Mark Memmott

(The milestone was reached at 2:14 p.m. ET.)

With the addition of some steel columns, 1 World Trade Center has reached a height of symbolic importance.

At 1,271 feet (and growing) it is 21 feet taller than the observation deck on the Empire State Building.

A large 0.9 percent gain in consumer spending from January to February was followed by a more modest 0.3 percent increase from February to March, the Bureau of Economic Analysis says.

Personal income, meanwhile, was up 0.4 percent in March. It had risen 0.3 percent in February.

With Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner due in China for economic talks that start on Thursday, the U.S. and China are rushing to avert a diplomatic crisis over the fate of blind human rights activist Chen Guangcheng.

"CIA drone missiles hit militant targets in Pakistan on Sunday for the first time in a month, as the United States ignored the Pakistani government's insistence that such attacks end as a condition for normalized relations between the two perpetually uneasy allies," The Washington Post writes.

Lehman Bros., the Wall Street giant, collapsed in September 2008 in the nation's largest bankruptcy and arguably kicked off a financial meltdown that helped drag the economy into the Great Recession.

"Major college football is on the verge of implementing a playoff, its own version of the final four — two semifinals and a title game," The Associated Press writes.

Or, as The Wall Street Journal reports:

Chen Guangcheng, "a blind legal activist and inspirational figure in China's rights movement," has escaped from house arrest and is at secret location in Beijing, The Associated Press reports.

The U.S. economy grew at a 2.2 percent annual rate in the first quarter of the year, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis.

That's down from the 3 percent pace in fourth-quarter 2011, but is still better than the 1.7 percent growth for all of last year.

The first-quarter figure will be revised twice, in each of the next two months.

We'll have more about the report shortly.

Update at 8:47 a.m. ET. Behind The Numbers:

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