WikiLeaks - Now that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is out of jail, he's making up for lost time by talking to media outlets about sex allegations against him, saying he believes they are little more than an effort to discredit him and his organization for leaking diplomatic cables.
Assange (pictured, center, talking to reporters Thursday) also said the technological and legal attacks on his website are diverting resources from its core mission. But he said it has not slowed the group from publishing new secret diplomatic documents.
In fact, new cables haveÂ come out showing the United States and Cuba have been cooperating when it comes to fighting drug smuggling andÂ others detailing allegations that India condoned torture of suspects in detention centers in Jammu and Kashmir, a region that's the secne of a long guerrilla war by Muslim separatists.
Tax deal - A bill that includes a two-year extension of the Bush-era tax cuts and an extension of jobless benefits is on its way to President Obama to be signed into law Friday.
President Obama will sign the much-debated tax cuts extension and offer a public statement from the White House on Friday afternoon, according to two administration officials.
The package includes a two-year extension of the Bush-era tax cuts set to expire December 31. It also would extend unemployment benefits for 13 months, cut the payroll tax by 2 percentage points for a year, restore the estate tax at a lower level and continue a series of other tax breaks.
Ed Sands, owner of a big wine and liquor store in Washington, D.C., is wondering what the House of Representatives will do to the new estate tax provisions in the compromise deal worked out between the White House and Republicans.
Some House Democrats are howling for the wealthy to pay more, targeting the estate tax for changes.
"I've spent 45 years building a business; and I wouldn't like to give it away in taxes," Sands said.
Whittled down to nothing over the life of the Bush tax cuts, the estate tax would revive at a rate of 35%, but with the first $5 million of an individual's estate exempted. Liberals in the House will likely push to lower the exemption, while raising the tax rate. On the Senate side, Republicans vow to scrap the deal if the House makes those kinds of changes. The White House is pushing hard to keep the compromise intact.
But for people like Sands, the tax deal shouldn't be about the bickering, it should be about hardworking Americans "feel[ing] like we've accomplished a lot."
"And I would very much like to see it remain in the family," he said.
CNN's Bob Costantini reports on Sands story.
Listen to the complete story by clicking the audio button:
House takes up tax deal - The House of Representatives could vote to extend the the Bush-era tax reductions Thursday after the Senate overwhelmingly adopted it.
The Senate approved the controversial $858 billion tax cut package Wednesday despite a series of objections from both the left and the right. The measure passed 81-19.
The House will take up theÂ bill some time Thursday, according to Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland.
WikiLeaks founder granted bail - WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange was granted bail by a London court Thursday, meaning he is free to leave jail until his next scheduled court hearing in January.
AssangeÂ must stay at the mansion of a supporter outside London, report to the police daily, wear an electronic tag to monitor his location and put up 200,000 pounds (about $310,000) in bail money, plus two further 20,000-pound sureties (about $31,500 each), the judge ruled.
The Senate approved a controversial $858 billion tax cut package Wednesday, overwhelmingly voting to extend the Bush-era tax reductions despite a series of objections from both the left and the right.
The measure, which passed 81 to 19, now advances to the House of Representatives.
Among other things, the package includes a two-year extension of the Bush-era tax cuts set to expire December 31. It also would extend unemployment benefits for 13 months, cut the payroll tax by 2 percentage points for a year, restore the estate tax at a lower level, and continue a series of other tax breaks.
The estate tax - currently scheduled to exempt inheritances up to $1 million and tax amounts above that at a rate of 55% - would be reduced under the tax package to a rate of 35% on amounts above a $5 million individual exemption.FULL STORY
WikiLeaks - It started as an embarrassmentÂ to the U.S. government. Then supporters showed they could disrupt online services. The next round could be acts of civil disobedience - think of onlineÂ World Trade OrganizationÂ protesters. CNN's Jill Dougherty and Elise Labott examine the implications WikiLeaks is having on diplomacy around the world.
We also take a look at the Air Force's decision to cut WikiLeaks news access as WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange remains in jail,Â Michael MooreÂ explains why he offered money for Assange's bail andÂ Assange's mother stands by her son.
Tax deal - The SenateÂ is set toÂ voteÂ Wednesday on the tax package negotiated by President Barack Obama and GOP leaders,Â but House Democrats are still arguing about possible changes.
President Barack Obama Wednesday urged lawmakers to approve the compromise tax package he negotiated with Republican leaders.
Saying he is convinced that the legislation will spark growth, Obama acknowledged differences on "both sides of the aisle" and said "that's the nature of compromise."
In remarks at the White House, Obama said the package "can't afford to fall victim" to a delay or a defeat.
"I am absolutely convinced that this tax cut plan, while not perfect, will help our economy and create jobs in the private sector," Obama said. "It will help lift up middle-class families who will no longer have to worry about a New Years' Day tax hike."
Senators made speeches into the evening Tuesday about the package and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, confirmed that the final vote would take place Wednesday. But as senators cleared the way for the pivotal vote, House Democrats argued about whether they will change the measure after an expected Senate approval.FULL STORY
Reaction to diplomat's death - Richard Holbrooke, 69, who spearheaded the 1995 Dayton Peace Accords that ended the Bosnian war, died three days after surgery to repair a torn aorta.
Assange in court - WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will reapply for bail at a court hearing Tuesday in London as protesters gathered outside the court demanding his release.
Final Senate approval could come as early as Tuesday on the hotly contested tax deal negotiated by President Barack Obama and Republican leaders.
The deal cleared a key procedural hurdle Monday, with an 83-15 vote to end Senate debate on the measure, which includes a two-year extension of the Bush-era tax cuts set to expire December 31.
The plan would also extend unemployment benefits for 13 months, cut the payroll tax by 2 percentage points for a year and continue a series of other tax breaks.FULL STORY
ď»żA lot of Democrats are not happy with President Barack Obama's deal with Republicans to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for all Americans, but many small-business owners are.
CNN Radio's Jim Roope talked with Louie Cardona, owner of Cardona Manufacturing in Burbank, California. The precision machine shop produces parts for everything from cars to aircraft. Cardona explained what benefits a tax cut extension would have for small businesses.
"The main reason, of course, is because it would give us the same tax structure we'd been seeing the past several years," Cardona said. "If I had to pay more in taxes, I wouldn't have the money to reinvest in machinery."
Cardona said his business is about 30 percent down over the past two or three years, and he doesn't see things getting any better soon. So, he would be very happy with the tax cut extension if Congress approves it.
"It gives us more money in our pocket,â€ť Cardona said.
CNN Chief Business Correspondent Ali Velshi confirms what Cardona said.
"This really doesnâ€™t have the same stimulus effect as an actual tax cut," Velshi said. "It's an extension of something you are already not paying."
To hear the complete story, click on the audio button.
"The End" of a conviction: Lame-duck Florida Gov. Charlie Crist is expected to pardon singer Jim Morrison on Thursday for a 1969 indecent exposure conviction.
Morrison (second from right), lead singer of the Doors, was convicted a few weeks after a Miami concert in which he allegedly dropped his pants and exposed himself, though no photos of Morrison committing the act were introduced into evidence.
The Doors canceled their tour after the conviction. Morrison died in Paris in 1971.
A look at today's headlines in business news:
Stocks give up gains, end mixed
Stocks ended mixed Tuesday, giving back earlier gains, as investor optimism over the extension of Bush-era tax cuts gave way to speculation about a widening federal probe into insider trading and a spike in Treasury yields.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 3 points, or less than 0.1%, to close at 11,359. The S&P 500 ended little changed at 1,224, after climbing to aÂ 2-year high during active trading. The tech-heavy Nasdaq rose 3 points, or 0.1%, to 2,598.
President Barack Obama said Tuesday that the pending increase in taxes for Americans forced a deal with Republicans to hold down rates for everyone, buying time for political battles on policy "without having the same casualties for the American people that are my No. 1 concern."
The White House was fighting Tuesday to persuade Democrats to support a compromise on taxes that President Barack Obama and Republican leaders have reached.
The overall compromise will cost between $600 and $800 billion over two years, according to CNN estimates.
At the heart of the deal: an extension of the Bush-era tax cuts for two more years, which would keep income tax rates at their current levels for everyone, as Republicans have advocated. Obama and other Democrats had argued that tax rates should stay the same for most people but rise for people earning more than $200,000 a year and families making $250,000 or more a year.
The White House is working to get Democrats to support a last-minute deal on taxes that President Barack Obama hammered out with Republican leaders.
The compromise would extend the Bush-era tax cuts for two more years, keeping income tax rates at their current levels for everyone, as Republicans insisted. Obama and other Democrats wanted tax rates to rise only for individuals earning more than $200,000 a year and for families making $250,000 or more a year.
If the deal goes through, here's what it will mean for you: FULL POST
Assange arrested: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been arrested in London on a Swedish warrant. Swedish authorities want to talk to him about sex-crime allegations unrelated to WikiLeaks' recent disclosure of secret U.S. documents. Assange has not been charged.
In court Tuesday, Assange will be able to respond to the arrest warrant, and the court will then have roughly 21 days to decide whether to extradite him, said Mark Ellis, executive director of the International Bar Association.
We're taking a look at what you need to know and what's next for the WikiLeaks founder. Former CIA Director Gen. Michael Hayden asks who's to blame in the whole WikiLeaks imbroglio and what it might mean in the future.
WikiLeaks documents - "Terrorist funding emanating from Saudi Arabia remains a serious concern." So states a cable prepared for the visit of U.S. Special Envoy Richard Holbrooke to the kingdom earlier this year.
It is one of several that have appeared on the WikiLeaks site that suggest that despite some progress, the flow of cash to extremist groups in Pakistan and Afghanistan from individuals and charities in the Gulf has certainly not been halted. The cable, written by U.S. Ambassador James B Smith, says that the Saudis are "cooperating more actively than at any previous point to respond to terrorist financing concerns raised by the United States, and to investigate and detain financial facilitators of concern."
Meanwhile, as criticism continues to grow against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, Australia's attorney general says Assange would be allowed to return to his Australian homeland, and has the same protections as any other Australian citizen.
A political summit between President Barack Obama and congressional leaders Tuesday yielded further talks on whether to extend Bush-era tax breaks scheduled to expire at the end of the year, as well as an acknowledgement from Obama that he needs to reach out more to Republicans.
The meeting, dubbed by some the "Slurpee summit" in reference to a campaign dig by Obama at congressional Republicans, involved the president and leaders of both parties from the House and Senate.
Hereâ€™s a look at some of the stories CNN.com reporters are working on Wednesday:
Iceland volcano – CNN has had stories over the last few weeksÂ about the volcano that erupted under the Eyjafjallajokull glacier in Iceland for the first time since 1821. Residents were evacuated while some tourists turned up to watch. But now the huge plume of ash from the volcano is spreading through the skies, closing airspace and bringing travel chaos to northern Europe. CNN will be plotting the airport closures and asking meteorologists where the cloud will affect next as well as seeking pictures of the volcano, which are quite stunning, particularly if you are not affected.
Tax Day: It's April 15 and for many people thatÂ means just one thing - got to file those tax returns! CNN will be watching for the expected last-minute rush at tax preparers and post offices.