Today's Intel

Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2011


U.S. lawmakers seeking to overhaul the Internal Revenue Code are examining how derivatives and other financial products should be treated and how investors can structure transactions for more favorable tax results.

Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich rebuked House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi for suggesting she would offer details of a 1990s ethics probe against him if he becomes the Republican presidential nominee.

The Bank of England introduced a new sterling liquidity facility to address potential financial- market strains as Europe's sovereign debt crisis intensifies.

Legislation proposed by Senate Democrats yesterday would cut the payroll tax paid by employees to 3.1 percent next year from the current 4.2 percent. The $185 billion cost would be offset by a new 1.9 percent surtax on annual incomes exceeding $1 million and by raising the fees charged to lenders by government-owned mortgage giants Fannie Mae (FNMA) and Freddie Mac. The proposal was sponsored by Senator Robert Casey, a Pennsylvania Democrat who is facing a tough race for re-election next year.

Carmakers will use a record $7 billion of platinum in catalytic converters next year, diminishing a glut just as mine production declines for the first time since 2008. About 3.82 million ounces will go into auto catalysts, 17 percent more than this year and the most since 2007. Supply will exceed demand by 81,000 ounces, down from 295,000 ounces.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, who says that capitalism is "ruining the world," is handing bond investors a windfall by nationalizing a chemicals company.

Dollar notes from FertiNitro, the joint venture operated by Koch Industries Inc. and state-run chemical company Pequiven, returned 60 percent since the nationalization in October 2010.

Brazil's economy shrank in the third quarter, a sign that the world's second-largest emerging economy lost momentum before the government announced stimulus to contain the spillover from Europe's debt crisis.

U.S. regulators pushed for more studies on birth control pills containing the hormone drospirenone, such as Bayer AG's Yaz, after concluding the risk of blood clots is unclear.

AP Top Stories

Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday downplayed Standard & Poor's warning that it might cut the credit rating of 15 eurozone countries, including Germany's, because the region's financial crisis is worsening.

Congress has passed its fewest number of bills in at least the last 10 non-election years.

Rod Blagojevich's days of reckoning arrive when a federal judge opens a sentencing hearing for the disgraced former Illinois governor on 18 corruption counts, including trying to auction off President Barack Obama's old Senate seat. He faces the prospect of 10 or more years behind bars.

Mitt Romney spent nearly $100,000 in state funds to replace computers in his office at the end of his term as governor of Massachusetts in 2007 as part of an unprecedented effort to keep his records secret, Reuters has learned.

A surge in violence in the restive Syrian city of Homs has killed up to 50 people in the past 24 hours, leaving dozens of bodies in the streets, activists said Tuesday.

Price gouging on prescription drugs already in short supply would become a federal crime under legislation about to be introduced.

Retailers are generally optimistic about their holiday performance so far, although shaky economic conditions could change things quickly.

Home prices fell in October for the third month in a row with growth in the beleaguered sector expected to remain flat for years to come.


Russian PM Vladimir Putin plays down his party's losses at Sunday's election after central Moscow sees its biggest opposition rally in years.

The US says it is concerned at the loss of a Sentinel unmanned drone near the border with Iran, which Tehran says it shot down.

The US Postal Service is shutting more than half its mail-processing centers in a $3bn cost-cutting drive expected to shed 28,000 jobs.

Brazil says the rate of deforestation in the Amazon region is at its lowest for 23 years, due to a crackdown on illegal logging.

Scientists develop a vaccine that protects mice against a deadly strain of the Ebola virus.

Japanese milk powder maker Meiji recalls its baby formula after finding radioactive caesium in the product.


A former MF Global employee accused former president William J. Clinton of collecting $50,000 per month through his Teneo advisory firm in the months before the brokerage careened towards its Halloween filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

"It's strange that after years all of a sudden it appears," Donald Trump mused. "How come there are no records his mother ever was in the hospital?"

After Pakistan shut down the vital Khyber Pass supply route to Afghanistan following the Nov. 26 cross-border attack that killed some 28 Pakistani troops at Mohmand, the United States thought it would use the Northern Distribution Network, the only viable alternative route, through Russia, according to a report.

The United States is awash in gasoline. So much so, in fact, that the country exported 430,000 more barrels of gasoline a day than it imported in September.

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