Prime minister quits after debt proposals fail
Another European government fell victim to the politics of austerity Wednesday when the prime minister of Portugal resigned after opposition parties rejected his last-ditch attempt to push through a package of spending cuts and tax increases. The failure of Prime Minister Jose Socrates to complete a fourth round of painful financial measures within a year led to the government's collapse and pushed the nation closer to a bailout from Europe and the International Monetary Fund. Because its financing in the bond markets has become so costly, Portugal is expected to become the third country in the euro zone to be forced to accept public funds, following Greece and Ireland.
Key antiterrorism post has nominee
A top Justice Department official and former aide to FBI director Robert Mueller has been nominated to head the department's National Security Division, a critical counterterrorism post. Lisa Monaco, principal associate deputy attorney general, would run a division that is one of the government's first lines of defense against terrorist attacks and espionage plots. President Barack Obama nominated Monaco on March 17 for the position, which requires Senate confirmation.
Governor takes down labor mural
Gov. Paul LePage is nixing a mural depicting the state's labor history, including images of worker strikes and "Rosie the Riveter," from the Labor Department's lobby. The mural is coming down and departmental conference rooms that carry the names of labor organizers, including Cesar Chavez, are being renamed because they aren't in keeping with the department's pro-business goals, said LePage spokeswoman Adrienne Bennett. The mural is painted on 11 panels that are bolted to a wall. It was erected in 2008 after artist Judy Taylor won a competition commissioned by the Maine Arts Commission.
World violence uproots 27.5M
The number of people uprooted by conflict or violence and displaced within their country has increased to 27.5 million, the highest figure in the last decade. A report by the Geneva-based Internal Displacement Monitoring Center, established by the Norwegian Refugee Council in 1998 at the U.N.'s request, said close to 3 million people in 20 countries were newly displaced by conflict or violence in 2010, including 1.2 million in Africa.
California: The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals refused to allow gay marriages to take place while it considers the constitutionality of the state's voter-approved ban.
Longview, Wash.: The Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad said a freight train hit a shuttle van carrying railroad crew members, killing three and injuring a fourth.