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U.S. deficit to stay below $1 trillion

WASHINGTON — The federal government is on pace to run a deficit below $1 trillion for the first time in four years, modest progress in the face of intense debate in Washington over spending.

The Treasury Depart­ment said Monday that the deficit was $137 billion in November. That brings the total for the first two months of the budget year to $236 billion – $55 billion less than the same two months last year.

The Congressional Budget Office estimates the government will run a $973 billion deficit for the 2012 budget year, which began on Oct. 1.

Home sales figures since 2007 too high

WASHINGTON — National home sales figures will be lowered dating back to 2007 after the private trade group that collects them said the numbers were too high.

The National Associa­tion of Realtors said Monday it will release the downward revisions for previously occupied homes on Dec. 21.

Among the reasons for the inflated figures, the Realtors group says: changes in the way the Census Bureau collects data, population shifts and some sales being counted twice.

Last year’s total sales figure of 4.91 million was the worst in 13 years.

In other news

MARTIN MARIETTA launched a hostile takeover bid Monday for Vulcan Materials with an offer of about $4.74 billion in stock after talks aimed at a friendly combination broke down.

– Associated Press


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Kettle donations rise in 2014

After a disappointing showing last year, donations to the Salvation Army's local Red Kettle Campaign have risen nearly 20 percent in 2014.
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