February 2, 2013

Briefcase

Bank of America's online banking website crashes

Bank of America says its online banking website crashed Friday, leaving customers unable to access their accounts.

From late morning, customers trying to log on saw a message that said the site was "temporarily unavailable."

Bank of America, the second-largest U.S. bank by assets, said it was working on the problem, but wouldn't elaborate on what caused the outage.

Twitter soon began to fill up throughout the day with comments from angry Bank of America customers who were left frustrated, trying to do their banking on the first day of the month.

U.S. cattle herd hits lowest January inventory since 1952

A much-anticipated government count shows the nation's cattle herd has shrunk to its smallest size in more than six decades amid a widespread drought that has forced ranchers to sell off their animals.

The National Agricultural Statistics Service reported Friday that the U.S. inventory of cattle and calves totaled 89.3 million animals as of Jan. 1. That is down by 1.5 million cattle, or 2 percent, compared with a year ago at this time.

The agency said this is the lowest January cattle inventory since 1952. It does two counts per year, in January and July.

A livestock analyst said fewer cows will mean less beef and higher prices coming down the line for consumers.

Judge rules against allowing IRS regulations to take effect

A federal judge has rejected a request from the IRS to allow new regulations on hundreds of thousands of tax preparers to take effect while the issue is decided on appeal.

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg in Washington ruled last month that the IRS exceeded its authority by imposing a series of new regulations on tax preparers. The rules would require tax preparers who are not lawyers or certified public accountants to pass a competency exam and take annual continuing-education courses.

The IRS said the rules are needed to address a growing problem of poorly filed returns. Three independent tax preparers sued to block the regulations, saying they were onerous and put them at a competitive disadvantage.

On Friday, Boasberg rejected an IRS request to delay his ruling pending a likely appeal.

NBC News president resigns following 'Today' downfall

NBC News President Steve Capus, who presided over years of strong ratings at the news division and expanded digital offerings but was hurt by the downfall of the "Today" show, said Friday that he was resigning.

The Philadelphia-area native joined NBC News 20 years ago and produced various newscasts for Brian Williams before being appointed news division president by Jeff Zucker, at the time chief of NBC Universal, on the week that Hurricane Katrina struck New Orleans in 2005.

NBC parent company Comcast Corp.'s decision last year to appoint Pat Fili-Krushel to a supervisory role over the company's news properties signaled to many that Capus' tenure was nearing an end. His contract gave Capus an opt-out provision and he chose to exercise it.

Washington Post considers selling downtown building

The Washington Post is considering selling its 63-year-old downtown headquarters.

The Post reported that Publisher Katharine Weymouth made the announcement in an email to staff Friday morning. She said the company's goal is to find "a more modern, bright, open and efficient building."

The Post isn't tied to the location at 15th and L streets, Northwest, because its printing presses have not been located there for more than a decade.

The District of Columbia government assesses The Post's properties at nearly $80 million. Weymouth's memo said the company has not yet decided on where or when it might move.

-- From news service reports

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