Welcome to Overnight News Digest, where the regular crew informs and entertains you with tonights top stories from the nation and the world.
Tonight's top story, as well as most of the other news, comes from Reuters.
For women prisoners, a bittersweet Mother's Day behind bars
By Mary Slosson
CHINO, California | Sun May 13, 2012 7:00pm EDT
On a recent Saturday morning, hundreds of sleepy children tumbled out of buses and into a dusty jail parking lot in southern California to pay a rare visit to their mothers in prison.
A hundred feet (Thirty meters) away, behind two tall barbed wire fences at the California Institute for Women, stood a cluster of women clad in blue cotton prison garb. They anxiously craned their necks and stood on tip-toes for a glimpse of their kids, some of whom had come to the prison roughly 90 minutes by bus from south central Los Angeles.
Then came the moment of reunification - mothers jumping up and down excitedly, shouting "hi baby, give me a hug," with tears in their eyes as they embrace their children, some for the first time in years.
More news after the jump.
Analysis: China growth risks signal need for fiscal action
By Nick Edwards
BEIJING | Sun May 13, 2012 10:08am EDT
China may need a back-up plan to stop economic growth being cut short by a surprise dip in demand at home and abroad that suggests monetary policy easing steps taken since the final quarter of last year are insufficient to deal with the downturn.
The People's Bank of China cut the amount of cash that banks must hold as reserves on Saturday, freeing an estimated 400 billion yuan ($63.5 billion) for lending to add to the roughly 800 billion injected in two previous 50 bps cuts since the government tilted its policy stance towards growth in October.
The move came after data on Friday showed the economy weakening, not recovering, from its slowest quarter of growth in three years. Industrial production growth slowed sharply in April and fixed asset investment - a key growth driver - hit its lowest level in nearly a decade, confounding economists expecting signs of a rebound in Q2 data.
Austerity blow for Merkel in German state election
By Stephen Brown
DUESSELDORF, Germany | Sun May 13, 2012 2:40pm EDT
Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives suffered a crushing defeat on Sunday in an election in Germany's most populous state, a result which could embolden the left opposition to step up attacks on her European austerity policies.
The election in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), a western German state with a bigger population than the Netherlands and an economy the size of Turkey, was held 18 months before a national vote in which Merkel will be fighting for a third term.
While she remains popular at home because of the strength of the economy and her steady handling of the euro zone debt crisis, the sheer scale of the defeat in NRW leaves her vulnerable at a time when a backlash against her insistence on fiscal discipline is building across Europe.
Coalition talks stall, Greece faces "moment of truth"
By Lefteris Papadimas and Harry Papachristou
ATHENS | Sun May 13, 2012 5:28pm EDT
Greek political leaders on Sunday ignored a final plea from the president to form a coalition government to avert a repeat election, pushing the debt-stricken nation closer to bankruptcy and a possible exit from the euro zone.
Leaders of the three biggest parties met at the presidential mansion for a final attempt to bridge their differences, but the talks quickly hit an impasse as they traded accusations on a deeply unpopular bailout package tied to harsh spending cuts.
Conservative leader Antonis Samaras, who finished first in last week's election, pinned the blame on the far-left SYRIZA party, which flatly rules out backing a pro-bailout coalition with Samaras's New Democracy and Socialist PASOK parties.
Euro zone turmoil boosts London property stampede
* Euro zone turmoil pushes property buyers to London
* Buyers from southern Europe to the fore
* "The Greeks are coming"
By Tom Bill
LONDON, May 13 (Reuters) - Worsening financial and political turmoil in southern Europe caused a surge of interest in London property last month with buyers from Greece and Spain showing strongly among investors seeking a safe haven for their money.
The number of Greeks searching for homes costing more than 1.5 million pounds ($2.4 million) on the website of property agent Savills jumped 39 percent in April compared with the average of the preceding six months, the company said.
"The reason Greeks are coming is very simple," said Dinos Joannou, a 65-year-old Cypriot who works in the Athenian Grocery in the Bayswater district of London and has seen growing numbers arrive this year. "Greece is screwed, there are no jobs and it has been run by crooks."
Forty-nine headless corpses found in northern Mexico
By Luis Ochoa
CADEREYTA JIMENEZ, Mexico | Sun May 13, 2012 7:51pm EDT
Suspected drug gang killers dumped 49 headless bodies on a highway near Mexico's northern city of Monterrey in one of the country's worst atrocities in recent years.
The mutilated corpses of 43 men and 6 women, whose hands and feet had also been cut off, were found in a pile on a highway in the municipality of Cadereyta Jimenez in the early hours of Sunday, officials from the state of Nuevo Leon said.
"What's complicating the identification of all the people was that they were all headless," said Jorge Domene, the Nuevo Leon government's spokesman for public security, who said the other body parts were missing.
Weary warriors favor Obama
By Margot Roosevelt
COLUMBIA, South Carolina | Sun May 13, 2012 3:01am EDT
Disaffection with the politics of shock and awe runs deep among men and women who have served in the military during the past decade of conflict. Only 32 percent think the war in Iraq ended successfully, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll. And far more of them would pull out of Afghanistan than continue military operations there.
While the 2012 campaign today is dominated by economic and domestic issues, military concerns could easily jump to the fore. Nearly 90,000 U.S. troops remain in Afghanistan. Israeli politicians and their U.S. supporters debate over whether to bomb Iran's nuclear facilities as partisans bicker over proposed Pentagon budget cuts.
If the election were held today, Obama would win the veteran vote by as much as seven points over Romney, higher than his margin in the general population.
Connecticut, Wisconsin parties consider Senate nominees
By Ebong Udoma and Brendan O'Brien
Sun May 13, 2012 12:54am EDT
The Connecticut Democratic convention on Saturday endorsed Congressman Christopher Murphy for an open U.S. Senate seat, but former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson failed to win the Republican party convention endorsement in that state.
With long-serving senators in Wisconsin and Connecticut retiring, those Senate seats more vulnerable to switching parties in November's general elections that will determine whether Republicans take back control of the Senate from Democrats.
The straw votes at the party conventions on Saturday were not the final decisions, and both states will hold primary elections in August. But the endorsement of state party conventions can give a candidate momentum in the campaign.
Top aide to Florida governor resigns amid scrutiny
By Michael Peltier
ST. PETERSBURG, Florida | Sun May 13, 2012 2:28pm EDT
A top aide to Florida Governor Rick Scott has resigned after a recent flurry of media reports focused on his alleged steering of state government contracts to longtime acquaintances or friends.
Steve MacNamara, Scott's chief of staff and a seasoned Tallahassee insider, sent a letter of resignation to the governor on Saturday.
"It has been a pleasure and honor serving you," he said. "But the recent media attention I have been receiving has begun to interfere with the day-to-day operations of this office."
Saudi says $100 per barrel great price for oil
By Rebekah Kebede and Simon Webb
ADELAIDE | Sun May 13, 2012 1:04am EDT
Top crude exporter Saudi Arabia wants an oil price of around $100 a barrel and would like to see global inventories rise before demand picks up in the second half of the year, Oil Minister Ali al-Naimi said on Sunday.
International Brent crude settled at $112.26 on Friday, well off a peak of over $128 in March. Brent has mostly traded above $100 since early 2011, keeping fuel costs high and threatening to damage a fragile global economy.
"We want a price around $100, that's what we want," Naimi told reporters ahead of an industry event in Australia. "A $100 price is great."
JPMorgan executives expected to leave over loss: sources
By David Henry
Sun May 13, 2012 9:29pm EDT
Three executives involved with the failed hedging strategy that has left JPMorgan Chase & Co with a $2 billion trading loss and a tarnished reputation are expected to leave the bank this week, sources close to the matter said on Sunday.
The company is expected to accept the resignation of Ina Drew, its chief investment officer and one of its highest-paid executives, in the next few days, the sources said. Two of Drew's subordinates who were involved with the trades, Achilles Macris and Javier Martin-Artajo, are expected to be asked to leave, they said.
The unit Drew runs, known as the Chief Investment Office, mismanaged a portfolio of derivatives tied to the creditworthiness of bonds, according to bank executives. The portfolio was layered with hedging strategies that became too complicated to work and too big to unwind in the esoteric market.
Ally Financial's mortgage unit nears bankruptcy: sources
By Rick Rothacker and Paritosh Bansal
NEW YORK | Sun May 13, 2012 2:19pm EDT
Ally Financial Inc's Residential Capital unit is nearing a bankruptcy filing, sources familiar with the situation said on Sunday, in a move that could help the taxpayer-owned auto lender to shed its troubled mortgage business but also spur drawn-out legal fights.
The board of ResCap is scheduled to meet later on Sunday and a pre-arranged bankruptcy filing, where Ally has the support of some creditors to its plan but not all, is expected to follow soon after, the sources said.
Under the plan, Fortress Investment Group (FIG.N) is expected to make an opening bid of more than $2 billion, including debt, to buy certain ResCap assets, while Ally would buy the rest, in a bid to turn all ResCap assets into cash, a source said.
Yahoo CEO out, investor Loeb gets board seats
By Alexei Oreskovic
SAN FRANCISCO | Sun May 13, 2012 9:53pm EDT
Yahoo Inc is replacing its CEO for the third time in as many years, and giving three board seats to a hedge fund led by Daniel Loeb, putting him in a strong position to influence strategy at the struggling Internet company.
Chief Executive Scott Thompson stepped down on Sunday, 10 days after Loeb accused him of padding his biography by faking a computer science degree. Loeb's Third Point LLC is one of Yahoo's largest shareholders with a 5.8 percent stake.
Yahoo did not give a reason for Thompson's exit but said the company's global media head, Ross Levinsohn, will be interim CEO. It also said it had settled a proxy battle with Third Point and will nominate three of the fund's slate of four candidates to the board, including Loeb.
On the Lighter Side
'Avengers' rings up $103 million in record weekend
By Lisa Richwine and Chris Michaud
LOS ANGELES | Sun May 13, 2012 2:34pm EDT
"The Avengers," the smash hit movie about Marvel superheroes who team up to save the Earth, crushed competitors for a second weekend with a record $103.2 million in U.S. and Canadian ticket sales and was poised to top $1 billion worldwide, studio estimates showed on Sunday.
After posting the highest domestic box office debut in history last weekend, "Avengers" set another record by easily topping the $75.6 million "Avatar" pulled in during its second weekend in 2009, making "Avengers" the first movie to exceed $100 million in its second weekend.
"Avengers" has now racked up a staggering $628.9 million internationally since opening overseas on April 25, distributor Walt Disney Co said, positioning it to break the $1 billion threshold after just 19 days.
NBC bets on comedy, to air 'Voice' twice a season
By Jill Serjeant
LOS ANGELES | Sun May 13, 2012 4:51pm EDT
The struggling NBC network on Sunday announced 16 new TV shows - seven of them comedies - for the 2012-2013 season, and in a show of confidence said it will broadcast singing contest "The Voice" in the fall as well as the spring.
NBC, which has been the least-watched of the four major U.S. TV networks for several years, said it hoped the slew of new comedies would capture the young viewers most coveted by advertisers because of their spending power.
"We want to get more comedy on the schedule. I think it would be good for the health of the network," NBC entertainment chairman Bob Greenblatt told reporters in a conference call.
Batman, Spider-man, Iron Man guard Obama at fundraiser
By Edith Honan
NEW YORK | Sat May 12, 2012 4:28pm EDT
At George Clooney's celebrity-studded fundraiser for President Barack Obama's re-election campaign, the joke of the night was that the Secret Service was backed up by Batman, Spider-Man and the Iron Man - or at least the actors who played them.
Karen Blutcher, who won a lottery to attend the fundraiser after contributing $14, described the dinner on Thursday night as the opportunity of a lifetime.