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RadioShack to close about 500 stores

Radio Shack closingsU.S. electronics chain RadioShack Corp is planning to close about 500 stores within months, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter.  The struggling retailer, which is due to report results for the fourth quarter later this month, said it could not comment on rumor or speculation.

RadioShack has been working with bankers from Peter J Solomon Co to boost its liquidity and with AlixPartners on its operational turnaround.

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New report: Budget deficit to drop to $514B

Budget office A new report released Tuesday says the government's budget deficit is set to fall to $514 billion for the current year, down substantially from last year and the lowest by far since President Barack Obama took office five years ago.

The Congressional Budget Office report credits higher tax revenues from the rebounding economy and sharp curbs on agency spending as the chief reason for the deficit's short-term decline.

But CBO sees the long-term deficit picture worsening by about $100 billion a year through the end of the decade because of slower growth in the economy over the coming decade than it had previously predicted.

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Nation of Change: More Inequality Shock

inequalityInequality is a cancer on society, here in the U.S. and across the globe. It keeps growing. But humanity seems helpless against it, as if it's an alien force that no one understands, even as the life is being gradually drained from its victims.

The recent Oxfam report on global wealth inequality reveals some of the ugly extremes that have divided our world. It also directs our attention to the Global Wealth Report compiled by Credit Suisse, and the companion Databook, which offer a shocking testament to the severity of U.S. and global inequality.

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Novartis to cut or transfer up to 4,000 pharma jobs: paper

NovartisSwiss drugs group Novartis (NOVN.VX) is planning to cut or transfer up to 4,000 jobs, newspaper NZZ am Sonntag reported on Sunday, citing an internal email.

The plan affecting up to 6 percent of its pharmaceuticals workforce comes on top of a program to reduce the number of production sites and is part of a larger drive to cut costs, the newspaper said.

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Obama to raise minimum wage for federal workers

federal workers raisePresident Barack Obama will act to raise the minimum wage for federal contractors from $7.25 to $10.10, fulfilling a big wish for liberals, the White House announced.

The executive order to be announced at Tuesday’s State of the Union address would cover only the fraction of 2 million federal contractors making the minimum wage.

The president will also renew his call for Congress to raise the minimum wage for all workers to $10.10 via a bill from Democrats Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa and Rep. George Miller of California that would then tie it to the rate of inflation.

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Bank of America's trading practices have been probed, filing shows

Bank of Amrica probedThe U.S. Department of Justice and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission have both held investigations into whether Bank of America (BAC.N) engaged in improper trading by doing its own futures trades ahead of executing large orders for clients, according to a regulatory filing.

The June 2013 disclosure, which Reuters recently reviewed on a website run by the securities industry regulator FINRA, sheds light on the basis for a warning by the Federal Bureau of Investigation on January 8.

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Sam’s Club Will Layoff About 2,300 Employees

sams' clubSam’s Club, the membership-only warehouse unit owned by Walmart, is laying off about 2,300 employees in its largest wave of job cuts in four years, the Wall Street Journal reports. It is one of several retail chains to announce steep job cuts in January.

The layoffs come amid an effort to compete with rival Costco and online competition like Amazon, which has its own club-like service called Amazon Prime. Assistant managers will comprise nearly half the layoffs as the unit looks to slim down its managerial staff.

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