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 Security Clearance: Rice vs. Kerry: Weighing the odds of being secretary of state
It's a favorite game in Washington to weigh the odds of each potential nominee to a president's cabinet and that game is in full swing – especially in trying to anticipate President Barack Obama's choice for replacing Hillary Clinton as secretary of state.
CNN: Justice official cited for oversight failure in 'Fast and Furious' to resign
A ranking Justice Department official named by Republicans in their probes into the botched gunrunning scheme "Fast and Furious" will resign on Friday, Attorney General Eric Holder announced in a statement late Monday. Gary Grindler is Holder's chief of staff and has held a number of other positions, including as acting deputy attorney general. His office oversaw the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, which led the program that allowed hundreds of illegally purchased weapons into the hands of Mexican cartels as a way of tracking their movements.
CNN: White House won't counter Boehner's fiscal proposal
Don't expect negotiations for a deal to avert the "fiscal cliff" to heat up this week. Senior administration officials said the offer House Speaker John Boehner submitted to the White House on Monday wasn't serious enough to merit a counter-proposal from the administration. So the president's team plans to wait for the GOP to come around on the idea of raising tax rates or let the nation go over the fiscal cliff.
CNN: Last-minute EPA policy change angers Supreme Court
A last-minute and unexpected change in government rules over a key environmental dispute prompted uncertainty and consternation at the Supreme Court on Monday, with justices chastising the Obama administration over its policy tactics.
CNN: Two plead guilty in U.S. to violating Iran export ban
An Iranian citizen and an airline pilot from Kentucky pleaded guilty to violating U.S. export law on Monday through a scheme to send aircraft and parts to Iran for civilian use. Hamid Asefi, an Iranian citizen, and Behzad "Tony" Karimian, a U.S. citizen who also has an Iranian passport, each face up to 40 years in prison and a $500,000 fine when sentenced in March.
CNN: N.Y. governor calls on Washington to provide Sandy relief funds
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo visited Washington on Monday, telling White House officials and members of Congress that his state needs billions of dollars in federal assistance to rebuild and repair after Superstorm Sandy. Cuomo met separately with White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew and officials from the budget office, House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
CNN Security Clearance: Defense companies see cuts coming even with a budget deal
Defense company executives conceded on Monday that their industry would likely see billions more in cuts even if Congress reaches a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff. "We need to stop believing or pretending that there is a scenario out there that offers no defense cuts," said David Langstaff, president and chief executive of TASC, Inc.
CNN: Voyager spacecraft finds solar system is bigger than thought
Are we there yet? If you're Voyager 1 and you're looking for a spot beyond the end of our solar system, the answer is no. NASA officials have been saying for months that Voyager 1 is almost there when it comes to interstellar space as it continues the longest road trip in the history of mankind.
CNN: 5 European nations summon Israeli ambassadors over settlement plans
Five European nations criticized Israel's decision to build thousands of new homes in occupied territory, summoning Israeli ambassadors for discussions on the matter. The British Foreign Office called Israel's move "deplorable" and said it threatens a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The foreign ministries of France, Spain, Denmark issued similar statements asking Israeli officials to reverse their decision.
CNN: Egyptian PM: Morsy's controversial edict could be moot in 12 days
A controversial edict issued by Egypt's president - which spurred vigorous, sometimes violent protests by those calling it a dictatorial power grab - "will fall immediately" if voters approve a new constitution later this month, the country's prime minister said.
CNN: Obama warns al-Assad against chemical weapons, declares 'the world is watching'
The United States warned Syria in no uncertain terms Monday not to use chemical weapons amid intelligence reports indicating President Bashar al-Assad's regime could be preparing to take that step as it escalates its fight against rebel forces.
CNN: Amnesty details 'horrific abuses' in southern Yemen
Residents in parts of southern Yemen experienced a "human rights catastrophe" when an al-Qaeda affiliate took control of the country's Abyan province for 14 months, according to Amnesty International.
CNNMoney: Investing: Where to make money in 2013
Given all the disconcerting headlines you've read about the economy this year, "it feels like the markets should be down 10%," says David Hallman, chairman of the investment committee at United Capital Financial Advisers. Yet through the end of October, U.S. stocks were up around 14%, while a broad index of international shares was also up by double digits.
CNNMoney: Car sales bounce back from Sandy
Car sales rebounded even more than expected in November after being hurt a month earlier by Hurricane Sandy, giving the industry its best month of U.S. sales since early 2008.
CNNMoney: Real estate: Find opportunity next year
After five years of tumult, order and opportunity are finally being restored to the housing market. Home prices are expected to rise a modest 1% from the fourth quarter of this year to the end of 2013, according to the real estate research firm Fiserv. David Stiff, Fiserv's chief economist, notes that after some choppiness early on, prices should increase 3.4% from the second quarter of 2013 to the second quarter of 2014. In hotter regions out West, you can expect bigger gains. "Housing is finally turning the corner," Stiff says. "There is no reason to be fearful of further large price declines."
In case you missed it…
Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their first baby, the royal palace confirmed today.