Morning Briefing: October 14, 2011

The owners of Zuccotti Park, the center of the Occupy Wall Street protests, canceled their request to clean up the park shortly before it was supposed to begin early this morning. The cleanup would have removed protestors from the park and kept them from sleeping there overnight after it finished. Upon the news, “cheers erupted among demonstrators who had been preparing for a possible confrontation” with city police.

Three of the country’s four largest banks have begun charging customers for using their debit cards, so now Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT) is asking Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate these banks for collusive behavior to see if they communicated their plans to impose the fees and thus “violated antitrust laws.”

U.S. hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam received a record 11-year sentence for “arguably the most egregious” insider trading in U.S. history. Rajaratnam made up to $75 million in 6 years through “rampant” insider training and the judge said “the scope of his crimes reflect a virus in our business culture that needs to be eradicated.”

California Department of Corrections announced yesterday that a three-week hunger strike by more than 4,250 prison inmates has ended. Recognizing inmates’ anger over the “Security Housing Unit” policies which sometimes included 20 years of solitary confinement, officials agreed to meet with inmate representatives over the policies while noting that “all agreed the changes to policies would take several months to finalize.” Top world finance leaders will meet in Paris today as the G-20 gathers to discuss how to keep current slowdowns from turning into another worldwide recession. Europe’s debt and banking crisis will remain the central point of focus, as leaders from the U.S., Canada, and other countries will push the Europeans to take a more forceful approach toward their looming crises.

In a series of recommendations sent to the congressional super committee, House Democrats called on the deficit panel to raise taxes and other revenue to reduce the country’s long-term budget shortfall. Democrats recommend ending subsidies for oil companies and would raise much of the revenue by allowing the Bush tax cuts for upper-income households to expire.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry plans to unveil his energy plan in a speech today in Pittsburgh. In the plan he will propose building new oil pipelines, opening new lands for oil drilling, and weakening EPA air quality regulations. Perry says his plan will create 1.2 million new jobs.

A CIA drone strike killed the senior-most leader of the Haqqani network in Pakistan, Janbaz Zadran. The strike was part of a U.S. campaign against Haqqani network leaders who were behind large-scale attacks in Afghanistan.

After much internal deliberation, the Obama administration is allowing BP to bid on new oil leases in the Gulf of Mexico. Just a day before the announcement, the administration gave the company and its contractors citations for “numerous safety and environmental violations related to the explosion that sank the Deepwater Horizon rig in April 2010.”

And finally: The Ron Paul campaign is denying that its candidate eyebrows fell off during the GOP presidential debate on Tuesday, despite the appearance of what looked like a slipping prosthetic hair strip. “Dr. Paul’s allergies acted up a touch,” a spokesperson said in a an eyebrow raising response.

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