PRESS DIGEST-New York Times business news - Dec 31

Mon Dec 31, 2012 2:14am EST

Dec 31 - The following are the top stories on the New York Times business pages on Monday. Reuters has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy.

* Banking regulators are close to a $10 billion settlement with 14 banks that would end the government's efforts to hold lenders responsible for foreclosure abuses like faulty paperwork and excessive fees that may have led to evictions, according to people with knowledge of the discussions. ()

* Duff & Phelps Corp, which provides valuation and merger advice to other companies, announced that it had reached a $665.5 million deal to be acquired by a consortium that includes the Carlyle Group LP. ()

* Senate leaders on Sunday failed to produce a fiscal deal with just hours to go before large tax increases and spending cuts were to begin taking effect on New Year's Day, despite a round of volatile negotiations over the weekend and an attempt by Vice President Joseph Biden Jr. to intervene. ()

* Even if President Obama and Republicans in Congress can reach a last-minute compromise that averts some tax increases before Monday's midnight deadline, experts still foresee a significant drag on the economy in the first half of 2013 from the fiscal impasse in Washington. ()

* The federal government has given national security clearance to the controversial purchase of an American DNA sequencing company by a Chinese firm, BGI-Shenzhen. ()

* William Baer was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on Sunday as the government's top antitrust lawyer, placing him in charge of the Justice Department division that reviews corporate mergers and prosecutes price-fixing cases. ()

* The body of Adam Lanza, who fatally shot 26 people, including 20 children, at an elementary school this month, has been claimed for burial, according to the Connecticut chief medical examiner's office. ()

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