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: Jesse Jackson Jr. quits Congress, cites health reasons
U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Junior resigned from Congress effective Wednesday, citing the need to spend time "restoring my health." Jackson, who announced his resignation in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner, has been is the subject of several investigations and was recently treated at the Mayo Clinic for what was described as "several serious health issues."
CNN: U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice defends Benghazi remarks
Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, defended her initial comments about the September 11, 2012, attack that resulted in four Americans dead in Benghazi, Libya. “When discussing the attacks on our facilities in Benghazi, I relied solely and squarely on the information provided to me by the intelligence community. I made clear that the information was preliminary,” Rice, who has come under fire for her early account of the attack, told reporters outside the United Nations on Wednesday.
CNN: Boehner: Obamacare on table for 'fiscal cliff' talks
As congressional leaders and President Barack Obama search for common ground to tame the national debt as the weeks dwindle down to end of the year, House Speaker John Boehner said the Affordable Care Act, often referred to as Obamacare, must be included in deficit negotiations.
CNN: Cobbler and Gobbler get their White House moment
President Barack Obama took on the annual tradition of pardoning the National Thanksgiving Turkey on Wednesday, with Cobbler the turkey being the lucky bird. "The only cobbler anyone's eating this Thanksgiving will come with a side of ice cream," the president said in the Rose Garden at the White House.
CNN: Military e-mails: Burial at sea of bin Laden followed Islamic procedures
The burial at sea of Osama bin Laden after he was killed by Navy SEALs last year followed traditional Islamic procedures, according to newly released military e-mails, but less than a dozen "leadership" members aboard the Navy carrier where the service took place were informed of the burial.
CNN: Arab-Americans watch Israel-Gaza conflict with mix of worry, relief
Every explosion in Gaza seems personal to Said Durrah. The Washington-area resident has so many relatives in Gaza that he can't count them all: uncles, aunts, cousins, second cousins, and so on, in Zaytoon, Rimal and other Gaza communities. His mother is one of nine children, many of whom still live in the Palestinian territory.
CNN: Repairs keep aircraft carriers out of Persian Gulf
At a time of heightened tensions in the Middle East, the U.S. Navy has been forced to temporarily abandon the requirement to keep two aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf because of unusual maintenance problems.
CNN: U.S. backs project for small nuclear reactors
The Department of Energy is putting federal money behind the development of small-scale nuclear reactors that supporters say are cheaper, safer and easier to build, though the design still needs federal approval.
CNN: Cease-fire appears to be holding in Gaza
After the first quiet night in over a week, morning broke over Gaza and Israel on Thursday to relative calm, as hushed weapons indicated that the cease-fire brokered hours earlier is holding up.
CNN: Rebels say Syria hospital strike kills 40
Syrian rebels accused government forces of bombing a hospital in the besieged city of Aleppo late Wednesday, killing at least 40 people as the conflict there ground on. Ralib al-Omar, a leader of the Yusif al-Asma rebel group, said the attack targeted the Dar al-Shifa Hospital and that the dead included two nurses. The Local Coordination Committees of Syria, a network of opposition activists, said a doctor was among the dead as well - one of 108 people the group said were killed across the country on Wednesday.
CNN: Egypt and Morsy proved 'pivotal' in Gaza cease-fire talks
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsy has won praise for his government's effort to bring about a cease-fire between Israel and Hamas, a delicate balancing act for the country's nation's first freely elected leader.
CNN: Rebels threaten wider Democratic Republic of Congo conflict
A rebel group now in control of a key city in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo announced Wednesday that it plans to "liberate" the entire country. A spokesman for the rebel M23 group said its successful operation to take Goma on Tuesday, the culmination of several days of heavy fighting against government forces, was just the beginning.
CNNMoney: Fiscal cliff helps mend Obama-CEO relations
Fiscal cliff negotiations are proving to be the perfect excuse for President Obama and the business community to smooth over a rocky four years. The White House has struggled to make and keep friends in the business community, thanks to contentious policy fights over financial and health care reforms. Obama famously dubbed Wall Street as "fat cat bankers" and bashed health insurers for raising premiums and denying coverage.
CNNMoney: Black Friday: Shorter lines, but bigger checks
Despite stores falling over themselves with incentives and earlier openings than ever this Thanksgiving, fewer people are expected to turn up for Black Friday sales. An estimated 147 million shoppers plan to shop this coming weekend, down from 220 million last year, according to the industry trade group the National Retail Federation.
CNNMoney: Hostess closing OK'd by judge
Time finally ran out for Hostess Brands on Wednesday, as a bankruptcy judge gave preliminary approval for the company to shut down after 82 years in business. A last-ditch attempt to mediate a pay-and-benefits dispute between the company and its Bakery Workers union failed.
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Watch Grinnell's Jack Taylor shatter the NCAA single-game scoring record with 138 points in his team's 179-104 victory.