In brief: U.S. selling more shares in AIG

The U.S. government is selling an additional $18 billion of its shares in insurer American International Group Inc., the company and the Treasury Department announced Sunday.

The sale would reduce the Treasury Department’s holdings to less than a majority stake in the company.

The U.S. had acquired those shares after it pledged more than $182 billion to bail out AIG in exchange for a 92 percent ownership stake in September 2008, when the company nearly collapsed, marking the largest corporate rescue of the global financial crisis.

AIG ended up using about $125 billion of the amount pledged. Since then, the Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve have been unwinding that stake through periodic sales.

The latest sale will mark the government’s fifth sale of AIG stock in the last two years.

The Federal Reserve said in August that U.S. taxpayers had earned $17.7 billion from the central bank’s role in bailing out the insurance giant.

As has been the case in past sales, the shares will be sold to institutional investors. AIG said it would buy back $5 billion worth. The price has not been determined.

Illinois congressmen’s plans uncertain

WASHINGTON – Congress gets back to business today after a five-week recess, but the prospects are uncertain for two Illinoisans struggling with health problems.

Sen. Mark Kirk’s plans are unknown because the senator and his aides won’t comment. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.’s status is unclear because his people are saying plenty – but disagreeing with each other.

Rick Bryant, Jackson’s chief of staff, said Friday that the congressman had left the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., where he was treated for depression. The aide said he was “hopeful” that Jackson would return to work today.

The congressman’s father, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, said his son would not be back today.

“I hope he’s not moving too early,” he said in a radio interview Saturday. “The disorder he has faced does not lend itself to a set timetable. … There was some report he’d be back to work Monday. That is not true.”

Aides to Kirk, who had a stroke in January, did not answer requests last week for comment on his plans.

Body parts of missing mother found

NIAGARA FALLS, N.Y. – Body parts of a missing mother were found Sunday at an upstate New York park in Niagara Falls, police said.

The remains of homicide victim Loretta Gates, 30, were in a bag found floating in a lake at Hyde Park, Capt. William Thomson of the Niagara Falls Police Department said. Authorities have not said how she was killed.

The discovery comes two days after state police said a headless torso found near the base of Niagara Falls was the body of the missing woman.

Gates was living at her mother’s house in Niagara Falls when she disappeared the night of Aug. 25 after telling her mother she was going to a store across the street from their home.

Four days later, a tourist aboard a Maid of the Mist tour boat spotted the torso below the falls.

Gates had three children, ages 4, 5 and 11.

Investigators have determined her disappearance isn’t related to the death of a single mother whose badly decomposed torso was found last week in a suitcase in Lake Ontario. That woman’s other body parts were found scattered around Toronto last month, police said.

Toronto Police Const. Tony Vella said autopsy results showed she was Liu Guanghua, a Canadian citizen of Chinese descent. Her estranged boyfriend was charged with murder last month.


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