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: Poll position: Where does Obama stand?
It's arguably the most important poll number for any president: his approval rating. As President Barack Obama gets ready to give the first State of the Union address of his second term, his approval rating stands at 49%, with 44% saying they disapprove of his performance in the White House, according to a new CNN Poll of Polls, which averages the latest national surveys. Here's where the president stands as he prepares to lay out his second-term agenda.
CNN: Obama set to challenge and persuade
When President Barack Obama speaks on Capitol Hill Tuesday night he'll have a club in one hand and an olive branch in another, figuratively speaking. According to Democrats close to the administration, he'll challenge Republicans to get on board with his economic agenda, including his plans for deficit reduction, broad tax reform and new investments.
CNN: Lawmakers invite gun violence survivors to State of the Union
President Barack Obama will spend the bulk of Tuesday's State of the Union address talking about jobs and the economy, administration officials have told CNN. But as he addresses the joint session of Congress, one group in the House chamber will be listening for something else: the president's remarks on gun control.
CNN: Medal of Honor winner conflicted by joy, sadness
His eyes moist and lower lip trembling, Clint Romesha nodded haltingly at family, comrades, military brass and the president standing to applaud him for receiving the nation's highest military decoration, the Medal of Honor. He never smiled during the White House ceremony on Monday and later explained why in a statement to reporters.
CNN: Fugitive ex-cop, murder suspect continues to elude in manhunt
The massive search for a renegade ex-cop bent on carrying out "unconventional and asymmetrical warfare" stretched through the night, but to no avail, authorities said. Christopher Jordan Dorner is accused of killing one police officer and wounding two others, as well as killing the daughter of his police union representative and her fiancé.
CNN: Police: Inauguration performer's killing was case of mistaken identity
The teenager who police say shot and killed Chicago honor student Hadiya Pendleton was on probation for unlawful use of a firearm, Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said Monday night. Michael Ward, 18, and Kenneth Williams, 20, were each charged with one count of murder and two counts of attempted murder, McCarthy told reporters. They were also charged with two counts of aggravated battery with a firearm.
CNN: Military extends some benefits to same-sex partners
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced just days before leaving office that the Pentagon is extending some benefits to the same-sex partners of service members. Same-sex partners who sign a military "Declaration of Domestic Partnership" form will be eligible for several benefits, including military identification cards as dependents.
CNN: 'Nightmare' at home for SEAL who shot Osama bin Laden
He's the man who rolled into a bedroom in Abbottabad, Pakistan, raised his gun and shot Osama bin Laden three times in the forehead. Nearly two years later, the SEAL Team Six member is a secret celebrity with nothing to show for the deed; no job, no pension, no recognition outside a small circle of colleagues.
CNN: North Korea says it conducted 3rd, more powerful nuclear test
North Korea said Tuesday that it had conducted a new, more powerful underground nuclear test using more sophisticated technology, jolting the already fragile security situation in Northeast Asia and drawing condemnation from around the globe.
CNN: Q&A: North Korea finally conducts nuclear test, what now?
Mike Chinoy, a senior follow at the University of South California, the author of Meltdown: The Inside Story of the North Korean Nuclear Crisis and a former CNN senior international correspondent explains the implications of North Korea's third nuclear test.
CNN: Too tired to go on, Pope Benedict resigns
The spiritual leader of 1.2 billion Roman Catholics, Pope Benedict XVI, surprised the world Monday by saying he will resign at the end of the month "because of advanced age." It's the first time a pope has stepped down in nearly 600 years.
CNN: EU officials to meet about horse meat scandal
As the horse meat scandal continued to spread across the continent, European Union officials scheduled a Wednesday meeting to discuss the issue, an Irish official said Monday. Simon Coveney, Ireland's agriculture minister, called for the informal session in Brussels, Belgium, inviting the EU Health Commissioner Tonio Borg and ministers from other European Union nations.
CNN: Twitter and Amex to let you pay with a hashtag
Twitter is getting into e-commerce. It's now possible to buy goods online in two steps by tweeting a special hashtag. The new collaboration between Twitter and American Express will turn the social media service into a shopping cart. American Express members who sign up will be able to buy products by mentioning the appropriate hashtag in a Tweet. The @AmexSync account will tweet back with a confirmation hashtag.
CNNMoney: Banks: G20 must act to avert currency war
The G20 group of richest nations must act to avoid a currency war and halt a damaging drift toward fragmented regulation, the world's leading banks said Monday.
CNNMoney: Pope fell short in cleaning up finances
Pope Benedict made cleaning up the Vatican's reputation for shady money one of his priorities, beefing up the city-state's laws and hiring a top Swiss financial crime fighter to raise standards to international levels. But the Pope resigns with the Vatican still falling well short of its goal of inclusion on a "white list" of states and embroiled in an embarrassing row with the Bank of Italy.
In case you missed it…
CNN's Jonathan Mann takes a closer look at the limitations of North Korea's nuclear capabilities.