- The Washington Times - Monday, February 11, 2008

National

Countrywide Financial said it will expand programs to help borrowers manage their mortgage payments regardless of the type of subprime loan they have or whether they have fallen behind on payments. Full details are to be disclosed today.

• The national average price for gasoline fell about 3 cents over the past two weeks, according to the Lundberg Survey. The average price of self-serve regular gasoline on Friday was $2.94 a gallon, midgrade was $3.07 and premium was $3.18.

• The next five months or so will be difficult for auto dealers, with sales expected to slump, but the chief economist for the National Automobile Dealers Association expects a rebound in the second half of the year. Still, economist Paul Taylor predicts U.S. car and light truck sales will drop to about 15.7 million for the full year, down about 2.5 percent from last year.

• A federal judge has temporarily blocked Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the former Saudi ambassador to the United States, from removing real estate sales proceeds from the United States pending resolution of a lawsuit. The lawsuit accuses British defense giant BAE Systems of paying bribes to Prince Bandar, who also is a defendant in the lawsuit along with the former Riggs Bank of Washington and its successor, PNC Financial.

International

Ukraine’s state gas company was ready to honor a hefty debt to Gazprom if the Russian energy giant dealt with it directly, Kiev said, even as negotiators headed to Moscow to settle the dispute. Talks are expected to take place today, a day before Gazprom’s threatened cutoff date of gas supplies.

• A new court battle will be held today over the detention of French rogue trader Jerome Kerviel while Societe Generale is to move soon for an $8 billion capital increase to cover the losses they blame on him. Mr. Kerviel’s attorney, Elisabeth Meyer, said she would appeal a Friday ruling that her client be held in custody.

From wire dispatches and staff reports


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