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: By the numbers: Fiscal cliff
Time is running out for congressional Republicans and President Barack Obama to strike a deal to avert the fiscal cliff. If the two parties can't come to an agreement before the end of the year, a combination of broad tax hikes and deep government spending cuts take effect . Experts warn of a new recession if Washington goes over the fiscal cliff. Here's a by-the-numbers look at the fiscal cliff and its impact:
CNN: Poll: More negative view of GOP, Romney post-election
An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll conducted one month after Election Day and released Wednesday indicates the GOP's favorable rating slipping with 30% percent of respondents viewing the party favorably, down from 36% before the election. Forty-five percent now view the party unfavorably, up from 43% before the election. Before the election, Romney's favorable rating was at 43%. The number has since dropped to 35%. His unfavorable rating has remained at 44% from before November 6.
CNN: Clinton to testify on Benghazi report on December 20
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will testify on the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya before the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee on December 20, the committee announced Wednesday. The September 11, 2012 attack resulted in the deaths of four Americans including Ambassador Chris Stevens and called into question the security of U.S. diplomatic personnel abroad.
CNNMoney: Wall Street critic Warren to join Banking Committee
One of the toughest critics of Wall Street will soon be policing it. Massachusetts Senator-elect Elizabeth Warren has been tapped for a seat on the Senate Banking Committee, the Senate Democrats' steering committee announced Wednesday.
CNN: Details, but no answers, in Oregon mall shooting
The gunman shot three people on the second floor of an Oregon mall, then ran. Shoppers hid behind racks as the man, wearing a vest and a mask, ran down a corridor and to a back hallway that led downstairs. By then, he likely heard the sirens as dozens of police vehicles converged on the Clackamas Town Center in Happy Valley. He then took his own life.
CNN: Feds asked to examine Florida school deaths mystery
A top Florida lawmaker is demanding that the federal government help "get to the bottom" of dozens of deaths at a now defunct boys' reform school. His demand follows a report this week by state forensic investigators who say they've discovered evidence that there are 19 more grave sites than previously thought at the Arthur G. Dozier School for Boys in the Florida panhandle town of Marianna.
CNN: Mystery follows McAfee to Miami
After weeks on the run and days in immigration detention, American technology pioneer John McAfee arrived in Miami on Wednesday. He said he had no choice in the matter, that Guatemalan authorities expelled him to the United States and put him on a plane to a destination they determined.
CNN: After offensive photo, Penn State students plan silent march
Just two weeks after Chi Omega's controversial party photo surfaced on Facebook, students at Penn State are planning a silent march today, hoping to increase Latino recruitment and retention. The sorority members celebrated Halloween with a Mexican-themed party wearing sombreros and ponchos and pasted fake mustaches on their faces. They held signs that said: "Will mow lawn for weed + beer." Another sign said: "I don't cut grass. I smoke it."
CNN Security Clearance: North Korea may not have 'full control' of satellite, U.S. official says
There were preliminary signs on Wednesday that North Korea may not be in total control of a satellite less than 24 hours after it was blasted into orbit, a U.S. official told CNN. The official, who has access to the latest U.S. assessment, declined to be identified by name due to the sensitive nature of the information.
CNN: Japan scrambles fighter jets after Chinese plane seen near disputed islands
Japan scrambled fighter jets after a Chinese plane was seen Thursday near small islands in the East China Sea that are claimed by both countries. This is the first time the dispute over the islands, which Japan calls Senkaku and China refers to as Diaoyu, has involved aircraft.
CNN Security Clearance: U.S. official: Syria uses Scud missiles against rebels
American military satellites picked up and confirmed the infrared signature of four short-range Scud missiles launched from the Damascus area to northern Syria in the past several days, a U.S. official said. The missiles did not land on the Turkish side of the border but "came close," he said. The Defense Support Program satellites are programmed to pick up the infrared signature of a man made or natural event.
CNN: Mali names new prime minister in abrupt change of leadership
Mali's president has named Diango Cissoko as the country's new interim prime minister, according to state media reports, hours after the abrupt resignation of the former prime minister following his arrest by soldiers. It is not yet clear what impact the change in leadership will have on regional and international efforts to tackle advances by the Islamist militants in the country's North.
CNN Security Clearance: Firm: Cyberattack threatens major banks
Some of the nation's biggest banks are at risk of a massive cyber attack next year that could potentially siphon funds from unsuspecting customers, according to a leading digital security firm. The fraud campaign, known as Project Blitzkrieg, is a credible threat, the Internet security firm McAfee Labs concluded in a new report. The malware has been lying dormant in U.S. financial systems and is scheduled to go active by the spring of 2013, McAfee researchers concluded.
CNNMoney: Stocks stung by Bernanke buzzkill
Fed chairman Ben Bernanke couldn't spark a stock rally this time. With an investor base numb to the Fed's multi-year long stimulus programs, U.S. stocks closed slightly lower Wednesday, despite the Federal Reserve's announcement that its economic stimulus programs would continue. Stock indexes receded during Bernanke's press conference as the Fed chief failed to say what else the central bank could do to help prop up the market.
CNNMoney: EU strikes deal to bring banks under single supervisor
European finance ministers said Thursday they had reached a deal that will bring the continent's banks under a single supervisor. The measure is the latest attempt to alleviate pain caused by the region's debt crisis, and could help standardize the oversight of banking operations in Europe.
In case you missed it…
While in Aleppo, CNN's Arwa Damon gets exclusive footage of a Syrian during his dramatic act of heroism in rescuing a sniper victim.