News Corp. May Split in Two
News Corp. may split into two publicly traded companies, according to USA Today, which describes the move as an attempt to limit contagion from the company's British phone hacking scandal. News Corp. may separate its newspaper and book publishing businesses from its entertainment businesses, which include 20th Century Fox and the Fox News Channel. News Corp. has been under investigation for allegedly hacking into phones and bribing public officials in Britain in an attempt to scoop news stories. The investigations have brought increased regulatory scrutiny to News Corp. and caused the company to drop its bid to control British Sky Broadcasting.
Negotiations Fail, Stockton Headed for Bankruptcy
Stockton, Calif. is set to become the largest American city ever to declare bankruptcy after officials said Tuesday that mediation with creditors has failed, Fox Newsreports. City Manager Bob Deis announced that officials were unable to reach a deal to restructure hundreds of millions of dollars of debt under a new state law designed to help municipalities avoid bankruptcy. The three-month negotiating deadline ended Monday. The city was still negotiating with some creditors and could reach deals with as many as one-third of them, Deis said.
Consumer Confidence Hits Five-Month Low
Growing concerns over jobs and incomes drove consumer confidence down for the fourth consecutive month in June, according to Bloomberg News, which says the drop in confidence could be a bad sign for consumer spending. The Conference Board's measure of consumer confidence fell to 62, a five-month low that reflects consumers' increased worry over employment and earnings. The decline in confidence raises fears that of a slowdown in consumer spending, which accounts for 70 percent of U.S. economic activity.
Cybercrime Sting Operation Nets 24 Arrests
A crackdown on financial cybercrime has resulted in the arrest of 24 people in the U.S. and around the world who allegedly stole credit card and banking data and exchanged it with each other online, according to CNNMoney. A two-year undercover FBI investigation, called "Operation Card Shop," nabbed 11 people in the United States and 13 others from eight countries on four continents. Law enforcement officials from a number of other nations helped with the coordinated investigation. An FBI spokesman described the sting operation as the latest example of the agency's commitment "to rooting out rampant criminal behavior on the Internet."
Pump it Up! Gas Prices at Five-Month Low
Will American drivers get freedom from high gas prices this Fourth of July holiday? Prices at the pump have dropped to their lowest level in five months. The national average fell Tuesday to around $3.40 per gallon. It fell below $3 in South Carolina and under $4 in all other states. Gas is down 54 cents from its early April peak of $3.94, saving Americans roughly $200 million less at the pump per day. But skittish Americans are buying about 5 percent less gasoline than they did last year, the Associated Pressreports
IRS Collects $5 Billion from Tax Cheats
A voluntary disclosure program has netted the IRS more than $5 billion from offshore tax cheats since 2009, CNNreports. Lured by the promise of avoiding jail time and reduced penalties, the program, now in its third incarnation requires offenders to provide information about their offshore bank accounts and to pay back taxes. So far, 34,500 taxpayers have taken advance of the programs. Taxpayers disclosing offshore accounts are required to pay a penalty of 27.5% of the highest aggregate balance in their offshore accounts during the eight tax years prior to disclosing the accounts. That's up from the 25% penalty in 2011, CNNsaid. Taxpayers with smaller accounts may be eligible for lower penalty rates of 5% to 12.5%.