POLITICAL HOT TOPICS: Wednesday, June 29, 2011
June 29th, 2011
04:23 AM ET
10 years ago

POLITICAL HOT TOPICS: Wednesday, June 29, 2011

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

Compiled by Simon Hernandez-Arthur

For the latest political news: http://www.CNNPolitics.com

CNN: Democrats push DREAM Act despite Republican opposition
Ola Kaso, who was born in Albania and came to America at the age of 5, described her predicament in a Senate hearing Tuesday. "Despite my compliance with the law, there's no way I can achieve citizenship," said Kaso, now 18 and ready to start college in the fall at the University of Michigan. "Despite aspirations and hard work, I face deportation in one year." In short, she said, "I am a DREAM Act student."

Washington Post: Top Democrats reject new plan to cut Medicare spending
Leading congressional Democrats immediately recoiled Tuesday from a new proposal to cut $600 billion in Medicare spending over the next decade — in part by raising the eligibility age. Sens. Joseph I. Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Tom Coburn (R-Olka.) unveiled the proposal as part of a bipartisan effort to produce the kind of savings necessary to achieve the $2 trillion in debt reduction both parties say is needed to convince reticent lawmakers to vote to raise the debt ceiling.

CNNMoney: Congress moves forward on free trade deals
The Senate will officially take up three trade deals and a scaled-back version of a jobs retraining program for laid-off workers on Thursday. Senate negotiators will have to start pounding out the details of the trade deals, as well as funding for the jobs retraining program - whose funding ran dry in February. …But final passage on all the measures is not a done deal. Republican support depends on how closely the trade deals and jobs retraining program are linked together.

CNN: Palin says she's still thinking about whether to run in 2012
Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin said Tuesday she has not made up her mind yet about whether to run for president in 2012 despite her daughter's claim that she has. Palin spoke to reporters in Pella, Iowa, where she attended the premiere of "The Undefeated," a sympathetic feature-length film that takes a look at Palin's record as governor.

CNN: Bachmann draws big crowd in South Carolina debut
Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann’s debut in South Carolina as a presidential candidate drew what was unquestionably the largest crowd of the political season to date in the key early primary state. Nearly 400 people showed up to get their first glimpse of the newly minted candidate, far surpassing crowd sizes at campaign appearances in South Carolina by Republicans like former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum.

For the latest national news: http://www.CNN.com

CNN: New Mexico nuclear lab remains closed amid wildfire threat
A nuclear science center near Sante Fe, New Mexico, will remain closed through at least Thursday as a wildfire rages nearby, officials said. "Laboratory facilities will be closed for all activities and nonessential employees are directed to remain off site," the Los Alamos National Laboratory said in a statement. …All was under control at the facility regardless of a small fire that broke out Monday on the grounds and was quickly extinguished, said Charles McMillan, the laboratory's director.

CNN: California lawmakers pass budget deal
California lawmakers passed a budget bill Tuesday night that will reduce the state's monetary shortfall from $26 billion to $5 billion, officials said. …The deal, brokered by the governor and Democratic leaders over Republican objections, calls for massive cuts: $5 billion to health and human services, $1 billion to the corrections department, $650 million to the University of California system, another $650 million to the California State University system and hundreds of millions to the court system, officials said.

Washington Post: Arlington Cemetery’s mishandling of remains prompts FBI criminal probe
The Justice Department is investigating the mishandling of remains at Arlington National Cemetery in a broad criminal inquiry that is also seeking evidence of possible contracting fraud and falsification of records, people familiar with the investigation said Tuesday. A federal grand jury in Alexandria has been subpoenaing witnesses and records relating to the scandal at the nation’s most venerated military burial ground, sources said.

New Orleans Times-Picayune: Danziger shooting cover-up began immediately, former NOPD lieutenant testifies
When New Orleans police Lt. Michael Lohman arrived at the scene of the Danziger Bridge shooting, he saw no civilians with guns and heard no plausible stories from his colleagues. His initial reaction, he testified Tuesday, was to kick off a cover-up. And in the weeks following the police shooting, Lohman said he grew frustrated and angry with his subordinates' inability to concoct a story that at least sounded credible.

CNN: Feuding drug gangs spark violence in Puerto Rico, authorities say
Power struggles between drug gangs have led to a surge in homicides in Puerto Rico this year, local police and the FBI told CNN. Police statistics show the number of homicides so far this year in the U.S. island commonwealth is 16% higher than last year's figure for the same time period - an increase authorities attribute to drug violence. …There have been 526 homicides so far this year, compared to 452 during the same period in 2010, Puerto Rico Police Agent Hilda Rivera said.

For the latest international news: http://edition.cnn.com

CNN: 8 suicide bombers, 10 others killed in attack at Kabul hotel
Eight suicide bombers attacked Kabul's Hotel Inter-Continental in a brazen, carefully orchestrated operation that began Tuesday night and continued into Wednesday, ending with their deaths and those of 10 others, officials said. Two police officers are among the dead, according to the Interior Ministry.

CNN: Greek protesters plan rally as MPs set vote on austerity package
Greek unions plan to rally again Wednesday, a day after riot police fired tear gas to disperse thousands of stone-throwing demonstrators who protested austerity measures. …Protesters are rallying outside the Greek Parliament in the capital, where lawmakers are set to vote Wednesday on a five-year package of tax increases and spending cuts.

CNN: Egyptians clash with police in Tahrir Square
Clashes in Cairo's Tahrir Square between protesters and authorities have left at least 26 officers injured, the Ministry of Interior said. …About 1,000 people turned out Tuesday night to commemorate the victims of the January-February uprising that drove longtime Egyptian strongman Hosni Mubarak from power. Police began using tear gas on demonstrators who would not leave the square.

CNNMoney: IMF names France's Lagarde managing director
Christine Lagarde, the finance minister of France, was voted to the post of managing director of the International Monetary Fund on Tuesday. …The vote on the influential post came at a crucial time for the IMF, which has been working closely with the European Union and the European Central Bank to provide financial support for Greece and other troubled European economies.

CNN: Venezuelan state TV airs first video of Chavez since surgery
Venezuela's state-run television network aired video images Tuesday of President Hugo Chavez meeting with former Cuban leader Fidel Castro.The network said the video was recorded Tuesday during a meeting in Havana. …Speculation about Chavez's health has surged in media reports and online posts since officials announced that doctors performed surgery on him to treat a pelvic abscess more than two weeks ago.

For the latest business news: http://www.CNNMoney.com

New York Times: $8.5 Billion Deal Near in Suit on Bank Mortgage Debt
Bank of America is completing an agreement to pay $8.5 billion to settle claims by investors that purchased mortgage securities that soured when the housing bubble burst, according to people briefed on the deal. …The settlement would wipe out all of the company’s earnings in the first half of this year, and it could also provide a template for deals with other big banks that face tens of billions in similar claims.

CNNMoney: Twitter co-founders to launch new startup
Three of Twitter's key developers– Biz Stone, Evan Williams and Jason Goldman - are launching a new venture. …The move is the latest musical-chairs shuffle at Twitter, which is undergoing a leadership overhaul as the five-year-old venture matures from a startup to a tech industry power player.

CNNMoney: Google launches Google+, a quasi-Facebook competitor
Google on Tuesday unveiled Google+, yet another attempt by the search giant to overcome its past miscues in the social networking space. More people visit Google's network of websites than Facebook each month, but Facebook is killing the search company in categories that advertisers care most about: Time spent and pages viewed.

In Case You Missed It…
CNN's Nic Robertson reports from the capital city of Sana'a on increasing tensions that are splitting the city.

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