January 17th, 2012
02:07 AM ET

Jordan's king to meet Obama to advance Mideast peace talks

With a goal toward advancing peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, Jordan's King Abdullah will meet with U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday.

In recent months, King Abdullah has taken a more active role in trying to bridge the gulf between Israelis and Palestinians - filling the vacuum created by the removal of Egypt's former President Hosni Mubarak.

"An opportunity presented itself where Israelis and Palestinians were confident with the Jordanian umbrella to start throwing their initial passes at each other," King Abdullah said in an interview with the Washington Post on Monday.

"The intent, I believe, is there from both sides. It is little baby steps, right at the beginning."

Earlier this month, Palestinian and Israeli negotiators met in Amman with representatives of the Middle East Quartet - made up of the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and Russia - in an effort to relaunch negotiations after more than a year of deadlock.

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Filed under: Politics • U.S. • World
January 17th, 2012
01:25 AM ET

Tuesday is deadline in Wisconsin governor recall battle

The Wisconsin Democratic Party has until Tuesday to submit at least 540,208 signatures in order to seek a recall of first-term Republican Governor Scott Walker, who drew the ire of labor unions and public school teachers after he stripped public employees of their collective bargaining rights.

The party has said that it is confident that it will have the signatures needed and has said it is working to significantly exceed the required number.

The number of required signatures is equal to one quarter of the number of votes cast for governor in the previous election.

"We think we are going to hit or exceed 720,000 signatures. I think it's going to be a very impressive number that we hand in beyond any challenge that this election is going to happen," Wisconsin Democratic Party Chairman Mike Tate told CNN affiliate WTMJ.

Walker's administration gained national attention last year when he, along with Republican legislators, pushed forward a bill to cut state workers' collective bargaining rights. That bill was signed into law in March, following weeks of protests at the state capitol building in Madison.

This would be the first time in Wisconsin's history that a governor has faced recall.

In fact, there have only been two successful gubernatorial recalls in United States history, that of California Governor Gray Davis in 2003 and that of North Dakota Governor Lynn Frazier in 1921.

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Filed under: Politics • U.S. • Wisconsin
January 17th, 2012
12:30 AM ET

Election-year politics will chart Congress' path this year

The fight over extending a payroll tax cut and long-term unemployment benefits picks back up Tuesday as Congress returns to work after its winter break.

While aides in both parties say it's likely Congress will resolve that dispute, Republicans are still licking their wounds after a public backlash over how they handled those issues and fear that Senate Democrats will drag out the fight to score more political points in an election year.

And Democrats are concerned that House Republicans will insist on adding more items to the measures to try to keep conservatives on board.

According to a new CNN/ORC International poll released Monday, only 11% of Americans approve of how Congress is handling its job .

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Filed under: Politics • U.S.
January 17th, 2012
12:28 AM ET

Lohan returns to court for progress report

Actress Lindsay Lohan is scheduled to return to court Tuesday for an assessment of the progress she's made in fulfilling her probation requirements.
At a hearing in December, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Stephanie Sautner told Lohan she had "done well" in her community service sentence of working at the county morgue.

At the time, Lohan had 41 more days to work at the morgue - 12 shifts each month - and four sessions with a psychologist per month before her supervised probation could be eased in March.

If she fails she could spend months in a jail, the judge has told her.
Lohan had some initial stumbles when first put on probation.

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Filed under: Crime • U.S.
January 17th, 2012
12:06 AM ET

Police in California seek boy, 14, in sexual assaults

Police in Oakland, California, are asking the public for its help in finding a 14-year-old boy wanted in connection with two sexual assaults.

The teen is suspected of attacking two 28-year-old women, in separate incidents on January 6 and January 12.

In the first case, the teen approached the woman while she was walking, pretended to have a firearm and demanded her wallet, before forcing her to an isolated area where he sexually assaulted her, police said.

In the second case, he approached the woman on a bicycle, again pretended to have a firearm and demanded the woman's purse, before forcing her to an isolated area and sexually assaulted her, they said.

The teen, whom CNN is not identifying because of his age, should be considered armed and dangerous, police said.

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Filed under: California • Crime • U.S.
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