Today's Intel

Friday, Jan. 6, 2012

BLOOMBERG

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich is free to release his contracts as an adviser to Freddie Mac, the mortgage finance company says.

With New Hampshire hosting the first Republican presidential primary in four days, Mitt Romney is starting his day about 1,000 miles away in South Carolina.

Rick Santorum anticipated he would be pressed on his conservative views on same-sex marriage and legalizing marijuana, and the college crowd in Concord, New Hampshire, didn't disappoint him. For the most part, his audience yesterday was booing, not laughing, particularly when Santorum compared gay marriage to polygamy.

President Obama unveiled a new military strategy to reduce defense spending while shifting the U.S. focus from Iraq and Afghanistan toward the Pacific and addressing evolving challenges from China and Iran. The Pentagon's strategy, which lists 10 primary military missions ranging from counter-terrorism to humanitarian and disaster relief assistance and projecting U.S. power in contested areas of the world, is an "historic shift to the future," Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told a news conference.

Canada's unemployment rate rose for a third month in December, the longest advance in two years, as a gain in jobs trailed growth of the labor force.

Libya's new leaders will remember who provided the most help in overthrowing Muammar Qaddafi, when it comes to new oil concessions. Italy, the biggest investor in the country, may find itself at a disadvantage.

Federal Reserve officials are nearing agreement on adopting an inflation goal as Chairman Ben S. Bernanke extends his push for improving transparency and communications with the public.

Chilean interest-rate swap yields rose the most in 10 weeks after a report showed prices rose at their fastest pace in almost three years, exceeding estimates and the central bank's inflation target.

Retailers are starting to pay the price for a discounting binge that was deeper and longer than ever -- especially stores that cater to middle-income shoppers.

Spanish and Italian bonds declined as European confidence in the economic outlook fell to a two-year low, fueling concern that the region's most-indebted countries will struggle to cut budget deficits amid a slowdown.

U.S. employers added more workers to payrolls than forecast in December and the jobless rate declined to an almost three-year low, showing that the labor market gained momentum heading into 2012. The 200,000 increase followed a revised 100,000 rise in November that was smaller than first estimated. The unemployment rate unexpectedly fell to 8.5 percent, the lowest since February 2009, while hours worked and earnings climbed.

AP Top Stories

An explosion ripped through a police bus in the center of Syria's capital Friday, killing at least 10 people and possibly 25 in an attack authorities blamed on a suicide bomber, an official and state-run TV said.

Iran is planning new military exercises near the strategic Strait of Hormuz, according to a naval commander, after threatening to close the strait and completing another set of maneuvers.

Israeli officials said on Friday they were concerned the country may be under cyber attack after a wave of credit card code thefts in the past week by a hacker who claims to be operating out of Saudi Arabia.

Joe Kennedy III-son of former Rep. Joseph P. Kennedy II and grandson of Bobby-announced that, come January 20, he will leave his job with the Middlesex County District Attorney's office to pursue the congressional seat being vacated by the crankily transcendent Barney Frank.

Roughly 200 million people worldwide use illicit drugs such as marijuana, amphetamines, cocaine and opioids each year, according to a new study. The figure represents about one in 20 people between the ages of 15 and 64.

A rating downgrade left Hungary's debt rated "junk" across the board, underscoring investors' doubts about the government's willingness to change its controversial policies in return for aid to stave off a financial crisis.

BBC

Six children were killed in a bomb blast in the Afghan city of Tarin Kowt, while five Nato soldiers died in separate attacks in the south.

The jobless rate in the 17 euro nations was 10.3% in November for the second month in a row.

Hackers have targeted Germany's far-right with a Wikileaks-style website.

WND

The outcome of Iowa caucuses was thrown into question after reports of a discrepancy in the vote count in one rural precinct that could swing the result in Rick Santorum's favor.

The Obama administration will announce Friday a proposed new regulation that would allow certain undocumented immigrants to remain in America while applying for legal status.

President Obama on Thursday will unveil a summer-jobs initiative that the White House says is already on track to create 180,000 "work opportunities" in the private sector in 2012.

Total, France's biggest oil and gas company, will pay $2.32bn for a 25pc stake in a shale deposit in the east of Ohio. Meanwhile, Sinopec, China's largest energy company, plans to invest $2.26bn to become a partner in developing five natural gas and oil fields with US producer Devon Energy. US, European, Chinese and Indian companies are scrambling to secure a slice of America's shale gas deposits, which experts have forecast have the potential to become a central part of the world's energy supply over the next half century.

A Charlottesville-area elementary school has been accused of making students sing a pro-Occupy Wall Street movement song.

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