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 hits 'magic number' for GOP nomination
Mitt Romney hit his party's "magic number" on Tuesday, unofficially clinching the Republican presidential nomination in a race he entered as the front-runner and has had to himself for weeks. Romney led the pack when he announced his second run for the White House last June, and he has watched his rivals for the nomination slowly trickle out as their own wins looked increasingly unlikely.
CNN: Blitzer and Trump go at it over Trump's 'birther' claims
Donald Trump did not back down Tuesday from his questioning of President Barack Obama's birthplace, instead arguing heatedly with CNN's Wolf Blitzer that "a lot of people do not think it was an authentic certificate," though he declined to offer names of experts who agree with him.
CNN: Gingrich: Obama an 'American-born job-killing president'
Newt Gingrich, speaking outside an event raising money for presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, said the event's host, Donald Trump, was not distracting the Republican Party with his questions about the president's birth certificate. "Gov. Romney's not distracted," Gingrich said in Las Vegas. "The Republican Party's not distracted. We believe that this is an American-born job-killing president. Other people may believe that he was born somewhere else and still kills jobs, but that's an argument over background."
CNN: Organizations urge Boehner not to vote contempt against AG
With the threat of a contempt charge hanging over Attorney General Eric Holder, 14 civil rights, labor, and liberal activist groups Tuesday urged Speaker of the House John Boehner not to proceed to a contempt vote. The organizations which are closely allied with the Obama administration charged that to hold the attorney general in contempt for failing to turn over demanded documents on the "fast and furious" investigation "seems to be a rush to judgment intended to create a stain on the office of the attorney general."
CNN: Anti-abortion group's video shows gender-selection counseling
The anti-abortion group Live Action released Tuesday its latest undercover video aimed at discrediting Planned Parenthood. The edited video shows a Planned Parenthood staff member apparently counseling a woman about gender-selective abortion.
CNN: Sandusky attends closed-door hearing with judge
Jerry Sandusky, the disgraced former Penn State coach now facing child rape charges, was in a Pennsylvania judge's chambers for a closed-door hearing Tuesday, Centre County Sheriff Denny Nau said. The subject of the two-plus-hour hearing remained unknown Tuesday evening. But Nau said a pre-trial hearing was still scheduled for Wednesday, though Sandusky was not expected to attend.
CNN: Obama administration gives 8 states waivers on No Child Left Behind
The U.S. Department of Education granted eight additional states waivers Tuesday from strict requirements of the No Child Left Behind law. The White House announced a deal last year that allows states relief from provisions of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, or No Child Left Behind (NCLB), if certain standards are met.
CNN: Beryl to storm along Coastal Carolina
Two days after slamming into northeast Florida, Tropical Depression Beryl prepared to reenter the Atlantic early Wednesday, spreading heavy rain and blustery winds along the coast of the Carolinas and Georgia. The storm, which came ashore early Monday with 70 mph winds near Jacksonville Beach, Florida, was still packing maximum sustained winds of 30 mph, the National Hurricane Center said.
CNN: U.S., allies expel Syrian diplomats after massacre
Close to a dozen countries, including the United States, announced Tuesday they were expelling Syrian diplomats in a coordinated move reflecting the international outrage about a massacre in the town of Houla. A U.N. official said it's "clear" that Syrian government forces were involved in the massacre, which left more than 100 people dead, nearly half of them children.
CNN: Internal reports highlight threats to Afghan police force
An Afghanistan government assessment of its own police force raises concern that unresolved issues are undermining the ability to take over security in the country, according to a report obtained by Security Clearance. The report by the Afghan Interior Ministry looks at five major threats facing the Afghan National Police. They range across the spectrum of long-time problems inside Afghanistan and include outside terrorist threats and armed opposition to the Afghan government, unlawful governance and corruption, illegal drug trade, organized crime and illegally armed groups.
CNN: WikiLeaks' Assange loses appeal against extradition to Sweden over sex claims
Julian Assange lost his appeal before Britain's Supreme Court on Wednesday, which paves the way for his extradition to Sweden for questioning on sexual abuse accusations filed against him in August 2010. The decision marks the end of Assange's second and final appeal in Britain against an extradition order handed down in February 2011.
CNN: Former Liberian president faces sentencing for war crimes
The first former head of state to be convicted of war crimes since World War II will be sentenced Wednesday by an international court in The Hague, Netherlands. Charles Taylor, president of Liberia from 1997 to 2003, was convicted last month of aiding rebels in neighboring Sierra Leone in a campaign of terror, involving murder, rape, sexual slavery and the conscription children younger than 15.
CNN Money: Stocks gain as worries about Greece abate
U.S. stocks rose Tuesday as investors welcomed a lack of negative headlines out of Europe and hopes that China will move to support its economy. The gains came despite a weaker-than-expected report on U.S. consumer confidence and continued declines in home prices.
CNN Money: Home prices lowest since 2002
Home prices hit new post-bubble lows in March, according to a report out Tuesday. Average home prices were down 2.6% from 12 months earlier, according to the S&P/Case-Shiller home price index of 20 major markets. Home prices have not been this low since mid-2002.
CNN Money: RIM hires bankers to review its bleak options, plans job cuts
Research in Motion took another step Tuesday toward radically reshaping or selling off the company. The BlackBerry maker hired JPMorgan and RBC Capital to "review" its strategic options. That's generally corporate jargon for putting a company on the block. RIM's new CEO Thorsten Heins said in late March that he was exploring all options for the company, including a sale.
In case you missed it…
Wolf Blitzer talks to Donald Trump about the 'birther' issue, George Will's criticism and Trump's feelings about Romney.