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: Petraeus in the hot seat on the Hill: Former CIA director to testify about Benghazi attack
Former CIA Director David Petraeus is expected to testify Friday before congressional lawmakers that he knew "almost immediately" the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was the work of a loosely-formed militia with members sympathetic to al Qaeda. Petraeus' aim in testifying, according to an official with knowledge of the case, is to clear up "a lot of misrepresentations of what he told Congress initially."
CNN: Jindal says Romney 'gift' remark 'completely unhelpful'
Gov. Bobby Jindal – the newly elected chair of the Republican Governors Association – reiterated Thursday his irritation at Mitt Romney's comments explaining his defeat in the presidential election. Romney was recorded telling donors on a conference call that President Barack Obama won votes by offering "gifts" to minorities and young voters. "This is not where the Republican Party needs to go,” Jindal told CNN. “If you want voters to like you, the first thing you've got to do is like them first."
CNN: Former RNC chair points to 'highly stupid' election year mistakes
It's the season of election post-mortems, and former Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steel offered his perhaps blunt thoughts about why his party "got outplayed and outflanked" in 2012.
CNN: Obama tours storm-battered New York
President Barack Obama on Thursday designated Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan the federal point person to lead New York's storm recovery effort, a little over two weeks after a rare mix of converging weather slammed into the Northeast. "FEMA basically runs the recovery process," the president said. "It doesn't focus on the rebuilding. For that, we've got to have all government agencies involved."
CNN: 4 killed after train hits truck during Texas parade saluting U.S. troops
A train rammed into a flatbed truck carrying participants in a West Texas parade saluting U.S. troops on Thursday, killing four people and wounding several others, a police spokesman said.
CNN: Families of killed rig workers react to BP settlement
On Thursday, the Justice Department announced that London-based BP will pay a record fine to settle criminal claims in the ensuing catastrophe. The firm agreed to shell out $4.5 billion in government penalties and plead guilty to a dozen felony charges after the April 20, 2010 explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon rig led to the largest oil spill in U.S. history. For many who lost loved ones, Thursday's announcement offered what they described as only a limited sense of justice.
CNN Security Clearance: CIA launches internal investigation into Petraeus conduct
In yet another twist in the aftermath of the resignation of CIA Director David Petraeus last Friday, the CIA is now opening an investigation into his conduct as Director of the spy agency. The investigation will be led by the CIA Inspector General.
CNN: Exchange student indicted in attempted bombing of Federal Reserve Bank
A 21-year-old foreign exchange student who authorities say tried to blow up New York's Federal Reserve Bank was indicted Thursday on charges of using a weapon of mass destruction and trying to provide material support to al Qaeda.
CNN: Japan dissolves lower house of parliament, sets stage for election
Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda of Japan dissolved the lower house of the country's parliament on Friday, setting the stage for general elections next month that could bring losses to his party. The decision, made under pressure from the main opposition Liberal Democrat Party (LDP), is likely to prove unpopular with some members of Noda's own party, the governing Democratic Party. And it could cost him his job.
CNN: Bombs on Gaza to cease for Egyptian prime minister visit
Explosions have rumbled through Gaza all night into Friday, a day after Palestinian officials reported 19 deaths and Israeli officials said three had died from rocket fire. But Gazans may be getting a respite from the ongoing bombings, as Egypt's prime minister arrived for a visit to Gaza, and Israel has planned a cease-fire Friday to accommodate him, a senior Israeli official said.
CNN: Over 37,000 have died in Syria's civil war, opposition group says
As the total death toll in Syria marches towards 40,000, the Russian Foreign Ministry on Thursday lambasted the recent U.S. backing of Syria's opposition in its quest to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad.
CNN: Fear, mourning, celebration in Gaza City
A mix of explosions filled Gaza City's air late Thursday, but not all were blasts of war. A celebration erupted as a mosque loudspeaker chant proclaimed: "God is great. We have hit Tel Aviv." Rockets fired straight upward were not targeted at an enemy, but were aimed at raising spirits with claims that militant missiles launched from Gaza reached Israel's government center 45 miles (71 kilometers) away. One Gaza-launched rocket landing just south of Tel Aviv Thursday, in an open area near Rishon LeZion, the Israel Defense Forces said.
CNNMoney: BP to pay record penalty for Gulf oil spill
BP will plead guilty to manslaughter charges stemming from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, and agreed to pay $4.5 billion in government penalties, Attorney General Eric Holder announced Thursday.
CNNMoney: Fed sets new stress tests for US banks
The Federal Reserve, preparing to embark on its latest round of so-called stress tests, released the details Friday of three economic scenarios it will use to judge the health of the U.S.'s largest lenders. The scenarios range from mild to calamitous, with the most extreme including a 5% decline in gross domestic product, an unemployment rate of 12% and a volatile stock market which loses half its value.
CNNMoney: Fate of paychecks rests on fiscal cliff
Lawmakers may cut a deal to avert the fiscal cliff by Dec. 31. Or they may not. If they don't, paychecks in January will get smaller and millions of workers may face weeks of uncertainty about their what their true take-home pay will be. Families that live paycheck to paycheck could feel the sting of limbo most acutely.
In case you missed it…
Lawmakers view Benghazi videos behind closed doors during hearings. CNN’s Dana Bash: 'It was like a political Rorschach Test.'