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: Biden's gun advice for earthquakes
Assault weapons aren't needed, period. Not even in earthquakes. At least, that's what Vice President Joe Biden says. Answering critics who say assault weapons would be useful as a last line of defense should a natural disaster result in chaos, Biden gave some advice Thursday in a discussion about gun control during a Google+ Hangout.
CNN: GOP report on minority outreach due in March
A task force charged with identifying winning political strategies and broadening the GOP's appeal with minority voters will deliver its recommendations in March to the Republican National Committee on what steps the party needs to take going forward.
CNN: Senators agree to Reid and McConnell’s filibuster reform measures
Democrats and Republicans in the Senate overwhelmingly agreed late Thursday on language reforming filibusters, passing the measures agreed to earlier in the day by Majority Leader Harry Reid and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell.
CNN: 'Enough is enough,' Feinstein says in proposing new gun ban
Almost six weeks after the Connecticut shooting rampage that killed 20 first graders, Feinstein said she planned to introduce her measure later Thursday, with Reps. Carolyn McCarthy of New York and Ed Perlmutter of Colorado doing the same in the House. Feinstein's proposal would upgrade an assault weapons ban that expired in 2004 and also outlaw ammunition magazines that hold more than 10 rounds. She said the goal is to "dry up the supply of these weapons over time."
CNN: American who aided Mumbai terror attack sentenced to 35 years
In a federal courtroom in Chicago on Thursday, Daood Gilani was sentenced to 35 years in prison for his role in the 2008 attacks in Mumbai, India, that killed 164 people, including six U.S. citizens. Headley has admitted conducting advance surveillance for the operation in India.
CNN: How America's top general came to endorse women in combat
Thursday, Gen. Martin Dempsey - now chairman of the Joints Chiefs of Staff - sat alongside Defense Secretary Leon Panetta as both men signed a directive that will open front-line posts to the roughly 200,000 women now serving in the active-duty military. Panetta said the move is a bow to reality on the battlefield, where women in what are technically non-combat units already find themselves fighting alongside their male comrades.
CNN: Groups: NYC soda ban unfair to small, minority-owned businesses
New York City's attempt to keep people from fattening up on sugary soft drinks, by banning some of them, would disproportionately hurt small, minority-owned businesses, according to the NAACP and the Hispanic Federation.
CNN: Nothing ruled out as NTSB studies Dreamliner battery
As Boeing and airline officials sought to assure travelers of the overall safety of the world's newest jetliner, federal safety officials Thursday painted a graphic picture of a disaster averted, displaying the charred remnants of a battery that "spewed molten electrolytes" from its container shortly after landing in Boston earlier this month.
CNN: North Korea says new nuclear test will be part of fight against U.S.
North Korea said Thursday that it plans to carry out a new nuclear test and more long-range rocket launches, all of which it said are a part of a new phase of confrontation with the United States. U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said Thursday there are no "outward indications" that North Korea is about to conduct a nuclear test, but he admitted it would be hard to determine that in advance.
CNN Exclusive: The Syrian crisis: Where's U.S. aid going?
It has been more than a year since the United States government withdrew its ambassador to Syria and closed its embassy in Damascus. On Thursday, that ambassador returned to the region along with a U.S. delegation, touring a Syrian refugee camp in Turkey to bring more attention to the growing humanitarian crisis. Ambassador Robert Ford gave an exclusive interview to CNN's Ivan Watson and described what the U.S. is doing to help the refugees and the Syrian opposition.
CNN Security Clearance: More signs al Qaeda in Mali orchestrated Algeria attack
The Obama Administration now believes the attack and hostage-taking at a natural gas plant in Algeria last week is the work of al Qaeda operatives based out of northern Mali. U.S. officials say al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) was behind the attack and may also have operated a communications network from northern Mali. Despite the recent French intervention, large areas of Mali remain in the hands of jihadist groups.
CNN: Mali's famed Timbuktu without water, other services
Mali's historic cultural center, Timbuktu, lacks electricity, water and phone service, because "terrorists" sabotaged the utilities there, a Paris-based spokesman for the ethnic Toureg separatist party MNLA said Thursday. MNLA spokesman Moussa Ag Assarid said most of the "terrorists" fled Timbuktu for the desert after French planes on Tuesday bombed the militants' headquarters, which was built by former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi. However, Assarid warned, some militants remain in the fabled city.
CNNMoney: Obama picks Mary Jo White to head SEC
President Obama on Thursday nominated Mary Jo White, a former federal prosecutor in New York, to head the Securities and Exchange Commission, the watchdog agency that monitors Wall Street and corporate financial disclosures.
CNNMoney: Jobs recovery favors highly educated workers
Workers across America are experiencing completely different versions of the jobs recovery, depending on their education level. The recovery is favoring the college educated, but leaving behind those with a high school diploma or less.
CNNMoney: Vine is Twitter's attempt to become the 'Instagram of video'
Twitter unveiled its latest project on Thursday: A video sharing service called Vine that allows users to post a single six-second clip, or a montage of equal length. Living (for now) on the Internet and the iPhone as a separate social network, Vine will integrate closely with Twitter and Facebook delivering video snippets that behave like an animated GIF with sound.
In case you missed it…
Dramatic video shows an apparently staged stunt involving a pilot narrowly missing people standing on a Texas runway.