The CNN Washington Bureau’s morning speed read of the top stories making news from around the country and the world.
CNN: Payroll tax deal heads to final House, Senate votes
A bipartisan group of congressional negotiators signed off on an agreement Thursday to extend the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits while avoiding a fee cut for Medicare doctors for the rest of the year.
CNN: Angry lawmakers challenge lineup at hearing: 'Where are the women?'
A pair of female Democratic lawmakers had a simple question Thursday about a controversial hearing on Capitol Hill.
CNN: Groups hit back against billionaire's birth control comment
Women's advocacy groups fired back after a major Rick Santorum donor stirred controversy Thursday with a now-viral comment about contraception.
CNN: Senators spar over cybersecurity
Senate members sparred Thursday over whether a new cybersecurity bill will effectively give the U.S. government and private security what it needs to defend itself against the dozens of attacks occurring daily on both government and private computer networks.
CNN: Study: Interracial marriage, acceptance growing
Forty-five years after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down a ban on interracial marriage, the rate of marriage across racial and ethnic lines in the United States is on the rise, according to a new study released Thursday.
CNN: Steel beams fall 40 stories at WTC construction site; no one injured
Three 60-foot steel beams fell 40 stories at the World Trade Center construction site Thursday after a crane cable snapped.
CNN: Wisconsin girl kept in basement and starved, police say
Wisconsin authorities have jailed the father, stepmother and stepbrother of a 15-year-old girl investigators say was kept in a basement, sexually abused and starved before being found last week.
CNN: NORAD intercepts drug plane in restricted airspace
If you're planning to transport marijuana in a private plane, you may want to check the president's schedule before taking off.
CNN: Inside Syria: Farmers, teachers, carpenters armed with rifles fear massacre
The countryside here in northern Syria is in open revolt, and this is rebellion of farmers, of carpenters and of high school teachers.
CNN: Iran is ready for nuclear talks, negotiator tells EU
Iran is offering to resume talks over the country's nuclear program as soon as possible, according to a letter that the nation's nuclear negotiator sent to the European Union.
CNN: Taliban reject Karzai claim of secret meetings
The Taliban rejected a claim Thursday by Afghan President Hamid Karzai that it was taking part in secret talks with the Afghan government.
CNN: Is Mexico's drug war strategy working?
Mexico has landed some hard punches against the drug cartels that have stirred violence in parts of the country - at least on paper.
CNN Money: Santorum's charitable donations lag rivals
White House hopeful Rick Santorum lags behind both his 2012 competitors and wealthy Americans in general when it comes to charitable giving, according to tax documents.
CNN Money: Nasdaq hits decade high; stocks close up 1%
U.S. stocks closed more than 1% higher Thursday as positive domestic economic data comforted investors nervous about Greece's ability to secure a second bailout.
CNN Money: Congress restructures unemployment benefits
The 99ers? Call them the 73ers. Beginning later this year, the maximum number of weeks the jobless can collect unemployment benefits would be reduced to 73 weeks, under a new deal being hammered out in Congress.
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