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Quick Takes

By Dan Froomkin
12:41 PM ET, 04/17/2009

Brian Knowlton writes in the New York Times: "President Obama on Thursday highlighted his ambition for the development of high-speed passenger rail lines in at least 10 regions, expressing confidence in the future of train travel even as he acknowledged that the American rail network, compared with the rest of the world's, remains a caboose."

Ben Feller writes for the Associated Press: "Confronting a Mexican drug war that is 'sowing chaos in our communities,' President Barack Obama signaled Thursday he will not seek renewal of a U.S. assault weapons ban but instead will step up enforcement of laws banning the transfer of such guns across the border. Obama had pledged during his campaign to seek renewal of the ban but has bowed to the reality that such a move would be unpopular in politically key U.S. states and among Republicans as well as some conservative Democrats."

Pascal Fletcher writes for Reuters that the Summit of the Americas that Obama "will attend with 33 other leaders in Trinidad and Tobago looks set to be dominated by debate over Washington's enduring ideological conflict with Cuba, the only one-party communist state in the hemisphere."

Anita Snow writes for the Associated Press: "Obama said Thursday it was up to Havana to take the next step after his 'good faith' gesture of removing some of the restrictions that lock Americans and their money out of Cuba. Raul Castro responded within hours, saying 'we have sent word to the U.S. government in private and in public that we are willing to discuss everything — human rights, freedom of the press, political prisoners, everything.'"

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