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Government finance

Stopgap spending bill clears Senate, goes to Obama

Congress sends short-term spending bill to Obama; would avert feared federal shutdown
The Associated Press

WASHINGTON - Congress has sent President Barack Obama a short-term spending bill that will keep the federal government operating through Wednesday and avert a government shutdown.

Senate passage came Saturday with only hours to spare before an earlier stopgap measure was set to expire.

By a voice vote, senators approved the latest short-term funding bill as lawmakers continue to wrangle over a $1.1 trillion spending package and Obama's nominations.

That package would cover much of the government through most of 2015.

Court overturns house's tax sale over $6.30 bill

Court overturns tax sale of western Pennsylvania widow's home over $6.30 bill
The Associated Press

HARRISBURG, Pa. - A Pennsylvania appeals court has reversed the sale of a widow's home that was triggered by a tax bill for $6.30.

A Commonwealth Court panel Thursday said the auction sale of Eileen Battisti's $280,000 home outside Aliquippa in western Pennsylvania wasn't valid because the Beaver County Tax Claim Bureau didn't offer her an installment payment plan as required by state law.

The court opinion says Battisti struggled to cope with household finances after her husband's death in 2004.

Average US 30-year loan rate rises to 3.93 per cent

Average US rate on 30-year mortgage rises to 3.93 per cent; 15-year loan at 3.20 per cent
The Associated Press

WASHINGTON - Average U.S. long-term mortgage rates edged higher this week after four weeks of declines, but they remained at historically low levels that could entice potential homebuyers.

Mortgage company Freddie Mac said Thursday that the nationwide average for a 30-year mortgage rose to 3.93 per cent this week from 3.89 per cent last week. It is now at its lowest level since June 2013.

Japan's PM reshuffles Cabinet to win tax support

Japan's leader reshuffles Cabinet to win opposition support for tax hike proposal
Malcolm Foster, The Associated Press

TOKYO - Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda replaced five members of his Cabinet on Friday in a bid to win more co-operation from the opposition to raise the sales tax and rein in the country's bulging fiscal deficit.

Two of the removed ministers had been censured by the opposition for making comments that were deemed inappropriate. Twelve posts were unchanged, including finance and foreign minister.

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