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 unveil new jobs proposal in September speech
President Barack Obama will unveil a new job growth package in a speech to be delivered in early September, a senior administration official told CNN Wednesday. The president intends to spend much of this fall pushing a sharply divided Congress to pass the plan, the official said.
New York Times: Bashing E.P.A. Is New Theme in G.O.P. Race
The Environmental Protection Agency is emerging as a favorite target of the Republican presidential candidates, who portray it as the very symbol of a heavy-handed regulatory agenda imposed by the Obama administration that they say is strangling the economy.
CNNMoney: What does Rick Perry really want from the Fed?
Texas Governor Rick Perry has been on a Bernanke-bashing binge this week, demanding on Wednesday that the Federal Reserve "open their books up." But what books exactly does Perry want opened? The Federal Reserve already publishes its balance sheet online every Thursday for the entire world to see.
TIME: How Rick Perry Aggressively Pursued Federal Aid He Now Decries
In his presidential-campaign kickoff on Aug. 13, Texas Governor Rick Perry burnished his conservative credentials by attacking the idea of deficit stimulus spending. …But ’twas not always so for Perry. Back in 2003, lobbyists under Perry’s direction went to Capitol Hill to lobby the Republican Congress for more than a billion dollars in federal deficit spending on “stimulus.” And they won.
CNN: Christie source: 'The pressure is ratcheting up'
A Republican close to Chris Christie says the pressure is intensifying on him to join the presidential race but insists that the New Jersey governor's mind has not changed. "I think that anybody could change their mind, but I don't see any evidence of that," the source told CNN Wednesday. "They continue to be pestering him and urging him to run."
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CNN: Homeland Security launches new ads for public awareness campaign
Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano unveiled new television ads Wednesday for the public awareness campaign "If you see something, say something," as the 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, attacks nears.
CNN: Police: Teen plotted to plant pipe bombs in school attack
A teen apprehended by police in Tampa, Florida, planned to set off explosives and kill dozens of students on the first day of classes at his former high school, authorities said Wednesday. A tip led police to 17-year-old Jared Cano's home, Tampa Police Chief Jane Castor said. Investigators found explosive materials there and a manifesto that outlined a minute-by-minute plan and named specific targets at Freedom High School, Castor said.
Austin American-Statesman: Latest state agriculture report: $5.2 billion in drought losses a record
More than 99 percent of Texas is in some form of drought, and agricultural losses are more than $5.2 billion — the worst drought losses Texas has ever seen, according to a recent report released Wednesday by the Texas A&M University AgriLife Extension Service. The losses represent more than three months of agricultural production in an average year.
Wall Street Journal: Downgrades Felt at Local Level
To city officials in Manassas Park, Va., Standard & Poor's one-notch downgrade of the U.S. government's credit rating was relatively mild compared with what the firm sprung on them last month. The tiny city's credit rating was reduced to triple-B from double-A minus—a five-notch tumble.
CNN: Feds join probe of alleged Mississippi hate killing
A hit-and-run killing that took place after a group of white teens allegedly set out to kill a black man simply because of his color is now being investigated by the U.S. Justice Department, federal and Mississippi officials tell CNN.
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CNN: Advancing rebels in western Libya face snipers, shelling
Rebel fighters in Libya, trying to take over a key western city, faced stiff resistance from Moammar Gadhafi's forces on Wednesday, a rebel commander said. …"Most of Zawiya is now in rebel hands, but there are snipers and shelling coming from the east of the city," rebel commander Col. Radwan Fheid said.
CNN: Syrian president tells U.N. chief military operations have stopped
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad told the head of the United Nations that military and police operations against anti-government protesters have stopped, according to a statement released by the Secretary-General's office.
CNN: Indian activist channels river of dissatisfaction over corruption
Outside the jail where he is staying, though he isn't a prisoner, Indian activist Anna Hazare has a growing crowd of supporters to back him up. …Hazare, 72, was not known nationally until recently. His protest seems to have struck a chord with Indian society across the spectrum because corruption is pervasive at all levels of government, observers say.
CNN: Chavez: Venezuela will nationalize gold mines, recall reserves
Venezuela will nationalize the exploration and mining of gold and recall $11 billion in gold reserves from foreign banks, President Hugo Chavez said Wednesday. …He added that Venezuela should diversify its investments, placing more of its reserves in countries such as Russia, China, Brazil and South Africa.
CNN: Riot sentences stir backlash in UK
So far, police have arrested more than 1,700 suspects. About 1,000 of those have been charged. Of those convicted some are receiving what seem to be tough sentences. Take Anderson Fernandes. He faces possible jail time for stealing two scoops of ice cream during a Manchester riot. There are other cases involving petty theft like stealing a bottle of water, a cake and chewing gum.
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CNNMoney: Stocks battle back to end mixed
U.S. stocks ended a thinly traded session mixed Wednesday as investors weighed the latest corporate results against global economic and debt concerns. …Stocks opened higher following upbeat quarterly results from Target. But the gains faded later in the day and investors gravitated toward more defensive stocks that offer rich dividends.
New York Times: U.S. Inquiry Eyes S.&P. Ratings of Mortgages
The Justice Department is investigating whether the nation’s largest credit ratings agency, Standard & Poor’s, improperly rated dozens of mortgage securities in the years leading up to the financial crisis, according to two people interviewed by the government and another briefed on such interviews.
Bloomberg: Not For Profit College Board Getting Rich as Fees Hit Students
When Gaston Caperton was recruited to run the College Board, owner of the SAT entrance exam, he said he didn’t want to just run “a testing company.” …Caperton turned the nonprofit company into a thriving business, more than doubling revenue to $660 million by boosting fees, expanding the Advanced Placement program and the sale of names of teenage test-takers to colleges.
In Case You Missed It…
Christine O'Donnell walks off her interview with Piers Morgan after he asks about her views on gay marriage.