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The Federal Reserve, seeking to combat the effects of a serious credit crisis, said Tuesday it had auctioned $30-billion in funds to commercial banks at an interest rate of 3.01 percent, the lowest rate for any of the five auctions held so far. The auctions have pumped $130-billion in money into the nation's banking system in an effort to provide cash-strapped banks with extra reserves. The Fed hopes the increased resources will keep banks lending and prevent a severe credit squeeze from making the current economic slowdown worse.

Budget deficit twice last year's

The federal budget deficit is running at a pace that is more than double last year's imbalance through the first four months of the budget year. In its monthly review of the government's finances, the Treasury Department said Tuesday that the budget was in surplus in January, but totals $87.7-billion so far this budget year, double the $42.2-billion imbalance recorded during the same period in 2007. The new budget year started last Oct. 1. So far this year, federal spending is 8.3 percent ahead of last year's pace, at $949.1-billion. That is far ahead of the 3.2 percent increase in revenue, which have totaled $861.4-billion in the current budget year.

Palo Alto, Calif.

Facebook makes deleting easier

Aiming to address the privacy concerns of disenchanted users, said Tuesday that it was trying to make it easier for people to delete their accounts permanently from the social networking site. Until now, Facebook has only offered people a deactivation option, which keeps copies of the account's personal information on the company's servers. Although it is possible to delete an account fully using a cumbersome manual method, it is difficult and many users complained that Facebook did not provide clear instructions.


Yahoo the hunted turns into hunter

Undeterred by the threat of hostile takeover, slumping Internet pioneer Yahoo Inc. completed an acquisition of its own Tuesday by buying online video service Maven Networks Inc. for $160-million. Yahoo's board rejected Microsoft's $44.6-billion takeover bid Monday, prompting Microsoft to consider taking its offer directly to shareholders.

Burbank, Calif.

Disney buys into Spanish company

Walt Disney Co., the second-largest U.S. media company, bought a 20 percent stake in Net TV, a digital television provider owned by Vocento SA of Madrid for $39.4-million. Net TV, holder of one of the six digital licenses issued by the Spanish government in 2000, wants Disney to help develop shows and increase distribution.

Upgrade blamed for blackberry outage

Research in Motion Ltd., the company behind the BlackBerry smart phones, said a three-hour e-mail outage Monday was caused by an upgrade designed to increase capacity. The upgrade was part of "routine and ongoing efforts," the company said.