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: GSA exec takes the Fifth on Las Vegas spending scandal
A government official at the center of lavish spending at a Las Vegas conference claimed his Fifth Amendment rights against testifying at a congressional hearing Monday, while his former boss said she mourned her departure from public service over the controversy.
CNN Money: Senate GOP blocks Buffett Rule bill
A proposal to implement the Buffett Rule was blocked in the Senate on Monday, but proponents of the millionaire tax vowed to keep the issue alive in the months ahead. Republicans, as expected, garnered enough support to reject Democrats' attempt to bring up the proposal for debate. The Democrats fell nine votes short.
CNN: Santorum hasn't yet talked to Romney
Rick Santorum, who announced last week he was dropping out of the contest for the Republican presidential nomination, said on a conference call with supporters Monday he hasn't spoken with the likely victor of that race, Mitt Romney.
CNN: Romney camp taps longtime aide for VP search, but trails in latest poll
Mitt Romney's campaign confirmed Monday that a trusted aide of the former Massachusetts governor will lead the search for his running mate in November, as the presumptive Republican nominee trails President Barack Obama by 9 points in the latest CNN/ORC International nationwide poll.
CNN: Secret Service clearances yanked in Colombia probe
The Secret Service has yanked the security clearances of 11 members accused of bringing prostitutes to a hotel in Colombia ahead of last week's pan-American summit, government officials with knowledge of the investigation said Monday.
CNN: Zimmerman's lawyer confident judge will leave case
The attorney for George Zimmerman, says he is confident his motion to have a Florida judge removed from his client's case will be granted. "I think she's going to go ahead and grant it and move the case on to another judge," Mark O'Mara, the lawyer, said Monday night.
CNN: Trial begins for man accused in New York subway terror plot
A federal prosecutor on Monday described a Bosnian immigrant accused of plotting to bomb New York's subway system as an "al Qaeda terrorist," an assertion the defense said was "just wrong."
CNN: Mississippi governor signs bill tightening restrictions on abortion providers
Mississippi's governor has signed into law a bill requiring physicians performing abortions in the state to be a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist and to have admitting privileges at an area hospital.
CNN: Norway rampage suspect to testify at trial
The murder and terrorism trial of Anders Behring Breivik was adjourned as soon as it started Tuesday in Norway over a dispute about a remark one of the judges made on Facebook. Defense and prosecutor attorneys both asked that Thomas Indreb be disqualified for having posted that "only the death penalty" would be the right thing for the man accused of killing 77 people in a bomb-and-gun rampage.
CNN: Australia to withdraw troops from Afghanistan earlier than expected
Australian troops could begin pulling out from Afghanistan in the coming months and may leave the country almost entirely by the end of next year, Prime Minister Julia Gillard of Australia said Tuesday.
CNN: U.S. ambassador to U.N.: Syrian regime has no credibility
While U.N. monitors try to observe a so-called cease-fire in Syria, the U.S. ambassador the United Nations said President Bashar al-Assad's regime has lost all credibility. "They have lied to the international community, lied to their own people. And the biggest fabricator of the facts is Assad himself," Susan Rice said Monday night. "His representatives are merely doing his bidding and under probably some not insignificant personal duress."
CNN: Strong earthquake strikes Chile; no serious damage reported
A strong earthquake struck coastal Chile near the port city of Valparaiso late Monday, causing mudslides and some minor damage, the U.S. Geological Survey reported. The 6.7-magnitude quake knocked out some power and phone lines in the region, authorities said.
CNN Money: Kim named World Bank president
American Jim Yong Kim was tapped Monday to be the next president of the World Bank, besting Nigerian finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala following the first-ever challenge to the U.S. nominee in the institution's history.
CNN Money: Blue-chips hold gains, but tech sector lags
U.S. stocks closed mixed Monday, with blue-chips gaining and tech shares falling, as investors weighed an upbeat report on retail sales, corporate earnings and renewed worries about Europe.
CNN Money: Buffett Rule would only hit 1% of small business owners
When it comes to small businesses and the Buffett Rule, it really is about the 99%. That is, it's likely that only 1% of small business owners would be directly affected by the latest proposal to raise taxes on the rich, according to data from the U.S. Treasury Department.
In case you missed it…
Lawmakers grill General Services Administration officials about a lavish conference in Las Vegas. Dana Bash reports.