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EARLYBIRD

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World is unsure how to react to North Korea's failed missile test. Plus: Obama presses EU to welcome Turkey as his overseas mission continues.

Missile Test: U.N. Can't Agree That North Korea Did Anything Wrong

• "Despite the urging of the United States and Japan, the 15-member" U.N. Security Council "could not agree on a statement criticizing North Korea's rocket launch," the Washington Post reports. "China and Russia said they were not yet convinced that Pyongyang had violated any U.N. rules, according to council officials."

• "American voters across lines of age, party and gender support a military approach to eliminate North Korea's nuclear capabilities, according to a Rasmussen Reports survey released Sunday morning -- and conducted in the two days prior to North Korea's test missile launch on Saturday," Politico reports.

 

• However, some "military and private experts" said the launch's failure "undercut the North Korean campaign to come across as a fearsome adversary able to hurl deadly warheads halfway around the globe," the New York Times reports.

• "Diplomats in several countries are now struggling to balance steps that would have some effect on Pyongyang while also avoiding the appearance of overreacting to a development that posed no immediate military danger," the Wall Street Journal (subscription) reports. "South Korea... may start to develop bigger missiles and Japan" is "considering an extension of economic sanctions."

White House: Fallen Soldier's Return Allowed To Be Public

• "The ritual of welcoming home the fallen was open to the public" on Sunday night "for the first time since President George H.W. Bush instituted a ban on news coverage in 1991," the Washington Post reports. "Air Force Staff Sgt. Phillip A. Myers, 30, of Hopewell, Va., who was killed in Afghanistan on Saturday in the explosion of a makeshift bomb, became the first service member welcomed home publicly in 18 years."

 

• "As the nation's first black president settles into the office, a division is deepening between two groups of African Americans: those who want to continue to praise" Barack Obama "and his historic ascendancy, and those who want to examine him more critically now that the election is over," the Washington Post reports. "A growing number of black academics, commentators and authors" are "determined to press Obama on issues such as the elimination of racial profiling and the double-digit unemployment rate among blacks."

Economy: Summers Earned Millions For Part-Time Job

• "Lawrence H. Summers plays down his stint in the hedge fund business as a mere part-time job -- but the financial and intellectual rewards that he gained there would make even most full-time workers envious," the New York Times reports. "Mr. Summers... earned nearly $5.2 million in just the last of his two years at one of the world's largest funds, according to financial records released Friday by the White House."

• "Cities and counties are reporting a sharp increase in homeless families as the economic crisis leads to job loss and makes housing unaffordable," USA Today reports. "The Department of Housing and Urban Development requires a one-day count in January of people living on the street, in shelters or in transitional housing.... Of 56 places where figures were available, 35 reported an increase in homelessness; 12 had a drop."

• "Private sector jobs are continually moving out of city centers to further-flung suburban areas, according to a report out today from the Brookings Institution," USA Today reports. "All but three of the 98 major metro areas studied showed a drop in the share of jobs located within 3 miles of downtown, even though the overall number of jobs in those areas increased slightly during the 1998- to-2006 study period."

 

Congress: Democrats Face Internal Fight When They Return

• "Congressional Democrats left town last week for their two-week spring recess still celebrating the passage of" Obama's "budget blueprint, but they will return to face their toughest legislative battles since winning the majority in 2006... and much of the fighting will be within their own party," the D.C. Examiner reports. "When the House and Senate passed budget resolutions last week, they left out the specifics on how to combat global warming and make health care more affordable and accessible."

• "The top Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee operates a tax-exempt foundation that has raised donations from the industries his committee oversees, while giving less than a quarter of the foundation's money to charitable causes, tax records show," the Washington Times reports. "Rep. Joe L. Barton's foundation spent more on staff, fundraising and other overhead from 2005 to 2007 -- nearly $130,000 in all -- than it did on its single $90,000 contribution to a charitable cause, according to its most recent Internal Revenue Service filings."

Politics: D.C. Delegate Reverses Acceptance Of Gun Amendment

• "A gun amendment attached to the bill granting Washington D.C. a congressional vote could lead to sporadic shootings like those that left 17 dead in New York and Pennsylvania over the weekend, according to D.C.'s congressional delegate," The Hill reports. The statement from Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D) "was a reversal of comments she delivered at a hearing Friday in which she conceded that including the gun amendment could be necessary to passing the voting rights bill."

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• "Sen. Bob Menendez (N.J.) remains on a collision course with the White House over its Cuba policy, and of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee chairman appears committed to butt heads not just with" Obama "but also with powerful Democratic Senators," Roll Call (subscription) reports.

• "With less than a month before the agency could be completely recast, the Federal Election Commission is getting mixed reviews from both inside and outside its E Street outpost," Roll Call (subscription) reports. "There is praise for catching up on its caseload after shutting down last year for six months -- but criticism about a deepening split within the six-person commission."

National Security: Treasury's Actions Against Charities Questioned

• "The Treasury Department faces a legal challenge over its use of an emergency power to freeze the assets of U.S. charities based on suspicions -- and without formal charges -- that their money aids groups tied to terrorism," USA Today reports. "Four charities have had operations 'blocked pending investigation' by Treasury under authority granted by President George W. Bush after the 9/11 attacks."

• Fighting between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon in a war that "ended three years ago and involved not a single U.S. soldier has become the subject of an increasingly heated debate inside the Pentagon, one that could alter how the U.S. military fights in the future," the Washington Post reports.

World: Obama Urges EU To Accept Turkey

• "Obama arrived in Turkey late Sunday, after riling the European Union by urging its leaders to accept the large and mainly Muslim nation as a member," the Wall Street Journal (subscription) reports. "Mr. Obama said Sunday at an EU-U.S. summit in Prague that pushing forward with membership would 'ensure we continue to anchor Turkey firmly in Europe.'"

• "A suicide bomber blew himself up at the entrance to a crowded Shiite mosque just south of the" Pakistani capital of Islamabad "on Sunday, killing at least 26 people," the New York Times reports. "It was the third suicide attack in Pakistan in 24 hours, in a sign that the Pakistani Taliban are overwhelming the nation's security forces."

Technology: Telecoms Prepare For Fight On Broadband Strategy

• "Cable and telephone companies are gearing up for a fight as regulators begin work Wednesday on a national broadband strategy that could bring major changes to how Internet services are delivered to American homes," the Wall Street Journal reports.

• "Free the free calling program! Free the smartphones! Free the 3G!" Wired reports. "That's what consumer rights group Free Press is calling for in a letter to federal regulators, seizing on Skype's crippling of its iPhone app to urge the FCC to remind wireless providers that net neutrality rules apply to them too."

• "Alec Ross arrives today at the State Department, armed with a new set of diplomatic tools including Facebook, text messaging and YouTube," the Washington Post reports. "His new job will blend technology with diplomacy in an attempt to help solve some of the globe's most vexing problems on health care, poverty, human rights and ethnic conflicts."

Lobbying: Progressive Group's President Steps Down

Kathryn Kolbert "has resigned as president of People for the American Way," the Legal Times reports. "Kolbert, whom the organization hired a year ago to succeed longtime president Ralph Neas, says she and the organization's board wanted to go in different directions. Her sudden departure also comes amid a strained financial situation for the group, perhaps best known for its high-profile campaigns against conservative nominees to the Supreme Court."

• "A lobbyist was sentenced Friday to three years probation for destroying evidence about her ties with former Pennsylvania congressman Curt Weldon, who is under FBI investigation," AP reports.

• "Rep. Pete Visclosky (D-Ind.), who was among the top recipients of campaign contributions from the PMA Group and its former clients, is apparently steering clear of making any earmark requests this year in connection to the now-defunct lobbying firm," The Hill reports. "Visclosky, who sits on the House Appropriations Defense subcommittee, released on his office's website his project requests for the 2010 budget. His requests do not include any clients of PMA, according to a review by The Hill."

Health Care: Abortion Opponents Want Tougher Line On Sebelius

• "Anti-abortion activists and other conservatives are not happy with Republican senators for not taking a tough line against Health and Human Services Secretary-designate Kathleen Sebelius," The Hill reports. "Sebelius, the Democratic governor of Kansas, made her Capitol Hill debut last week at two confirmation hearings. Anti-abortion groups have been campaigning against her nomination to the Cabinet based on her record in favor of abortion rights."

• "The government late Monday is expected to set in stone the 2010 rates it will pay health insurers to run private Medicare plans," the Wall Street Journal reports. "Most signs suggest that cuts are coming in the subsidies that the industry got during the Bush administration."

Energy & Environment: States Rush To Capitalize On Green Jobs

• "The administration estimates the first wave of stimulus efficiency spending will employ 87,000 people -- including energy auditors who scour buildings for waste with high-tech sensors and weatherization contractors who install the often-simple upgrades that cut energy bills," the Los Angeles Times reports. "Critics question the job projections and warn some money could be siphoned off by scam artists or bureaucrats."

• The Environmental Protection Agency operates a list of of "'E.P.A. Fugitives,' people who have been charged with violating environmental laws or regulations," the New York Times reports. "The E.P.A.'s list, complete with mug shots of the fugitives, was established in December to try to draw attention to serious environmental crimes."

• "Two former Bush administration officials have joined with a well-known Washington financial analyst to form a political intelligence and market analysis firm focused on energy policy," The Hill reports. "Chase Hutto, who advised Vice President Dick Cheney on energy policy; Kevin Kolevar, former assistant Energy secretary for electricity delivery and energy reliability; and Kevin Book, a former analyst at FBR Capital Markets, will open ClearView Energy Partners LLC next week."

Commentary: Nuclear Speculation

• Commentators in Earlybird's Pundits & Editorials section foresee challenges for Obama following North Korea's missile launch.

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