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 campaign announces kickoff
President Barack Obama will officially kick off his re-election campaign on May 5 with two rallies in the key states of Ohio and Virginia, Obama campaign manager Jim Messina announced Wednesday night.
CNN: Gingrich to end White House bid, spokesman says
Newt Gingrich will officially end his bid for the Republican presidential nomination next week, his spokesman said Wednesday, and will back Mitt Romney in his bid to defeat President Barack Obama in November.
CNN: Republicans request investigation of Obama travel
In a letter to the Government Accountability Office from RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, the committee requested an investigation into Obama's recent travel – including trips this week to Iowa and North Carolina – alleging those trips were more political than official.
CNN: Congressman calls Afghan president ‘corrupt prima donna’
A U.S. congressman barred from visiting Afghanistan over the weekend minced no words when characterizing the incident on Wednesday. Afghan president Hamid Karzai is a "corrupt prima donna," House Foreign Affairs Committee member Dana Rohrabacher of California said in an interview on CNN's "The Situation Room."
CNN: High court appears to lean toward Arizona in immigration law dispute
Parts of Arizona's sweeping immigration law received a surprising amount of support from a short-handed Supreme Court Wednesday. States throughout the country considering their own tough immigration laws are closely following the proceedings over what has become a thorny issue.
CNN: Aide asked if he fabricated some stories about John Edwards
A former campaign aide of John Edwards will face more questions Thursday, a day after he was quizzed about his motives and asked whether he made up stories about how Edwards allegedly concealed contributions from campaign donors.
CNN: Subway terror plot trial nears closing arguments
Closing arguments could begin Thursday in the trial of a man accused of trying to to detonate a bomb in the New York subway system. Prosecutors say Adis Medunjanin, a Bosnian-born American, conspired with admitted terrorists Najubullah Zazi and Zarein Ahmedzay to detonate bombs in New York subways in 2009.
CNN: Senators criticize military briefing on Colombia scandal
Two veteran senators complained Wednesday that military officials might have been slow to react to an alleged prostitution scandal in Colombia and have not been forthcoming with Congress in reporting what happened. The incident this month before President Barack Obama's trip to the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena involved Secret Service and U.S. military members who allegedly consorted with prostitutes.
CNN: Court to issue verdict in trial of Charles Taylor
An international war crimes tribunal delivers its verdict Thursday in the trial of Charles Taylor, the former Liberian president accused of arming rebels who raped, killed and mutilated civilians in neighboring Sierra Leone.
CNN: Pakistani prime minister convicted of contempt but avoids prison time
The Pakistani Supreme Court on Thursday convicted Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani of contempt but gave him just a symbolic sentence that will not require him to serve time in prison.
CNN: Rupert Murdoch: Media magnate grilled on power, influence
It was a rare sight for media watchers on Wednesday: Rupert Murdoch, the indomitable head of the News Corp. empire, called before a judicial inquiry to explain how his influence has shaped Britain's media and political landscape.
CNN: UK police say missing girl Madeleine McCann may still be alive
British girl Madeleine McCann, who vanished during a 2007 family vacation in Portugal, may still be alive, UK authorities said Wednesday. Madeleine was a few days shy of her fourth birthday when she disappeared from her family's holiday apartment in Praia da Luz as her parents dined in a nearby tapas restaurant with friends.
CNN Money: Federal Reserve sees economy improving
The Federal Reserve believes the economy is improving, but not enough to warrant a change in its stimulative policies just yet. "The Committee expects economic growth to remain moderate over coming quarters and then to pick up gradually," the Fed's official statement said.
CNN Money: Drilling into Big Oil's big job claims
Big Oil is about to report big profits this week. So the industry is trying to focus people on a different story - that it is a big jobs producer, worthy of its tax breaks and public appreciation in this time of still high unemployment.
CNN Money: Wal-Mart tries to recover from Mexico allegations
Wal-Mart Stores is continuing the effort to contain the damage from allegations that it bribed its way to dominance of Mexico's retail industry. Shares of the world's largest retailer seesawed up and down on Wednesday, but only by a fraction of a percent. The shares fell nearly 7% Monday and Tuesday, the first trading days following the New York Times report about the alleged bribery.
In case you missed it…
His Holiness the Dalai Lama tells Piers Morgan exclusively he likes former president George W. Bush as a person.