US House passes spending bill as showdown looms (Reuters)
Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives regrouped on Friday to approve a must-pass spending bill, but the prospect of a government shutdown loomed as Democrats said it would go nowhere in the Senate. Even in the face of rock-bottom approval ratings, the dispute suggested that lawmakers may not be able to bridge their differences to pass even the most essential legislation. Aid for victims of tornadoes, wildfires and other disasters could dry up by Monday if Congress does not replenish a dwindling relief fund. Funding for everything from national parks to law enforcement could expire in a week. By a largely party-line vote of 219 to 203, the Republican-controlled House in an after-midnight vote approved a bill that would keep the government running through Nov. 18 and provide $3.65 billion for disaster relief in one of the most extreme years for weather in U.S. history.
Moody's Downgrades 8 Greek Banks (WSJ)
National Bank of Greece SA, EFG Eurobank Ergasias SA, Alpha Bank AE, Piraeus Bank SA, Agricultural Bank of Greece and Attica Bank SA were downgraded by Moody's to Caa2 from B3. Emporiki Bank of Greece and General Bank of Greece were downgraded to B3 from B1. All of the banks' debt ratings carry a negative outlook. "The government faces significant solvency challenges and historical experience shows that small sovereign debt restructurings have often been followed by larger sovereign defaults," Moody's warned.
BofA To Seek $800 Million In Deal To Sell Pizza Assets (Bloomberg)
BofA is in exclusive talks to sell its stake in the biggest U.S. Pizza Hut franchisee for more than $800 million, said two people with knowledge of the discussions.
Economic Signals Heighten Worries Of A Double-Dip (WSJ)
"The world is in a danger zone," said World Bank President Robert Zoellick. His confidence in major economies avoiding another recession, he said, was "being eroded daily by the steady drip of difficult economic news."
French, German Bank Credit Default Wagers Soar (Bloomberg)
Deutsche Bank was the most- traded company of 1,000 issuers tracked by the Depository Trust & Clearing Corp. in the week through Sept. 16, up from 12th the week before. Credit Agricole SA (ACA) climbed to seventh place from 43rd, while Societe Generale (GLE) SA soared to eighth from 58th. Banks hold more than half of the bonds issued by other lenders and are hedging that risk in the credit-swaps market. U.S. lenders Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC), JPMorgan Chase & Co. (JPM) and Morgan Stanley (MS) also jumped into the top 10 most-traded companies, according to the DTCC, amid speculation the world’s largest economy is headed for another recession.
Report: Ex-labor chief's 1-day rehire nets $158,000 city pension (MSNBC)
A retired Chicago labor leader secured a $158,000 public pension — roughly five times greater than what a typical retired public-service worker in the Windy City receives — after being rehired for just one day of active duty on the city payroll, local news reports said. According to The Chicago Tribune, Dennis Gannon stands to collect approximately $5 million in city pension funds during his lifetime. He now draws the pension while working for a hedge fund, the Tribune reported.
Prison In Bluffs Cat Sex Case (AP)
A Council Bluffs, Iowa, man who told police that he performed a sex act on a cat and then threw it out of a seventh-floor window has been given two years in prison. Thirty-year-old Gerardo Martinez was arrested after officers found the dead cat on a sidewalk outside a Council Bluffs apartment building on Aug. 3rd. Officers say Martinez was naked and told them he used methamphetamine and had engaged in sex with the cat.
Greece Denies Reports On Default Scenarios (Reuters)
Greece denied on Friday newspaper reports that one option in the debt crisis would be an orderly default with a 50 percent haircut for bondholders. "Greece denies the reports," a senior government official told Reuters on condition of anonymity. Separately, the Finance Ministry said, in reaction to the reports, that the country was committed to implementing a second, 109 billion euro bailout agreed with its international lenders in July. "All other discussions, rumours, comments, scenarios which are diverting our attention from this central target and Greece's political obligation ...do not help our common European task," Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos said in a statement.
SEC Big Grilled On Ethics Issues (NYP)
Lawmakers grilled Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Schapiro over what they called a breakdown in ethics that allowed the agency’s former top lawyer to work on policy related to the Bernard Madoff fraud after he inherited money from the Ponzi scheme. “This is simply unacceptable,” Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., told Schapiro. “I continue to have grave concerns and serious questions about the procedural breakdown in the SEC’s ethics process.”
UK Committed To Austerity, No Plan B (CNBC)
In a speech in Ottawa, Canada, Cameron said more "leadership" was needed. "We’re not quite staring down the barrel, but the pattern is clear," he said "Growth in Europe has stalled, growth in America has stalled."
Particles Found Faster Than Light (WSJ)
According to a statement on the website of the European Organization for Nuclear Research, also known by its French acronym CERN, scientists have measured particles known as neutrinos moving at a velocity that was 20 parts a million above the speed of light, nature's speed limit.