The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world.
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CNN: New national poll shows Cain at top
Presidential hopeful Herman Cain jumped to the top of the Republican field in a new national poll, further signaling the Georgia businessman may pose a strong threat to fellow front-runner Mitt Romney.
CNN: Congress passes raft of free-trade deals
Congress voted Wednesday on a bipartisan basis to pass free-trade bills with Colombia, Panama and South Korea.
CNN: Christie: I wouldn't be the best No. 2
While New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie did not rule out the possibility of appearing in the No. 2 slot on the 2012 GOP presidential ticket, he does have his reservations about how he'd fare in that role.
Politico: House takes up abortion as 2012 field steers clear
The Republican-controlled House is about to wade back into the controversial issue of abortion Thursday, even as the party’s presidential candidates largely avoid the issue.
The relative silence of the Republican candidates is mostly a sign that they’re all committed to anti-abortion positions, not that they don’t care about the issue, anti-abortion groups say.
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CNN: Some analysts skeptical of alleged Iranian plot
Did an elite branch of Iran's military handpick a divorced, 56-year-old Iranian-American used-car salesman from Texas to hire a hitman from a Mexican drug cartel to assassinate the ambassador to Saudi Arabia by blowing up a bomb in a crowded restaurant in Washington?
U.S. officials say they are certain the bizarre plot against Ambassador Adel Jubeir was real.
But some analysts say they are not. They find it unlikely that the Iranian government, or legitimate factions within, would be involved in such a tangled plot.
CNN: Mayor visits NYC protesters, orders cleaning of park
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg met with Occupy Wall Street protesters Wednesday evening and informed them that the private park where they have been staying for nearly four weeks will be cleaned on Friday, according to a statement from the Deputy Mayor for Operations Cas Holloway.
The owners of Zuccotti Park have voiced their concern about the current "unsanitary conditions and considerable wear and tear on the park," the statement said.
CNN: Toll rises to 8 dead in California salon shooting
The death toll in Wednesday afternoon's mass shooting at a Southern California beauty salon rose to eight as Seal Beach police reported two of three critically injured survivors died.
USA Today: Car-safety group: Half of child booster seats pose risks
Half of children's car booster seats aren't good enough to ensure a proper fit with safety belts, a safety group funded by the insurance industry says in a report out Thursday.
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CNN: Gadhafi son reported captured
Moatassim Gadhafi, a son of ousted Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, was reported captured Wednesday after a four-hour firefight in Sirte, said Abdallah Naker, the head of the Tripoli Revolutionary Council, who cited field commanders in Sirte as his sources.
CNN: Earthquake rattles Indonesia's Bali
A powerful earthquake struck Thursday morning near the Indonesian island of Bali, the U.S. Geological Survey said.
The 6.0-magnitude quake hit about 100 km (62 miles) southwest of Denpasar, Bali.
No tsunami alert was issued.
CNN: Suspected U.S. drone kills three in Pakistan
A drone strike killed three suspected militants, including a senior member of the Haqqani Network, in Pakistan's volatile tribal region, intelligence officials said Thursday
Jalil Haqqani, a senior operator of the Haqqani Network, was among those killed, Pakistani intelligence officials told CNN.
Washington Post: Smuggled Libyan weapons flood into Egypt
Large caches of weapons from Libya are making their way across the Egyptian border and flooding black markets in Egypt’s already unstable Sinai Peninsula, according to current and former Egyptian military officials and arms traders in the Sinai.
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CNNMoney: Weak economy drops oil demand projections
The International Energy Agency lowered its estimates for oil demand on Wednesday amid continued concerns about the fragility of the global economy and slow growth.
CNNMoney: BlackBerry outage is another black eye for RIM
Research in Motion is suffering on all fronts. Its sales are flagging, investors are agitating for a management shakeup, the stock is down almost 60% this year, and now its BlackBerry service is down - again.
CNNMoney: Warren Buffet made $62,855,038 last year
Billionaire investor Warren Buffett this week showed a little more leg in his campaign to get Congress to raise taxes on the uber-rich.
In a letter to Republican Rep. Tim Huelskamp Tuesday, Buffett revealed that his adjusted gross income last year was $62,855,038 and that his taxable income was $39,814,784. Buffett said he paid $15,300 in payroll taxes.
Los Angeles Times: Home foreclosure proceedings on the rise again
After months of a foreclosure slowdown caused by investigations into improper practices, the nation's home-repossession machinery is beginning to move again — particularly in states such as California where courts don't oversee the process.
In Case You Missed It…Germany rail traffic is disrupted after several explosives are found near the railways. CNN's Diana Magnay reports.