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Financial regulation bill would strip Fed of some powers

WASHINGTON - The chairman of the Senate Banking Committee unveiled Tuesday his version of legislation to overhaul the nation's financial regulations, which sharply differs from the Obama administration's plan by proposing the creation of a single federal banking regulatory agency and stripping significant power from the Federal Reserve. The 1,136-page proposal by Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., is likely to be strongly opposed by the Fed and the three other bank regulatory agencies. Dodd's legislation also further complicates White House efforts to pass an overhaul by the end of the year because it differs significantly from legislation moving through the House. The senator stressed that his bill is just a draft but said he wanted to propose something bold rather than start the legislative process by compromising. Several agencies, including the Fed, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Office of Thrift Supervision, share oversight of the banking system.

- Tribune Newspapers

Former Pimlico owner seeks to keep profit-sharing deal

The former owner of Pimlico Race Course and Laurel Park is fighting to keep intact a profit-sharing agreement that would split any potential slots proceeds with the racetracks' bankrupt owner, Magna Entertainment Corp. Late last week, attorneys for Joseph De Francis initiated an adversary proceeding, or the bankruptcy court equivalent of a civil lawsuit, asking a federal bankruptcy judge to reject Magna's request to terminate the profit-sharing deal with De Francis and other former owners. De Francis' lawyers argued in court papers that alternative gaming rights spelled out in the deal are property under Maryland law. De Francis has indicated he may be interested in re-acquiring the two tracks, which are being auctioned off early next year.

- Hanah Cho

Lowe's plans to open store, garden center in Parkville

Lowe's home improvement plans to open a new store at 1400 Taylor Ave. in Parkville in the fiscal fourth quarter of next year. The store will have 94,000 square feet of retail sales space and a 26,600-square-foot garden center. It will create up to 120 new jobs and generate a $12 million investment in the community, Lowe's said. Lowe's has 25 stores in Maryland that employ 3,800 people.

- Andrea K. Walker

Regulators OK Ciena's bid to buy Nortel optical business

Regulators have cleared the way for Ciena Corp. to acquire the optical networking business of Toronto-based Nortel Networks Corp. for $521 million, the Linthicum technology company said Tuesday. Both U.S. and Canadian regulators waived waiting periods typically required under antitrust laws, Ciena said. But because Nortel is operating under bankruptcy-law protection, the company will be required to first offer the assets through a bankruptcy auction. The proposed sale also requires final approval of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court and the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. In October, Ciena said it signed agreements to pay $390 million in cash and 10 million shares of Ciena common stock, valued at $131 million, to acquire Nortel's optical networking and carrier Ethernet assets. Both companies manufacture equipment that connects communications networks.

- Lorraine Mirabella

Two ex-Bear Stearns hedge fund managers acquitted

NEW YORK - Two former Bear Stearns hedge fund managers were found not guilty of fraud, a decision that could make government prosecutors less likely to bring criminal charges against Wall Street executives for their role in the financial crisis. The case - the first major prosecution arising from the meltdown of major U.S. financial institutions - was seen as a test of whether a jury, presented with evidence from e-mails and other communications, would convict individuals for corporate collapses. Ralph Cioffi, 53, and Matthew Tannin, 48, were acquitted of all charges of conspiracy, securities fraud and wire fraud. Cioffi and Tannin managed two funds, crammed with subprime mortgage-backed securities, that lost investors $1.6 billion.

- Reuters

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