December 11th, 2009
05:43 AM ET
6 years ago

POLITICAL HOT TOPICS: December 11, 2009


The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world.

Compiled by Alison Harding

For the latest political news:

New York Times: Blackwater Guards Tied to Secret Raids by the C.I.A.
Private security guards from Blackwater Worldwide participated in some of the C.I.A.’s most sensitive activities — clandestine raids with agency officers against people suspected of being insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan and the transporting of detainees, according to former company employees and intelligence officials.

Bloomberg: Obama Plan Aims to Empower Afghans Beyond Kabul, Officials Say
The U.S. is turning to local militias in Afghanistan and expanding support of provincial authorities to overcome weaknesses in President Hamid Karzai’s government in Kabul, officials said at hearings on the war that ended yesterday in Washington.

CNN: Gates, Iraqi prime minister meet after delay over bombing
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki met with visiting U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Friday morning, after canceling a meeting with him a day earlier. Maliki missed the meeting Thursday because he was summoned by Iraqi lawmakers to discuss a devastating bombing in the capital earlier this week.

Daily Telegraph: Afghanistan: UK and US seek to cancel 2010 parliamentary election
Britain and America are seeking to cancel next year's parliamentary election in Afghanistan amid fears that it will distract from President Barack Obama's new strategy to bring security to the country. …after the widespread fraud of this summer's presidential poll, London and Washington fear soldiers would risk Taliban attacks securing polling stations for a barely credible election plagued by renewed ballot stuffing.

ABC News: The Obama Doctrine
What we heard articulated today in the president's Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech was nothing short of the Obama Doctrine - the most comprehensive view we've been offered yet of how the president views foreign policy - and how he sees himself within the pantheon of world leaders.

Christian Science Monitor: Left and right, pundits applaud Obama Nobel Peace Prize speech
From conservative former House speaker Newt Gingrich to writers at the liberal Nation magazine, the insta-analyses found hope in Obama’s words, either in his justification for the war in Afghanistan or in his ultimate aspiration: to replace war with peace.

Washington Times: Clash over re-import of drugs stalls health bill
The health care debate ground to a halt Thursday over a squabble among Democrats that could threaten the deal President Obama struck with pharmaceutical companies to earn their support for the health care overhaul. Sen.

Washington Post: Pelosi backs Medicare buy-in plan in Senate health-care deal
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi endorsed a proposal Thursday that would allow people in late middle age to buy insurance through Medicare, helping to sustain an idea that sprang unexpectedly from the Senate this week.

Politico: Moderates uneasy with Medicare plan
Senate moderates who are the linchpin to passing a health care reform bill raised fresh worries Thursday about a proposed Medicare expansion, complicating Majority Leader Harry Reid’s hopes of putting together a filibuster-proof majority for the legislation in the coming days.

Wall Street Journal: US Senate Appears Set For Weekend Votes On Spending Bill
The U.S. Senate appears headed for votes on Saturday and Sunday – not on health-care, but instead on a $447 billion catch-all spending bill. ... [The bill] lays out the budgets for around a dozen government departments and agencies for fiscal 2010.

Los Angeles Times: House OKs $3.9 billion in earmarks in spending bill
Getting into the holiday spirit, the House of Representatives on Thursday approved a spending bill loaded with goodies for the folks back home.

Wall Street Journal: Loopholes Lurk in Bank Bill
Buried in a 239-page amendment to the U.S. House of Representatives' financial regulatory overhaul is a provision that appears to do just one thing: exempts financial-services company USAA from some of the bill's tougher provisions.

Christian Science Monitor: Global warming talks spark friction between US and China
After the first week of global warming talks in Copenhagen, disagreements between nations are still evident, particularly between industrial heavyweights the US and China.

The Hill: Senators offer Copenhagen boost
Three senators crafting a compromise climate bill have endorsed a national greenhouse gas emissions cut of 17 percent by 2020. The emissions target was included in a proposed framework on Thursday from Sens. John Kerry (D-Mass.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.). It mirrors House-passed legislation and represents the target President Barack Obama will offer on behalf of the U.S. at the international climate talks in Copenhagen, Denmark.

For the latest national news:

CNN: FBI: 5 missing from Washington area in custody in Pakistan
Five men missing from the Washington area are in Pakistani police custody, the FBI said Thursday, a day after Pakistani authorities arrested several men whom they described as Americans and accused them of plotting terrorist attacks.

USA Today: Swine flu update: 1 in 6 have had it, 10,000 have died
The government's newest swine flu estimates show that through Nov. 14 at least 50 million Americans had contracted the H1N1 virus, more than 200,000 had been hospitalized and 10,000 had died — mostly children and younger adults.

CNN: Pentagon held in contempt for failing to tape Guantanamo detainee's testimony
A federal court has held the Defense Department in contempt after officials at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, failed to videotape the testimony of a Yemeni detainee as ordered.

Salt Lake Tribune: Depleted uranium is on its way here
Trainloads of depleted uranium will soon be on the move, rolling over the objections of critics on their way to a Utah burial site. A Department of Energy official on Thursday informed U.S. Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, that 11,000 tons of the low-level radioactive waste… is ready to be shipped from the Savannah River cleanup in South Carolina. …The news dismayed Utahns who have been urging the Energy Department to wait until site-safety is settled.

For the latest international news:

CNN: Clinton calls North Korean talks 'positive'
The Obama administration's first high-level direct talks with North Korea yielded no promise by Pyongyang to return to six-party negotiations aimed at ending its nuclear program, but Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday nonetheless called the meeting "quite positive."

The Guardian: UK issues new guidance on labelling of food from illegal West Bank settlements
Britain has acted to increase pressure on Israel over its West Bank settlements by advising UK supermarkets on how to distinguish between foods from the settlements and Palestinian-manufactured goods. The government's move falls short of a legal requirement but is bound to increase the prospects of a consumer boycott of products from those territories. Israeli officials and settler leaders were tonight highly critical of the decision.

Jerusalem Post: Hamas plans 'surprises' at Monday rally
Hamas on Thursday called on the Palestinians to expect "surprises" during next week's rally marking the 22nd anniversary of the founding of the Islamic Movement, sparking speculation that its leaders may exploit the event to announce a prisoner exchange agreement with Israel.

Los Angeles Times: Honduras backs out of safe passage offer for Zelaya
The de facto government of Honduras withdrew its offer Thursday to deposed President Manuel Zelaya of safe passage out of the country, asserting he could leave only if he renounced his claim to the office.

BBC News: EU summit struggles to agree climate pledge
EU delegates have been working through the night to try to hammer out how much aid the bloc will give to developing nations to tackle global warming.

For the latest business news:

Washington Post: Joblessness plan revamps rules on bank bailouts
The Obama administration plans to channel money from the government's massive financial bailout program to small businesses as part of an effort to limit the political and economic damage of high unemployment

CNNMoney: Goldman nixes cash bonuses for top execs
Top executives at Goldman Sachs will not be paid cash bonuses this year, the company said Thursday. In the face of public outrage over Wall Street bonuses, the company said that its 30-member management committee will receive restricted company stock instead.

Wall Street Journal: France Joins U.K. Bonus Tax; Not Germany, U.S.
The British special tax on banker bonuses unveiled this week received crucial backing from France, but other important countries have so far declined to follow the U.K.'s bid to curtail banker compensation.

Financial Times: Banks look to absorb supertax cost
Banks may opt to absorb the cost of the UK’s 50 per cent supertax on bonuses, rather than pass on the cost to bankers, it emerged on Thursday. Several of the big US banks, and some UK banks, conceded in private that they were nervous of cutting the bonuses of City staff, partly for fear of causing internal friction, and partly to avoid having top staff picked off by bolder rivals or hedge funds.

CNNMoney: U.S. in red for 14th straight month
The U.S. government rang up a deficit of $120.3 billion in November – the 14th straight month it has spent more than it has taken in. That's well below the $176 billion recorded for October and about $5 billion less than recorded in November of last year.

Charlotte Observer: New Bank of America CEO is unlikely this week
Bank of America Corp. is unlikely to name a new chief executive until next week, because of a stipulation in the securities offering the Charlotte bank used to pay back government aid. According to a securities filing, the bank must wait five business days from Wednesday before any event occurs that would make previous disclosures related to the offering "untrue."

In Case You Missed It

President Barack Obama accepts the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo, Norway.

The U.S. military has made significant gains securing the Panjshir Valley. CNN's Barbara Starr reports

The government puts more pressure on lenders to increase permanent mortgage conversions. CNN's Jessica Yellin reports.

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