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: Political tensions rise as debt talks continue at White House
Top lawmakers from both sides of the aisle will met again Wednesday with President Barack Obama as the partisan tone of debt ceiling talks becomes sharper. The exchanges escalated during a nearly two-hour session at the White House Tuesday as GOP leaders once again refused to consider any tax hikes and Obama warned that, absent a deal, he can't guarantee older Americans will continue receiving Social Security checks next month.
CNN: Senate Republicans propose debt ceiling fallback option
Senate Republicans offered a politically inspired fallback option to the debt ceiling impasse Tuesday, proposing three short-term increases in the amount the government can borrow while at the same time registering the disapproval of Congress for such a move. The proposal would give President Barack Obama power to raise the debt ceiling, but also would require three congressional votes on the issue before the 2012 general election.
CNNMoney: Fed chairman Bernanke faces firestorm
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke heads to Capitol Hill this week in the center of many storms swirling around Washington and Wall Street. The debate over whether to raise the U.S. debt ceiling rages in Washington. Worries over the risk of European sovereign debt default are pummeling stocks on Wall Street. …The question and answer period that follows Bernanke's remarks is likely to focus on those hot-button topics.
CNNMoney: Light bulb ban riles up lawmakers
The so-called light bulb ban, set to begin in 2012, has become a rallying point for conservatives, libertarians, and various free-market activists who deride what they see as unnecessary government interference in the marketplace. …Republicans have been under considerable pressure to roll back those higher efficiency standards, though the House on Tuesday failed to pass a measure that would have done just that.
CNN: What's going on at the Bachmann clinic?
In her campaign for president, Michele Bachmann touts her background as a small business owner. …That business is Bachmann and Associates. It's a Christian counseling service located outside Minneapolis. Bachmann started the center with her husband, Marcus who is the lead counselor at the clinic. …For at least five years, Bachmann and Associates has faced accusations it uses a controversial therapy that encourages gay and lesbian patients to change their sexual orientation.
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CNN: U.S. calls for stepped-up safety at nuclear plants
U.S. experts are calling for stepped-up safety measures at nuclear power plants following the March disaster in Japan, including new systems to keep reactors cool in case of a blackout. …Among the 12 proposals delivered Tuesday are calls for plant operators to rethink each facility's disaster plans, including how big an earthquake, tornado, tsunami or flood the plant is designed to withstand.
Wall Street Journal: Device Raises Fear of Facial Profiling
Dozens of law-enforcement agencies from Massachusetts to Arizona are preparing to outfit their forces with controversial hand-held facial-recognition devices as soon as September, raising significant questions about privacy and civil liberties. With the device, which attaches to an iPhone, an officer can snap a picture of a face from up to five feet away, or scan a person's irises from up to six inches away, and do an immediate search to see if there is a match with a database of people with criminal records.
Philadelphia Inquirer: 2009 test-score report ‘concerns’ Pa. education chief
Pennsylvania's top education official is "concerned" enough about the contents of a report meant to ferret out cheating on 2009 state exams, his spokesman said, that he will order further review and possibly action. …Nearly half of the roughly 60 schools flagged for multiple statistical irregularities are in Philadelphia – 22 Philadelphia School District schools and seven charters.
CNN: Court: Jared Loughner can refuse anti-psychotic medication
A three-judge federal appeals panel has ruled that Tucson shooting suspect, Jared Lee Loughner, can refuse anti-psychotic medication. Tuesday's ruling comes days after the court said they would review an appeal by attorneys for the government who argued the alleged gunman should take anti-psychotic drugs for his behavior.
CNNMoney: Connecticut employees get layoff notices
The state has begun sending layoff notices to its public employees two weeks after union members failed to approve Governor Dannel Malloy's proposal to save $1.6 billion in concessions and savings. …The state will provide more details on the number of layoff notices being sent out, as well as the departments receiving them, later this week, a spokeswoman for the governor said. Malloy has said he's looking to shed 6,500 public employees, as well as eliminate 1,000 vacant positions.
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CNN: Syria slams Clinton comments; 'national dialogue' ends
The embattled Syrian government lashed out Tuesday at U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her criticism of Bashar al-Assad's regime and hailed the political leadership's initiative to pursue reforms, one of which is the just-completed "national dialogue" meeting. ... Clinton said President al-Assad "has lost legitimacy" and wants to deflect attention from the government's four-month crackdown on peaceful protesters.
CNN: Afghan governor targeted en route to funeral of Karzai's half-brother
Two blasts went off Wednesday as the governor of Helmand province was headed to Kandahar to take part in the funeral for President Hamid Karzai's half-brother. The remotely-detonated mine explosions in Kandahar's Maivand district wounded two soldiers but the Helmand governor, Mohammad Gulab Mangal, was unhurt, his office said.
Al Jazeera: Egyptian protesters call for end to army rule
Thousands of Egyptians marched on the cabinet headquarters in central Cairo on Tuesday to demand the removal of the ruling military council. The march, reminiscent of protests that forced former president Hosni Mubarak to step down on February 11, followed a warning by the military council that it would use all legitimate means to end a five-day-old protest in the city's Tahrir Square.
CNN: U.S. official: CIA interrogating terror suspects in Somalia
CIA operatives have secretly traveled to Mogadishu, Somalia, to help interrogate terrorism suspects about operations in East Africa and Yemen, a senior U.S. official told CNN Tuesday. The official, who was not authorized to speak publicly, stressed any suspects were under the control of Somali forces and the CIA was present only in "support" of interrogations in recent months.
Financial Times: Italy's borrowing costs soar
Italy's borrowing costs soared to their highest level in over a decade amid highly volatile trading as market contagion from Greece forced Silvio Berlusconi to appeal for national unity and "sacrifices" to cut the nation's debt mountain. The Italian prime minister's appeal - the most sombre in his three years in charge of his centre-right government - was intended to rebut widespread criticism in the Italian media and the markets that his coalition was rudderless and divided by disputes between him and Giulio Tremonti, finance minister.
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CNNMoney: Netflix hikes prices for DVDs + streaming
Netflix is launching new, unlimited DVD-only plans in the U.S. - but as a part of that move, it's scrapping unlimited plans that include both physical DVDs and online streaming. Subscription movie rental service Netflix said Tuesday that the changes are meant to "better reflect the costs" of each option.
USA Today: Many small businesses see late payments
When it comes to getting paid, it's slow going for small businesses. Payments that were once "net 30" — 30 days after an invoice date — have become net 60, net 90 and longer, as clients try to keep their cash longer in an uncertain economy. Nearly 40% of firms surveyed by the National Federation of Independent Business said "receivables," or money that customers owe, are coming in at a slower pace, new NFIB data show.
Bloomberg: Bank of America Settlement Data Sought From Clients by New York
Bank of America Corp.’s proposed $8.5 billion settlement over mortgage-securitization trusts is being probed by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who is seeking client information from more than 20 companies. Schneiderman’s office sent letters dated July 7 to the companies, including Goldman Sachs Group Inc., BlackRock Inc. and TCW Group Inc., regarding their participation in Bank of America’s proposed deal.
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