CNNMoney: Expect relief from record February gas prices
Gas prices rose 10% this month, making it the worst February on record, but drivers can expect relief up ahead. The national average for a gallon of regular gasoline was $3.78 on Thursday, according to AAA, down about half a cent from the day before. But it was only the fourth day this month that prices declined, and gas is nearly 50 cents more expensive than it was at the beginning of the year.
NYT: Study of Ice Age Bolsters Carbon and Warming Link
A meticulous new analysis of Antarctic ice suggests that the sharp warming that ended the last ice age occurred in lock step with increases of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the latest of many indications that the gas is a powerful influence on the earth’s climate. Previous research suggested that as the world began to emerge from the depths of the ice age about 20,000 years ago, warming in Antarctica preceded changes in the global carbon dioxide level by something like 800 years.
WSJ: Households Return to Borrowing Ways
Americans late last year took on more debt for the first time since the throes of the recession, a sign that consumers are feeling more comfortable borrowing after years of cutting debt to fix their finances. Household debt, which includes mortgages, credit cards, auto loans and student loans, rose 0.3% to $11.34 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2012—the first fundamental increase since the third quarter of 2008, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York said Thursday in a report.
USA Today: BP trial's first week offers glimpse of long fight
Testimony from current and former executives. GulfCoast residents and the U.S. government pitted against some of the biggest companies in the world. Tens of billions of dollars at stake. The first week of one of the largest environmental trials in U.S. history edged to a close Thursday after three days of dissecting testimony examining the causes behind the 2010 BP oil spill.
ABC News: Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano Regrets Surprise Announcement of Immigrant Release
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano had no part in a decision by underlings to release low-risk illegal immigrant detainees as a way to save money before the sequestration and was surprised to learn about it, Napolitano told ABC News in an exclusive interview. "Detainee populations and how that is managed back and forth is really handled by career officials in the field," Napolitano said. Napolitano added that the release, which has been criticized by congressional Republicans, was poorly timed.
SEE ALSO: CNN: Arizona governor on ICE release: 'Outrageous' and 'appalling'
Politico: Corbett might be on verge of a Medicaid reversal
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett is feeling the Medicaid squeeze. A Republican governor of a Democratic state, Corbett has railed against the health law’s massive Medicaid expansion and omitted it from his proposed budget. But all around him, governors are opting in — including Republicans John Kasich just west of him in Ohio and Chris Christie just east in New Jersey. One day later, Corbett confirmed he had recently requested a chat with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. The subject: Medicaid expansion. “The governor, I think, has been pretty clear in saying the door is closed but not locked,” said Charlie Gerow, a Republican consultant based in Harrisburg, Pa.
CNN: Forced spending cuts begin today
Today is the day lawmakers have known about since August 2011: the day those forced federal spending cuts kick in. This Friday is also a day many never expected would come. After all, the cuts known as sequestration were designed to be so draconian that lawmakers would be forced to compromise. …For all of the dire warnings, Obama acknowledged Wednesday that the cuts are “not a cliff, but it is a tumble downward.” He’ll set the cuts in motion on Friday with a stroke of his pen. He is required to sign an order enacting the spending cuts by 11:59 p.m. Friday and will do so privately, White House press secretary Jay Carney said Thursday.
WATCH: VIDEO – CNN's Dana Bash talks to legislators leaving Washington a day before the $85 billion in spending cuts takes effect.
SEE ALSO: CNNMoney: Spending cuts: When they'll really bite
NYT: Dismissing Her Critics, Mrs. Obama Forges Ahead
Michelle Obama announced the name of the best picture via satellite for the Academy Awards ceremony in order to promote the arts among children, her principal constituency, she said in an interview on Thursday. And if people didn’t like it, she added, that doesn’t bother her.
Roll Call: Senate Democrats Not Ready to Risk Shutdown
Senate Democrats aren’t planning a shutdown showdown with Republicans over the sequester, as they prepare to move forward with an omnibus package keeping the government open past March 27, according to three senior Democratic aides. After both parties’ sequester bills failed in the Senate on Thursday, lawmakers were already looking ahead to the expiring continuing resolution as the next deadline and opportunity to avert or alter the $85 billion in cuts set to go into effect Friday. But Democratic leaders don’t seem willing to risk a government shutdown by insisting that any funding bill block all of the sequester’s cuts.
SEE ALSO: NYT: Boehner Halts Talks on Cuts; G.O.P. Cheers
WSJ: IRS Furloughs to Begin After Tax Season
The Internal Revenue Service plans to require five to seven days of unpaid leave for many of it employees through September, but it won’t begin the furloughs until the summer in an effort to avoid disruptions in the April tax filing deadline.
WaPo: Senate postpones deliberations on gun bills
Senators working on legislation to curb gun violence postponed consideration of the measures for at least a week, a move that gives a bipartisan group working on a plan to expand the nation’s gun background check system more time to reach an agreement. The Senate Judiciary Committee agreed Thursday to reconvene March 7 to begin considering bills sponsored by Democrats to revamp the background-check system, make gun trafficking a federal crime for the first time, bolster school security programs and ban hundreds of military-style assault weapons and parts.
CNN: House passes Violence Against Women Act after GOP version defeated
An expanded Violence Against Women Act won bipartisan approval on Thursday from the U.S. House after Republicans failed to pass their own proposal due to a party split on an issue important to women and minority groups.
HuffPo: Sherrod Brown Teams Up With David Vitter To Break Up Big Banks
Multi-trillion dollar financial institutions continue to get richer, exerting more and more control over both America's economy and its political system. The top 20 largest banks' assets are nearly equal to the nation's gross domestic product. Now, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), along with unlikely ally Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), is launching an effort to break up the taxpayer-funded party on Wall Street.
Roll Call: House GOP Seeks Immigration Solution
House Republican leaders will begin to engage next week on the contentious issue of an immigration rewrite, launching a series of listening sessions to educate members. The sessions will be led by House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., House Judiciary Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte, R-Va., and Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., who serves as chairman of the Judiciary Subcommittee on Immigration and Border Security.
Fox News: Romney likens 2012 race to 'roller coaster,' in exclusive ‘Fox News Sunday’ interview
Mitt Romney, in an exclusive interview with "Fox News Sunday," said the end of the 2012 presidential race was like getting off a roller coaster. "We were on a roller coaster, exciting and thrilling, ups and downs. But the ride ends," Romney said. "And then you get off. And it's not like, oh, can't we be on a roller coaster the rest of our life? It's like, no, the ride's over." The 2012 Republican presidential nominee and his wife Ann spoke extensively with "Fox News Sunday" in their first post-election interview.
Richmond Times-Dispatch: McDonnell restores rights to 1,000 felons including Young, Hedgepeth, Libby
Gov. Bob McDonnell restored the civil rights of more than 1,000 felons in 2012, including former Richmond Mayor Leonidas B. Young II, former City Coucilwoman Gwendolyn C. Hedgepeth and I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney. McDonnell, who set a goal of giving speedier answers on restoration of rights petitions, also granted one simple pardon and three conditional pardons, according to a report that covers the governor’s actions from Jan. 17, 2012, to Jan. 16, 2013. Libby was convicted in 2007 of perjury, obstruction of justice and making false statements and received a 2½-year prison sentence, but President George W. Bush commuted his sentence before leaving office.
USA Today: Ashley Judd's D.C. events add to speculation
Actress Ashley Judd is fueling more speculation that she will run for the U.S. Senate in Kentucky with two public appearances in the nation's capital Friday and Saturday. Judd is scheduled to be the featured speaker Friday at a forum on women's reproductive rights and is slated to receive an award Saturday night for her humanitarian work in India.
Politico: RNC event snags 2016 hopefuls
Five of the most talked-about potential 2016 GOP presidential candidates will spend the weekend together next month huddling with top Republican donors near Miami. The RNC has snagged former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to attend their quarterly finance meeting, according to an invitation obtained by POLITICO.
CNN: Hagel to hear from Joint Chiefs on spending cuts
The Joint Chiefs of Staff plan to brief newly minted Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on the impact that spending cuts - slated to go into effect Friday night - might have on military readiness. Defense programs would bear half of the $85 billion in government-wide spending cuts that are to go into effect absent congressional action. Hagel's first session with leaders of the service branches since his swearing-in is to occur Friday afternoon in "the tank," a secure Pentagon meeting room.
National Journal: The Rehabilitation of Chuck Hagel
Having been ushered into his job as Defense secretary with the biggest dissenting Senate vote in U.S. history, Chuck Hagel appears to be already a politically damaged figure. And now, adding injury to insult, the first thing the new Defense secretary must do is go back to the Congress that roughed him up during his confirmation process and … beg some more. In order to minimize the effects of the imminent sequester, Hagel needs legislative authority to give him more discretion to move around money as the Defense Department is hit with $46 billion in cuts.
USA Today: China's universities linked to cyber-spying
A burgeoning Chinese effort to build academic and civilian expertise in computer espionage has ties to the nation's military, a science journal reports Thursday. In the past five years, China has opened 10 university computer security academies that specialize in cyber-research, says the Science magazine report by international editor Richard Stone. Chinese universities publish computer espionage research in the open scientific literature — including one 2009 report "outlining how to mount an effective attack on the U.S. power grid." Such schools have hosted hiring fairs for People's Liberation Army units, which have been linked to hundreds of hacking successes against U.S. industries and government agencies recently by outside analysts. Stone, formerly based in Beijing, concludes, "The wellspring of China's strength is hundreds of computer and information departments across the country."
Reuters: Exclusive: Glencore bartered with firm linked to Iran nuclear program
Commodities giant Glencore supplied thousands of tons of alumina to an Iranian firm that has provided aluminum to Iran's nuclear program, intelligence and diplomatic sources told Reuters. The previously undisclosed barter arrangement between Glencore, the world's biggest commodities trader, and the Iranian Aluminum Company (Iralco) illustrates how difficult it is for Western powers to curb Iran's ability to trade with the rest of the world. Even as the West imposes stringent restrictions on banks that do business with Iran, United Nations diplomats say that Tehran keeps finding new ways to do business with willing partners.
The Hill: White House debating actions to retaliate against foreign cyberattacks
The White House is debating what actions will be taken to retaliate against individuals and countries that launch cyberattacks against the United States. White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Michael Daniel on Thursday said officials might consider financial sanctions, visa restrictions and military action as tools to use against foreign hackers who target U.S. networks. However, the U.S. is still weighing when a cyber incident will prompt a response from the federal government.
CNN: Pfc. Manning admits leaking classified material that 'upset' him to WikiLeaks
Pfc. Bradley Manning pleaded guilty Thursday to 10 of the 22 charges against him - but not the most serious one, "aiding the enemy" - in what the government says is the largest leak of classified documents in the nation's history. And, for the first time, Manning offered his rationale for the crimes. In court, Manning detailed why and how he sent classified material to WikiLeaks, a group that facilitates the anonymous leaking of secret information through its website. He said he passed on information that "upset" or "disturbed" him, but nothing he thought would harm the United States if it became public. Manning said he thought the documents were old and the situations they referred to had changed or ended.
CNN: U.S. military clears F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to fly
The U.S. military cleared the F-35 fighter jet to fly again after the fleet of jets were temporarily grounded. The jets, that are designed for use by the Navy, Air Force and Marines, were grounded on February 21 due to a crack in an engine component that was discovered during a routine inspection in California, the Pentagon said. On Thursday, military officials said engineers had analyzed the jets and cleared them.
"No additional cracks were found during inspections," the Pentagon's F-35 program office said in a statement. "This decision concludes a cautionary flight suspension."
CNN: Two U.S. servicemen imprisoned for rape in Japan
A Japanese court Friday sentenced two American servicemen to prison for a rape committed last year while they were on duty at a U.S. military base in Okinawa. The Naha District Court handed down a sentence of 10 years to Navy Seaman Christopher Daniel Browning and nine years to Petty Officer Skyler A Dozierwalker for raping a Japanese woman after attacking her in a parking lot.
The rape occurred in October 2012.
AVIATION, REGULATION and JUSTICE:
CNN: Obama urges court to overturn California same-sex marriage ban
In a bold political and legal move, the Obama administration formally expressed its support for same-sex marriage in California, setting up a high stakes political and constitutional showdown at the U.S. Supreme Court over a fast-evolving and contentious issue. In a broadly worded legal brief on Thursday that senior government sources said had President Barack Obama's personal input and blessing, the Justice Department asserted gay and lesbian couples in the nation's most populous state have the same "equal protection" right to wed and that voters there were not empowered to ban it.
CNN: FAA begins process to close 168 towers on April 1
In one of the most immediate consequences of the pending spending cuts, the Federal Aviation Administration has informed contractors that - lacking any last-minute agreement - the agency will move Monday to close some 168 contractor-staffed air traffic control towers nationwide on April 1, and another 21 towers by Sept. 30, industry officials tell CNN.
SEE ALSO: CNN: Amtrak is on track to weather any spending cuts
NYT: U.S.D.A. May Approve Horse Slaughter Plant
The United States Department of Agriculture is likely to approve a horse slaughtering plant in New Mexico in the next two months, which would allow equine meat suitable for human consumption to be produced in the United States for the first time since 2007. The plant, in Roswell, N.M., is owned by Valley Meat Company, which sued the U.S.D.A. and its Food Safety and Inspection Service last fall over the lack of inspection services for horses going to slaughter. Horse meat cannot be processed for human consumption in the United States without inspection by the U.S.D.A., so horses destined for that purpose have been shipped to places like Mexico and Canada for slaughter.
CNN: Judge orders Fort Hood shooter to stand trial in 3 months
An Army psychiatrist accused of opening fire and killing 13 people at Fort Hood, Texas, will begin trial proceedings in three months, a military judge ruled. Maj. Nidal Hasan is charged with 13 counts of premeditated murder and 32 counts of attempted murder in connection with a 2009 attack at the post's processing center, where soldiers were preparing to deploy to Afghanistan and Iraq. The judge, Col. Tara Osborn, ordered Hasan's court -martial to begin May 29 with jury selection and testimony to begin on July 1.
CNN: Top Republican criticizes use of FBI planes
A top congressional Republican complained Thursday that FBI jets are being used too much on travel for the FBI Director and Attorney General and not enough for FBI missions. Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa expressed particular concern about the use of two Gulfstream V planes. "These luxury jets were supposedly needed for counterterrorism, but it turns out that they were used almost two-thirds of the time for jet-setting executive travel instead," Grassley said.
CNN: Harlem shake reaches new heights; FAA not amused
It's the dance sensation that's sweeping above the nation - at 30,000 feet. The Harlem shake has gone aloft, breaking out on commercial airline flights, and appearing in dozens of YouTube videos. Some of the videos were taped aboard planes on the ground. But the Federal Aviation Administration says it is looking into one instance of high-altitude dancing.
Des Moines Register: Iowa ag secretary Bill Northey says he’ll ‘strongly consider’ U.S. Senate bid
Iowa’s mild-mannered agriculture chief, Bill Northey, is strongly considering jumping into the 2014 U.S. Senate race. Northey has been on Republicans’ wish list as a candidate for Senate, and he said in an interview today that he’s interested. “I’ve been very flattered by some of the folks that have been encouraging me,” said Northey, who is the state’s agriculture secretary and grows corn and soybeans on land in SpiritLake that his grandfather farmed. “I really do have to look at this and strongly consider it. … We need some time to talk it over as a family and to talk it over politically.”
NYT: Arkansas Law Restricts When Abortion May Occur
Arkansas adopted new abortion limits Thursday, outlawing most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, even as its State Senate approved a more restrictive bill that would ban abortions after 12 weeks of pregnancy. Gov. Mike Beebe, a Democrat, had vetoed the 20-week limit on Tuesday, saying it was likely to be found unconstitutional, but the newly Republican-controlled Senate voted to override Mr. Beebe’s veto on Thursday; the House had already done so Wednesday. The measure is set to take effect immediately.
Chicago Tribune: House lawmakers clash over assault weapons ban
House lawmakers clashed Thursday on the question of whether an assault weapons ban should be approved in Illinois, a split that put on full display how hard it will be to balance the rights of individual gun owners with the desire of Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Gov. Pat Quinn to put the prohibition in place.
Albany Times-Union: A crowd ready, aimed, on fire
Thousands of gun rights advocates swarmed the Capitol on Thursday, cheering as a parade of lawmakers who oppose New York's new gun control law lauded the Second Amendment and blasted the new measure's backers. "This is probably one of the most egregious acts by government I've seen defying our nation's history," said Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb, R-Canandaigua. "It's time to repeal this law."
Hartford Courant: Democrats' Impatience Grows On Gun Bill; Say They Don't Need GOP's OK On What's In It
A week after Gov. Dannel P. Malloy got tired of waiting for a legislative task force to recommend gun-control legislation in response to the Newtown school massacre — and then proposed his own — the top leader of the Democratic-controlled state Senate said Thursday that "frankly, I'm losing patience," too. State Senate President Pro Tempore Donald Williams, D-Brooklyn, said he plans as early as March 13, with or without bipartisan support, to push through a strong gun-control bill in line with the Democratic governor's recommendations last week. Those proposals include a strengthened state ban on assault rifles and limitation of ammunition magazines to 10 rounds or less.
The Detroit News: Snyder to show hand on Detroit emergency manager appointment today
Gov. Rick Snyder is expected today to say he will appoint an emergency manager to run Detroit in what would be the largest state takeover in American history. Mayor Dave Bing said he learned of Snyder's decision during a telephone conversation with the governor Thursday morning. Bing, speaking Thursday at the Detroit Policy Conference at Motor City Casino, declined to say what the decision will be. He said he'll let the governor speak for himself.
Dallas Morning News: Karl Rove defends move to get involved in GOP primaries, saying Republicans can rebound
Political strategist Karl Rove Wednesday defended his move to get involved in Republican primary races across the country, saying a new vetting and research group would prevent “poor candidates” from giving rival Democrats an edge in critical election contests. … “My posterior was shredded a little bit by donors wondering why we are writing checks for people who then turn around a run such lousy campaigns.”
ALSO SEE: Sacramento Bee: Fresh controversy follows Karl Rove to California GOP convention
Charlotte Observer: Duke Energy won’t be repaid $10M in credit for DNC
Duke Energy won’t be repaid the $10 million line of credit it guaranteed for Charlotte to host last year’s Democratic National Convention, the company confirmed Thursday. As the credit line came due, Duke made official what it had signaled to shareholders in an earnings report last November. Because Duke can claim the money as a business expense for tax purposes, shareholders will foot $6 million of the cost. The DNC host committee struggled to raise money under fundraising rules set by the White House that banned corporate cash contributions. By last October, a month after the convention, it had raised $24.1 million of the original $36.6 million goal.
CNN: Prominent al Qaeda figure in Mali reported killed in French airstrike
One of al Qaeda's most influential figures in North Africa has been killed in a French airstrike in northern Mali, according to sources close to the French military command in the country. Abdelhamid Abou Zeid was a deputy leader of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and one of its most ruthless commanders, having seized at least a dozen foreigners for ransom. At least two have been killed; several French citizens remain captive. Military sources quoted by French media say that in the past few days Abou Zeid and a substantial number of his fighters were killed during a French bombardment near Aguelhok in northern Mali.
CNN: Cardinals look to future after Benedict's exit
With the dust still settling from Benedict XVI's historic resignation as pope, the focus in Rome turns to the future Friday as the Roman Catholic cardinals prepare to meet to discuss a timetable for picking the new pontiff. Letters are expected to go out Friday inviting the cardinals to the first of a series of meetings, known as general congregations. Cardinal Francis George of Chicago told CNN Thursday that he expected the meetings to begin Monday.
SEE ALSO: CBS: Vatican deletes Pope Benedict XVI tweets from @Pontifex
CNN: Deadly riots follow Bangladesh death sentence
At least 37 people died in rioting across Bangladesh after the leader of the country's largest Islamist party was sentenced to death on decades-old allegations of war crimes. Supporters of the Jamaat-e-Islami movement battled with police in several cities after 73-year-old Delwar Hossain Sayedee was sentenced to hang by a war crimes tribunal. The two-time member of parliament was convicted of eight of 20 counts involving killings and rapes during Bangladesh's war of independence in 1971.
CNN: Dennis Rodman is North Korean leader's 'friend for life'
Former NBA star Dennis Rodman declared his eternal friendship with North Korea's supreme leader Thursday. "You have a friend for life," Rodman told Kim Jong Un after the two men sat next to each other watching an unusual basketball exhibition in Pyongyang, North Korea. Photos of the event, published online by Vice magazine, show Rodman and Kim Jong Un sitting at court side, surrounded by an arena filled with dark-uniformed fans. The North Korean leader, who is known to be a basketball fan, appears to be engrossed in the competition.
WATCH: VIDEO – Dennis Rodman tells North Korean leader Kim Jong Un: You have a friend for life. CNN's Mary Snow reports.
AFP: S.Korea leader offers North 'flexible' engagement
South Korea's new president Park Geun-Hye offered a "more flexible" engagement with North Korea on Friday if Pyongyang chooses a path of trust-building rather than provocation. In an annual speech marking Korea's 1919 uprising against Japan's colonial rule, Park urged Pyongyang to understand that "nothing will be gained from nuclear development or provocations save for greater isolation and hardship".
CNN: China to execute drug gang over Mekong river massacre
Four men convicted of murdering 13 Chinese sailors on the MekongRiver in the northern Thai province of Chiang Rai in 2011 will be executed in China Friday, state media reported. Chinese authorities identified one of the men as a Myanmar drug lord named Naw Kham, with the other three - believed to be members of his gang - named as Hsang Kham from Thailand, Yi Lai, referred to as "stateless," and Zha Xika, a Laotian, the state-run Xinhua new agency reported.
NYT: Czechs Split Deeply Over Joining the Euro
Vaclav Klaus, the departing president of the CzechRepublic, has equated the European Union to the former Soviet bloc, blamed the euro for the Greek crisis and called the single currency a mistake. He has even refused to hang the Union’s gold-starred flag at the PragueCastle, the seat of the Czech president. So when Mr. Klaus, a Thatcher-loving economist who became a potent spokesman for continental Europhobes, steps down next week to make way for Milos Zeman as president, euro enthusiasts here will rejoice. Mr. Zeman has not only promised to hang the Union’s flag at the castle but has also suggested a referendum on whether to join the euro zone and suggested 2017 as the earliest possible date for entry. But the celebrating could be premature.
BBC: Hugo Chavez 'battling for his life', says VP Maduro
Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez is "battling for his health, for his life", according to Vice-President Nicolas Maduro. "Our commander is sick because he gave his life for those who don't have anything," he said on Venezuelan TV. Mr Chavez has not been seen in public since travelling to Cuba in December for further cancer surgery.
WSJ: Libyan Fund Helping SEC in Goldman Probe
Libya's sovereign-wealth fund said it is cooperating with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in its ongoing investigation into Goldman Sachs Group Inc. GS -1.25% over the securities firm's dealings with the fund when Col. Moammar Gadhafi was in power. The Libyan Investment Authority said in a statement that it also hired a law firm to discuss possible actions to recover losses it suffered from investments made in structured-finance products. Before the financial crisis, Goldman and other financial firms sold complex investments to Libya as officials there looked for ways to put some of the fund's $50 billion in assets to work. Many of the investments plunged in value during the crisis.
WSJ: Bank of China Eyes Expansion Into U.S. Securitization
Bank of China Ltd. 601988.SH -1.00% is already one of the largest foreign lenders to commercial real estate in the U.S., helping finance prestige properties. Now, it is staking a claim in the red-hot market for bonds backed by packages of commercial-real-estate loans. In November, Bank of China became the first Chinese lender to participate in the sale of U.S. commercial-mortgage-backed securities, known as CMBS. Bank of China joined a group of banks in a $950 million loan to finance a 43-story building at 1290 Avenue of the Americas in midtown Manhattan that was then packaged into bonds.
Financial Times: China’s manufacturing growth slows
China’s manufacturing sector grew more slowly in February, according to a survey that suggests the country’s recovery could be slackening. The official purchasing managers’ index dipped to 50.1 from 50.4 in January, data on Friday showed. It was the fifth consecutive month above the midpoint of 50, which indicates an expansion in industrial activity, but the decline in the index means that the pace of expansion has likely slowed.
San Francisco Chronicle: Google helped honor FTC chief amid probe
Google contributed $25,000 to honor the chairman of the Federal Trade Commission while the company was under investigation by the agency for possible antitrust violations, Senate records show. Google donated the money to Common Sense Media, a San Francisco advocacy group that gave FTC Chairman Jon Leibowitz an award for his work in developing policies to help children, according to a January disclosure report. Google was listed as one of the sponsors of the awards ceremony along with several other companies, including Comcast, AOL and a charitable arm of Goldman Sachs Group.
Reuters: Banks seek ways to mitigate European bonus curb
From paying housing costs to devising "loyalty" payments, banks in Europe are already looking at ways around a cap on bonuses for their top staff agreed by European politicians on Thursday. If unable to circumvent the new rules, then some banks are likely to review the nuclear option of leaving the region to ensure they can still attract star traders and rainmakers put off working in "low income" London, Paris or Frankfurt.
CNNMoney: Expect relief from record February gas prices
The recent rise in the price of gasoline is due mostly to reduced supply. Several major refineries have been shut for what has been described as maintenance, and are expected to resume operation in coming weeks. At which time the oil companies will likely shut down another set of facilities for "routine maintenance" and increase the prices even futher. They've been manipulating the price of gasoline like this for years and years. Since the 2008 financial crash, though, they've entered into this new pattern.