Today's Intel

Monday, Jan. 9, 2012

BLOOMBERG

The European Central Bank's financing to Portuguese lenders rose for a second month in December to $58.7 billion, the Bank of Portugal said.

Euro-area leaders may complete their new budget rulebook by Jan. 30, one month ahead of schedule, and are considering accelerating capital contributions to the bailout fund being set up this year to stem the debt crisis.

Hedge funds raised their wagers on higher commodity prices by the most since July 2010 after signs of accelerating U.S. growth bolstered optimism that demand for raw materials will strengthen.

The number of people putting in a full week (USEMFULL) rose to 113.8 million in December, the most since February 2009, the Labor Department's monthly employment report showed last week. At the same time, 8.1 million (USEMPTER) worked fewer hours because they couldn't find a full-time job, the least since January 2009.

AP Top Stories

Diplomats confirmed a report that Iran has begun uranium enrichment at an underground bunker and said the news is particularly worrying because the site is being used to make material that can be upgraded more quickly for use in a nuclear weapon than the nation's main enriched stockpile.

Politicians normally shy away from saying they want to cut food stamps, but this year's Republican presidential candidates are using domestic food aid as an example of a welfare state gone awry.

President Obama will appear on the ballot Tuesday among 13 other Democratic presidential candidates in the New Hampshire primary. While an Obama victory is not in doubt, national Democrats and the president's re-election campaign aren't taking any chances on November. They're rallying for Democratic voter turnout as something of a general election dry run.

The Obama administration is expelling Venezuela's consul general in Miami after allegations surfaced that she discussed possible cyber-attacks on U.S. soil while she was stationed at her country's embassy in Mexico.

Dozens of National Guard troops have arrived in Cordova to help the Alaska fishing town dig out from massive snows that have collapsed roofs, trapped some people in homes and triggered avalanches. The drifts are 12 to 14 feet high.

Blue-chip names like Johnson & Johnson , Pfizer and Peugeot are among firms bailing out Europe's ailing banks in a reversal of the established roles of clients and lenders.

Home prices fell for a fourth straight month in November as distressed sales continued to weigh on prices, data analysis firm CoreLogic said. CoreLogic's home price index fell 1.4 percent in November from the previous month. Compared with November of last year, prices were down 4.3 percent, steeper than the 3.7 percent year-over-year decline seen in October.

U.S. authorities are moving toward taking legal action against Wegelin & Co, which could lead to an indictment of one of Switzerland's last pure private banks, on charges that it enabled wealthy Americans to evade taxes.

A national strike paralyzed much of Nigeria, with more than 10,000 demonstrators swarming its commercial capital to protest soaring fuel prices and decades of government corruption.

BBC

An Iranian court sentenced to death Iranian-American Amir Mirzai Hekmati for spying for the CIA, amid rising tensions between Tehran and the West.

The Arizona city of Tucson marked the anniversary of the shooting that left six people dead and Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords seriously injured.

The FBI has updated its definition of rape for the first time in 83 years, to include men and those who do not physically resist as victims. The new definition will increase the number of people counted as rape victims in FBI statistics, but it will not change federal or state laws.

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner did not have cancer after all.

Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim says he has been finally vindicated after being acquitted of sodomy by a court in Kuala Lumpur.

At least 10 paramilitary troops abducted last month were found shot dead in a volatile tribal area of north-west Pakistan, security officials say.

Israel has said it will respond to cyber-attacks in the same way it responds to violent "terrorist" acts after the credit card details of thousands of its citizens were published online.

WND

Libyan rebels are selling large quantities of weaponry to Palestinian terrorist groups in the Gaza Strip, according to Israeli security sources.

The Iowa Department of Public Health has been ordered to issue a new birth certificate listing both members of a same-sex marriage as the legal parents of a 2-year-old girl.

Nine of the 10 worst nations for persecution of Christians are run essentially under Islamic law, and the "Arab Spring" across parts of northern African has led to a surge of repression, according to the new Open Doors "World Watch" list. The other country in the 10 worst nations is North Korea, led by a fanatical communist regime that has regarded its two previous leaders as gods.

The global economy could withstand widespread disruption from a natural disaster or attack by militants for only a week as governments and businesses are not sufficiently prepared to deal with unexpected events, a report by a respected think-tank said.

A once-cent copper coin from the earliest days of the U.S. Mint in 1793 has sold for a record $1.38 million at a Florida auction.

The White House will propose a 0.5 percent pay increase for civilian federal employees as part of its 2013 budget proposal, according to two senior administration officials familiar with the plans.

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