Today's Intel

Thursday, Jan. 5, 2012

BLOOMBERG

President Obama signaled readiness for a brawling election campaign by bypassing the U.S. Senate on high-profile appointments after disappointing supporters for not taking a stronger stance against Republicans.

Mitt Romney, able to seize the offensive in Iowa's Republican presidential contest, turned overnight into a front-runner on the defensive as rivals stepped up attacks on the former Massachusetts governor in advance of New Hampshire's pivotal Jan. 10 primary.

Jack Abramoff offered expert advice on ethics to Kentucky lawmakers, who are bound by state laws aimed at limiting the influence of lobbyists: Be wary of the corrupting power of money.

Companies added 325,000 more workers than forecast in December, a sign that the U.S. labor market was gaining momentum heading into 2012, according to a private report.

Applications for jobless benefits decreased 15,000 in the week ended Dec. 31 to 372,000.

A Japanese sushi chain will take a more than $600,000 loss on the most expensive fish ever sold at Tokyo's Tsukiji market as it sells $74 pieces of tuna for $5 apiece. Kiyomura K.K. paid a record $730,000 for a fish at the market's first auction in 2012. Chefs carved it into about 10,000 pieces of sushi

Cotton production in India, the world's second-biggest grower, will be less than forecast after unseasonal rains areas cut yields.

France sold 2.165 billion euros of 2041 notes with an average yield of 3.97 percent, compared with 3.94 percent in December, Agence France Tresor said.

AP Top Stories

The man accused of igniting dozens of fires across Los Angeles during a four-day rampage over New Year's weekend has been charged with 37 counts of arson and bail was set at $2.85 million.

South Korea reached out to rival North Korea on Thursday, nearly three weeks after the death of the North's iron-fisted ruler Kim Jong-il, saying it wanted to reopen dialogue despite the North's vitriolic outbursts.

PepsiCo Inc is considering cutting about 4,000 jobs and reducing pension contributions in order to boost its earnings, the New York Post said.

The average rate on the 30-year fixed mortgage fell to 3.91 percent this week, Freddie Mac said. That matches the record low reached two weeks ago.

BBC

At least 68 people were killed after attacks on pilgrims in southern Iraq, and in Shia areas of the capital Baghdad, officials say.

President Obama unveiled a major review of US military priorities likely to see tens of thousands of troops cut and a focus on security in Asia.

The euro droped to its lowest rate against the dollar in 16 months as concerns continue over the health of Europe's banks.

An alleged US military wish list of real and conceptual non-lethal weapons has been published online. The document includes improvements to equipment already in use as well as proposals for new technologies. The list includes lasers and heat beams designed to disperse crowds, and nausea-inducing sound waves targeted at scuba divers. Experts said the document acted as a "sales pitch" for continued funding.

A political row broke out in Chile as it emerges that school textbooks will no longer refer to Gen Pinochet's 1973-1990 rule as a dictatorship.

Film actress Salma Hayek has been awarded one of France's top honors by President Nicolas Sarkozy. Mexican-born Hayek will become a Knight of the Legion d'Honneur at a ceremony in Paris later this year.

South Sudan declared a disaster in Jonglei state, where some 100,000 people have been forced from their homes by clashes between rival ethnic groups.

An organization dedicated to file-sharing is officially recognized as a religion in Sweden.

EU member states have agreed in principle to ban imports of Iranian crude oil to put pressure on the country over its nuclear program.

WND

The Obama campaign appears to have shown us who they are really concerned about running against, a solidly conservative candidate instead of moderate Mitt Romney.

A Jefferson County judge today set a Monday hearing on a lawsuit challenging President Barack Obama's citizenship and right to be on the 2012 ballots in Alabama.

An early clinical trial of a hepatitis C vaccine has shown "promising" results, according to researchers at Oxford University.

After making an end run around Senate Republicans with a recess appointment to fill the top job at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, President Obama ran the same play again a few hours later with three recess appointments to the National Labor Relations Board.

The Federal Reserve, taking an innovative step in its public statements, will start providing a quarterly forecast of when it plans to make a shift in the key short-term interest rate that it sets - its latest effort to spur the sluggish economy and calm volatile stock markets.

A study by the Georgia Agriculture Department of the state farm workforce shows that finding legal employees with the skill and desire to do labor-intensive harvesting is extremely difficult. The reasons include the complexity and expense of government programs intended to help farmers employ guest workers, and the physically demanding nature of many agricultural jobs.

Colorado Christian University in Lakewood is taking the federal government to court. The school says it's being coerced into violating its deeply-held religious beliefs opposing abortion.

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