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 continues debt talks with Democrats, then Republicans
At his daily briefing, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney signaled to reporters that [President Barack] Obama would be willing to accept a short-term increase in the debt ceiling - which caps the amount of money the government can borrow - if it is tied to agreement by both parties on a broader deficit reduction deal sought by the president. Obama previously rejected such a short-term increase in the debt ceiling, and Carney's remarks sought to bolster support for a compromise in the talks as the deadline for default nears.
CNN: Congress curbs enthusiasm for 'Gang of Six' plan
The burst of enthusiasm Tuesday for the "Gang of Six" debt reduction plan as a possible way out of the debt ceiling crisis appeared to fade Wednesday as Democratic and Republican lawmakers studied and found fault with the details of the proposal. Most notably, both sides highlighted well-worn party-line divisions: conservatives complained the plan would raise taxes while liberals warned it would cut entitlement benefits.
New York Times: Wall St. Makes Fallback Plans for Debt Crisis
Lawmakers in Washington are racing to reach a deal to save the country from defaulting on its debt, but on Wall Street, financial players are devising doomsday plans in case the clock runs out. These companies are taking steps to reduce the risk of holding Treasury bonds or angling for ways to make profits from any possible upheaval.
Washington Post: Pentagon braces for much deeper military spending cuts as part of debt deal
The Pentagon is bracing for spending cuts far deeper than what it was expecting just a few weeks ago, including the possible elimination of an aircraft carrier group and other weapons programs, as an increasing number of lawmakers float proposals for slashing the once-sacrosanct defense budget.
CNN: The 'vile' saga continues
Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz admitted Wednesday that fellow Florida Rep. Allen West's e-mail rant was the kind of attack she's never experienced before. …But the chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee claimed that West's insult-filled message including an accusation that she was the most "vile" House member didn't faze her, instead charging that the real heat is coming from West's own backyard.
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CNN: Deadly heat wave to remain Thursday
A blistering heat wave gripping much of the country is expected to remain Thursday as officials blamed nearly two dozen deaths to the high temperatures. This heat wave could go into the weekend, forecasters say. "After several days of deadly heat and humidity as many as 22 people have died," the National Weather Service said Wednesday.
CNN: Minnesota school district investigated after civil rights complaint
Federal authorities are investigating "incidents involving harassment and bullying" in Minnesota's largest school district, the U.S. Department of Justice confirmed in an e-mail to CNN. The civil rights investigation is under way in the suburban Minneapolis school district, Anoka-Hennepin, a community already embattled in a culture war over homosexuality in the classroom.
Memphis Commercial Appeal: City claims it was 'blindsided'; Memphis schools say they were shortchanged
The city of Memphis sent Memphis City Schools $3 million Wednesday as part of the $8 million it owes the school district from the school year that just ended. A day earlier, MCS board members voted to delay indefinitely the start of the next school year until it gets $55 million from the city on the upcoming year's school bill. The funding is less than 10 percent of the school district's overall budget.
CNN: Lead defense attorney in Fort Hood shooting trial replaced
Fort Hood shooting suspect Maj. Nidal Hasan has replaced his lead defense attorney, John Galligan, it was revealed Wednesday. Galligan, the former Army lawyer who has been the lead attorney for Hasan since nearly the beginning of the case, was not present at Hasan's arraignment Wednesday at Fort Hood. It is unclear why Galligan was ousted.
Boston Globe: Patrick backs illegal immigrants on tuition
Governor Deval Patrick, just weeks after defying federal immigration officials over their controversial Secure Communities program, unexpectedly appeared at a packed State House hearing yesterday to urge lawmakers to let illegal immigrants pay the reduced resident rate at state colleges and universities.
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CNN: Report: U.S. funds in Afghanistan could go to insurgents
A new report confirms suspicions that U.S. taxpayer money for projects in Afghanistan may be diverted to extremists killing American troops. The United States still has only "limited visibility" of what happens to billions of dollars, "leaving them vulnerable to fraud or diversion to insurgents," according to report released Wednesday from the office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, SIGAR.
CNN: Aid agencies deal with terrorists to reach Somalia's starving
For aid donors and humanitarian agencies, it is a Faustian bargain: reach and save tens of thousands of people on the verge of starving to death. The price: come to an "understanding" with one of the most active affiliates of al Qaeda, and perhaps help it retain control of large swathes of Somalia.
CNN: Parliament grills combative Cameron over phone-hacking scandal
Prime Minister David Cameron told British lawmakers during a heated session Wednesday that if he had known then what he knows now about his one-time communications director, former News of the World editor Andy Coulson, he would not have hired him.
Financial Times: Germany and France reach Greek accord
Germany and France appeared to settle their differences late on Wednesday over a new rescue package for Greece. No immediate details were available but Steffen Seibert, a spokesman for Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, said "a common German-French position" had been agreed and discussed with Jean-Claude Trichet, president of the European Central Bank, and Herman van Rompuy, president of the European Union.
CNN: Clinton: Hadzic capture proof international justice works
The capture of Goran Hadzic, the last Yugoslav war crimes suspect who had been at large, proves that international justice works, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday. "A powerful message has been sent to those around the world who would break the law and target civilians: you will not escape judgment," Clinton said.
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CNNMoney: Fed hits Wells Fargo with $85 million fine
The Federal Reserve announced a record $85 million fine Wednesday against Wells Fargo for allegedly pushing borrowers with good credit into expensive mortgages and falsifying loan applications. The Fed accused the nation's fourth largest bank by assets of steering potential borrowers who could have qualified for prime rates into more expensive subprime loans.
CNNMoney: Intel reports record sales
The world's largest microchip maker stared down strong headwinds in its bread and butter personal computer business, and grew sales in that segment by 11%. That's quite an accomplishment, considering U.S. PC shipments fell 5.6%, compared to the same three-month period a year ago, according to a closely followed study by Gartner. Worldwide PC shipments grew just 2.3%.
USA Today: Concert business surges amid slow economy
With acts like U2, Kenny Chesney, Bon Jovi and Lady Gaga leading the way, the concert touring business is enjoying a healthy comeback this year after struggling in 2010.In the first six months of 2011, total grosses for the top 100 North American tours was $1.12 billion. That's up $157 million or 16.2% over the same period last year, according to Pollstar, which tracks the live music industry.
In Case You Missed It…
The TSA is phasing out its graphic body scan in favor of software that shows a body outline instead. CNN’s Brian Todd reports.
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