The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world. Click the headlines for more.
CNN: House GOP relents on payroll tax cut deal
A compromise measure to extend the payroll tax cut for two months comes before the House and Senate on Friday after Speaker John Boehner dropped his opposition under mounting pressure from the White House, congressional Democrats and fellow Republicans.
CNN: Payroll tax cut standoff’s impact: What $40 a paycheck means to you
House Republicans on Tuesday rejected a Senate deal to temporarily extend the payroll tax holiday, leaving the White House and Congress at an impasse and creating a showdown between President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner.
CNN: Gingrich lowers expectations, shoots for top three or four in Iowa
Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich on Thursday seemed to be lowering expectations for the upcoming Iowa caucuses, saying he'd be happy with a third or fourth place finish.
New York Times: For Democrats in Hawaii, Unease in an Oasis
Hawaii should be a happy outpost for the Democratic Party. It has a Democratic governor. Democrats overwhelmingly control the Legislature. It has Barack Obama in the White House and all the prestige that brings, most recently an Asia-Pacific economic summit meeting with the president as its host, packing this city’s streets, restaurants and hotels with international leaders.
CNN: Federal judge blocks parts of South Carolina anti-immigration law
A federal judge in Charleston, South Carolina blocked Thursday parts of the state's anti-illegal immigration law approved by the legislature last summer.
CNN: On California coast, atheists nudge out Nativity scenes
Every Christmas for the past 60 years, Nativity scenes have dominated two blocks of a park on bluffs overlooking the ocean in Santa Monica, California.
CNN: FDA, CDC step in after baby's death raises questions about formula
The Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday they are assisting in the investigation of a newborn baby who died of a rare bacterial infection that could be linked to powder-based infant formula.
CNN: Head of U.S. Customs and Border Protection resigns
Alan D. Bersin, commissioner of the 57,000-employee U.S. Customs and Border Protection, will resign effective December 30, he said Thursday.
CNN: South Korea showing no animosity to North, president says
South Korea's actions toward Pyongyang after the death of the North Korean leader Kim Jong Il were intended to show that Seoul does not have animosity toward the North, President Lee Myung-bak of South Korea said in a meeting with political leaders Thursday.
CNN: Wave of attacks kills dozens amid Iraq's upheaval
A wave of explosions across Baghdad killed dozens of people Thursday and spread fears that Iraq's government could collapse in the wake of the U.S. military's departure.
CNN: World prepares to bid Havel farewell
Vaclav Havel, the shy but iron-willed Czech writer endowed with a playful sense of humor and a powerful moral compass, is to be buried Friday, with world leaders and ordinary people gathering at Prague Castle to say final farewells.
CNN: French National Assembly passes Armenian genocide bill
Turkey is fuming over French legislation that would criminalize any public denial of what the bill calls the Armenian genocide last century in Ottoman Turkey.
CNN Money: What the payroll tax deal would do
So it looks like the payroll tax holiday will continue after all. Under intense public and political pressure, House Speaker John Boehner relented Thursday.
CNN Money: Stocks end higher on positive jobs data
U.S. stocks finished a quiet session higher Thursday, after a stronger-than-expected reading on unemployment boosted investor optimism.
CNN Money: Mortgage rates hit another record low
Happy holidays, homebuyers! You just got a very nice present. Mortgage rates have hit record lows, with the interest rate on a 30-year, fixed-rate loan, the most popular choice of homebuyers, averaging 3.91% this week, according to Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey.
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