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: Pentagon readies Hagel for confirmation fight
Defense Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel wasted no time in starting formal preparations for what is expected to be a bruising Senate confirmation fight. One day after his nomination by President Barack Obama, the former Nebraska senator spent Tuesday at the Pentagon meeting key officials and settling in.
CNN: Connecticut senator wants background checks for ammunition buyers
In the wake of the Newtown, Connecticut school shooting, one of the state's senators announced Tuesday he will introduce legislation requiring background checks to buy ammunition.
CNN: NRA will participate in White House gun violence meetings
A representative of the National Rifle Association will participate in a meeting this week with Vice President Joe Biden's gun violence task force, a spokesman for the gun lobbyist said on Tuesday. Another major gun rights group, the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF), will also participate in the meetings, which are slated for Wednesday and Thursday.
CNN: Reid adviser: Senate majority leader 'in a different place' on gun control
A staunch supporter of gun rights for years, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid may be changing his position on the contentious issue in the aftermath of the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
CNN Security Clearance: U.S. may remove all troops from Afghanistan after 2014
The Obama administration is considering the possibility of removing all U.S. troops in Afghanistan after the NATO combat mission officially finishes at the end of 2014, White House officials said Tuesday.
CNN: N.Y. judge halts 'stop-and-frisk' tactic outside Bronx building
A federal judge in Manhattan on Tuesday ordered the New York Police Department to halt a controversial "stop and frisk" tactic outside a privately owned Bronx apartment building without first having reasonable suspicion, saying the method had crossed the bounds of what could be considered constitutional.
CNN: Illinois approves driver's licenses for undocumented immigrants
Illinois lawmakers approved a new measure Tuesday that would allow undocumented immigrants to get temporary driver's licenses. Gov. Pat Quinn has pledged to sign the bill, saying in a statement that it will make the state's roads safer. Immigrant rights advocates praised the move.
CNN: NOAA: 2012 broke U.S. heat records
2012 is officially in the books as the hottest year on record for the continental United States and the second-worst for "extreme" weather such as hurricanes, droughts or floods, the U.S. government announced Tuesday.
CNN: Tunisia frees man held in Benghazi attack
A man held by Tunisian authorities in connection with the deadly September attack on a U.S. consulate in Libya has been released by a judge, Tunisia's state news agency reported Tuesday. A U.S. federal law enforcement official with direct knowledge of the Benghazi investigation said the freed man remains a suspect.
CNN: U.N. decries Bahrain's high appeals court decision
U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon said he "deeply regrets" a recent decision by Bahrain's highest court to uphold the verdicts against 13 activists convicted of plotting to overthrow the government. The decision Monday took just minutes. The 13 people received sentences between five years and life, said attorney Mohsin Alawi, who represents three of the 13.
CNN: Chavez will not be sworn in on inauguration day
Medical treatment in Cuba will keep Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez from being sworn in for a new term this week, a top official said Tuesday. At the same time, supporters and opponents of Chavez are bracing for a legal battle over whether the inauguration can be postponed.
CNN: 70-year-old man marries 15-year-old in Saudi Arabia
A 70-year-old man in Saudi Arabia is disputing claims his new bride is 15 years old, and says her family has ripped him off for the large dowry he paid for the union. Human rights workers say the bride is a teenager and are outraged about the situation.
CNNMoney: IRS will accept tax returns starting Jan. 30
Your tax refund may not be so delayed after all. The Internal Revenue Service will start processing tax returns for the vast majority of filers on Jan. 30. The agency had planned to open the tax season on Jan. 22, but had to push back the date because Congress took until New Year's Day to pass needed tax provisions.
CNNMoney: AIG, after thanking America, might sue it
Even as it runs ads thanking America for a $182 billion bailout, insurer AIG might join a lawsuit claiming that shareholders were unfairly hurt by the terms of the federal rescue that kept it out of bankruptcy four years ago.
CNNMoney: Eurozone unemployment hits another record high
Businesses in the eurozone may be feeling more confident but there's no sign of that translating into better employment prospects yet. Eurostat data published Tuesday showed unemployment in the 17-nation eurozone hit a record high of 11.8% in November, leaving 18.8 million people without work – two million more than a year ago.
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