Reeling from an unfolding credit crisis, Morgan Stanley, the second largest US investment bank, reported a $9.4 billion writedown Wednesday that pushed it to the first quarterly loss in the bank's 73-year history. The investment house is taking a $5 billion infusion of cash from an arm of the Chinese government to shore up its books.

The Federal Reserve said it will provide $20 billion in loans to banks as part of an unprecedented auction process to ease a global credit crunch and make sure financial institutions can keep lending.

With the US nuclear stockpile already half as large as it was three years ago, the White House said Tuesday it has approved a plan for a further reduction to bring the total to less than one-quarter its size at the end of the cold war in 1991. Experts estimate that there are 4,000 to 6,000 weapons deployed or in reserve. The plan calls for smaller, more secure facilities and the lowest possible number of weapons needed for national security.

A 32-year-old ban on allowing broadcasters to own newspapers was lifted Tuesday by the Federal Communications Commission. Chairman Kevin Martin says the "relatively minor loosening" recognizes a new media landscape with a myriad of information outlets." The change applies only to the nation's 20 largest markets.

Sotheby's auction house in New York sold a 710-year-old copy of the Magna Carta Tuesday for $21.3 million to David Rubenstein, founder of a private equity firm. He wants the document to remain on display at the National Archives in Washington near his office.

Roger Clemens, one of the best pitchers of all time, reiterated Tuesday that he's never used performance-enhancing drugs, as alleged in last week's investigative report by Major League Baseball. He urged the public "not to rush to judgment" and said he would answer the allegations "at the appropriate time."

US foreclosure filings fell 10 percent in November compared with October but were 68 percent higher than they were the same month a year ago, RealtyTrac Inc., a mortgage research company, reported Wednesday.

Bowing to construction realities, New York officials said Tuesday that the scheduled opening of the 9/11 memorial at the old World Trade Center site will be pushed back a year, the plaza to 2010, the museum to 2011.

State Bank & Trust of Fargo, N.D., said full-time employees will receive an extra $1,000 and part-time employees $500 so long as they use the money to help needy people beyond their own families and provide video proof of the good deed.

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