The Note's Must-Reads for Monday, April 15, 2013

ABC OTUS News

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' Jayce Henderson and Carrie Halperin

NORTH KOREA: The Washington Times' Guy Taylor: " N. Korea talks hinge on ending nuke plan" After meeting with Japanese leaders Sunday, Secretary of State John F. Kerry signaled that the U.S. is prepared to engage in talks with North Korea if it moves toward abandoning its nuclear program. During an intimate question-and-answer session Sunday night with reporters traveling through Asia with him, Mr. Kerry said the United States is "prepared to reach out" to 29-year-old North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, but doing so would require the "appropriate moment" and "appropriate circumstances." LINK

The Wall Street Journal's Jay Solomon: " U.S. Offers Direct Korea Talks" Secretary of State John Kerry said he would be willing to open a direct U.S. diplomatic channel to North Korea's leadership in a bid to reduce tensions in Northeast Asia, if Pyongyang signaled it would move to begin dismantling its nuclear-weapons arsenal. The U.S. proposal marked a considerable softening by the Obama administration of its rhetoric toward North Korea after a massive display of U.S. military force on the Korean peninsula-including the deployment of B-2 bombers, F-22 stealth fighters and advanced missile-defense systems. LINK

GUN CONTROL: The New York Daily News' Adam Edelman: " Bipartisan gun control compromise headed for Senate debate - 'It's going to be close,' says pol" One of the two senators behind a breakthrough compromise on gun-control legislation questioned Sunday whether the watered-down deal could muster enough votes to get through a divided senate, even as a flock of GOP lawmakers moved toward the bill. "It's an open question on whether or not we have the votes," Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Pat Toomey said Sunday of the deal he and West Virginia Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin reached last week on gun-sales background checks. LINK

USA Today's Richard Wolf: " High court may decide on carrying guns outside home" Guns are on the docket in Congress and dozens of state legislatures. Can the Supreme Court be far behind? The court may decide as early as Monday to consider whether the Second Amendment's right to keep a gun for self-defense extends outside the home. The case under consideration is a challenge to New York's law that requires "proper cause" to carry a weapon in public. Ten states, including California, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Maryland, have similar restrictions. Most have been challenged in court. LINK

COUNTER-TERRORISM: The Los Angeles Times' Ken Dilanian: " With Al Qaeda shattered, U.S. counter-terrorism's future unclear" Skilled in tracking foreign terrorists, Jarret Brachman once was a sought-after expert on Al Qaeda, advising several federal agencies and speaking regularly around the country. Now the former research director of the Combating Terrorism Center, a think tank at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, has turned his focus away from Islamic militants. He spends most of his time consulting with federal, state and local law enforcement agencies about threats from domestic extremists and anti-government militias. LINK

CONGRESS: The Washington Post's David Nakamura: " With endorsement of immigration plan, Rubio makes first major policy gambit of his career" It was early one morning in December when Richard J. Durbin spotted Marco Rubio in the members-only Senate gym. Dedicated fitness buffs, the two had become unlikely workout buddies. Now Durbin (D-Ill.) wanted to know whether Rubio (R-Fla.) would join him in another heavy lift: a fledgling bipartisan group tackling immigration reform. LINK

Politico's John Bresnahan and Jake Sherman: " Mitch McConnell in no mood for bipartisanship" Mitch McConnell still hasn't gotten over December's traumatic fiscal cliff showdown. The Senate minority leader has signaled privately that he has no interest in sitting in the same room as Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to discuss a possible "grand bargain" on budget and tax issues, Senate insiders tell POLITICO. LINK

ECONOMY: Bloomberg's Jonathan Burgos: " Asian Stocks Drop as China GDP Grows Less Than Estimated" Asian stocks dropped, with the regional benchmark index retreating from the highest level in 20 months, after Chinese economic growth and industrial production expanded less than economists' estimated. Jiangxi Copper Co., China's largest copper producer, plunged 5 percent in Hong Kong. Newcrest Mining Ltd., Australia's biggest gold producer, sank 8.7 percent, after the bullion tumbled to the lowest price in almost two years. LINK

OTHER: The Hill's Sam Baker: " Supreme Court Wrestles with right to patent human genes" Do companies have the right to patent your genes? The Supreme Court will wrestle with that highly charged question on Monday, when it hears oral arguments in a case that could have far-reaching implications for the future of medical research. The federal government itself is divided over the issue. The federal patent office has been approving patents on human genes since the 1980s, but the Justice Department on Monday will ask the court to invalidate those protections and rule that human genes cannot be patented. LINK

The New York Times' William Neuman: " Venezuela Gives Chávez Protégé Narrow Victory" In an unexpectedly close race, Venezuelans narrowly voted to continue Hugo Chávez's revolution, electing his handpicked political heir, Nicolás Maduro, to serve the remainder of his six-year term as president, officials said late Sunday. LINK

ABC VIDEO: " North Korea Missile Threat Escalates" LINK

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