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: 36 senators pledge support for the deficit panel to 'go big'
A group of 36 senators from both parties came together Thursday to pledge support for a comprehensive deficit reduction plan, urging the special congressional committee working on the issue to "go big."
TIME: The GOP’s Fiery Front-Runner on His Rise, Record and Rhetoric
The hard-charging governor commands a Texas-sized lead in the polls. In an interview with TIME’s Richard Stengel and Mark Halperin, [Rick] Perry defends his controversial résumé and explains why Americans aren't looking for "political correctness" in 2012.
CNN: Perry: Romney offended Texans
On Thursday, Rick Perry tried to trump Mitt Romney’s “four aces” poker slams against him by doubling down with criticism of the former Massachusetts governor. …Perry not only repeated his harsh slams against the Massachusetts health care law passed during Romney’s tenure, but also said “RomneyCare” is costing Iowans and all Americans.
National Journal: Republicans Anticipate a Long Slugfest Between Romney and Perry
With the once crowded Republican field coming into focus as a contest between Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, Republicans are bracing for protracted, bruising hostilities between the two that they say could last well into the primary season.
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CNN: Temporary stay granted for Texas death row inmate
Texas death row inmate Duane Edward Buck was waiting to see if the U.S. Supreme Court will decide his fate before his scheduled Thursday execution date comes to an end. Buck had been set to die by injection Thursday, but the U.S. Supreme Court issued a temporary stay of his sentence while it reviews his case.
CNN: Repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell' is on track for Tuesday
The Pentagon announced the repeal of the long-controversial ban on homosexuals serving openly in the military will happen on Tuesday. But the repeal comes as two of the most powerful Republicans on the House Armed Service Committee call for a delay on the process of ending "don't ask, don't tell."
CNN: POW/MIA day brings somber ceremony, one quietly symbolic tradition
Around the country on Friday, you'll likely see the iconic black and white POW-MIA flag flying over federal buildings. At military bases, there will be ceremonies with troops in dress uniforms marching and leaders speaking. …But not every remembrance of those Americans will include such pomp and activity.
CNN: Tacoma teachers defy court order, vote to continue strike
Teachers in Tacoma, Washington, have voted to continue their strike, in defiance of a a court order to stop. …At a union meeting Thursday afternoon, 1,478 teachers voted to keep striking, [spokesman for the Tacoma teachers union Rich] Wood said, adding that 107 voted "no" or abstained.
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CNN: Libyan delegation heads to Niger to demand return of Gadhafi son
Libyan fighters advanced on remaining strongholds loyal to Moammar Gadhafi as a delegation headed to Niger on Friday to demand it turn over one of the ousted leader's sons. The delegation will ask Niger to hand over Saadi Gadhafi and other regime officials who fled to the country, said Mustafa Abdul Jalil, chairman of the National Transitional Council.
CNN: Palestinians vow push for state but hint compromise is possible
The Palestinian Authority's foreign minister said Thursday Palestinians will seek full United Nations membership next week in the Security Council setting a stage for a showdown with the United States which has threatened a veto.
CNN: Latest battlefield in Mexico's drug war: Social media
Twitter users report gun battles and fiery road blockades. A website lists victims' names and details of how they died. A blog posts gory photos of gruesome killings and videos of drug lords' confessions. As violence grows across Mexico, online posts dealing with it have also surged at an explosive rate.
New York Times: Famine Ravages Somalia in a World Less Likely to Intervene
Is the world about to watch 750,000 Somalis starve to death? The United Nations’ warnings could not be clearer. A drought-induced famine is steadily creeping across Somalia and tens of thousands of people have already died.
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CNN: Rogue trader costs UBS $2 billion
A rogue trader has cost UBS an estimated $2 billion, the Swiss banking giant announced Thursday, revealing what could be the third-largest loss of its kind in banking history. … The bank is large enough to take a $2 billion hit, experts said. Shares in UBS were down 11% on the U.S. stock exchange at midday trading, though, even as European markets closed higher Thursday.
CNNMoney: Netflix stock plunges as subscribers quit
Netflix subscribers threatened to flee in droves when the company whacked them with a surprise price hike, which kicked in this month. Now they're making good on that threat. Netflix on Thursday cut its subscriber forecast for the current quarter, saying it now expects to end the period with 24 million customers - down from the 25 million the company forecast just a few weeks ago.
CNNMoney: Stock rally on European aid plan
U.S. stocks closed higher for a fourth consecutive day Thursday as bank stocks led the market higher following a coordinated effort by five central banks to help ward off a credit crisis in Europe.
In Case You Missed It…
CNN's Ben Wedeman, traveling with anti-Gadhafi forces, encounters gunfire in the Sahara.