Daily News Summary Headlines 03/26/2012

Monday, Mar. 26, 2012

BLOOMBERG

President Obama committed to further reduce America’s nuclear stockpile, saying his country had more nuclear weapons than it needed and that it wouldn’t compromise national security.

Congress’s rhetoric ahead of the March 31 expiration of a law funding U.S. highway and transit projects resembles the dueling that led to last July’s impasse shutting down the FAA.

The success of the Massachusetts health-care system is spurring President Obama to extol the virtues of a law Mitt Romney signed as a governor. Romney says it shouldn’t be the model for every state. About 98 percent of state residents are insured under the legislation Romney signed in 2006, a 10 percent rise from the previous three-year average. Government costs haven’t ballooned, officials say, and 63 percent of residents support the law. Yet Romney is promising to repeal the 2010 U.S. law Obama and his fellow Democrats fashioned on the Massachusetts program.

Even after the worst rout since 2010, the U.S. bond market shows the economy is unlikely to maintain its strength without help from the Federal Reserve.

The good news: China’s government will engineer a soft landing. The bad news: Even a soft landing is painful for industries that have become dependent on the world’s fastest-growing major economy as their main profit engine.

Hedge funds trailing the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index for the last five months are giving up on bearish bets and buying stocks at the fastest rate in two years.

Chairman Ben Bernanke says the U.S. job market remains weak despite three months of strong hiring and that the Federal Reserve’s existing policies will help boost growth.

AP Top Stories

President Obama paused during a speech to local college students in South Korea to directly address the North Korean leaders across the DMZ, urging new dictator Kim Jong-un and his regime to pursue a different path.

“Titanic” director James Cameron dove to the Earth’s deepest point in a specially designed submarine, the National Geographic Society said, making him the first man to travel alone to the near 7-mile depth of the Marianas Trench.

Two NATO troops shot dead by an Afghan army soldier in southern Afghanistan on Monday were British nationals, the government said.

A woman from Iraq who was found beaten, lying in a pool of blood in her in El Cajon, Calif., home next to a note saying “go back to your country,” has died and police are investigating her death as a possible a hate crime.

The new debt-slashing budget plan pushed by House Republicans heated up as a presidential campaign issue as the proposal’s architect, Rep. Ryan of Wisconsin, sparred with top Democrats over its political fallout and downplayed the possibility he could be tapped as a vice presidential candidate.

Another Japanese nuclear reactor was taken off line for maintenance on Monday, leaving the country with only one of its 54 reactors operational following last year’s devastating earthquake and tsunami.

Germany has backed down from its resistance to boosting Europe’s financial firewalls, after Chancellor Angela Merkel admitted that she was open to temporarily boosting the eurozone’s bailout funds to $930 billion. But the move still falls short of what may be needed to protect Italy and Spain from collapse.

Two U.S. senators are asking Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate whether employers asking for Facebook passwords during job interviews are violating federal law, their offices announced Sunday.

DP World, the Dubai government-controlled port operator, said Monday it will reach into its cash reserves to pay back $3 billion in debt half a year early.

BBC

The US Supreme Court is to begin three days of landmark hearings on the legality of President Obama’s signature healthcare reform.

Nicolas Sarkozy plans to clamp down on militant Muslim preachers entering France, as the country’s presidential election looms.

Rick Santorum wins the Republican presidential primary in Louisiana, as he tries to close the gap on front-runner Mitt Romney.

Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is in Cuba for radiotherapy following a recurrence of his cancer first treated last year.

Oil has been discovered in Kenya after exploratory drilling by Anglo-Irish firm Tullow Oil.

Syria’s divided opposition groups are to meet in Turkey to draw up a “national pact” to back efforts to unseat President Assad’s government.

WND

Seeking to lead by example on the nuclear dangers posed by North Korea and Iran, President Obama said Monday he’ll pursue talks with Russia to further reduce U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals.

One of the nation’s leading legal organizations is defending an evangelical pastor who was sued over his speech by a foreign group under a law that usually is used to target torture, genocide, war crimes and summary executions.

Home-schooled students in South Carolina could play sports at their local public school under a measure advanced Wednesday by a Senate panel. An education subcommittee voted 6-3 on a bill giving homeschool students access to all extracurricular activities, including marching band, at the school they would otherwise attend.

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Newspaper Roundup for Monday, March 26, 2012

March 26, 2012

Washington Post: At CIA, a convert to Islam leads the terrorism hunt Principal architect of the CIA’s drone campaign

New York Times: Unborn Afghan Child Said to Be 17th Victim of Killing Spree Robert Bales charged with murder of 17th victim, an unborn baby

Arizona Republic: Arizona lawmakers push to take over federal land

The Hill: Rank and file House Dems poised to rally behind Van Hollen budget proposal

Politico: US pays $50,000 in compensation for each Afghan villager killed $11,000 for each person wounded in a shooting rampage

The Hill: Obama adviser calls Gingrich comments on Trayvon Martin case ‘reprehensible’

Politico: Rick Santorum lashes out at New York Times reporter Santorum to reporter: Quit distorting my words. It’s bull****.”

The Hill: Plouffe: GOP will regret ‘ObamaCare’ tag, says law will be upheld

Fox News: Santorum says ‘bad math’ makes Romney’s lead look bigger

Fox News: New York City-funded group teaching homeless how to invade apartments Crash course on squatting in city-owned buildings

Washington Post: Trayvon Martin’s death has put spotlight on perceptions about hoodies

USA Today: Joan Rivers, others joke about Dick Cheney heart transplant

Washington Post: Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s recall: Big money fuels small-government fight

Politico: Rick Perry zings 2012 field at Gridiron

Politico: Rank and file House Dems poised to rally behind Van Hollen budget proposal

Washington Times: “After my election I have more flexibility,” Obama tells Medvedev Begs for breathing space on missile defense

Politico: Obama adviser: GOP primary a ‘clown show’

Washington Times: Budget gridlock imperils national defense Arms systems cuts look likely

Houston Chronicle: Korean father denied entry to U.S. to help paralyzed son

Palm Beach Post: U.S. Rep. Hastings disputes report calling him Congress’ worst offender for paying ‘family’ members

Houston Chronicle: Property owner shoots 1 suspected copper thief, second man flees

Miami Herald: Internet could lead to regime change in Cuba, Sen. Marco Rubio says

USA Today: Popcorn packed with hidden health benefits

USA Today: Pork industry plan to give hogs more room comes at a cost

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