America

Busy Day: 'Don't Ask,' Rangel Vote, World Cup, LeBron

Good morning. There's a lot going on today and several good stories to pass along. So let's get to it.

First, as we noted earlier, there's a report from London that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is in the United Kingdom and that authorities claim they know right where he is.

We've also already posted about some of the latest numbers on home sales, which weren't too good, and the dramatic, real-but-made-for-the-movies scene in Los Angeles yesterday, when a man wanted for questioning about the murder of publicist Ronni Chasen shot and killed himself as the cops came to search his apartment.

Coming up later today:

— "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" Hearing: The Senate Armed Services Committee meets at 9 a.m. ET to hear testimony from Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen and other brass about the Pentagon's report that supports President Obama's plan to repeal the don't ask, don't tell policy barring openly gay men and women from serving in the military.

The committee will webcast the hearing here. C-SPAN.org plans to stream it here. NPR.org's Liz Halloran will be covering it and we'll pass along news as it develops.

— Vote On Censuring Rep. Charles Rangel: As NPR's Peter Overby reported on Morning Edition, "the House is expected to vote Thursday on a punishment for Rep. Charles Rangel, the former chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee, who was found guilty by the House ethics committee of 11 violations."

Some of the morning's top headlines:

The Wall Street Journal: "Signs Point To Extending All Tax Cuts Temporarily." (The House is due to vote today on legislation that would not extend the cuts to the wealthiest, but that measure isn't expected to get anywhere in the Senate.)

The Washington Post: "Federal Aid In Financial Crisis Went Beyond U.S. Banks To Industry, Foreign Firms." (Related headline from yesterday's Planet Money: "Why McDonald's, Harley Davidson & Verizon Borrowed Money From The Fed.")

The New York Times: "Diplomats Noted Canadian Mistrust Toward U.S."

— BBC News: "Cold Weather Grips Europe, Causing Transport Disruption."

And before we finish, if you need something to talk about with the sports fans in your life:

— World Cup: We'll hear today which nations have been chosen to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cup competitions (for those who might not know, they play soccer in those tournaments). The USA is among the contenders for 2022.

— LeBron: Fans in Cleveland tonight get their first chance to say ... hello ... to basketball superstar LeBron James since he left their Cavaliers for the Miami Heat. As NPR's Tom Goldman reported for Morning Edition, James "electrified Cleveland's home arena for seven years." Now, he "returns as a villain":

LeBron returns to Cleveland

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