terrorism officials.
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CNNMoney: JPMorgan to pay $228 million in muni case
Chase will pay $228 million in a settlement of charges that the bank's securities division rigged the market for municipal bond derivatives, state and federal regulators announced Thursday. The Securities and Exchange Commission and state attorneys general accused the company's JPMorgan Securities unit of anti-competitive and fraudulent conduct in reinvestment transactions linked to municipal bonds.
Bloomberg: Countrywide Wages Victorious Tranche Warfare Against Mortgage Debt Holders
Investors who sued over $351 billion in downgraded Countrywide Financial Corp. mortgage-backed securities after the 2007 subprime market collapse may have to settle for less than 1 percent of what they initially sought. U.S. District Senior Judge Mariana Pfaelzer in Los Angeles, who narrowed the case to $2.6 billion in bonds and dropped Countrywide parent Bank of America Corp. as a defendant, has gone further than other judges in scaling back such claims.
Wall Street Journal: Ganging Up on Internet Pirates
Internet users who share pirated movies and music online may soon be getting an unpleasant surprise: Warnings from their cable and phone providers that detail alleged copyright infringement and threaten to slow their Web connections if they don't stop. The new so-called Copyright Alert System was created by a coalition of major film studios, record labels and Internet-service providers, who agreed to guidelines for identifying and notifying Web users who violate copyrights.
In Case You Missed It…
Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh appeared on TV for the first time since his attack. CNN's Nic Robertson reports.