Budget Deficit Shrinks
The federal government registered a budget deficit of $161 billion for the just-completed fiscal year, the Congressional Budget Office estimated. The previous year's deficit was $248 billion. The fiscal 2007 deficit was equivalent to 1.2 percent of gross domestic product, the lowest since 2001, when the government had a budget surplus.
Barclays Drops ABN Amro Offer
Barclays withdrew its takeover offer for ABN Amro because not enough shareholders tendered their shares. That left a consortium led by Royal Bank of Scotland in position to buy ABN Amro in a deal worth $99.9 billion, the largest takeover in the history of the financial industry.
Intelligence Chief Backs Martin
The Federal Communications Commission would undermine national security if it agreed to investigate whether telephone firms cooperated with a spying program, Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell said. McConnell backed FCC Chairman Kevin J. Martin's decision not to begin such a probe, saying it would require the release of classified information.
FCC Says Report Not Suppressed
A year-long investigation by the Federal Communications Commission found no evidence that senior managers suppressed an agency report on locally owned TV stations because the results conflicted with FCC policy. While disputes over quality and timing did lead to the local TV report not being released in 2004, "the evidence clearly indicates that agency management's like or dislike of the results was not a factor."
Treasury May Limit Borrowing
The Treasury Department is exploring a new way to regulate the growth of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The Bush administration may exercise a long-standing but barely used executive power to restrict the firms' borrowing, according to a document obtained by Reuters. Limiting the companies' borrowing could counter efforts by Democratic lawmakers to ease limits on the firms' investing.
Carlyle Starts New Venture Fund
Carlyle Group, a private-equity firm in the District, raised $605 million for its third and largest U.S.-focused venture-capital fund. Carlyle Venture Partners III, tops the firm's 2002 fund, which totaled $600 million. Carlyle has more than $75.6 billion in assets under management.
S. Korea Halts U.S. Beef Imports
South Korea suspended U.S. beef imports after inspectors reportedly found that a recent shipment contained bone that is banned because of concerns over mad cow disease. The Agriculture Ministry said two vertebra segments were found in one box of meat in an 18.5-ton shipment from the United States that arrived last week.