Essential Reads

Essential Reads is your one-stop source for the top stories of the day as reported by your favorite Washington Week panelists. It's a simple way to save time and stay informed about the news you need to know. Check it out every day!

Apr 24, 2014

  • Obama says Russia not abiding by agreement to defuse Ukraine crisis

    By Kathleen Hennessey and Christi Parsons, Los Angeles Times

    President Obama says Russia is not yet holding up its side of an agreement to de-escalate tension in Ukraine, and he suggested that the U.S. and its allies are prepared to hit Moscow with additional sanctions in coming days.

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  • Is Russia Preparing for War?

    With Indira Lakshmanan, Bloomberg News

    Russia vowed to defend its citizens in neighboring Ukraine after the government in Kiev said it’s resuming operations to oust militants from eastern cities.

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  • American Father, Son Among Victims in Kabul Hospital Shooting

    With Martha Raddatz, ABC News


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  • F.B.I. Informant Is Tied to Cyberattacks Abroad

    By Mark Mazzetti, The New York Times

    An informant working for the F.B.I. coordinated a 2012 campaign of hundreds of cyberattacks on foreign websites, including some operated by the governments of Iran, Syria, Brazil and Pakistan, according to documents and interviews with people involved in the attacks.

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  • So, what did Hillary Clinton accomplish at the State Department?

    By Karen Tumulty, The Washington Post

    The first rule about running on your record? Make sure people know what it is.

    State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki raised some eyebrows this week, when she was unable to name a single tangible accomplishment of the first audit of the department, which was a major project initiated under the leadership of former Secretary Hillary Clinton. “I am certain that those who were here at the time, who worked hard on that effort, could point out one,” Psaki said in response to a question from Associated Press reporter Matt Lee.

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Apr 23, 2014

  • Obama begins Asia tour with informal sushi diplomacy in Tokyo

    By Christi Parsons, Los Angeles Times

    President Obama arrived here Wednesday to begin an eight-day tour of Asian allies designed to assure leaders that they have a strong U.S. backup at a time of rising tensions in the region.

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  • In Ukraine, Biden Brings Array of U.S. Support

    By Alexis Simendinger, Real Clear Politics

    Vice President Biden arrived in Ukraine this week bringing some tangible U.S. support to a country challenged by political and military struggles both internally and from neighboring Russia.

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  • U.S. Supreme Court hears challenge to ban on ‘false’ campaign speech

    By Joan Biskupic, Reuters

    U.S. Supreme Court justices across the ideological spectrum voiced doubts on Tuesday about a state law that prohibits false statements during a political campaign.

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  • IRS Agents Who Didn’t Pay Their Taxes Received $1 Million In Bonuses

    With Jeff Zeleny, ABC News

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  • The Privatization Backlash

    By Molly Ball, The Atlantic

    A few years ago, Chicago residents accustomed to parking on the street got a rude shock. Parking-meter rates had suddenly gone up as much as fourfold. Some meters jammed and overflowed when they couldn't hold enough change for the new prices. In other areas, new electronic meters had been installed, but many of them didn't give receipts or failed to work entirely. And free parking on Sundays was a thing of the past.

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Apr 22, 2014

  • Obama’s Strategic Shift to Asia Is Hobbled by Pressure at Home and Crises Abroad

    By David E. Sanger and Mark Landler, The New York Times

    President Obama is expected to announce an agreement with the Philippines next Monday that would give American ships and planes the most extensive access to bases there since the United States relinquished its vast naval installation at Subic Bay in 1992.

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  • Supreme Court Upholds Michigan Affirmative Action Ban

    By Pete Williams, NBC News

    The Supreme Court on Tuesday morning upheld Michigan's ban on using race as a factor in college admissions.

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  • En route to Asia, Obama to survey Washington landslide damage

    By Christi Parsons, Los Angeles Times

    President Obama, on his way to a weeklong trip to Asia, is headed to Washington state Tuesday to survey damage from the landslide and meet with survivors, first responders and local officials one month after the tragedy.

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  • Keystone Pipeline May Be Big, but This Is Bigger

    Coral Davenport, The New York Times

    The Keystone XL pipeline is a great political symbol. The proposed 1,700-mile pipeline, which would carry 830,000 barrels daily of carbon-heavy crude from Canada’s Alberta oil sands to Gulf Coast refineries, has galvanized environmental activists, who call it a litmus test for President Obama’s commitment to fighting climate change. It is a political weapon against Mr. Obama for Republicans, who call it a symbol of job creation and energy security. It has motivated liberal donors, led by the California billionaire Tom Steyer, who has personally urged Mr. Obama to reject the pipeline.

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  • Authors! Authors! Authors! Elizabeth Warren’s book hits the shelves. Whose is next?

    By Ed O’Keefe, The Washington Post

    A new book by Sen. Elizabeth Warren is hitting brick-and-mortar and online bookstores today. The Massachusetts Democrat has penned several other books on financial matters, but "A Fighting Chance" is her first memoir. She has insisted in two recent television interviews that the book is not a launching pad for a presidential campaign, but its release will do little to tamper talk about a 2016 presidential run, or other political options.

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Apr 21, 2014

  • In Cold War Echo, Obama Strategy Writes Off Putin

    By Peter Baker, The New York Times

    Even as the crisis in Ukraine continues to defy easy resolution, President Obama and his national security team are looking beyond the immediate conflict to forge a new long-term approach to Russia that applies an updated version of the Cold War strategy of containment.

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  • What Putin wants, and how he plans to get it

    By Doyle McManus, Los Angeles Times

    It was tempting to look at last week's diplomatic agreement to pull Ukraine back from the brink of war and see the beginning of a grand compromise between Russia and the West.

    Tempting, but mistaken.

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  • President Obama has some convincing to do on Asia tour

    By Kathleen Hennessey and Christi Parsons, Los Angeles Times

    Two and a half years after President Obama vowed to shift America's diplomatic, economic and military focus to Asia, he will head back to the region this week to try to convince allies and adversaries alike that he really meant it.

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  • White House Debates ‘Game-Changer’ Weapon For Syria

    By Michael Crowley, TIME Magazine

    White House officials are weighing whether to send surface-to-air missiles to opposition factions at the risk of a possible terrorist "nightmare".

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  • Democrats seek to reshape midterm electorate along lines of a presidential year

    By Dan Balz, The Washington Post

    Democrats have a problem and everyone knows it. President Obama calls it a “congenital disease.” If they can’t control it, Obama could spend the final years of his presidency battling not only a Republican House but also a Republican Senate.

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