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: Obama unveils plans for pared-down military
President Barack Obama unveiled his administration's plan Thursday for a leaner, cheaper military, a reflection of Washington's fiscal belt-tightening and slower national economic growth.
CNN: Gingrich, Santorum spar in N.H. over congressional records
With GOP presidential front-runner Mitt Romney feeling comfortable enough to campaign in South Carolina, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum on Thursday scoured New Hampshire for votes and hammered away at each other's congressional record.
CNN: Boston Globe backs Huntsman
Five days before New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation primary, The Boston Globe gave its nod to Republican presidential hopeful Jon Huntsman, saying he offers the Republican Party an opportunity to "renew itself."
CNN: McCain takes aim at Santorum in South Carolina
Mitt Romney's presidential campaign took its anti-earmark crusade against Rick Santorum to South Carolina on Thursday, with Romney-backer John McCain leading the charge.
CNN: Colombia: Texas teen mistakenly deported will be handed over to U.S. officials
Colombia is preparing to hand over to U.S. officials a Dallas teenager who was mistakenly deported after she ran away from home more than a year ago, the South American country's foreign ministry said in a statement Thursday night.
CNN: Coast Guard mission to Nome exposes U.S. limits in ice-breaking capability
In what may be the furthest thing from a pleasure cruise, the U.S. Coast Guard's only operating Arctic icebreaker is escorting a Russian-flagged tanker this week on an emergency fuel run to the ice-blocked town of Nome, Alaska.
CNN: Critics say proposed Tenn. Bill could enable harassment in schools
A proposed bill that will be debated in Tennessee would create a loophole in state schools' anti-discrimination laws that could protect students who engage in harassment if it falls under their religious or political beliefs, opponents of the bill told CNN.
CNN: Beer pong skills reap $50,000 for Illinois pair
Don't be confused, Las Vegas. You did not wake up in a fraternity house. You are not still in college.
CNN: Syrian defector says government has lost control of 'human monsters'
Syria's embattled government has been holding jailed dissidents underground and paying pro-government gang members $100 a day to crack down on protesters as it tries to quell months of demonstrations against it, a former defense official said.
CNN: Analysis: Bombings expose Iraq's deepening sectarian divisions
Nature abhors a vacuum, but terrorism relishes one. And Iraq appears to be offering new space for al Qaeda and other militant groups as political rivalries and sectarian animosities deepen.
CNN: Prosecutor seeks death sentence for Mubarak
Prosecutors in the trial of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak formally requested a penalty of death by hanging for Mubarak and several of his fellow defendants Thursday, an attorney at the court said.
CNN: Karzai appears to endorse U.S., Taliban talks over Qatar office
Afghan President Hamid Karzai appeared to endorse talks between the United States and the Taliban that could lead to the opening of a Taliban liaison office in Qatar.
CNN Money: Mitt Romney's 'timid' tax plan
If Republican primary voters are inclined to reward candidates who have big, bold, game-changing plans for the tax code, Mitt Romney might be in trouble.
CNN Money: The comeback of the American car
As the 2012 Detroit Auto Show approaches, the American auto industry looks to be stronger than it has in many years.
CNN Money: Barnes & Noble may spin off Nook e-reader
Barnes & Noble is considering spinning off its Nook business, the company said Thursday in an announcement that sent investors reeling.
In Case You Missed It…
Republicans say President Obama's four agency recess appointments are unconstitutional. Anderson Cooper reports.