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.
First on CNN: Attracting minority voters a key GOP goal as Obama begins second term
Days after President Barack Obama is sworn-in for a second term, Republican leaders from across the country will assemble in the southern city where Obama accepted his party’s presidential nomination in September to strategize a path forward for the GOP in a nation experiencing major demographic shifts.
CNN: House GOP discussing short-term increase in debt ceiling
House Republican leaders are talking to rank and file GOP members about passing a short-term extension of the debt ceiling, perhaps one that just authorized the nation's borrowing authority for a couple of months. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, told reporters it was one option in a morning discussion with all House Republicans about legislative strategy for the first few months of the new Congress.
CNN Security Clearance: State preparing for Clinton's last hurrah
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is sprinting to the finish as America's top diplomat, preparing for a high-profile hearing on the deadly Benghazi attack and two signature opportunities to have the last word on her tenure.
CNN: Conservative group plans anti-Hagel ad campaign
A conservative group is planning a television and online ad campaign urging senators to vote against former Sen. Chuck Hagel at his confirmation hearings to be secretary of defense.
CNN: 'Deeply flawed' Lance Armstrong admits using performance enhancing drugs
Calling himself "deeply flawed," now-disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong says he used an array of performance enhancing drugs to win seven Tour de France titles then followed that by years of often-angry denials. Armstrong admitted using testosterone and human growth hormone, as well as EPO - a hormone naturally produced by human kidneys to stimulate red blood cell production. It increases the amount of oxygen that can be delivered to muscles, improving recovery and endurance.
CNN: Manti Te'o: A linebacker, a made-up girlfriend and a national hoax
With the revelation that the football feel-good story of the year centered on the Notre Dame linebacker's love for a woman who never existed, many people have questions for Te'o - a lot of questions. And as each question in the saga gets answered - none publicly by Te'o - it seems another one, or two, or three, crop up.
CNN: After more than 2 decades, U.S. recognizes Somalia
For the first time in more than two decades, the United States has granted official recognition to the Somali government in Mogadishu. "There is still a long way to go and many challenges to confront, but we have seen a new foundation for that better future being laid," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Thursday in a joint news conference with Somali President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who stood beaming at her side.
CNN: Colorado movie theater, scene of mass shooting, reopens despite discontent
The Colorado movie theater where a shocking gun rampage in July killed 12 people and wounded 58 others reopened Thursday despite criticism from the families of some of the victims. A night of remembrance was held at the Aurora Century 16 cinema complex in the theater next to the one where James Holmes, a 25-year-old former doctoral student in neuroscience, is alleged to have carried out the terrifying shooting spree.
CNN: Algerian hostage crisis enters 3rd day with 'ongoing activity'
The Algerian military conducted a rescue raid two days after Islamist militants abducted an undetermined number of hostages - including Westerners - at a gas plant in a remote section of Algeria. Troops launched their operation upon noticing the hostages being moved toward "a neighboring country," where kidnappers could use them "as a means of blackmail with criminal intent," Algerian Communications Minister Mohamed Said told state television on Thursday.
CNN: Sit-in ends as cleric, Pakistani government, reach deal
Tens of thousands of Pakistanis ended their sit-in in central Islamabad late Thursday night after their leader, Muslim cleric Tahir ul Qadri, convinced Pakistan's government to dissolve the National Assembly and set new elections.
CNN: Mourners in Turkey protest killings of Kurdish activists
Thousands took to the streets Thursday in the predominantly Kurdish city of Diyarbakir, Turkey, to mourn three political activists killed last week in execution-style shootings in France. The women were saluted as the "three flowers of Kurdistan" by a mourner using a sound system atop a bus, while some carried portraits of the victims or signs reading "Sakine Cansiz is immortal."
CNN: France continues Mali airstrikes; residents frantic
French warplanes pounded Islamist militant targets in Mali Thursday as international efforts to help the African nation's government fight insurgents gained momentum. For a fourth consecutive day, airstrikes hit in and around Diabaly - a town in central Mali, about 400 kilometers (250 miles) north of the capital of Bamako - prompting men, women and children to flee or find cover, witnesses said.
CNNMoney: Jobless claims drop to 5-year low
In a welcome sign of recovery for the job market, initial jobless claims blew past expectations and plunged to a nearly five-year low. First-time claims for unemployment benefits plummeted by 37,000 in just one week, falling to 335,000 from 372,000 the previous week, the Labor Department said Thursday. That's the lowest since January 2008.
CNNMoney: New ATMs dispense $1 and $5 bills
Hundreds of new ATMs capable of dispensing as little as $1 are popping up across the country. Chase and PNC have both been launching ATMs that churn out exact change to the dollar, allowing customers to withdraw denominations as low as $1 and $5.
CNNMoney: Dow ends near 5-year high
U.S. stocks rallied Thursday, with the Dow closing near a 5-year high, as upbeat reports on the economy offset mixed corporate results. The Dow Jones industrial average, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq all rose more than 0.6%, with the S&P 500 closing at a new 5-year high.
In case you missed it…
Aviation authorities around the world ordered airlines to stop flying their Boeing 787 Dreamliners over fire risk associated with battery failures aboard the highly touted aircraft. CNN's Sandra Endo reports.