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: CNN/Time Poll: Race for South Carolina tightening
With three days to go until the first-in-the south primary, Mitt Romney remains in the lead in the Palmetto State, but according to a new poll, his advantage over Newt Gingrich is rapidly shrinking.
CNN: GOP candidates escalate rhetoric in South Carolina
A day before the final debate and three days before the voting, Republican presidential candidates on Wednesday launched increasingly strident attacks against each other and President Barack Obama in the run-up to the South Carolina primary.
CNN: Paul doesn't have many fans in Congress
Briefly back in Congress doing his day job, Ron Paul met with high school students outside his office.
CNN: House 'disapproves' debt ceiling hike
In a political gesture Wednesday, the U.S. House voted to "disapprove" the Obama administration's recent request to raise the nation's debt ceiling by $1.2 trillion.
CNN: U.S. passengers recount Concordia ordeal
Chaos and a lack of communication are common threads among American survivors' stories of the Costa Concordia sinking, and making it to shore was only the beginning of a long ordeal for passengers trying to get home.
CNN: Pentagon targets military sex assaults
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta outlined new measures Wednesday targeting sexual assaults against U.S military personnel, saying he has "no higher responsibility than to protect those who are protecting America."
CNN: TSA regrets 'discomfort,' but says elderly fliers weren't strip-searched
The Transportation Security Administration has apologized for the actions of some airport screeners, and that its officers did not follow standard procedures when they asked to see a colostomy device on one woman and put another woman's back brace through an X-ray machine. But the agency stands by its earlier statements that neither woman was strip searched or asked to remove any clothing.
CNN: Canada will look to China to sell its oil
In a phone conversation that came as little surprise, President Barack Obama called Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper Wednesday afternoon to explain why he had rejected the Keystone oil sands pipeline project.
CNN: Europe planning new Syria sanctions
The European Union planned new sanctions against Syria, spokesman Michael Mann said Wednesday, as opposition activists said government troops killed 21 more people in a months-long crackdown.
CNN: Sabotage, bombings, sanctions: A growing web of pressure over Iran
Iran is facing an extensive and growing international campaign aimed at destabilizing its regime.
CNN: Pakistani prime minister to appear in court over contempt notice
Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani of Pakistan is due Thursday to appear before the country's Supreme Court, which issued him a contempt of court notice on Monday for not reopening lingering corruption cases against Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and other officials.
CNN: How U.S. can help stop bloodshed in Syria
After more than six months of silence, Syria's leader, Bashar al-Assad, spoke last week for only the fourth time since the beginning of the country's widespread uprising in March. His words show that he is as delusional now as when the protests began.
CNN Money: Is Romney’s effective tax rate lower than yours?
So Mitt Romney thinks his effective tax rate is about 15%. That prompts many people to express disbelief: "What?! Most people pay a higher rate than that, don't they?" Actually, they don't.
CNN Money: AT&T hikes rates on smartphone plans
The mobile data our smartphones love to suck up is once again going up in price.
CNN Money: Stocks boosted by Europe, Goldman
U.S. stocks advanced to six-month highs Wednesday as investors welcomed the International Monetary Fund plan to boost its bailout fund to contain Europe's debt crisis.
In Case You Missed It…
Anderson Cooper talks to columnist Andrew Sullivan who says Obama's critics are wrong and that he is outwitting them.