The Note’s Must-Reads for Friday, April 25, 2014

By Will Cantine

Apr 25, 2014 4:51am

The Note’s Must-Reads are a round-up of today’s political headlines and stories from ABC News and the top U.S. newspapers. Posted Monday through Friday right here at www.abcnews.com

Compiled by ABC News’ Will Cantine, Jordan Mazza  and Janine Elliot

RUSSIA // UKRAINE
ABC News’ Ali Weinberg: “John Kerry Threatens Russia But No New Sanctions” Secretary of State John Kerry accused Russia today of dragging its feet on de-escalating the situation in eastern Ukraine, one week after the two countries reached an agreement in Geneva, Switzerland, to reduce tensions. “For seven days, Russia has refused to take a single concrete step in the right direction. Not a single Russian official — not one — has publicly gone on television in Ukraine and called on the separatists to support the Geneva Agreement, to support the stand-down, to give up their weapons and get out of the Ukrainian buildings,” he said during a hastily-arranged appearance today in the State Department briefing room. LINK

Wall Street Journal’s Lukas I. Alpert and Julian E. Barnes: “Ukraine Halts Military Push, Fearing Attack From Russia” Ukrainian forces moved in on a pro-Russian stronghold Thursday, killing several militants in a firefight at a roadside checkpoint, but quickly halted their advance after Russia activated the thousands of troops it has massed just across the border. Moscow’s saber-rattling—launching new land and air military drills—left Ukraine’s new government in a quandary: whether to risk pressing ahead with what it calls its antiterrorist operation in the restive east, or risk more bloodshed and provoking an invasion. LINK

USA Today’s Jacob Resneck and Olga Rudenko: “Putin issues new threat as pro-Russia forces mobilize” Amid fresh warnings from Russian President Vladimir Putin, pro-Russia separatist leaders of the so-called Donetsk People’s Republic announced a mobilization of its forces in eastern Ukraine on Thursday in response to an anti-terrorist operation by Ukrainian authorities that has left five militants dead, Interfax Ukraine reports. Ukraine’s Interior Ministry said on its website that the militants were killed at a checkpoint in Slovyansk, which is held by forces loyal to Kiev. The Interior Ministry described the dead as “terrorists.” LINK

POTUS IN ASIA
The New York Times’ Mark Landler and Jodi Rudoren: “Obama Suffers Setbacks In Japan And The Mideast”  President Obama encountered setbacks to two of his most cherished foreign-policy projects on Thursday, as he failed to achieve a trade deal that undergirds his strategic pivot to Asia and the Middle East peace process suffered a potentially irreparable breakdown. Mr. Obama had hoped to use his visit here to announce an agreement under which Japan would open its markets in rice, beef, poultry and pork, a critical step toward the trade pact. But Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was not able to overcome entrenched resistance from Japan’s farmers in time for the president’s visit. LINK

The Hill’s Amie Parnes: “WH, Japan Leaders Reach ‘Breakthrough’ On Trade” Senior Administration officials said Friday they had reached a “breakthrough” with Japanese officials to resurrect the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which had stalled in recent years because of growing opposition from lawmakers and other groups. As President Obama made his way from Japan to South Korea on Friday, a senior administration official said the so-called breakthrough came on the tail end of “a very important couple of days” for the trade pact, which would expand trade from the Pacific Rim to Latin America. “What we were to do this week, which we’ve been trying to do for quite some time, is really to identify a pathway to resolve the major market-access issues, which are agriculture and autos,” the senior official said, according to a White House pool report. LINK

The Los Angeles Times’ Don Lee: “Obama And Japan’s Abe Fail To Reach Trade Accord” The U.S. and Japan failed to reach agreement on free-trade talks as President Obama left Japan on Friday without the breakthrough needed to advance a key element of his broader agenda of strengthening America’s hand in Asia. Despite a last-minute push through the night, the two sides could not bridge their differences on tariffs and market access, clouding the prospects for the proposed free-trade pact among a dozen nations that includes the U.S., Japan, Canada and Mexico. LINK

GOP AND THE NEVADA RANCHER
The Washington Times’ Valerie Richardson: “Nevada Rancher’s Racial Remarks Cost Him Range of Support” Whatever good will Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy had built during his widely publicized standoff with the federal government evaporated Thursday after his comments that blacks might be “better off as slaves” went viral. In a sometimes awkward press conference, Mr. Bundy denied he was a racist. Lawmakers moved to condemn Mr. Bundy’s remarks, which were captured on video at a Saturday press briefing and first reported Thursday in The New York Times. LINK

The Washington Post’s Wesley Lowery and Aaron Blake: “Republicans Distance  Selves From Nevada Rancher Cliven Bundy Over Racial Remarks” Prominent Republicans and conservative news media outlets rallied in recent weeks around the cause of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, whose armed standoff with authorities over grazing rights on federal land had made him an instant folk hero on the right. But Bundy’s GOP defenders, including Sens. Dean Heller (Nev.) and Rand Paul (Ky.), rapidly abandoned him on Thursday following reports of incendiary remarks that the white rancher made about minorities. Bundy wondered aloud whether blacks would be better off as slaves picking cotton, and alleged that people of color are “against us.” LINK

Politico’s Hadas Gold: “The Story Behind The Bundy Quote” New York Times journalist Adam Nagourney was not planning to catch the quote that is starting to unravel Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy’s support from the right wing. “We went out there to just do a story on this whole stand-off outside of Las Vegas, and I wanted to interview him so I arranged something with somebody in his entourage who told me he has this 1:00 p.m. news conference everyday, and I could catch him after that so I went up there,” Nagourney, the newspaper’s Los Angeles bureau chief, told POLITICO on Thursday. LINK

SEN ELIZABETH WARREN
The Boston Globe’s Noah Bierman: “Warren Gets Wide Exposure, Friendly Questions On Book Tour” The venues for Senator Elizabeth Warren’s book tour have been decidedly favorable. No Fox interviews for her, no Rush Limbaugh, and very few tough questions. A recent segment on “The View” hosted by Barbara Walters managed to show off pleasant black-and-white pictures of Warren’s family, raise the prospect of a Warren presidential run, and also discuss her Harvard law professor husband’s good legs. LINK

ABC NEWS VIDEO
Obama Warns Russia of ‘Additional Consequences’”  LINK
Obama Challenged by Humanoid Robot in SoccerLINK
Secretary John Kerry Brings His Dog to WorkLINK
Girl Hands Michelle Obama Out-of-Work Dad’s ResumeLINK
President Obama Calls Mt. Fuji-Shaped Ice Cream ‘Delicious’LINK

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