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: Nationwide, a moment of silence for Connecticut school shooting victims
Governors around the country have called for a moment of silence Friday morning in memory of the 20 students and 7 adults killed December 14 in Newtown, Connecticut, by a gunman who also took his own life. President Barack Obama will hold a moment of silence himself, the White House said.
CNN: Boehner's Plan B fiscal cliff bill pulled amid dissension in GOP caucus
House Speaker John Boehner's proposal to avert the looming fiscal cliff's automatic tax increases failed to curry enough Republican support Thursday night, after which Congress left for the holiday with no clear end in sight in the high-stakes debate.
CNN: Benghazi report threatens to tarnish Clinton's legacy
The year 2012 was supposed to herald Hillary Clinton's swan song, a golden departure amid speculation that she might consider another run at the presidency in 2016. Instead, the outgoing Secretary of State has found herself and her agency at the center of a scathing report about bloody attacks on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, which left four Americans dead, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
CNN: A Kennedy considers following in his father’s footsteps
A family friend says Ted Kennedy Jr., son of the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, is seriously considering running for senate if John Kerry vacates the seat to become the next secretary of state. Kerry is said to be the frontrunner to succeed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is leaving her post next year.
CNN: Chemist pleads not guilty to lying about evidence as review of cases goes on
A former Massachusetts state chemist arrested for allegedly lying about drug evidence pleaded not guilty Thursday, as prosecutors continued to review more than 1,000 cases in which people went to prison because of the chemist's work.
CNN: Deputy pepper sprays, detains man with Down Syndrome
His eyes stinging with pepper spray, a developmentally disabled 21-year-old man was hit and forced to the ground before being taken into custody by California sheriff's deputies in an incident that left his family Thursday demanding justice.
CNN: Blizzard blasts upper Midwest
Does the end of the world start with a snowstorm? Probably not, but a blizzard in the upper Midwest is proving potent enough to cut power to tens of thousands of homes and force schools to call it quits from Nebraska to southern Wisconsin Thursday - one day ahead of the official arrival of winter and, as it happens, the predicted Mayan apocalypse.
CNN: The list: Despite emotions, little happens legislatively after mass shootings
President Barack Obama announced Wednesday that Vice President Joe Biden will lead an administration effort to develop recommendations no later than January for preventing another mass shooting like the one in Newtown, Connecticut. But this isn't the first time the country has heard calls for action to put an end to gun violence. Most of the time, little happens legislatively. Here is a list of some of the worst mass shootings in the past and the legislative action - or inaction - following each.
CNN: 150 kidnapped from Iraqi finance ministry, minister says
Iraq's Finance Minister Rafei al-Essawi said Thursday that "a militia force" raided his house, headquarters and ministry in Baghdad and kidnapped 150 people, and he holds the nation's prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, responsible for their safety.
CNN: Morsy supporters accused of beating, detaining opponents
At least 49 men were beaten and detained for up to 17 hours allegedly by supporters of President Mohamed Morsy during deadly clashes near the presidential palace in Cairo on December 5, human rights activists say.
CNN: Israel says it will build settlements in East Jerusalem neighborhoods
A day after the U.S. State Department strongly condemned Israel's plans to build a 1,500-unit settlement in East Jerusalem, Israel announced it would continue a plan to build settlements in other East Jerusalem neighborhoods. On Wednesday, initial approval for a total of up to 3,000 homes in Jerusalem was granted.
CNN: Syrian fight now 'overtly sectarian,' U.N. says
The civil war in Syria is morphing into a fight between ethnic and religious factions, the United Nations said Thursday. "As battles between government forces and anti-government armed groups approach the end of their second year, the conflict has been overtly sectarian," the U.N. Commission of Inquiry reported.
CNNMoney: Fallout out from fiscal cliff inaction
Congress and the White House created the fiscal cliff. And now they've waited too long to avert it, even if they do somehow eke out a deal by Dec. 31. Dragging out the negotiations this far has created needless uncertainty and pushed some individuals and businesses to try to protect themselves against something the government may or may not do.
CNNMoney: Peter Madoff, brother of Bernard, sentenced to 10 years
A federal judge sentenced Peter Madoff to 10 years on Thursday for his role in helping his brother Bernard cover up the most notorious Ponzi scheme in history. That's the sentence that federal prosecutors had sought for Peter Madoff as the result of a plea deal.
Financial Time: U.S. growth accelerates to 3.1%
The US economy grew at a faster clip than expected of 3.1 per cent in the third quarter, according to the latest revision by the commerce department, putting it in a stronger position to withstand any shock from the looming fiscal cliff.
In case you missed it…
Republican strategist Ari Fleischer slams former Sen. Chuck Hagel, who is thought to be Pres. Obama's choice for Defense Secy.