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: Jindal on Romney VP pick: 'It's not about the vice president'
As the entire political establishment awaits word of Mitt Romney's running mate, is one potential pick blowing off its importance and potential impact? When asked by CNN on Thursday if he's awaiting word from the Romney campaign on whether or not he'll be picked, Gov. Bobby Jindal deflected the question – then intimated that the selection itself won't amount to much.
CNN: Obama ad hits Romney for alleged tax scandal
President Barack Obama's re-election campaign continued to hurl charges that Mitt Romney has a questionable tax history, releasing a new ad Thursday that links him to a tax avoidance scandal.
CNN Poll: Obama holds 7-point lead over Romney
Mitt Romney's unfavorable rating is up, most Americans think the Republican presidential challenger favors the rich, and it appears the number of people who believe that the economy will not get better if Romney is elected has edged up slightly, according to a new national poll. But a CNN/ORC International survey released Thursday also indicates that Romney's supporters are increasingly getting behind the presumptive GOP nominee.
CNN: Sununu: Obama is a 'wuss'
Former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu, known for his candor, took a jab at former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell's book, "A Nation of Wusses," and launched an attack line at President Barack Obama.
CNN: Man faces weapons charges in Batman theater incident
A man faces weapons charges after authorities say he went to an Ohio movie theater showing the latest Batman movie armed with a gun, ammunition and knives. Scott A. Smith, 37, is due in court Friday on two counts of carrying a concealed weapon and 19 counts related to carrying weapons "under disability," charges that refer to the effects of prescription drugs Smith was taking, said Nicole DiSanto of the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office.
The Financial Times: UN urges US to cut ethanol production
The UN has called for an immediate suspension of government-mandated US ethanol production, adding to pressure on Barack Obama to address the food-versus-fuel debate in the run-up to presidential elections.
CNN: Airlines improve performance, but complaints persist
The nation's major airlines - lambasted for years because of canceled flights, long tarmac delays, late arrivals and lost luggage - have significantly improved in all four of those key measurements of customer service, the federal government said Thursday.
CNN: Louisiana probes cause of massive bayou sinkhole
Louisiana officials are investigating whether an underground salt cavern may be responsible for a large sinkhole that has swallowed 100-foot-tall cypress trees and prompted evacuations in a southern Louisiana bayou.
CNN: Officials: Suicide bomber kills US aid worker, 3 troops in Afghanistan
The United States condemned a suicide bomb attack in eastern Afghanistan that left four Americans dead, including an aid worker and senior members of an Army brigade. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned the attack in the Kunar province on Wednesday "that killed USAID Foreign Service Officer Ragaei Abdelfattah, three ISAF service members and an Afghan civilian, and injured a State Department Foreign Service officer."
CNN: Clashes continue after deadly day in Syria
Shelling and clashes continued in many areas of Syria Friday, a day after opposition groups said at least 134 people were killed. Residents reported intense shelling in a village in Hama, according to the Local Coordination Committees of Syria, a Syrian-based opposition activist network. There was also shelling and fierce clashes between regime forces and rebels in two neighborhoods in Homs, the LCC reported. Witnesses also reported shelling in Aleppo, Syria's largest city, the group reported.
CNN: Chavez: Venezuela arrests U.S. 'mercenary'
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said authorities have arrested a U.S. citizen who "had all the appearances of a mercenary" working to destabilize the South American country's government. Chavez said the man, who he did not identify, was arrested five days ago while he was illegally trying to cross the border from Colombia into Venezuela.The U.S. State Department said it did not have any immediate comment Thursday night.
CNN: Ramadan sales show Indonesia's growing economic feast
Food prices in Indonesia rise during the holy month of Ramadan, but that hasn't stopped Ghazmawati Akmalzen from stocking her shelves to celebrate next week's end of daylight fasting. The spending power of Akmalzen and 242 million other Indonesians shows why this secular Muslim nation is a bright spot in a darkening global economy. Thanks to strong economic demand, this emerging market was able to shake off sagging exports due to eurozone troubles and slowing demand from China.
CNN Money: Google to pay record $22.5 million fine for Safari privacy evasion
It's official: Google will pay a record $22.5 million fine to settle charges that it skirted the default privacy settings on Apple's Safari browser.
CNN Money: Fiscal cliff threatens small businesses
Potential massive cuts in federal spending are still months away, but some small businesses that rely on government contracts are already feeling the pinch. The looming cutbacks - part of the "fiscal cliff" - are causing firms to slow business or shrink production and could threaten jobs, according to company owners.
CNN: No 'viable basis' to prosecute Goldman, Justice Department says
The Justice Department says after a "careful review" it has determined there is no basis for bringing a criminal prosecution against Goldman Sachs or its employees in regard to allegations set forth in a congressional report.
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