Today's Intel

Monday, Dec. 5, 2011

BLOOMBERG

President Obama is setting up to campaign as a populist defender of the middle class, using the fight over his nominee to run the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and the extension of a payroll tax cut.

Some Democratic lawmakers say that while President Obama's plan to cut payroll taxes may strengthen the U.S. economy, it may have some unintended fallout: weakening Social Security.

Republican presidential contenders sought the backing of Herman Cain's supporters after the former pizza executive exited the race and polls showed former House Speaker Newt Gingrich holding the lead.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's hold on parliament weakened as opposition to his 12-year rule grows amid his campaign to regain the presidency in March.

Australian homebuilders are responding to declining demand and higher land costs by reducing the sizes of houses and lots by almost 20 percent.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's government won't stand in the way of Bundesbank help to fight the debt crisis by means of loans channeled through the International Monetary Fund, a senior Merkel ally said.

The Institute for Supply Management's non-manufacturing index fell to 52 in November from 52.9 a month earlier. Fifty is the dividing line between expansion and contraction.

Treasuries declined following last week's decrease as France's President Nicolas Sarkozy said he and German's Chancellor Angela Merkel want a new European Union treaty, reducing demand for a refuge in U.S. debt.

Greenpeace activists broke into a nuclear reactor southeast of Paris to highlight what the environmental group described as a lack of security at France's atomic plants.

Unprecedented cuts by the cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service will slow first-class delivery next spring and, for the first time in 40 years, eliminate the chance for stamped letters to arrive the next day.

Buckingham Palace is now doing some budget busting, with the queen herself due for a pay freeze and Prince Charles set to foot the bill for some major expenses. Queen Elizabeth II will see six consecutive years of frozen pay, as new austerity measures in the U.K. have cut funding for the royal household.

AP Top Stories

An investigative panel has found Japan's disgraced Olympus Corp hid up to $1.67 billion in losses from its investors, but is likely to say there is no evidence of involvement by organized crime in the cover-up, a source said.

Companies decreased their overall orders to U.S. factories in October for the second straight month, evidence that the economy remains weak despite other signs of improvement.

BBC

A dozen luxury sports cars - eight Ferraris, a Lamborghini and three Mercedes - collide in what is likely to be one of Japan's most expensive pile-ups.

Iran's military claims to have shot down a US drone, as Nato-led forces say it may be a craft that was lost over western Afghanistan last week.

Peru's President Ollanta Humala has declared a state of emergency in a northern region that has seen bitter protests against a gold mine project.

Ivory Coast's Laurent Gbagbo becomes the first former head of state to appear at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

China's security chief has warned that the government needs better methods to deal with social unrest due to a slowing economy. China has seen an increase in labor unrest in recent weeks.

At least 18 people are killed and 34 wounded in three bomb attacks in central Iraq targeting Shia pilgrims marking the festival of Ashura.

Election officials in Egypt say 62% of eligible voters turned out to vote in the initial stage of the country's elections earlier this week.

Syria has banned the iPhone, reports say, as the government tries to control information getting out of the country.

WorldNetDaily

The U.S. is becoming increasingly aware and concerned about the possibility within a few years of an electromagnetic pulse attack from an enemy's high-altitude nuclear explosion. The impact would include the loss of critical U.S. electrical infrastructure that could send the nation back into an 18th century agrarian economy. But experts have warned that such an attack could produce conditions more difficult than the 18th century due to the considerable increase in population and the total reliance by society on electricity and technology for life-sustaining factors, such as food production and delivery. Also hit would be transportation, medical and emergency services, telecommunications, and the economic and financial system.

Jewish Israelis' opinion of President Barack Obama has turned on its head, a majority, or 54 percent, now say they have a favorable view of the U.S. president - a year ago, just 41 percent of those polled viewed Obama in a positive light.

President Obama has announced his Christmas vacation to Hawaii - for a staggering 17-day trip. Last year the trip cost more than $1 million, according to the Hawaii Reporter.

Gingrich, with support of 25 percent of likely Republican caucus goers, is seven points ahead of the rising Ron Paul, who's at 18 percent. Mitt Romney drops to third, at 16 percent, denting his previously armor-plated Iowa polling average. Romney's support stood at 22 percent last month.

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