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Citigroup may pay $7 billion to resolve U.S. mortgage probes

CitigroupCitigroup Inc is close to paying about $7 billion to resolve a U.S. probe into whether it defrauded investors on billions of dollars worth of mortgage securities in the run-up to the financial crisis, a source familiar with the matter said on Tuesday.

A majority of the settlement is expected to be in cash, but the figure also includes several billion dollars in help to struggling borrowers, the source said.

An announcement of the settlement between the bank and the U.S. Department of Justice could come as early as next week, the source said.

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The Closing of Crumbs and the End of the Cupcake Era

Crumbs closesCrumbs Bake Shop shut down all its stores at the close of business on Monday, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal. The cupcake calamity comes amid vanishing same-store sales and over-saturation of shops in certain areas during the fad for the frosted dessert.

Signs of danger were unmistakable: Nasdaq suspended trading of Crumbs shares last Tuesday for the company’s failure to have the required minimum of $2.5 million in shareholder equity.

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How to Win Billions in Federal Contracts on a Permanent Tax Holiday

Ingersoll RandAmerican manufacturer Ingersoll-Rand Co. (IR) forged the tools that carved the Panama Canal and shaped Mount Rushmore. When it shifted its legal address to Bermuda in 2001 to reduce taxes, the maneuver sparked bipartisan outrage in Congress.

“These corporations have turned their back on their country,” Nevada Democrat Harry Reid fumed from the Senate floor, adding that his father, a hard-rock miner, had wielded an Ingersoll-Rand jackhammer. “There is no reason the U.S. government should reward tax runaways with lucrative government contracts.”

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Rhode Island governor signs minimum wage increase

Lincoln ChafeeRhode Island's Democratic governor, Lincoln Chafee, has signed a bill to increase the state's minimum wage by $1, to $9 an hour, his office said on Thursday, following similar moves by neighboring New England states.

The hike, which will take effect next year, comes as Democrats across the country have made raising the minimum wage a key priority ahead of November's elections, saying wages for millions of Americans have not kept pace with the rising cost of living.

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BNP Paribas pleads guilty to violating U.S. sanctions against Sudan, Iran and Cuba

BNP ParibasLots of forms of financial skulduggery can be described as "sophisticated," but not all of them are. A classification might be:

If you do some complicated stuff in such a way that you'd have a plausible case that you're following the rules, even if the authorities knew about all your complicated stuff, then that's a "sophisticated" way to evade the rules.
If you just, like, use Wite-Out to conceal the bad stuff that you're doing, then it's something else, even if you use a lot of Wite-Out and in complicated ways.

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Chicago lays off 1,150 teachers and school staff as enrolment dwindles

Rahm EmanuelNearly 1,200 Chicago teachers and staff are being laid off due to declining enrollment in one of the nation's largest districts, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) officials said last week.

CPS officials said 1,150 employees received pink slips, and among them 550 were teachers. The other 600 staffers included teacher assistants, clerks and part-time security guards.

Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) president Karen Lewis slammed the city's mayor, former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, and its board of education, calling the decision "yet another brutal attack on public education in Chicago".

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Paulson, Bloomberg Agree Global Warming Is Risky Business

harry paulsonThe U.S. economy faces losses that may run into the hundreds of billions of dollars this century as the changing climate erodes coasts and threatens agriculture, according to a report today by a bipartisan group of political and financial leaders.

The report from the Risky Business Project urges businesses and industrial companies to curb carbon emissions in an effort to slow global warming. The initiative was spearheaded by former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and billionaire investor Tom Steyer.

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