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Obama leaves to sign treaty with Russia amid a larger push for nuclear safety. Plus: Geithner to meet with Chinese vice premier.

White House: Obama Leaves For Nuclear Treaty Signing

• "President Barack Obama leaves" today "for Prague where he will sign a landmark nuclear treaty with Russia, marking a much-needed diplomatic achievement and a step toward better ties with Moscow," Reuters reports.

• "Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the Obama administration's nuclear policy as outlined in a 72-page report submitted to Congress Tuesday signals to Iran and North Korea that their pursuit of nuclear weapons make them more vulnerable -- not less -- to military confrontation with the United States," Politico reports.


Technology: Court Ruling Undermines 'Net Neutrality'

• "A federal appeals court ruled" Tuesday that the Federal Communications Commission "did not have jurisdiction to discipline Comcast Corp. for interrupting or slowing Internet service to customers who used the high-bandwidth application BitTorrent," CongressDailyPM (subscription) reports. "The unanimous decision by the three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia immediately thrust into question the FCC's authority to mandate 'open Internet' regulations."

• "Space shuttle Discovery successfully docked at the International Space Station" early today, "its astronauts overcoming a rare antenna breakdown that knocked out radar tracking," the Wall Street Journal (subscription) reports.

National Security: First U.S. Citizen Added To List Of Those CIA Can Kill

• "A Muslim cleric tied to the attempted bombing of a Detroit-bound airliner has become the first U.S. citizen added to a list of suspected terrorists the CIA is authorized to kill, a U.S. official said Tuesday," the Washington Post reports.


• "Efforts to overhaul U.S. intelligence operations are 'very much a work in progress' and the government has 'only scratched the surface on true information sharing,' Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair said," CongressDailyPM (subscription) reports.

• "The US military says it is trying to retrieve the original video tapes of a controversial helicopter attack on a group of people in Iraq in 2007," BBC News reports. "Footage of the attack was published on the internet by the website WikiLeaks."

Health Care: Arrest Made In Death Threats To Murray

• "A Washington state man has been charged with threatening to kill" Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., "because she supported health care reform, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Washington's office," Roll Call (subscription) reports.

• Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., "is the latest Member to report receiving threatening correspondence surrounding the debate on health care, according to his chief of staff," Roll Call (subscription) reports.


World: Global Nuclear Crackdown Proposed

• "A proposed communiqué calls for leaders from more than 40 countries to endorse a global crackdown on the illicit trade of nuclear material at a summit in Washington next week," the Wall Street Journal reports. "The communiqué, which was reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, calls for tougher criminal prosecution of traffickers, better accounting for weapons-grade nuclear materials and more international collaboration in such cases."

• "North Korea said" today "it had sentenced an American man to eight years of hard labor for illegally entering the country, a decision that could further strain ties with Washington," Reuters reports.

Politics: McDonnell Declares Confederate History Month

• Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell (R), "reviving a controversy that had been dormant for eight years, has declared that April will be Confederate History Month in Virginia, a move that angered civil rights leaders Tuesday but that political observers said would strengthen his position with his conservative base," the Washington Post reports.

• "Former Louisiana Speaker Hunt Downer (R) said Tuesday that he's '99 percent' certain he'll run for Congress in the 3rd district seat that is being relinquished by Rep. Charlie Melancon (D) as he runs for Senate," Roll Call (subscription) reports.

Economy: Geithner To Meet With Chinese Vice Premier

• "In a sign of improving economic relations between the United States and China, the Treasury secretary, Timothy F. Geithner, will meet with China's vice premier, Wang Qishan, in Beijing on Thursday on his way back to the United States from India, a Treasury spokesmen said," the New York Times reports.

• "Aides to Sen. Richard Shelby (R., Ala.) floated a proposal last week to Democratic staffers on the Senate Banking Committee that would create an independent consumer-protection agency, two people familiar with the matter said, reversing course from a previous Republican position," the Wall Street Journal (subscription) reports.

Congress: Specter Claims Judiciary Committee Deal With Reid

• Sen. Arlen Specter, D-Pa., "says he has an agreement with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to become the next chairman of the Judiciary Committee, but three senior Democrats are blocking the deal," The Hill reports.

• "U.S. companies would lose their ability to secretly finance political advertising run by organizations such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce under a bill being considered by Democratic lawmakers," Bloomberg News reports.

Energy & Environment: Brazil Eliminates Tariff On Imported Ethanol

• "The perennial battle over ethanol trade barriers is raging after" Brazil "announced Monday it would eliminate its 20 percent tariff on imported ethanol through the end of 2011," CongressDailyPM (subscription) reports. "The move is designed to put pressure on the United States in international trade negotiations to reduce or eliminate its barriers to ethanol imports."

• "Lawmakers dispatched aides to West Virginia on Tuesday to investigate the deadliest mine disaster in more than 20 years," The Hill reports.

• Energy Secretary Stephen Chu pledged on Tuesday "to proceed with the termination of Nevada's Yucca Mountain nuclear waste repository despite mounting resistance in Congress," CongressDailyPM (subscription) reports.

Transportation: Auto Dealers Could Be Exempted From Consumer Office

• Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., "is planning to introduce legislation exempting auto dealers from a new consumer protection office," The Hill reports.

• "The pension plans at General Motors and Chrysler are underfunded by a total of $17 billion and could fail if the automakers do not return to profitability, according to a government report released Tuesday," the New York Times reports.

• "Carmakers Renault, Nissan Motor Co Ltd and Daimler said they would swap stakes and jointly develop cars in a tie up to gain scale and share costs," Reuters reports.

Lobbying: Despite Assurances, Veterans Call For Fixes to Health Care Bill

• "Organizations representing the nation's military veterans are keeping up pressure on Congress to prevent the landmark healthcare law from shortchanging veterans and other military personnel," CongressDailyPM (subscription) reports.

Commentary: Evaluating Obama's Nuclear Posture

• In Earlybird's Pundits & Editorials section, Vice President Joe Biden promotes the new U.S. nuclear policy while the Chicago Tribune calls the review a case of oversharing.

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