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: Romney, Gingrich held private meeting
Presidential hopefuls Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich held a private meeting last weekend in Louisiana, CNN has learned. The meeting was pleasant and productive, sources told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King, and took place on ahead of the state's primary.
CNN: House passes GOP budget
The Republican-controlled House of Representatives on Thursday passed the GOP leadership's 2013 budget plan - a measure that has no chance of passing the Democratic-controlled Senate but creates a clear contrast between the two parties on a number of critical tax and spending issues ahead of the general election.
CNN: Senate Republicans reject Obama call to end 'big oil' tax breaks
Senate Republicans on Thursday blocked a Democratic measure championed by President Barack Obama to end tax breaks for the major oil companies. The procedural vote of 51-47, which failed to reach the needed threshold of 60 in favor, killed the measure, which was given little chance of eventually winning approval in the Republican-controlled House.
CNN: Romney gets two big, but not high-impact, endorsements
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney picked up two more big endorsements this week, but neither appears likely to have much impact on sealing the deal for the GOP front-runner.
CNN: Afghan war support hits new low
Support for the war in Afghanistan has fallen to an all-time low with the majority of Americans saying the U.S. should withdraw all of its troops from Afghanistan before the 2014 deadline set by the Obama administration, according to a new poll. The CNN/ORC International survey released Friday indicated only 25% of Americans favored the war in the Asian country. A majority of Republicans voiced opposition to it, for the first time since the war began in 2001.
CNN: Brother: Medical records will prove George Zimmerman's story
George Zimmerman's brother said medical records will prove that his brother was attacked and his nose was broken by Trayvon Martin before he fatally shot the teen. Robert Zimmerman Jr. spoke to CNN's Piers Morgan Thursday night saying he wanted to correct some of the "mythology" and untruths that have been spread about the controversial shooting.
CNN: Jerry Sandusky trial postponed until June
The trial for Jerry Sandusky, the former Penn State assistant football coach accused of molesting several boys, has been postponed until June 5. The trial was scheduled for May 15 but it "must be postponed to accommodate various logistical contingencies," court documents said.
CNN: Millions are vying for Mega Millions
A historic $540 million jackpot is up for grabs Friday as the Mega Millions lottery is living up to its name. The jackpot, which lottery officials are calling "the largest lottery jackpot in world history," has captivated the nation, caused long lines at convenience stores and has many dreaming of creative ways to quit their jobs if they were to get the lucky numbers.
CNN: U.S., Pakistan talking about changes in drone ops, official says
The Obama administration is talking with the Pakistanis about possible changes in the way the U.S. conducts air strikes against terrorists in Pakistan, including providing Pakistan advance notice of attacks, modifying the targets and changing how targets are determined, according to a senior U.S. official who is involved in intelligence matters.
CNN: Myanmar elections not 'free and fair' but still significant, Suu Kyi says
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi said Friday that elections taking place this weekend would not be "free and fair" but that her party still hoped to win as many parliamentary seats as possible.
CNN: Japan says it will shoot down N. Korea rocket over territory
Japan will shoot down any part of the long-range rocket that North Korea plans to launch next month that enters its territory, the Japanese defense minister, Naoki Tanaka, said Friday. Speaking at a news conference, Tanaka said he had issued the official order after instructing the Japanese military earlier in the week to prepare the country's missile defense shield against the planned rocket launch.
CNN: Sarkozy: 19 arrested in French police raids
Nineteen people have been arrested in a series of police raids on suspected Islamist networks, French President Nicolas Sarkozy told French radio Friday morning. The raids come a week after gunman Mohammed Merah, who killed seven people, was shot dead after a 31-hour siege in the southwestern city of Toulouse.
CNN Money: Treasury unloads shares in small banks
The Treasury Department priced preferred shares in an auction of six smaller banks this week as it unwinds positions it acquired during the height of the financial crisis. Net proceeds from the sale of shares that Treasury purchased under the Troubled Asset Relief Program are expected to top $362 million, according to a statement released Thursday. The Treasury initially invested $410.8 million, which means the auction would translate to a $49 million loss.
CNN Money: BlackBerry CEO: 'Substantial change needed'
The new CEO of Blackberry maker Research In Motion is promising big changes at the struggling smartphone company. RIM reported a large loss and disappointing sales on Thursday, marking a difficult first quarter for new CEO Thorsten Heins.
CNN: BRICS leaders edge closer to setting up development bank
The leaders of five of the world's top emerging economies moved closer Thursday toward establishing a development bank that could one day serve as an alternative to the World Bank.
In case you missed it…
George Zimmerman's brother tells Piers Morgan his brother had no choice but to shoot and kill Trayvon Martin.