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: Inside the polls: Obama's slim lead comes from women, cities
Five days before the presidential election, polls in some crucial battleground states suggest two things: The race is close, and President Barack Obama appears to have a very slight "inside the sampling error" edge over Republican nominee Mitt Romney.
CNN Security Clearance: Intelligence official offers new timeline for Benghazi attack
A senior U.S. intelligence official emphatically denied that the CIA refused repeated requests from its officers on the ground in Benghazi, Libya, to assist the Americans under attack at the U.S. mission there. Just five days before the presidential election and in a rare briefing to reporters, the official Thursday offered almost a minute-by-minute account of what happened that night.
CNN: Election campaign ends with chess match in swing states
After years of planning and months of campaigning, the most expensive presidential race in history comes down to a final five-day whirlwind of speeches and television ads in the eight states still up for grabs.
CNN: Citing climate change, Bloomberg endorses Obama
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg wrote in a surprise endorsement Thursday he was voting for President Barack Obama in the upcoming presidential election, using Superstorm Sandy as a peg to highlight the president's stance on climate change.
CNN: Navajo code talker from World War II dies
George Smith, one of the Navajo code talkers who helped the U.S. military outfox the Japanese during World War II by sending messages in their obscure language, has died, the president of the Navajo Nation said. Smith died Tuesday, Shelly said, and the Navajo Nation's flag is flying at half-staff until Sunday night to commemorate his life.
CNN: Ex-Penn State officials accused of 'conspiracy of silence'
Three former Penn State University officials - including ex-President Graham Spanier - have been charged with conspiring to cover up years of sexual abuse against children by former football coach Jerry Sandusky. Spanier, along with former Athletic Director Tim Curley and ex-Vice President Gary Schultz, each face the same eight counts related to the Sandusky scandal, including perjury, conspiracy and endangering the welfare of children, Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly announced Thursday.
CNN: FEMA wins kudos for Sandy response
Seven years after a disastrous response to Hurricane Katrina, the Federal Emergency Management Agency is winning praise for how it's dealing with Superstorm Sandy. "This is the all-new FEMA, and the leadership is very, very good, very focused," said Dr. Irwin Redlener, a pediatrician and director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health. "They're doing an excellent job."
CNN: Source: Secret Service agent dead of apparent suicide
A Secret Service agent suspected of having a romantic relationship with a Mexican woman is dead of an apparent suicide, a law enforcement official told CNN Thursday. The source said Rafael Prieto, 48, was assigned to President Obama's protective detail.
CNN Security Clearance: U.S. identifying possible leaders in Syrian opposition
Frustrated with the current leadership of the largely ineffective opposition movement against President Bashar Al-Assad, the State Department said Thursday it has identified individual Syrians who "show leadership" and is "bringing them to the attention" of opposition members who will gather November 7 in Doha, Qatar.
CNN: Israeli operative interview reveals details of PLO co-founder's assassination
The family of one of the men who founded the Palestine Liberation Organization says they have always believed he was assassinated by Israel, and now they have proof. Israel's censor is for the first time allowing a newspaper to publish a 12-year-old interview with the now-dead Israeli agent who claimed he killed Khalil al-Wazir, widely known as Abu Jihad.
CNN: More than 100 missing after illegal migrant boat sinks off Bangladesh
As many as 130 people may have drowned off the coast of southern Bangladesh after a boat carrying passengers trying to illegally get into Malaysia sank in the Bay of Bengal, Bangladeshi authorities said Thursday. The accident appears to be the tragic result of an annual migration of thousands of people along dangerous, clandestine routes operated by criminal gangs.
CNN: Opposition group accuses Syrian government of using 'vacuum bombs'
An array of explosives, from shells to barrel bombs, fell on Syrian cities in another day of bloodshed Thursday, according to activists fighting to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad. The Local Coordination Committees accused the government of using "vacuum bombs."Also known as thermobaric explosives, they are effective at spreading destruction through urban areas, according to military experts.
CNN: Killing the market for stolen cell phones
On Wednesday some U.S. wireless carriers implemented the first part of a national strategy to deter cell phone theft: a joint "blacklist" database of identifying information about cell phones reported lost or stolen. As of now, cell phone dealers are supposed check this database before honoring requests to reactivate allegedly "locked-out" phones, in order to prevent people from using stolen phones.
CNNMoney: Europe is 'main drag' on global recovery
The world's two largest economies have been showing signs of improvement, but experts say the recession in Europe remains the biggest challenge to sustained global growth. In the United States, reports released Thursday showed gains in manufacturing, consumer confidence and private sector payrolls. Also on Thursday, U.S. automakers reported another month of improved car sales in October, even as Superstorm Sandy may have dampened month-end results.
CNNMoney: Stocks rally into November
U.S. stocks started November with a strong rally Thursday, following mostly upbeat jobs reports. All three major indexes jumped more than 1%, as Wall Street continues to recover from a two-day trading suspension due to Superstorm Sandy. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 135 points, or 1%, the Nasdaq increased 1.4% and the S&P 500 jumped 1.1%.
In case you missed it…
A record number of political ads are blasting the swing state of Ohio. Martin Savidge reports from his hometown.