The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world.
CNN: At the back of the pack, Bachmann soldiers on in Iowa
Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann weaved between tables at the Kay's Kafé in tiny Corning, Iowa, on Wednesday, interrupting patrons enjoying their "6 oz. Ribeye Steak Sandwich" (only $5) and pleading for the votes of conservatives just days before the Iowa caucuses.
CNN: Paul primary victory unlikely, candidates agree
Though the Republican presidential candidates differ on whether they would support Ron Paul as their party's nominee, they agree it is a choice they will never have to make.
CNN: Top Bachmann aide out after flap over campaign switch
Michele Bachmann confirmed Thursday that another key member of her presidential campaign was no longer working for her.
CNN: New group paves way for alternative 2012 choice
Are you feeling uninspired this election season? Are you sick of all the attention being slathered on a small group of die-hard partisans in Iowa and New Hampshire? Do you think the political system's broken and your voice is ignored?
CNN: Obama administration sets up new hotline for immigration detainees
In the latest volley between the federal government and states pushing anti-illegal-immigration laws, the Obama administration announced Thursday it was establishing a new hotline for immigration detainees who feel they "may be U.S. citizens or victims of a crime."
CNN: New Year's Eve security main focus for NYPD
Security in Times Square will be the priority for New York Police Department this weekend as crowds pack the streets to herald the New Year.
CNN: New laws target abortion, immigration, alcohol and animals
New laws going into effect Sunday cover some of the nation's most contentious issues, from immigration to abortion, while others deal with tanning beds, tuition and where you can sell a pet.
CNN: U.S. population to near 313 million on New Year's, Census says
The U.S. population is expected to top out at close to 312.8 million people just around the time crowds gather to watch the ball drop on New Year's Eve, according to new census data released Thursday.
CNN: Egyptian raids on rights groups draw fire
Several rights groups, including three U.S.-based entities, were raided in Cairo and other Egyptian locations on Thursday in what one source called a push by police to "show some muscle."
CNN: North Korea says it won't deal with South Korean government
North Korea said Friday that it would not deal with the current South Korean government, suggesting its stance toward relations with Seoul remained unchanged following the death this month of its longtime leader, Kim Jong Il.
CNN: Snipers rule the streets in the besieged Syrian city of Homs
For months, the Syrian city of Homs has been the focus of opposition to the regime of President Bashar al-Assad, with almost daily protests since the summer.
CNN: U.S., Saudi Arabia agree to $30 billion deal for F-15s
The U.S. government has signed an agreement with Saudi Arabia to sell nearly $30 billion worth of F-15 fighter jets, federal officials said Thursday.
CNN Money: Verizon to charge $2 fee for online payments
Verizon Wireless will soon make some customers pay for the privilege of paying their bills.
CNN Money: Stocks rebound: Dow up 136 points, S&P back in black
U.S. stocks rose Thursday in a thinly-traded session as investors focused on signs of strength in the economy before calling it a year.
CNN Money: Euro falls to 17-month low
Selling pressure pushed the euro to its lowest level since mid-2010, and the currency could go even lower early next year.
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