In other news, the Federal Trade Commission filed suit against Intel for allegedly trying to unfairly stifle competition, and the House voted to let the government borrow another $290 billion over six weeks.
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The Federal Trade Commission accused Intel today of antitrust violations. The agency filed a suit charging that the world's largest computer chip maker has shut rivals out of the marketplace by using threats and manipulating prices. Intel is a NewsHour underwriter. It called the FTC complaint misguided and said it competes fairly and lawfully.
The European Union has dropped a longstanding antitrust case against Microsoft. The software giant agreed today to give users in Europe a choice among a dozen Web browsers, and not just Microsoft's own Internet Explorer. The E.U. dispute with Microsoft has dragged on for more than a decade, and the company has already paid more than $2 billion in fines.
The U.S. House voted today to let the Treasury borrow another $290 billion over six weeks. That way, the government will not default when it hits the current debt ceiling of $12 trillion in the coming days.
On the House floor, Republicans and Democrats skirmished over calls to rein in spending.
REP. MIKE PENCE, R-Ind.:
When will it stop? When will Washington get the message that we can't borrow and spend and bail our way back to a growing America? And then we come here, right before the Christmas break, on the day we're probably headed out of this building, and we're going to pass a $290 billion increase in the statutory limit on the national debt. The American people don't want more debt for Christmas.
REP. RICHARD NEAL, D-Mass.:
This is not a cheery time for the American people. This is a very difficult time. A reminder: The legislation in front of us now is to pay for the war in Iraq, to pay for the war in Afghanistan, to pay for our veterans hospitals, and to pay for next month's Social Security recipients to receive their check on time.
The House also approved a defense bill totaling nearly $640 billion. And it moved to act on a jobs creation package totaling $170 billion. Democrats plan to pay for nearly half of the package with unspent money from the bank rescue program. All three bills need Senate action as well.
The government of Pakistan suffered a major legal blow today. The country's top court struck down an amnesty shielding thousands of officials from corruption charges. President Asif Ali Zardari retains his immunity so long as he's in office. But, after the court ruling, the main opposition party demanded his resignation.
Iran has test-fired an upgraded version of its longest-range missile. State television broadcast video of today's launch from several different angles. The missile can travel 1,200 miles, a range that includes Israel, American bases in the Persian Gulf, and parts of Southeastern Europe. The test sparked criticism from the U.S. and other world powers. They're already weighing new sanctions over Iran's nuclear program.
The Credit Suisse Group agreed today to pay more than a half-a-billion dollars for violating existing U.S. sanctions on Iran. The Justice Department said the financial firm hid its illegal dealings with Iranian banks for decades. The settlement ends a five-year investigation.
Last week's string of car bombs in Baghdad involved members of the Iraqi security forces. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said today, an investigation shows at least 45 security officers helped in the high- profile attacks on government targets that killed 127 people. Maliki also said the bombings will not alter plans for U.S. forces to leave Iraq in two years. And he offered a reward for information on car bomb plots.
These bombings won't affect the U.S. military's withdrawal. The deadline remains in a final form and with fixed timetables. Yesterday, the Cabinet adopted a resolution offering a reward of 100 million Iraqi dinars to anyone who can help lead Iraqi security forces to places where extremists assemble car bombs.
Maliki also insisted Iraqi elections will go ahead in March, no matter what.
U.S. companies will have to make executive pay policies more transparent. The Securities and Exchange Commission voted today to beef up disclosure rules for publicly-held firms. Starting next spring, companies will have to disclose more about stock options and stock awards. The SEC also wants more public information on how compensation policies might encourage too much risk-taking.
Wall Street was little changed today. The Dow Jones industrial average lost more than 10 points, to close at 10,441. The Nasdaq rose more than five points, to close near 2,207.