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: Geithner: White House 'absolutely' ready to go over 'fiscal cliff'
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said Wednesday the Obama White House is prepared for the tax increases and spending cuts ahead in the new year should the negotiations with congressional Republicans not move from the current stalemate.
CNN: Obama, Boehner speak, but no action on 'fiscal cliff'
The wealthy will account for more tax revenue, House Speaker John Boehner said Wednesday, while challenging President Barack Obama to sit down with him to hammer out a deal for avoiding the fiscal cliff.
CNN: Kerry blasts Santorum's opposition to disability treaty
Sen. John Kerry fired back Wednesday at former Sen. Rick Santorum's strong opposition to a U.N. treaty promoting the rights of the disabled that failed in the Senate this week. "Rick Santorum was just not factual," Kerry said on CNN's "The Situation Room."
CNN: White House weighs in on Puerto Rican statehood vote
After more than 800,000 Puerto Rican voters said they want the island to become the 51st U.S. state, the White House is calling on lawmakers to take action.
CNN: Hunters may have found missing Iowa cousins
An Iowa family that's been hoping for good news since two young cousins disappeared in July is now grappling with the worst. Hunters discovered two bodies in a wooded area Wednesday afternoon, Black Hawk County sheriff's Capt. Rick Abben said. An Iowa family that's been hoping for good news since two young cousins disappeared in July is now grappling with the worst. Hunters discovered two bodies in a wooded area Wednesday afternoon, Black Hawk County sheriff's Capt. Rick Abben said.
CNN: Another guilty plea in Mississippi pickup-truck hate-crime death
A fourth man has pleaded guilty to a federal hate crime in the death of a black man who was beaten by a gang of young whites, then run over by a pickup truck driven by one of them in Mississippi in 2011.
CNN: Washington to start issuing same-sex marriage licenses
Shortly after the clock struck midnight, two Seattle women legitimized their 35-year love affair early Thursday by becoming the first same-sex couple to receive a marriage license in King County, Washington.
CNN: University releases e-mails related to Colorado theater shooting suspect
Thousands of e-mails released Wednesday by the university once attended by the Colorado movie theater shooting suspect reveal James Holmes may have once had a romantic relationship with a fellow graduate student and possibly had two badges for the campus at the time of the attack. The University of Colorado at Denver, in response to media requests for Holmes' records, released more than 3,800 e-mails that were sent or received by Holmes or mentioned his name in the text.
CNN: Tanks deployed near presidential palace after deaths mount in Egypt protests
The fallout from President Mohamed Morsy's sweeping power grab in Egypt has spiraled into more deaths, another key defection and a scene that resembles a war zone. Tanks and armored personnel carriers rolled into the area near the presidential palace Thursday, trying to bring some calm to the country's latest center of turmoil.
CNN Security Clearance: Is Assad seeking asylum?
U.S. officials have said for months that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's days in power are numbered. A fight to the death might seem a more plausible outcome as the carnage of the Syrian civil war approaches its second year. But the idea of asylum in a third country is an option that is also emerging in questions over Assad's fate.
CNN: Rescuers struggle to aid Philippines storm victims
Rescue crews in the Philippines grappled with washed-out roads, downed power lines and poor communications in search of hundreds of people missing after a typhoon that killed more than 300. More than 180,000 people were left homeless after Typhoon Bopha raked the large southern island of Mindanao with heavy rains and sustained winds of up to 175 kph (110 mph).
CNN: McAfee's hasty, secret exit from Belize ends in Guatemalan detention
Four poisoned dogs. A dead neighbor. A millionaire on the run. Come Thursday, deportation may be the latest twist to the saga of software mogul John McAfee. McAfee , who was on the run for weeks to evade questioning in his neighbor's death, was detained in Guatemala on Wednesday after entering the country illegally, officials there said.
CNN: Best, worst nations for corruption
While China has become the world's second largest economy, doing business in China is now perceived to be more corrupt, according to Transparency International. Denmark, Finland, New Zealand, Sweden and Singapore topped the list as the cleanest countries to do business in the world, according to the survey released Wednesday. Somalia, North Korea, Afghanistan, Sudan and Myanmar ranked at the bottom.
CNNMoney: Citigroup to slash 11,000 jobs
Citigroup announced it will cut 11,000 jobs as part of plan to trim costs, the first major initiative from the bank's new CEO, Michael Corbat. Citigroup has already begun making the layoffs, but expects them to continue throughout 2013.
CNNMoney: U.K. sticks with austerity as economy weakens
Britain is sticking to its austerity program despite new official forecasts showing the economy will shrink this year and government borrowing will remain higher for longer as the eurozone crisis depresses demand for exports.
In case you missed it…
CNN’s Anderson Cooper gets reaction from a media report that Syria has been putting chemical weapon components into bombs.