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British PM’s top aide was on News Corp. payroll while working for government

Former News of the World editor Andy Coulson, at the centre of phone hacking claims, was still being paid by the tabloid’s owners while employed as the Conservative Party’s media chief, the BBC said. Coulson received several hundred thousand pounds in severance pay after he began work in July 2007…

Student loans skyrocket, grants decline as college tuition spikes

It’s no secret that college is an expensive endeavor, one that continues to hit the wallet well after the graduation caps are tossed. Recent data shows that the student loan situation is growing worse every year: students are accruing more debt and not always paying it off on time. Mark…

Goldman CEO retains lawyer; shares slump

US banking giant Goldman Sachs said Monday its top executive Lloyd Blankfein had retained a private lawyer in connection with a US Senate investigation into the mortgage meltdown and the global financial crisis. The company said the chief executive and chairman had his own lawyer to deal with the possibility…

UBS announces 3,500 job losses

Swiss banking giant UBS on Tuesday announced plans to shed 3,500 jobs in order to make savings of some 2 billion Swiss francs (1.8 billion euros, $2.5 billion). UBS aims to make the personnel cuts “through redundancies as well as natural attrition”, the bank said in a statement.…

S&P president steps down after US ratings downgrade

Standard & Poor’s president Deven Sharma is stepping down, its parent company announced, just weeks after the credit rating agency cut the US’ top AAA rating and sent global markets into turmoil. Sharma, who will take another role in the company before leaving altogether at the end of the year,…

Gold hits record high near $1,900 an ounce

LONDON — Gold hit a record high near $1,900 an ounce in Monday trade as lingering fears of a fresh global recession caused dealers to snap up the precious metal regarded as a safe-haven investment. Gold struck an all-time peak of $1,894.80 on the London Bullion Market, beating its high…

Social Security’s disability fund will go broke in 5 years

New congressional estimates show that the account that Social Security disability checks are drawn from will be insolvent by 2017 without intervention, the Associated Press reported. Applications for assistance from the already financially strained program are up 50 percent over the last decade, and cash is dwindling as demand far…

Dozens of Obama 2008 Wall Street donors now support Romney

Many deep-pocketed backers of President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign now have eyes for a different candidate, financial disclosure forms show. Sixty-seven Wall Street executives — and former Obama backers — have instead put their money behind former Masschusetts governor and Republican frontrunner Mitt Romney. The bankers, who live in New…

Feds bust Iraqi crime ring said to be selling IEDs to Mexican drug cartels

By Grace Wyler Federal law enforcement agents in San Diego arrested 60 people in connection with an Iraqi criminal ring with ties to Mexico’s powerful Sinaloa drug cartel. The gang is accused of selling drugs, machine guns and improvised bombs (IEDs) out of a social club for Iraqi immigrants in El…

Skype buys messaging startup GroupMe

Skype, the Internet communications group set to be acquired by Microsoft, announced plans to buy the mobile messaging startup firm GroupMe for undisclosed terms. GroupMe was founded in 2010 at the Techcrunch Disrupt Hackathon and is headquartered in New York. The deal, coupled with the acquisition of mobile video provider…

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