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: Romney wins Illinois primary, gears up for Louisiana
With a decisive win in the Illinois presidential primary, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney sets his sights on the bayou where Louisiana holds the next Republican primary. "We thank the people of Illinois for this extraordinary victory," Romney told supporters in the Chicago suburb of Schaumburg. "Elections are about choices. Today, hundreds of thousands of people in Illinois joined millions of people in this country in this cause."
CNN: Did Santorum lose the GOP civil war at Gettysburg?
Rick Santorum chose the iconic Civil War town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, to watch the primary returns from Illinois as a tribute to Abraham Lincoln. In his own Gettysburg address to supporters, the Republican contender tried to make the case his battle for the Republican nomination is not lost.
CNN: 2013 House GOP budget raises 2012 stakes
House GOP leaders unveiled a 2013 budget blueprint Tuesday that has little chance of becoming law but draws a clear contrast with Democrats on taxes, spending, and a host of hot-button political issues - all of which could play a pivotal role in the 2012 campaign.
CNN: NRCC sees big fundraising night with Nikki Haley
The Republican campaign committee for the U.S. House of Representatives touted raising $12 million on Tuesday for its annual dinner, this year keynoted by South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley. The amount marks a $2 million boost over its dinner haul last year, according to a statement by the National Republican Congressional Committee.
CNN: Lawyer: Bales likely to be charged with homicide Thursday
Sgt. Robert Bales, who is accused of shooting 16 Afghan civilians, is likely to be charged with homicide Thursday, his lawyer said. Lead attorney John Henry Browne told CNN that he expects his client will probably be charged with "homicide and a bunch of other charges," and predicted that the case would last two years.
CNN: Outrage, protests grow over shooting of unarmed Florida teen
Outrage over the killing of an unarmed Florida teen rippled nationwide, spurring protests Wednesday as a petition demanding the arrest of his shooter amassed nearly 1 million signatures. Trayvon Martin was fatally shot on February 26 while walking to the house of his father's fiancee in Sanford after a trip to a convenience store.
CNN: Justices mull whether life without parole appropriate for underage killers
The Supreme Court struggled Tuesday, speaking in somber tones, when confronting one of its toughest criminal sentencing questions: whether two men convicted of killings committed when they were 14 deserve life in prison without the possibility of parole.
CNN: Peyton Manning joins Denver Broncos
Free agent quarterback Peyton Manning will play for the Denver Broncos, the team announced Tuesday. "This is truly a special football environment, and I'm glad to be a part of it," Manning said at a news conference where the Broncos made the announcement.
CNN: French police in standoff with suspect in Toulouse shootings
Dozens of French police officers surrounded a house near Toulouse early Wednesday morning, trying to coax the suspect in a series of deadly shootings - including one at a Jewish school - to give himself up. Soon after special operations police mounted their raid at 3:30 a.m. (10:30 p.m. ET Tuesday), shots rang out from inside, wounding two officers, police said.
CNN: Obama to make first visit to Korean demilitarized zone
President Barack Obama is scheduled to visit the demilitarized zone that splits the Korean Peninsula in two for the first time on Sunday. His planned visit to the heavily fortified border is part of a three-day trip to South Korea to participate in a summit meeting about nuclear security in Seoul.
CNN: Rights group cites Syrian opposition for 'serious human rights abuses'
Armed rebels fighting the regime of Syria's Bashar al-Assad have committed "serious human rights abuses," an influential human rights watchdog said Tuesday. In an open letter to leaders of the opposition, Human Rights Watch cites "increasing evidence" of kidnappings, torture and executions and calls on those forces "to refrain from engaging in these unlawful practices."
CNN: Hundreds of houses damaged after strong earthquake hits Mexico
Mexican officials were assessing damage Wednesday, a day after a strong earthquake left homes in ruins and rattled residents hundreds of miles away. At least 11 people were injured in the 7.4-magnitude quake, which hit mid-day Tuesday in southern Mexico. Its epicenter was about 15 miles (25 kilometers) east of Ometepec, Guerrero.
CNN Money: U.S. to impose tariffs on Chinese solar panels
The U.S. Commerce Department announced tariffs on Chinese-made solar panels on Tuesday that it said had benefited from unfair subsidies by Beijing. The preliminary ruling came in response to a complaint from SolarWorld Industries America, a U.S. manufacturer that is a subsidiary of Germany's SolarWorld. The tariffs were lower than many analysts had predicted, however, boosting shares of Chinese solar-panel makers in Tuesday's trading.
CNN Money: Federal Reserve turns $77 billion profit
Call it the most profitable bank in the world. The Federal Reserve once again made a hefty profit in 2011, as the central bank went on a bond buying binge to stimulate the economy. The Fed earned $77.4 billion last year, according to financial statements released to the public Tuesday. And yes, they were audited (by Deloitte and Touche).
CNN Money: Postal Service: We need more junk mail
The U.S. Postal Service wants small businesses to send more direct mail, a.k.a. junk mail, to help the beleaguered agency expand its revenue stream by hundreds of millions of dollars. In a campaign called "Every Door Direct Mail," the Postal Service is touting a year-old online tool to help small businesses micro-target direct mail. The Web tool allows firms to tap customers by neighborhood or zip code without names or addresses.
In case you missed it…
CNN's Erin Burnett talks to Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan about the 2013 House GOP budget plan.
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