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: Feinstein to introduce assault weapons ban bill
Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California said Sunday the president will soon have legislation "to lead on" in the gun control debate, announcing she will introduce a bill next month in the Senate to place a ban on assault weapons. "We'll be prepared to go, and I hope the nation will really help," Feinstein said on NBC's "Meet the Press." Gun rights legislation has gained renewed attention since Friday's deadly elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, that left 20 students and six adults dead.
CNN: Gun debate gains traction as some lawmakers say it’s time to act
Lawmakers tend to stay quiet in the immediate aftermath of mass shootings, hoping to avoid attempts to politicize such tragedy. But two days after the attack that took the lives of 20 children and six adults at a Connecticut elementary school, lawmakers were eager to take on the gun debate Sunday – with many saying a tipping point had finally been reached to pass stricter laws. Another group of voices, however, argued that if Friday's tragedy proved anything, it was a need for more guns in the hands of people as a means for self-defense.
CNN: Source: Boehner offers to extend debt limit for a year
House Speaker John Boehner has offered to extend the debt limit for a year as part of a deficit-reduction deal to avoid the fiscal cliff, a source familiar with the talks told CNN on Sunday. With the federal debt approaching the current ceiling of $16.4 trillion, Boehner's offer will allow the government to again raise the borrowing cap - a move that has faced strong GOP opposition since Republicans swept the U.S. House in the midterm elections of 2010.
CNN Security Clearance: Sizing up Kerry as secretary of state
Sen. John Kerry, who sources say has been tapped by President Barack Obama to replace Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, will come to the post with a full plate of foreign policy crises, from the civil war in Syria, to the nuclear antics of North Korea, to a looming showdown with Iran over its nuclear program.
CNN: Obama's Newtown speech: a nation's grief, a father's sympathy
President Barack Obama turned the nation's attention to America's children Sunday night when he addressed families in Newtown, Connecticut, the site of last week's fatal school shooting. "This is our first task, caring for our children. Our first job. If we don't get that right, we don't get anything right. That's how, as a society, we will be judged," Obama said. "Can we honestly say that we're doing enough to keep our children, all of them, safe from harm? ... I've been reflecting on this the last few days, and if we're honest with ourselves, the answer's no. We're not doing enough. And we will have to change."
CNN: Parents struggle to explain death of teachers, friends in school shooting
Every time the door bell rings at Aidan Licata's home, the 6-year-old fears the gunman has returned. He worries the man in black fatigues and military-style vest who opened fire Friday on his Sandy Hook Elementary School classroom - hitting his teacher and his fellow students - has found him. "He still hasn't internalized the fact this gunman, this bad guy, is gone," the boy's mother, Diane Licata, said. "He wants to know if there are more bad guys in the world, and I don't know how to answer that for him."
CNN: What really makes schools safer?
Sandy Hook Elementary School probably did everything right. They had lockdown drills that trained everyone to stay low and quiet in the event of an emergency. A security system introduced this year required visitors to ring a bell, sign-in and perhaps produce a photo ID. After 9:30 a.m., the doors were locked. And now it's the home of the one of the worst school shootings in U.S. history.
CNN: Adam Lanza: Gunman's family at a loss to explain Connecticut shooting
As with many murder-suicides, the gunman in the Newtown, Connecticut, shooting took to his grave the reasons that compelled him to kill more than two dozen people before taking his own life in the second-deadliest school shooting in U.S. history.
CNN: Islamists claim victory in 1st round of Egypt referendum
With the first round of voting over, Egypt's ruling Freedom and Justice Party declared Sunday that citizens had given their thumbs-up to a controversial draft constitution. But a coalition of 123 local rights groups that monitored the Saturday referendum alleged widespread abuses. And the nation's electoral commission acknowledged that it received - and will investigate - complaints of voter intimidation, bribery and other violations.
CNN: Syrian VP calls for 'historic settlement,' national unity government
Syria's vice president is calling for a "historic settlement" of the country's civil war and the creation of a national unity government, according to an interview with a Lebanese newspaper to be published Monday.
CNN: A year at helm, Kim Jong Un asserts himself
Kim Jong Un cut a somber figure Monday, marking the first anniversary of his father's death. North Korea said Kim Jong Il died of a heart attack from overwork on December 17, 2011. Hundreds of thousands of civilians and soldiers assembled outside the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun in Pyongyang where the bodies of Kim Jong Il and his father Kim Il Sung lie.
CNN: Death toll from Typhoon Bopha tops 1,000 in the Philippines
The grim toll from a typhoon that devastated southern Philippines earlier this month continues to climb, with 1,020 reported dead as of Sunday morning, authorities said. Officials fear the toll from the December 4 storm will rise further. Because while rescue crews continue searching, the chances of finding people alive dim with each passing day.
CNNMoney: Stocks: Cliff moves, Japan may give lift
Another week, another round of fiscal cliff talks. Signs of progress over the weekend, and hopes of new stimulus measures in Japan after weekend elections, could get markets off to a positive start. U.S. stock futures were about 0.3% higher.
CNNMoney: Fiscal cliff indecision leaves paychecks up in the air
Those whose job it is to cut your paycheck like to do it right. They don't like to make best guesses. But they may be forced to unless Congress decides very soon on next year's tax rates. Here's why: Employers that issue paychecks in the first week of January have to cut those checks during Christmas week if not a little sooner. Problem is, unless Congress passes a fiscal cliff deal by Thursday or Friday of next week, payroll processors will be left wondering how much they should withhold in taxes from employees.
CNNMoney: How to get to 6.5% unemployment
The Federal Reserve predicts it will keep stimulative policies in place until the unemployment rate falls to 6.5%. But just how many jobs will it take to get there? As of November, the unemployment rate was 7.7%. In order to drop to 6.5% immediately, it would require 1.9 million jobs to be created right now. Just like that. Obviously, that's impossible. The economy is chugging along slowly, and with job growth averaging around 150,000 each month, that's an entire year's worth of hiring.
In case you missed it…
A look at the names and the lives of some of the victims of the shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.