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: Memorial Day brings out presidential hopefuls
Politicians will be in plentiful supply this Memorial Day as the ramp-up to the 2012 presidential election begins in earnest. …Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, who began a nationwide bus tour Sunday, generated plenty of buzz by riding into Washington on the back of a motorcycle. The Republican is believed to be considering a White House bid, but has not announced her intentions.
Boston Globe: Romney and health care: In the thick of history
The former governor has faced a fusillade from the right for the plan they call RomneyCare. But a look back at the birth of the Mass. law shows why he can’t, and won’t, back away. It was an amazing political feat, and no one’s role was bigger than his.
Washington Post: Iowa Republicans worry about their relevance in the 2012 presidential election
For the past nine presidential elections, Iowa has reveled in the attention it gets with its position at the front of the presidential nominating contest. This time around, the question is not just who will win the Iowa caucuses but also whether it will matter. ... Some of the leading presidential contenders, who have invested little in the state so far, appear to be hoping that the answer is not all that much — increasing the anxiety that Iowa Republicans feel about their place in the political firmament.
CNN: Republicans still seek Medicare overhaul in budget talks
Top Republicans tiptoed their way around the Medicare question Sunday, playing to their conservative base by backing a controversial overhaul proposal while acknowledging they will have to negotiate the issue with Democrats. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Virginia, both told Sunday talk shows that all issues are on the table in deficit reduction talks led by Vice President Joe Biden intended to reach a deal on raising the federal debt limit.
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CNN: At memorial for tornado victims, Joplin vows to heal, rebuild
Those who have survived a devastating tornado in Joplin, Missouri, should do their utmost to live up to the example set by those who died while helping others escape the storm, President Barack Obama said Sunday at a memorial service for the victims. Obama spoke about two of the heroes from the twister, which barreled into Joplin packing 200-mph winds a week ago Sunday.
CNN: Veterans need jobs, better health care, leading military official says
With suicide and unemployment on the rise among servicemen and servicewomen, U.S. Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Chiarelli outlined steps the country can take to combat the issues. In the two and a half years since Chiarelli became vice chair, he has seen a dramatic rise in those soldiers with post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries, jumping from 30 percent of the wounded population or 3,400 individuals, to 8,500 servicemen and servicewomen or 65 percent of the population.
Los Angeles Times: Positive signs in an anemic U.S. recovery
In contrast to the unconstrained spending of the past, U.S. consumers are building up their savings at rates not seen in years. They're also doing more to pay down credit cards and other debt. Higher savings rates and lower debts tend to slow economic growth in the short term but stimulate it in the longer term. And future growth based on personal savings and smaller debts is less likely to produce dangerous bubbles.
New York Times: Utah Law Makes Coins Worth Their Weight in Gold (or Silver)
Most people who amass the pure gold and silver coins produced by the United States Mint do so for collections or investments, not to buy Slurpees at 7-Eleven. …Now, however, Utah has passed a law intended to encourage residents to use gold or silver coins made by the Mint as cash, but with their value based on the weight of the precious metals in them, not the face value — if, that is, they can find a merchant willing to accept the coins on that basis.
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CNN: Islamic militants fight Yemen troops for control of city, locals say
Government troops battled suspected Islamic militants for control of a coastal city in Yemen, witnesses said, two days after many soldiers and police abandoned the city. Hundreds of soldiers had moved back into the city by Sunday and were fighting the militants in Zinjibar. At least 35 people were hospitalized, according to a medical official who asked not to be named for security reasons. …Abyan province, where Zinjibar is located, is a hotbed of Islamic militancy in Yemen, a country that has become a key battleground against al Qaeda.
CNN: South African leader to meet Gadhafi, push for cease-fire
South African President Jacob Zuma will push for a cease-fire between Moammar Gadhafi's forces and rebel fighters when he meets Monday with the embattled Libyan dictator, officials said. It is Zuma's second visit to Tripoli to try to mediate an end to the fighting that began more than three months ago when Gadhafi dug in his heels against popular efforts to bring about an end to his 42-year-rule.
Washington Post: Haqqani insurgent group proves resilient foe in Afghan war
The United States knows where to find the most feared insurgent family in the Afghanistan war. Troops can point to the downtown Khost mansion owned by its patriarch, Jalaluddin Haqqani; the million-dollar blue-tile mosque he built for the city’s residents; and his base of operations 20 miles away in Pakistan. They are aware of his trucking and warehouse businesses, his sons who command about 3,000 fighters, and their sophisticated training camps that conduct courses in withstanding interrogation and firing rockets across borders. Defeating the Haqqanis is another matter.
CNN: Clashes break out as Serbian nationalists protest arrest of Mladic
Clashes between Serbian police and protesters broke out Sunday in Belgrade after an ultranationalist party demonstrated against the arrest of genocide suspect Ratko Mladic. Nearly 20 people were injured in the violence - seven police and 12 civilians - according to police. They said they made more than 100 arrests.
CNN: Minister: Germany to go nuke free by 2022
Germany's ruling coalition has agreed to shut down all of the nation's nuclear power plants by 2022.Minister of Ecology Norbert Roettgen of the Christian Democratic Union party made the announcement early Monday after negotiations with coalition partner, the Liberal Party, which had been opposed to setting a date for decommissioning the nuclear facilities. …To make up for the loss of nuclear energy, the German government will begin to switch to renewable energy and increase investments in energy research, the government website says.
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CNN: Saudi prince calls for lower oil prices
In an interview broadcast Sunday on "CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS," [Saudi Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal] said the oil price should be somewhere between $70 and $80 a barrel, rather than the current level of over $100 a barrel. "We don't want the West to go and find alternatives, because, clearly, the higher the price of oil goes, the more they have incentives to go and find alternatives," said Talal, who is listed by Forbes as the 26th richest man in the world.
Financial Times: Japan to invest in quake-struck auto-parts industry
The state-backed Development Bank of Japan is setting up a fund that could be as large as $619m to help the country's auto-parts industry to recover from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami. Disruption to the auto supply chain caused the country's biggest disaster since the second world war has underscored just how important Japanese auto-parts makers are to domestic and global vehicle manufacturers, from General Motors to Toyota.
Financial Times: Greece set for severe bail-out conditions
European leaders are negotiating a deal that would lead to unprecedented outside intervention in the Greek economy, including international involvement in tax collection and privatization of state assets, in exchange for new bail-out loans for Athens. People involved in the talks said the package would also include incentives for private holders of Greek debt voluntarily to extend Athens' repayment schedule, as well as another round of austerity measures.
In Case You Missed It…
For U.S. Army Reservist Manny Gonzalez, Memorial Day holds special meaning. CNN's Adriana Hauser reports.