Today's Intel

Friday, Jan.13, 2012

BLOOMBERG

Mitt Romney is getting ready to launch a direct response to criticism over his record at Bain Capital LLC. Attacks against Romney include a 28-minute film bankrolled by supporters of rival candidate Newt Gingrich. Peter Cook reports on Bloomberg Television's "In the Loop."

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley is betting her future on Mitt Romney's, exhausting the support that Tea Partyers once supplied her.

The U.S. trade deficit widened 10.4 percent to $47.8 billion, more than forecast in November, as American exports declined and companies stepped up imports of crude oil and automobiles.

Prices of goods imported into the U.S. fell in December for the fourth time in the past five months as slowing global growth held down commodity costs.

President Obama will ask Congress today to give him power to reorganize the federal government, a White House official said. The president is to speak on steps to make the U.S. government leaner, smarter and more consumer-friendly, said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity in advance of the remarks. Obama is seeking the authority to merge federal agencies and then force Congress to hold an up-or-down vote on the proposed merger.

Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc's decision to cut its European investment bank by more than a quarter may kick-start a wider shake-up among its rivals in the region as a fee drought and greater regulation force middle- ranking firms to shrink their operations.

Fitch Ratings reduced its outlook on the South Africa's BBB+ rating to negative from stable.

A European Union embargo on imports of Iranian oil will probably be delayed for six months to let countries such as Greece, Italy and Spain find alternative supplies, two EU officials with knowledge of the talks said.

Gold traders are the most bullish in two months after mainland China imported the most metal ever from Hong Kong and investors bought U.S. bullion coins at the fastest pace in more than two years.

Home sales and construction will improve this year, contributing "modestly" to economic expansion after acting as a drag on growth since 2006, according to a Fannie Mae forecast.

AP Top Stories

Circumstantial evidence suggests the Mossad is responsible for a string of slayings of Iran's nuclear scientists, reports Eli Lake.

Myanmar freed at least 200 political prisoners on Friday in an amnesty that could embolden the opposition and put pressure on the West to lift sanctions as one of the world's most reclusive states opens up after half a century of authoritarian rule.

The U.S. ambassador to Thailand warned there is a "real and very credible" threat of a terrorist attack against American citizens in Bangkok.

Hundreds of armed attackers from a South Sudanese tribe that suffered a devastating assault last month charged into three villages, burned them to the ground and killed 57 people, an official said, an act that perpetuates a cycle of revenge attacks in the world's newest nation.

Novartis AG plans to axe nearly 2,000 of its U.S. workforce ahead of the patent loss of top-selling blood pressure drug Diovan there and will take a $900 million charge after another of its key drugs failed to live up to expectations.

BBC

A link between eating processed meat, such as bacon or sausages, and pancreatic cancer has been suggested by researchers in Sweden.

A judge in Alabama declares 18-year-old Natalee Holloway dead, almost seven years after she went missing on the Caribbean island of Aruba.

President Obama formally notified Congress of proposals for a $1.2 trillion rise in borrowing, risking another battle with Republicans.

Ceremonies have taken place at grave sites across Haiti to mark two years since a huge earthquake devastated the country.

A German Catholic priest, 46, admits 280 counts of sexual abuse involving three boys in the past decade, saying he did not think he was doing harm.

The US will pull some 7,000 combat troops out of Europe, Defence Secretary Panetta says, as part of military budget cuts.

At least one person has been killed and three others injured in clashes between security forces and Shia protesters in eastern Saudi Arabia, activists say.

WND

Just prior to his appointment as President Obama's so-called regulatory czar, Cass Sunstein wrote a lengthy academic paper suggesting the government should "infiltrate" social network websites, chat rooms and message boards.

In the 30 months since the recession officially ended, nearly 1 million people have dropped out of the labor force - they aren't working, and they aren't looking - according to data from Labor's Bureau of Labor Statistics.

A report from the World Economic Forum (WEF) shows cyber attacks on governments and businesses are considered to be one of the top five risks in the world. The international organization concluded from its research that fourth on the list of Top 5 Global Risks in terms of likelihood is cyber attacks. 'Severe income disparity' was at number one, second place was 'chronic fiscal imbalances' and concern about rising greenhouse gas emissions was third-placed. Fifth on the list was 'water supply crises'. Experts said they were most afraid of cyber attacks that might spark malfunctions in power plants, water supplies and other critical systems.

Freddie Mac said the average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage fell to 3.89 percent. That's below the previous record of 3.91 percent reached three weeks ago.

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