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 jobs plan in a speech to Congress
President Barack Obama on Thursday plans to roll out proposals totaling $300 billion or more to strengthen the economy and stimulate new job growth, according to Democratic sources. …The plan would be paid for partly by closing corporate loopholes and raising taxes on the wealthiest
CNNMoney: Obama stimulus plan: Will it work?
Can a stimulus package of roughly $300 billion in spending and tax cuts get things back on track? President Obama believes it can and is expected to make that case Thursday night in a high-profile address to Congress and the American public. But economists say the package won't be enough to change the struggling economy's trajectory.
CNN: Perry, Romney spar over job creation, Social Security
Debate newcomer Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney clashed over their job creation records, health care and Social Security at the Republican presidential debate Wednesday night.
CNN: Special deficit committee holds its first meeting Thursday
On Thursday, the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction will hold its first meeting, facing a 76-day deadline to come up with a deficit reduction plan totaling $1.5 trillion that can win congressional approval.
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CNN: Suspected teen arsonists sought as other wildfires rage in Texas
An elite search team joined local officials Wednesday in Bastrop County, Texas, to help look for people who may be trapped in a huge wildfire that has destroyed hundreds of homes. The cause of the Bastrop County fire, one of many burning in Texas, remains under investigation.
New York Times: Newly Published Audio Provides Real-Time View of 9/11 Attacks
Threaded into vivid narratives covering each of the four airliners, the multimedia document contains 114 recordings of air traffic controllers, military aviation officers, airline and fighter jet pilots, as well as two of the hijackers, stretching across two hours of the morning of Sept. 11, 2001.
CNN: Federal agents charge 91 in Medicare fraud case
Four hundred federal agents from coast to coast swooped down on 70 alleged Medicare fraudsters for allegedly ripping off taxpayers of nearly $300 million in phony billings. …The charges in the indictments unsealed Wednesday included phony schemes involving durable medical devices and home health care that have often been the target of investigators.
Los Angeles Times: Amazon cuts deal on California sales taxes
Amazon.com cut a tentative deal with legislative leaders Wednesday night that would allow it to postpone collecting sales taxes from Californians for another year. The company in turn would drop its battle to overturn the state's new law that required it and many other out-of-state online retailers to collect the taxes.
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CNN: Groups: Syrian city of Homs under fire as death toll mounts
Activists in Syria say 27 people were killed during demonstrations Wednesday, at least 20 of them in the city of Homs, where tanks and heavy gunfire were reported. The military presence in Homs is increasing, according to activists with the Local Coordination Committees (LCC).
CNN: Libyan rebels say they have Gadhafi surrounded
Ousted Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi has been surrounded and has no way of leaving the area, Anees al-Sharif, a spokesman for the Tripoli Military Council, told CNN on Wednesday. He said that he could not comment on where Gadhafi is, but that rebel fighters were closing in.
CNN: Authorities detain 3 in investigation of bombing outside Delhi court
Three men were detained in Indian-controlled Kashmir on Thursday following a deadly blast outside the Delhi High Court a day earlier, police said. Islamic extremist group Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami claimed responsibility for the attack in an email to several TV news channels.
CNN: Richardson to seek release of American jailed in Cuba
Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson is going to Cuba on Wednesday to try to negotiate the release of jailed U.S. contractor Alan Gross, CNN has learned. …Last month, Cuba's highest court upheld the 15-year sentence imposed on Gross for trying to set up illegal Internet connections on the island, according to Cuban state media reports.
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CNNMoney: Stocks surge after three-day rout
Stocks rallied right out of the gate and picked up steam through the day to end sharply higher Wednesday. The gains came as concerns over Europe's debt crisis eased and investors geared up for President Obama's highly anticipated jobs speech Thursday evening.
CNNMoney: Bank of America's shakeup signals more layoffs
Don't expect Bank of America to be America's neighborhood bank for long. Late Tuesday, the Charlotte, N.C., bank announced a shakeup in its executive ranks that effectively split the bank into two units: one serving consumer and one serving commercial clients. Hundreds of bank branches are expected to close.
Bloomberg: Fed Policy Makers Prepare for Action This Month
Federal Reserve policy makers are laying the groundwork for further action at this month’s meeting, warning that U.S. economic growth could stall, producing lasting stagnation in the job market.
In Case You Missed It…
CNN's Ben Wedeman reports on an open Tripoli warehouse emptied of surface to air missiles and full of artillery rounds.