Today's Intel

Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2011

BLOOMBERG

An aide to Newt Gingrich's Republican presidential campaign in Iowa was dismissed after he called Mormonism a "cult" during a voter focus group.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is vowing to block a payroll tax-cut extension that passed the U.S. House of Representatives because it includes Republican priorities that Democrats oppose.

Prices of goods imported into the U.S. rose 0.7 percent, less than forecast in November, reflecting lower costs for metals and food, indicating inflation will remain contained.

Norway's central bank slashed its benchmark interest rate by half a percentage point as the euro area's debt crisis saps economic growth in the world's second- wealthiest nation.

Emerging-market stocks fell for a fifth day as doubts persisted about Europe's efforts to tame the debt crisis and the Federal Reserve refrained from taking new measures to spur the economy.

China announced plans to impose anti-dumping duties on some vehicles imported from the U.S. after failing to block a U.S. tariff on Chinese tires.

The euro fell below $1.30 for the first time since January as signs of increased funding stress in Europe damped investor appetite for the shared currency.

Chancellor Angela Merkel's Cabinet backed plans to reactivate Germany's bank-rescue fund to help bolster lenders facing insolvency and lessen the risk of a systemic financial meltdown as a result of the debt crisis.

OPEC decided to increase its production ceiling to 30 million barrels a day, the first change in three years, moving the group's target nearer to current output as it grapples with rising exports from post-war Libya.

MF Global Holdings Ltd., the bankrupt parent of broker-dealer MF Global Inc., will ask a U.S. bankruptcy judge for permission to use cash collateral. The bankrupt company told the judge in Manhattan federal court that it has an agreement with JPMorgan Chase regarding the use of cash.

AP Top Stories

Accompanied by first lady Michelle Obama, the president was traveling Wednesday to Fort Bragg in North Carolina to address service members and their families as he brings the war to a close.

Rival Islamist groups sought more gains in the second round of Egypt's parliamentary, with liberals also fighting for a voice in an army-led transition that began with the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center launched an 11th-hour drive to find and prosecute Nazi war criminals while they are still alive, saying a new legal precedent in Germany could make it possible to bring dozens of suspects to trial.

Elizabeth Taylor's jewelry collection sold for a record-setting $115 million - including more than $11.8 million for a pearl necklace and more than $8.8 million for a diamond ring given to her by Richard Burton - at a Christie's auction.

Italian government bond yields eased after the country sold 3 billion euros of five-year debt in the first longer-term auction since the EU took steps towards greater fiscal integration last week.

China's plan for a new $300 billion sovereign wealth fund is as much a warning to Washington as it is a body blow to Brussels. It's the clearest sign yet of Beijing's waning faith in bonds issued by Europe and the United States.

BBC

Barely half of Americans - a record low - are married and those who are getting hitched are older than ever, finds a Pew Research Center study.

As the last US troops prepare to leave Iraq, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki tells US investors in Washington that Iraq is open for business.

States should ban all driver use of mobile phones and portable electronic devices, except in emergencies, a US safety board has said.

Global deaths from malaria are falling, but the World Health Organization warns of potential trouble ahead from drug-resistance and a shortage of funds.

WorldNetDaily

According to a new poll that reveals more people blame Obama for the failed state of the economy now than blame Bush.

A Florida organization's campaign to publicize its criticism of a new television program on The Learning Channel that it says sanitizes Islam - and one company's decision to take its advertising dollars elsewhere - has escalated to an argument about fundamental freedoms for Americans.

PA - Shoppers perusing the curiosity and gift shops in downtown Pitman might miss the sign hanging overhead that reads, "Keep Christ in Christmas." But the white plastic banner has caught the attention of a national group advocating the separation of church and state, which maintains that by allowing the sign on public property, the borough is promoting Christmas and Christianity and thus violating the Constitution.

Two top U.S. hurricane forecasters, revered like rock stars in Deep South hurricane country, are quitting the practice because it doesn't work. William Gray and Phil Klotzbach say a look back shows their past 20 years of forecasts had no value.

Arizona Republican Rep. Paul Gosar has filed a resolution in the House of Representatives pushing for vote of ''no confidence'' in Attorney General Eric Holder.

Electric bills have skyrocketed in the last five years, a sharp reversal from a quarter-century when Americans enjoyed stable power bills even as they used more electricity. Households paid a record $1,419 on average for electricity in 2010, the fifth consecutive yearly increase above the inflation rate. That's the largest sustained increase since a run-up in electricity prices during the 1970s.

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