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: Va. congressmen seek probe of trashed voter registration forms
The Justice Department on Thursday was reviewing a request from Virginia Democratic lawmakers to launch an inquiry into a firm that hired a worker who allegedly destroyed voter registration applications. Congressmen Jim Moran, Bobby Scott and Gerry Connolly on Wednesday asked Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate a Republican-hired firm, Pinpoint, amid allegations of voter fraud.
CNN: Sununu cites race as factor for Powell’s Obama endorsement
John Sununu, a top surrogate for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, said Thursday that Colin Powell’s repeat endorsement of President Barack Obama could be explained partly by the two men’s shared race. Speaking on CNN’s “Piers Morgan Tonight,” Sununu downplayed the importance of the former secretary of state’s endorsement, pointing to the support Romney’s received from former President George H.W. Bush. He went on to explain that Powell’s endorsement of Obama didn’t rely solely on the political issues at hand.
CNN: Polls: Dead heat in Colorado; Obama with slight advantage in Nevada
New polls of likely voters in two battleground states released Thursday show President Barack Obama with a slight advantage in Nevada but tied with Republican challenger Mitt Romney in Colorado. The NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist polls were conducted Tuesday and Wednesday – entirely after Monday's third and final presidential debate. In Colorado, the race is tied at 48% for each candidate, while in Nevada voters split 50% for Obama and 47% for Romney.
CNN Security Clearance: Texas, international election monitors face off
The presence of international monitors observing next week's presidential and Congressional election has caused a firestorm among voter ID law supporters and, particularly, the Texas attorney general. The reservations came after the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) announced it is sending dozens of monitors from around the world to monitor the upcoming presidential and Congressional elections.
CNN: Police: 2 kids found dead in Manhattan apartment, next to stabbed nanny
A nanny stabbed to death two children of a media executive in a luxury Manhattan apartment, police said Thursday, before slashing her own throat. The mother, Marina Krim, returned home early Thursday evening to find two of her young children in a bathtub, stabbed, as their nanny lay bleeding nearby, police said.
CNN: Prosecutors: NYPD officer conspired to kidnap, cook, eat women
A New York City police officer accused of conspiring to kidnap, rape, torture and cook a number of women and eat their body parts has been arrested and charged in the case, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Manhattan said Thursday. Gilberto Valle, 28, a six-year NYPD veteran, was arrested Wednesday at his home in Queens.
CNN: Sandy to become "Frankenstorm" and ravage New England
Hurricane Sandy is a wolf in sheep's skin poised to assail New England at the beginning of next week, with the potential to cause widespread damage in the highly populated area. It is losing wind speed but is huge and likely to merge with a winter storm front and turn into a "Frankenstorm" over the northeastern United States just before Halloween, according to the National Weather Service.
CNN: Statue of Liberty to reopen after a year of renovations
The Statue of Liberty is set to reopen Sunday after a year of renovations intended to make the iconic 19th-century gift from France easier to navigate and more accessible to visitors with disabilities. The interior of the copper colossus has been closed to visitors since October 2011. On Sunday, the monument's 126th birthday, visitors using wheelchairs will for the first time be able to visit one of the observation decks, located near the feet of Lady Liberty.
CNN: In rebuke to Taliban, Pakistan college named for Malala
In a message of defiance to the Taliban, authorities in Swat have decided to rename a government college after Malala Yousafzai, the 15-year-old girl who was shot in the head after demanding education for girls. The college offers high school and undergraduate education for 2,000 girls and young women.
CNN: Radioactive levels staying high off Fukushima Daiichi in Japan
Radiation levels in fish caught near the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant remain high long after the 2011 meltdowns there, suggesting contamination from the site might still be seeping into Pacific waters, a U.S. researcher reported Thursday.
CNN: China's Bo Xilai stripped of last official title, paving way for prosecution
Chinese authorities have stripped disgraced former leader Bo Xilai of his legislative membership, his last official title, paving the way for criminal prosecution of a once rising political star whose spectacular fall has thrown the ruling Communist Party into its biggest crisis in decades.
CNN Security Clearance: What is going on inside North Korea?
In the famously opaque world of North Korean politics, the ongoing leadership transition is in some ways proving more dagger than cloak with reports of executions and purges of top military officials in recent days.
CNNMoney: CEOs: Taxes have to be part of debt plan
As Congress dithers on resolving the fiscal cliff and long-term debt, 87 CEOs of major companies publicly urged lawmakers to compromise - and fast. Their prescription: a debt-reduction plan that raises tax revenue and cuts spending.
CNNMoney: Earnings keep stocks 'stuck in a rut'
U.S. stocks closed with slim gains Thursday, as investors weighed better-than-expected economic data against concerns about corporate earnings. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq rose 0.2%, while the S&P 500 rose about 0.3%.
CNNMoney: Microsoft is risking an $18 billion empire on Windows 8
Windows has been Microsoft's most reliable cash cow for nearly three decades. The software giant is gambling all of that success on what it deems to be the company's future: a radically redesigned Windows 8.
In case you missed it…
President Barack Obama casts an early ballot in Chicago, becoming the first sitting president to vote early in person.