Good morning! Here’s what you need to know:
1. Portugal is under heavy pressure to bow to the inevitable and take a bailout. Its borrowing costs are widely viewed as unsustainable.
2. Fine Gael won a clear victory in Friday’s vote, setting Ireland on a collision course with the European Union over the terms of the Irish bailout.
3. At least 28 people were killed in weekend mayhem along Mexico’s border with Texas and on the Pacific Coast, authorities said Sunday. Drug cartel violence along the Mexico-Guatemala border increased dramatically as well.
4. Advocates of state’s rights in US state legislatures have grown increasingly assertive since the 2010 mid-term elections. “Nullification” of federal laws, regulations and mandates is actively being pursued.
5. US governors Saturday ruled out the idea that states should be allowed to declare bankruptcy to help them deal with their financial woes. “Not only do we not want (bankruptcy protection), we want to stop the discussion,” said the National Governors Association’s chairwoman, Gov. Christine Gregoire (D-WA).
6. The nation’s governors are asking the Obama Administration for permission to tighten eligibility requirements to contain the exploding cost of Medicaid. More than 8 million have been added to the Medicaid rolls since the onset of the financial crisis.
7. The Financial Times reports: “Since November, retail investors have withdrawn more than $26bn from mutual funds that invest in munis, or about 7 per cent of assets, in the biggest selling rout ever.”
8. In a related story, the paper reports: “US states, local governments and other public bodies are selling bonds this year at the lowest rate in more than a decade after a recent sell-off drove borrowing costs higher.”
9. Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is expected to announce his candidacy for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination in the next two weeks. Mr. Gingrich is well-financed.
10. Warren Buffett remains bullish on America.
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