Pot banking rules to be unveiled, Holder says
WASHINGTON – Attorney General Eric Holder said the Obama administration is planning to roll out regulations soon that would allow banks to do business with legal marijuana sellers.
During an appearance Thursday at the University of Virginia, Holder said it is important from a law enforcement perspective to enable places that sell marijuana to have access to the banking system so they don’t have large amounts of cash lying around.
Because of the threat of criminal prosecution, financial institutions often refuse to let marijuana-related businesses open accounts.
Parts that can cause toilets to burst recalled
WASHINGTON – Watch out for exploding toilets.
Flushmate, the maker of a high-pressure flushing system sold at Home Depot and Lowe’s, is expanding its recall of the parts, because they can burst near a seam with force enough to shatter the toilet tank.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission said Thursday that the company is recalling 351,000 units in the U.S. and about 9,400 units in Canada of the Series 503 Flushmate 111 Pressure Assist flushing systems installed inside toilet tanks that were made from March 2008 through June 2009.
The consumer agency said consumers should immediately stop using the recalled system, turn off the water supply to the unit, flush the toilet to release the internal pressure and contact the firm to request a free repair kit.
Qualcomm buys Palm patents from H-P
SAN DIEGO – Cellphone chip maker Qualcomm Inc. said Thursday it has acquired patents once owned by smartphone maker Palm Inc. from Hewlett-Packard for an undisclosed amount.
Qualcomm said the purchase covers 1,400 U.S. patents and about 1,000 more foreign patients for the company’s mobile computing technology.
Hewlett-Packard Co. paid $1 billion for Palm in 2010 as part of its first foray into tablet computers and smartphones, which ran on Palm’s operating system. The effort flopped and Hewlett now sells tablets using Android and a recently introduced version of Windows. The Palo Alto, Calif.-based company hasn’t re-entered the smartphone market.
U.S. Treasury offers new debt product
WASHINGTON – The Treasury Department said it will auction a new Treasury security with variable interest rates next week. It will be the first new Treasury security offered in 17 years.
Treasury said it will auction $15 billion of the new floating rate notes on Wednesday. The two-year security will have an interest rate that resets every day.
Mary Miller, Treasury’s undersecretary for domestic finance, said the new debt product should attract new investors and the increased demand will help hold down the government’s cost in financing its rising debt.
Treasury said it expected to offer the floating rate securities at quarterly auctions to be held in January, April, July and October.
Average 30-year rate falls slightly to 4.39
WASHINGTON – Average U.S. rates for fixed mortgages changed little this week.
Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said the average for the 30-year loan declined to 4.39 percent from 4.41 percent last week. The average for the 15-year loan eased to 3.44 percent from 3.45 percent.
The rise in mortgage rates and higher home prices slowed sales of existing homes, which have fallen for three straight months.