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EARLYBIRD

Top News

White House sees hope in recent jobs reports and Greenspan shares cautious optimism on economy. Plus: Bombers hit Peshawar, Baghdad.

White House: SCOTUS Shortlist Drafted

• "The Obama administration, likely to learn in the next several weeks whether Justice John Paul Stevens will retire, is focusing on three candidates to succeed him, a White House official familiar with the deliberations said," Bloomberg News reports. "The group includes U.S. Solicitor General Elena Kagan and federal appellate judges Diane Wood and Merrick Garland, the person said, speaking on the condition of anonymity."

• "Colorado is not the only state where the initial results of the Obama administration's signature school improvement initiative, known as Race to the Top, have left a sour taste," the New York Times reports. "Many states are questioning the criteria by which winners were chosen."

 

National Security: Bombs Hit Near U.S. Consulate

• "Bombers targeted the U.S. consulate in the Pakistani city of Peshawar with at least four explosions and killed as many as 30 people at a political rally elsewhere in the country's northwest," Bloomberg News reports.

• "Afghan President Hamid Karzai pledged Sunday that a NATO drive into Taliban territory in Kandahar province would only begin after thorough consultations with local tribal leaders, in a bid to beef up support in the volatile south," AP reports.

• "The Iraqi capital echoed with explosions on Sunday as insurgents sought to exploit political uncertainties created by painstakingly slow talks on forming a new government, with three suicide car bombings at diplomatic targets killing dozens of people and other scattered attacks disrupting areas across Baghdad," the New York Times reports. "It was the third day in a row of violent attacks for which officials blamed the insurgent group Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia."

 

World: Quake Hits California, Mexico

• "A powerful earthquake swayed buildings from Los Angeles to Tijuana, killing two people in Mexico, blacking out cities and forcing the evacuation of hospitals and nursing homes," AP reports. "One California city closed off its downtown due to unstable buildings."

Economy: WH, Greenspan See 'Momentum'

• "The White House dispatched two of its senior economic advisers to the Sunday shows to cautiously tout Friday's jobs report showing the U.S. added a significant number of new jobs in March for the first time in two years, but both underscored that there is still work to be done to bring the jobless rate down," Politico reports.

• "Alan Greenspan, the former chairman of the Federal Reserve and a self-described Republican libertarian, on Sunday reinforced increasingly confident assessments by the Obama administration that the nation's latest job numbers reveal a resurgent economy," the New York Times reports.

• "China's trade disputes with the U.S. have been 'amplified' and in some cases are no worse than those with other countries, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said ahead of a visit to Washington this month by President Hu Jintao," Bloomberg News reports.

 

Congress: Budget Debate Approaches

• "Fresh off their successful use of filibuster-busting reconciliation rules to pass their health-care-cum-student-loan-overhaul, Democrats preparing to write a new budget blueprint have to decide whether to give the controversial practice another go later this year," Roll Call (subscription) reports.

• "Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) said Sunday that it will be necessary to extend unemployment benefits, but that's not a long-term solution," The Hill reports. "Unemployment benefits are set to expire for 200,000 people Monday as Congress recessed without a deal on the extension of benefits."

Health Care: Bill's Effects Unknown, Far-Reaching

• "Potential effects of the" health care law "passed last month, can be described as profound and prosaic, obvious and unknowable," the Los Angeles Times reports. "Some of its most complex and far-reaching changes won't take effect for years, including the requirement that, by 2014, all Americans have health insurance. But the law also contains immediate changes, such as the one allowing parents to add or keep dependent children up to age 26 on their health insurance policies."

• The Washington Post reports on how the re-election bid of Rep. Betsy Markey, D-Colo., is being affected by the health care vote.

Energy & Environment: DOE Gas Data Flawed

• "The Energy Department is preparing to make sweeping revisions to its U.S. natural-gas production data after finding it has been overstating output, raising new questions about the government's collection of energy information," the Wall Street Journal (subscription) reports.

• "With" California "mired in a crippling recession, the [climate change] law that once looked like a landmark achievement is coming under assault. The regulatory effort Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger set in motion is facing a political backlash and could come to an abrupt halt in the months ahead," AP reports. "A coalition of businesses, financed largely by three Texas oil companies, is funding a ballot petition that would delay the law until California's current unemployment rate is cut by more than half."

• "Salvage experts and a tugboat crew struggled" today" to save a large Chinese freighter that slammed into the Great Barrier Reef off Australia over the weekend, trying to prevent the vessel from breaking apart as some of the 1,075 tons of engine fuel in its tanks began oozing from the hull, threatening the world's largest collection of coral," the New York Times reports.

Transportation: Report Shows Air Traffic Flaws

• "A new error-reporting program in the nation's air-traffic system is revealing thousands of previously unknown hazards such as dangerous runway crossings and unreported midair problems," USA Today reports. "In the year and a half since the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) kicked off the program -- which guarantees employees immunity in exchange for honest accounts of all but the most serious lapses -- the agency has been deluged by more than 14,000 reports, according to agency records."

• "Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Joe Lieberman (ID-Conn.) called for expanded security measures on the nation's railways and buses following terrorist attacks in Moscow's subway system," Roll Call (subscription) reports.

Lobbying: Midterms Could See Record Spending

• "Labor unions, corporations and wealthy individuals are preparing to break spending records to influence the November elections," the Wall Street Journal (subscription) reports. "But more than in recent years, they will be focusing on races for governor and state legislatures."

• "Lawmakers in both the House and the Senate are pressing the Obama administration to resolve discrimination claims for several different minority farmer groups," The Hill reports. "Hispanics, Native Americans and women farmers have all found champions on Capitol Hill who are trying to work out compensation with the White House, which includes writing letters to administration officials or introducing legislation."

• "The Kansas City, Mo., firm Polsinelli Shughart has scored five lobbyists from Bryan Cave, including three health care specialists," Roll Call (subscription) reports.

• "Bread for the World, a Christian nonprofit organization, is calling on congregations to pray for tax breaks helping low-income taxpayers," The Hill reports. "The group is asking those attending services to observe the Sunday following Easter as 'Tax Day.'"

Pundits: No Refuge From Drilling Debate

• In today's Pundits and Editorials section, the president's announcements on offshore drilling and foreclosures take beatings from the right and left.

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