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: GOP Senate candidate: Pregnancies from rape God’s will
Richard Mourdock, running for U.S. Senate in Indiana, said at a debate Tuesday that pregnancies resulting from rape are intended by God. The Republican candidate was explaining his opposition to abortion in cases of rape or incest when he made the remark. "I struggled with it myself for a long time, and I realized that life is a gift from God, and I think even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something God intended to happen," Mourdock said, explaining that he would allow for exceptions to an abortion ban when a mother's life is in danger.
CNN: Bogus letters questioning Florida voter citizenship investigated
In the critical battleground state of Florida, the state's Department of Law Enforcement and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service tell CNN they have opened a preliminary investigation into a slew of bogus letters to some voters questioning their citizenship and registration just two weeks before the November election.
CNN Security Clearance: Unanswered questions from the debate
The final debate of the presidential election was notable for all the areas of foreign policy on which the two candidates seemed to agree. But in their answers were plenty of unanswered questions about how they would handle key foreign policy issues going forward.
CNN: Ann Coulter's backward use of the 'r-word'
Parents of children with special needs are demanding an apology from conservative political pundit Ann Coulter for tweeting after Tuesday's foreign policy debate that she approved of "Romney's decision to be kind and gentle to the retard." It appeared to be a response to critiques of Mitt Romney's debate performance, but it wasn't the first time Coulter used the "the r-word" during this election season. And, it's not the first time blogger Ellen Seidman has called her out on it.
CNN: Feds open criminal inquiry into firm linked to deadly meningitis outbreak
Federal authorities have launched a criminal investigation into the practices at the company linked to a fungal meningitis outbreak blamed for 23 deaths, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick told reporters Tuesday. In addition, the Board of Registration in Pharmacy has voted to revoke permanently the New England Compounding Center's license to operate in Massachusetts as well as the licenses of the company's three principal pharmacists, Patrick said.
CNN: Ex-CIA officer pleads guilty to one charge in leak case
A former CIA officer accused of revealing classified information to reporters has pleaded guilty to one of the allegations – that he illegally revealed the identity of a covert intelligence officer. John Kiriakou, 48, also admitted to other allegations, including that he illegally told reporters the name of a different CIA employee involved in a 2002 operation to capture alleged al Qaeda terrorist Abu Zubaydah, and that he lied to a review board about a book he was writing, the Justice Department said.
CNN: Convicted killer of 8 gets a stay of execution
A flurry of last-minute legal maneuvers Tuesday spared, for now, the life of John Ferguson, a Florida death row inmate who suffers from mental illness and at one point called himself the 'prince of God.' Ferguson, a diagnosed schizophrenic convicted of killing eight people, was scheduled to get the lethal injection Tuesday at 6 p.m. ET at a Florida State Prison.
CNN: Wisconsin spa shooting: Wife told court 'I don't want to die'
What prompted 45-year-old former Marine Radcliffe Haughton to open fire at a suburban Milwaukee salon Sunday - killing his wife and two other women, and wounding four others - was foreshadowed in no uncertain terms by his estranged wife just three days earlier. At a restraining order hearing Thursday, the wife, Zina, begged the court for protection, saying her husband would surely kill her.
CNN: Instability feared in Lebanon after assassination
Lebanese troops were deployed to the streets Tuesday to calm tensions amid mounting fears that last week's deadly car bombing in Beirut could spill into Lebanon and drag the country into Syria's bloody civil war. At least 100 people, including 31 Syrians, were apprehended in raids in Beirut and the Lebanese port city of Tripoli, the state-run news outlet NNA reported.
CNN: Italian scientists resign over L'Aquila quake verdicts
Earthquake experts worldwide expressed shock at the manslaughter convictions of six Italian scientists who failed to predict the deadly L'Aquila quake, warning that the decision could severely harm future research. The court ruled Monday that the scientists failed to accurately communicate the risk of the 2009 quake, which killed more than 300 people.
CNN: A ticking time bomb: What's behind the instability in Mali?
Mali is a ticking time bomb. Once hailed as a model of democracy in Africa, a coup and an uprising of Islamist militants in the north threatens to create an arc of instability for the continent. Reports of human rights abuses grow daily. International leaders, concerned that al Qaeda will capitalize on the chaos and set up a haven there, are considering sending troops to Mali soon to reclaim a large portion of the north from extremists.
CNN: Jimmy Savile: National treasure in life, reviled 'sex abuser' in death
The BBC is embroiled in a scandal that one of its veteran correspondents has called its worst crisis in nearly 50 years - over its response to allegations that have turned a beloved on-air personality into one of the most reviled figures in the UK. Since his death a year ago at age 84, Jimmy Savile, the popular TV host, disc jockey and charity fundraiser has been knocked off his perch as a national treasure, accused of being a predatory pedophile who used his fame and position to abuse youngsters, sometimes on BBC premises.
CNNMoney: Federal agency to police debt collectors
For the first time in history, debt collectors - the guys who hound you over unpaid bills - are about to get a tough federal regulator scouring their books. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Wednesday finalized a new rule to oversee and regulate the largest U.S. debt collection agencies, starting Jan. 2.
CNNMoney: Female grads earn $8,000 less than men
A year after graduating from college, women are earning thousands of dollars less per year than their male peers. Women who worked full-time jobs one year after receiving their diplomas earned 82 cents for every dollar men earned. That's according to a report from the American Association of University Women, which analyzed data from a Department of Education survey of 15,000 graduates conducted in 2009, the most recent data available.
CNNMoney: Barnes & Noble customer data stolen
Barnes & Noble said Wednesday that a data breach at 63 of its stores may have compromised the credit card information of its customers. The bookseller said in a statement that one PIN pad device used by customers to swipe credit and debit cards had been compromised in each affected store.
In case you missed it…
Democratic strategist Paul Begala talks with CNN's Wolf Blitzer about where the candidates are focusing their efforts.