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: Outcome of Hagel filibuster vote uncertain
Chuck Hagel’s bid to lead the Pentagon faces an uncertain outcome on a critical vote Friday as Democrats attempt to break a GOP filibuster of the defense secretary nominee.
CNN: Obama warns Democrats he has immigration bill ready if Congress doesn’t act
President Barack Obama told a group of Senate Democrats Wednesday that Congress must move forward with comprehensive immigration reform, or else he will propose his own legislation on the hot-button topic.
CNN: Obama's emotional plea might lead to vote on guns
"They deserve a vote." President Barack Obama made that impassioned argument toward the end of his State of the Union message on Tuesday, using a strong emotional appeal to hammer home his plea for a vote in Congress on several gun control measures. But in using passion to push Congress toward action, did the president go too far? And will it work? It might.
CNN: Kerry picks Democratic message-meister as State Department spokeswoman
Secretary of State John Kerry has asked his "old communicator and colleague," Jen Psaki, to be his chief spokeswoman, a senior agency official confirmed Wednesday. Psaki is only in her 30s but she is an old hand at Democratic message-shaping. She worked with then-Senator Kerry on his 2004 presidential election bid and was President Barack Obama's deputy communications director.
CNN: Ex-LAPD cop gains sympathizers on social media
The life and apparent death of the ex-Los Angeles Police Department cop who declared war against police corruption has generated a social media fringe of fans who are asserting that Christopher Jordan Dorner was really a hero seeking justice, despite being a suspect in four killings.
CNNMoney: Spending cuts to hurt homeland security
The $85 billion in spending reductions looming over the federal government will cut into the nation's homeland security department and affect how it carries out vital missions, a top Obama administration official warned Wednesday.
CNN: Passengers count hours on 'floating petri dish' of a cruise ship as it limps to shore
Squalid, smelly and steamy, the crippled cruise ship Carnival Triumph limped toward port on Thursday, its passengers and crew looking forward to a breath of fresh air. The laborious slog through the Gulf of Mexico tested not only the senses of the thousands on board, but their patience as well. Towed by three tugboats, the ship is on track to arrive at terminal in Mobile, Alabama, around 4 p.m. ET Thursday.
CNN: 3 plead guilty in scheme to defraud Holocaust reparations fund
Three defendants pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday to conspiring to defraud a Holocaust reparations organization out of $57.3 million, according to court documents. Genrikh Kolontyrskiy, Moysey Kucher and Dora Kucher, all of Brooklyn, helped produce and process some of the thousands of fraudulent applications for the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany that are under investigation.
CNN: Woman found shot to death in home of South African 'blade runner'
A woman was found shot and killed in the Pretoria home belonging to South African Olympian Oscar Pistorius, nicknamed the "Blade Runner," South African police said Thursday. Brig. Denice Beukes said they have arrested a 26-year-old man in connection with the shooting and that he will appear in Pretoria magistrate court sometime Thursday.
CNN: EU health chief vows plan to restore confidence in wake of horse meat scandal
As the scandal over the discovery of horse meat in products labeled as pure beef widened, the European Union's health chief vowed Wednesday to put in place a plan to restore consumer confidence. Tonio Borg noted that EU legislation allows horse meat to be used for the production of minced meat and meat preparations, "however, it has to be declared on the label."
CNN: New arrests in News of the World phone-hacking probe
Six people were arrested Wednesday in what London's Metropolitan Police is calling a separate phone-hacking conspiracy at Rupert Murdoch's defunct News of the World newspaper. All of them are journalists or former journalists, police said.
CNN: 100th Tibetan self-immolates in China, advocacy groups say
The number of Tibetans in China who have set themselves on fire to protest Beijing's rule has reached 100, according to Tibetan advocacy groups. Lobsang Namgyal, a 37-year-old former monk, set himself on fire earlier this month in Aba prefecture, known in Tibetan as Ngaba, an ethnically Tibetan area of the Chinese province of Sichuan, according to Free Tibet, a London-based advocacy group.
CNNMoney: US Airways-American Airlines deal OK'd
The boards of US Airways and American Airlines parent AMR agreed to a long-anticipated deal Wednesday night that could create the world's largest airline, according to a source familiar with the talks. The official announcement is planned for early Thursday.
CNNMoney: Treasury Secretary nominee sails through hearing
Treasury Secretary nominee Jack Lew seemingly breezed through tough questions posed by Republicans during his first confirmation hearing on Wednesday. Washington insiders expect Lew, currently the White House chief of staff, to be easily confirmed.
CNNMoney: Foreclosure filings fall to lowest level since 2007
Foreclosure filings in January plunged to their lowest level since April 2007. Notices of default, scheduled auctions, bank repossessions and other filings fell to 150,864 last month, a 7% decline from the previous month and a 28% drop from January 2012, according to RealtyTrac. New foreclosure filings fell to the lowest level since June 2006.
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