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Fed says economy weak; no new steps

WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve said Wednesday that its help is still needed to increase growth and lower unemployment.

The Fed took no action after a two-day policy meeting. It wants time to assess whether the aggressive steps it launched in September will help the economy.

Last month, the Fed began buying mortgage bonds to try to push long-term interest rates lower and make home buying more affordable. It also said it planned to keep its benchmark short-term rate near zero through mid-2015.

In a statement Wednesday, the Fed said the U.S. economy is improving moderately, but job growth has been slow and unemployment remains high.

Ex-Goldman Sachs official gets prison

NEW YORK — A former Goldman Sachs and Procter & Gamble Co. board member was sentenced to two years in prison Wednesday. Rajat Gupta, 63, of Westport, Conn., was convicted of feeding inside information about board dealings to a billionaire hedge fund owner who was his friend. He also was ordered to pay a $5 million fine.

Gupta was ordered to report to prison on Jan. 8.

Gupta’s friend, Raj Rajaratnam, made more than $11 million in illegal profits and is serving an 11-year prison sentence.


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Turkeys taste own medicine

I got up and out of my sickbed so I could write this column because it’s time for the annual Turkey of the Year awards, the highlight of the holiday season.
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