Friday, October 24, 2014

It will soon get easier to buy a home — but don’t do it

New government rules will make credit plentiful, endangering borrowers

Hong Kong Stars Face Mainland Boycott Over Support for Protests

Before the protests, initially led by a movement called Occupy Central With Love and Peace, the names and faces of these performers were featured regularly on stages and screens in the mainland, as well as in advertisements.

But now they are being shunned by fans and companies in mainland China, on whose support many of their careers depend. Arms of China’s state-run news media have denounced them as disloyal to their country. And reports circulated this week saying a blacklist of so-called pro-Occupy artists had been drawn up and sent to mainland media outlets and entertainment companies, with instructions not to mention or promote the stars. The reports could not be confirmed.

Frustrated CIA Blames Torture Report Delays on Senators Who Want It To Be Intelligible

The CIA today hotly denied that it is intentionally holding up the release of a Senate report on its role in torturing detainees, charging instead that Senator Dianne Feinstein’s intelligence committee is responsible for dragging out the negotiations.

IRS changes the 401(k) rules for 2015

Taxpayers are about to get a bit more elbow room for retirement savings. Many contribution limits for employees with tax-favored retirement savings accounts were expanded for 2015, the Internal Revenue Service said Thursday.

The maximum for contributions in the government's Thrift Savings Plan, private sector 401(k)s and other comparable programs have been raised to $18,000, up from $17,500 in 2014 and 2013. For people over 50 years old, the "catch-up contribution" threshold has been increased from $5,500 to $6,000.

America's middle class knows it faces a grim retirement

More than a third of middle-class families aren't saving anything in a 401(k), IRA or other vehicle, the survey found. For those 50 to 59 years old, it's 41%. 

"Nearly a third (31%) of all respondents say they will not have enough money to 'survive' on in retirement," the bank says. "This increases to nearly half (48%) of middle-class Americans in their 50s." The household income of respondents, who were polled for Wells by the Harris organization, ranged from $25,000 to $100,000; the median income was $63,000.
More cause for concern: For respondents aged 30 to 49, some 59% say they "plan to save later to make up retirement savings," and 27% are not currently contributing savings to a retirement plan or account.

100-plus Sears, Kmart, Sears Auto Center sites closing

Sears Holdings Corp. is shuttering more than 100 stores and laying off at least 5,457 employees, investor website Seeking Alpha reported yesterday, indicating that the struggling retailer might be stepping up store closures.

Sears said in August that it had closed 96 stores since February, the start of its fiscal year, and planned to close a total of 130 underperforming stores during the fiscal year. It added at the time that it might shutter even more stores.

Since August, the company has moved to close at least 46 Kmart stores, 30 Sears department stores and 31 Sears Auto Centers, Seeking Alpha said, citing local media reports and liquidation notices.

Three Sonic franchises in Sacramento area close

Kashani said the three restaurants were “under tremendous pressure” because of tax-collection levies imposed by the Internal Revenue Service. Because of the IRS’ moves, the restaurants weren’t able to pay other bills, including the debts owed to the state, he said. That prompted the BOE to ask Alizadeh to close the restaurants, Kashani said.

Read more here:

Raytheon continues as FAA satellite-based augmentation system contractor

Raytheon Company (NYSE: RTN) announced today that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has awarded Raytheon a $131 million contract for Wide Area Augmentation System (WAAS) Dual Frequency Operations (DFO) Segment 1.  Under this contract, Raytheon will enhance overall system capability as the FAA moves toward a dual frequency system.