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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Today's Top News 1-12-12


President Obama’s re-election effort raised more than $68 million in the quarter that ended Dec. 31, campaign manager Jim Messina said today. He also said that expectations for a $1 billion campaign are “completely untrue.”

Mitt Romney began campaigning in South Carolina by trying to bolster a sense of inevitability around his drive for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination.

After criticizing Mitt Romney in New Hampshire for his investment practices, one of the first attack ads aimed at the Republican front-runner by his presidential primary rivals in South Carolina highlights his changed position from supporting abortion rights to opposing them.

Bank of England Governor King refrained from adding to emergency stimulus again today as policy makers await new forecasts and the economy showed some resilience heading into 2012.

The European Central Bank held interest rates steady after two straight cuts as signs of respite from the sovereign debt crisis gave it scope to pause.

President Nicolas Sarkozy said that losing the AAA rating isn’t “insurmountable” -- to mean that France has accepted the inevitable. The question now is whether Standard & Poor’s will follow through with a threat of a two-level cut.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Geithner’s efforts to tighten economic sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program won backing from Japan a day after China rejected limiting oil imports from the country.

Consumer confidence in the U.S. last week reached the highest level since July as the improving job market helped allay pessimism. As recently as October, the index registered its lowest readings since the 2007-2009 recession, making 2011 the second-worst year in 25 years of data. It’s since increased in four of the past five weeks.

Vestas Wind Systems, the biggest wind turbine maker, said it will halt production at one factory and cut 2,335 jobs, or 10 percent of its staff, to become competitive with Chinese suppliers.

Sales at U.S. retailers in December rose less than forecast, restrained by cheaper fuel prices and holiday discounting that helped hold down the value of goods sold.

Jobless claims climbed by 24,000 to 399,000 in the week ended Jan. 7.

AP Top Stories

Myanmar's government signed a cease-fire with ethnic Karen rebels Thursday to try to end one of the world's longest-running insurgencies, part of its efforts to resolve all conflicts with separatist groups.

A Mississippi state judgehas temporarily halted the release of 21 of the 200-plus inmates pardoned or givenearly release byformer Gov. Haley Barbour as he left office.

With Mitt Romney's Mormon faith often under the microscope, a new survey finds that most Mormons feel they are misunderstood, discriminated against and not accepted by Americans as part of mainstream society.

Iranian President Ahmadinejad denounced capitalism at the University of Havana on a trip to highlight friendships with his Latin American allies, most of them thorns in Washington's side.

Spain and Italy spread cheer through euro zone markets with solid debt auctions at lower borrowing costs in 2012's first real test for debt from the euro zone's bruised periphery.

Royal Bank of Scotland abandoned ambitions to be a top global investment bank and said it would cut another 4,450 jobs as it bows to pressure from the UK government to shut down risky operations and prepare for tougher international regulations.

Fixed mortgage rates fell once again to a record low, 3.89 percent, offering a great opportunity for those who can afford to buy or refinance homes.

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