Sectors

In a landmark step with global implications, the Federal Reserve — despite national security concerns — approved the first communist Chinese takeover of a U.S. bank: New York's Bank of East Asia. 

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says spending cuts proposed by House Republicans are creating an obstacle for passage of a new farm bill.

Just two days separated a letter from Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone magazine and a report from the president of the Dallas Federal Reserve, each remarkably calling for the end of “too big to fail” (TBTF) banks.

Solar Trust of America, an energy firm based in Oakland, California, declared bankruptcy on April 2, fewer than 10 months after breaking ground on a project near Blythe, California, that was to be the world’s largest solar power energy project built on public lands. In its bankruptcy filing, the company claims to have assets of up to $10 million. Those assets, however, are dubious, consisting primarily of the Blythe project and another project in Riverside County, California, neither of which has gotten off the ground. Meanwhile, its liabilities may run as high as $100 million.

The Housing and Urban Development Department (HUD) is doling out $42 million in federal funding for housing counseling grants to 468 local, regional, and national organizations. Intended to prevent foreclosures and assist new home buyers, the grants will offer free assistance on foreclosure avoidance as well as educate buyers on how to rent or purchase a home. HUD alleges that beneficiaries of these services will help combat predatory lending practices, because buyers will be equipped with information to help them evade mortgage scams, high interest rates, and unreasonably high appraisals.

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