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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CNNMoney: No rest for investors: Dow plunges 520
After a one-day respite, U.S. stocks plunged sharply yet again Wednesday as investors were confronted with mounting fears about Europe's ongoing debt crisis, this time in France. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 520 points, or 4.6%, to 10,720.
CNN: Republicans name fiscal conservatives to debt committee
Republican leaders on Wednesday named fiscal conservatives for their six picks for a new congressional "super committee" charged with crafting a plan to reduce the country's mounting deficits. …Boehner, R-Ohio, chose Reps. Jeb Hensarling of Texas, Dave Camp of Michigan and Fred Upton of Michigan, while McConnell, R-Kentucky, picked Sens. Jon Kyl of Arizona, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Rob Portman of Ohio.
CNN Poll: Perry near top of pack in GOP nomination battle
As Rick Perry moves closer and closer to a run for the White House, a new national survey indicates that the longtime Texas governor is close to the top of the pack in the hunt for the Republican presidential nomination.
CNN: Palin bus tour to roll into Iowa
After a more than two-month hiatus, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin is planning to crash the presidential party once again with a heartland-themed re-launch of her "One Nation" bus tour this week in Iowa, according to a Palin fundraising email obtained by CNN.
POLITICO: Taxes key to Mitt Romney's '04 pitch to Standard & Poor's
Gov. Mitt Romney lobbied the credit ratings agency Standard & Poor’s in 2004 to raise his state’s credit rating in part because Massachusetts had raised taxes during an economic downturn two years earlier. …The Nov. 4 presentation, stamped “confidential,” helped persuade S&P to raise the state’s grade and handed Romney the perfect talking point for last week’s humiliating national downgrade by the same agency.
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CNN: Obama to revisit economic bright spot on Michigan shore
With little good news coming out of Wall Street or Washington, President Barack Obama plans to tout his administration's role in an economic renaissance percolating along the west coast of Michigan during a scheduled visit Thursday.
CNN: Arizona asks justices to accept appeal over immigration law
Arizona's governor has formally asked the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene and allow the state to enforce its controversial immigration law known as SB 1070. State officials filed a petition Wednesday, seeking to overturn a federal judge's order preventing four key sections from going into effect.
CNN: Analyst: Wisconsin shows union battle is 'political dynamite'
Wisconsin Democrats' failed effort to seize control of the state Senate in Tuesday's special elections left some Republican groups cheering, but analysts in the state cautioned against seeing the results as a national rallying point for the GOP.
NPR: Energy Panel Wants Answers On Gas Fracking
A Department of Energy panel hopes new recommendations — if implemented — will restore the public's trust in hydraulic fracturing or "fracking" for natural gas. In the last few years, fracking has brought new life to old gas fields around the country. Most of the increasing production comes from dense layers of shale deep underground.
CNN: Siblings wanted in bank robbery, shootout arrested after chase
The end of the line for three fugitive siblings came Wednesday on a rural stretch of Colorado interstate. With guns scattered around their wrecked white Subaru, the suspects made their play.
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CNN: An eerie calm settles in Britain, but cost of violence is high
Britain settled into an eerie calm early Thursday bolstered by a massive police presence with the authority to use whatever means necessary to prevent fresh outbreaks of violence. But much of the damage has already been done, with retailers losing more than £100 million ($161 million) in four nights of looting and violence, an analysis found.
CNN: Tanks leave Hama's center, but violence erupts in other Syrian cities
Syria's tanks withdrew Wednesday from the center of the western city of Hama and were positioned on the city's periphery, more than a week after security forces besieged the center of anti-government sentiment, an activist said.
New York Times: U.S. Relies on Contractors in Somalia Conflict
The fight against the Shabab, a group that United States officials fear could someday carry out strikes against the West, has mostly been outsourced to African soldiers and private companies out of reluctance to send American troops back into a country they hastily exited nearly two decades ago.
CNN: Rights group: NATO must probe allegations it killed Libyan civilians
A leading human rights organization is demanding NATO investigate allegations that it killed 85 Libyan civilians during airstrikes on forces loyal to Moammar Gadhafi. The demand by Amnesty International on Wednesday followed government accusations days earlier that NATO killed civilians in the western part of the country to help clear the way for rebels advancing on the Gadhafi-controlled city of Zlitan.
CNN: Forces in Afghanistan kill militants involved in downing of copter
Coalition forces in Afghanistan have killed the Taliban insurgents responsible for the downing of a helicopter that left 38 U.S. and Afghan personnel dead, the commander of U.S. forces there and NATO announced Wednesday.
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Wall Street Journal: In Carnage, Cash Comforts
Companies have been socking cash away for a rainy day since the financial crisis. Now, it's pouring—and companies feel prepared. …Yet the validation of companies' conservatism may ultimately be bad news for the economy. The recent turmoil affirms executives' caution, and may prompt some to curb spending and bolster their already-bulging cash piles.
CNNMoney: Cisco shares rise 9% on brighter outlook
For a company that relies so heavily on government spending, Cisco - surprisingly - managed to squeeze out some good news for a change. The networking giant made significant progress in its cost-cutting initiatives, and its outlook for the current quarter, though still tepid, was far better than Wall Street analysts had expected.
Bloomberg: Yuan Climbs to 17-Year High Against the Dollar
The yuan strengthened beyond 6.4 per dollar for the first time in 17 years, supported by the Federal Reserve’s pledge to keep interest rates at a record low and signs China will use currency gains to help rein in inflation.
In Case You Missed It…
CNN's Anderson Cooper visits the youngest victims of the famine at a local Mogadishu hospital.