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Friday newspaper round-up: US budget, JPMorgan, Blockbuster…

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13/12/2013
US budget passes House by large majority; JPMorgan to pay $2bn to settle Madoff claims; Blockbuster to close all remaining stores.
Friday newspaper round-up: US budget, JPMorgan, Blockbuster…

A US budget deal hailed as lifting the cloud of political dysfunction hanging over the world’s largest economy cleared the House of Representatives with overwhelming support on Thursday evening, as leaders of both parties quashed dissent within their ranks. The legislation was passed by a margin of 332 to 94 and will head to the Senate for a final vote next week. If it is approved by the upper chamber of Congress, it will be signed into law by Barack Obama, who supports the measure. – Financial Times

Royal Bank of Scotland will today lodge its defence with the High Court in London against various shareholder legal actions alleging the bank misled investors in its 2008 £12bn rights issue. The defence document is understood to run to about 150 pages, and follows Mr Justice Hildyard giving the bank a two-week extension to its earlier defence deadline of November 29th. – The Scotsman

Britain’s largest mobile network EE has waded into the cost of living debate, saying if the government continues to raise spectrum fees and clamp down on mobile charges it will have to scale back plans to bring 4G mobile broadband to rural areas. EE has been leading the push into mobile broadband but chief executive Olaf Swantee has told the Guardian his company may put further investment on hold. – The Guardian

Britain’s last remaining Blockbuster stores will shut this weekend with a loss of 808 jobs after administrators failed to find a buyer for the insolvent entertainment chain. The closure of the company’s final 91 stores will bring down the curtain on Blockbuster’s 24-year presence on the high street. In a clearance sale, stocks of DVDs and CDs will be on offer at discounts of as much as 90 per cent off sale prices. – The TImes

A WM Morrison employee has been arrested as part of an investigation into insider trading. Police in North and West Yorkshire detained a 49-year-old man in Harrogate as part of a Financial Conduct Authority probe. The man, who wasn’t named by police, is not believed to be a member of the retailer’s management board. The FCA and Morrisons declined to comment on the arrest, which is not related to any previous investigation by the regulator. – The Telegraph

Troubled pawnbroker Albemarle & Bond yesterday said it was in takeover talks with a number of parties including Jon Moulton’s corporate turnaround firm Better Capital. The pawnbroker last week put itself up for sale as it continues to struggle with a drop in gold prices. – The Scotsman

George Osborne vowed on Thursday to find “billions of pounds of welfare savings” as coalition tensions over how to eradicate the deficit bubbled to the surface. The chancellor spelt out a vision for the next parliament of a shrunken welfare state with reductions in public spending, allowing him to run budget surpluses, cut the national debt and reduce taxes. – Financial Times

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