In other news Tuesday, personal computer maker Dell announced it was buying out its shareholders and going private, due to shrinking demand for PCs and the rise of tablets and smartphones. Also, the British House of Commons voted to legalize same-sex marriage.
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This year's federal budget deficit will fall below a trillion dollars for the first time since President Obama took office. The Congressional Budget Office projected today the red ink will be roughly $845 billion. It was $1.1 trillion last year.
The CBO attributed the decline in part to new tax hikes and to automatic spending cuts scheduled to take effect in March. But it said those same factors may also hold back economic growth.
Personal computer maker Dell has announced it's going private. The company detailed a $24 billion dollar buyout of stockholders today. It's the largest deal of its kind since the great recession. Dell has been publicly traded for nearly 25 years. But sales have waned as consumers have shifted towards smartphones and tablets.
Britain took a major step today toward legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide. The House of Commons voted more than 2-1 to legalize the practice. That's despite sharp divisions in the ruling Conservative Party.
Prime Minister David Cameron acknowledged the split, but supported the bill.
PRIME MINISTER DAVID CAMERON, Britain:
I think it's right that gay people should be able to get married, too. This is, yes, about equality, but it's also about making our society stronger. I know there are strong views on both sides of the aisle. I respect that, but I think it is an important step forward for our country.
The bill faces further debate, plus a vote in the House of Lords. If it wins final passage, it would take effect in 2015, ahead of Britain's next general election.
The president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, made a historic visit to Egypt today. It was the first by an Iranian leader in more than 30 years. Ahmadinejad was given a red carpet welcome in Cairo as he arrived for a summit of Muslim nations. Egypt and Iran have had no diplomatic ties since the Iranian Revolution in 1979. Now Egypt's Islamist president, Mohammed Morsi, is trying to improve relations between his Sunni-dominated nation and Shiite Iran.
The latest look at traffic on American highways painted an ever more gridlocked picture today. An annual report from Texas A&M University found commuters spent an additional five-and-a-half billion hours in their cars in 2011 over the year before. All that idling came at a cost of $121 billion dollars in wasted time and fuel. It also released an extra 56 billion pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Wall Street bounced back today from Monday's losses. Stocks rose in part on upbeat news about U.S. home prices. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 99 points to close at 13,979. The Nasdaq rose 40 points to close at 3,171.
Those are some of the day's major stories — now back to Jeff.