The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world. Click on the headlines for more.
CNN: Senate passes defense bill with detainee policy compromise
The Senate on Thursday passed a giant defense bill that includes a new policy for detaining and trying suspected al Qaeda terrorists - a policy that attracted controversy during the debate and may draw a presidential veto.
CNN: Cain: Wife didn't know about friendship with latest accuser
Presidential hopeful Herman Cain told a newspaper Thursday that he never told his wife about another woman he befriended 13 years ago and helped out financially.
CNN: Republican leaders shifting stance on payroll tax cut
A top Republican leader agreed Thursday with President Barack Obama and Democrats that extending the payroll tax cut would help the economy, but the parties remained divided over how to pay for the move.
CNN: Did Newt eat a piece of humble pie?
After confidently declaring earlier Thursday he would become the Republican nominee, Newt Gingrich toned down his hubris later that night, saying it was up to the voters to make that choice.
CNN: Obama pledges additional $50 million to fight AIDS
An additional $50 million is going toward treatment and medical facilities across the United States to help combat the AIDS virus, President Barack Obama announced Thursday during a Washington event marking World AIDS day.
CNN: 911 tape reveals hectic efforts to save FAMU drum major
Band members who were with Florida A&M University drum major Robert Champion on the bus in a parking lot in Orlando, Florida, where he died last month tried frantically to get him help when they realized he was not breathing, a 911 tape released Thursday reveals.
CNN: Hinckley Hearing focuses on his relationships
John Hinckley Jr.'s relationships with women and his difficulties becoming part of a community away from a government mental hospital were spotlighted Thursday during a hearing to discuss whether the man who tried to kill President Ronald Reagan will eventually be allowed to live as an outpatient.
CNN: 140-mph gusts cause damage, outages, delays in California
Powerful winds continued to batter Los Angeles, Las Vegas and other southwestern U.S. locales Thursday - downing trees, delaying flights and leaving hundreds of thousands without power.
CNN: Biden honors U.S., Iraqi troops for sacrifices in Iraq
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden paid tribute Thursday to the sacrifices of U.S. and Iraqi troops at a ceremony for service members from both nations.
CNN: U.N. puts death toll at 4,000 in Syria as pressures rise
The Arab League and other world powers boosted pressure on the Bashar al-Assad regime to end its nearly nine-month-long crackdown on demonstrators, a relentless push against mostly peaceful citizen protest that has now claimed at least 4,000 deaths.
CNN: Clinton to continue visit with Myanmar's Nobel Peace laureate
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton continued her landmark visit in Myanmar on Friday by resuming a meeting with Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel Peace Prize winner who intends to run in upcoming parliamentary elections with her newly registered political party.
CNN: Al Qaeda leader claims responsibility for capture of American
Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has claimed responsibility for the capture in August of a 70-year-old U.S. citizen in Pakistan, according to a number of radical websites known for carrying militants' messages.
CNN Money: Blue chips can't keep up the rally
U.S. stocks ended mixed Thursday, after a big rally on Wednesday, as investors were reluctant to push prices higher amid ongoing worries about Europe.
CNN Money: Fannie Mae, banks halt foreclosures for the holidays
Happy holidays struggling homeowners! Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and several large mortgage lenders have pledged not to foreclose on delinquent borrowers during the Christmas season.
CNN Money: Federal workers targeted ... again
When it comes to extending the payroll tax holiday, somebody's gotta pay. And it looks like federal workers could end up footing the bill.
In Case You Missed It…
CNN's Anderson Cooper investigates suspicions that members of Congress participated in insider trading.