Early Briefing: Accounting Rule Delayed

*The board that sets accounting rules for U.S. corporations yesterday postponed by a year a plan that could require banks and other financial services companies to raise mountains of new capital to protect themselves against financial exposures not currently reflected on their balance sheets. The Financial Accounting Standards Board took the action at the urging of federal regulators concerned about the potential impact on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage funding giants, and lenders that provide credit for businesses and consumers.

*Home sales in Prince William County have surged in recent months, a dramatic turn that suggests prices have dropped low enough to lure buyers to the Washington area's most devastated housing market. The number of sales in the county have been climbing since March, with the steepest rise last month, when sales jumped 83 percent compared with the same time a year earlier, according to George Mason University's Center for Regional Analysis. The trend contrasts sharply with nearly every other county in the region, where sales sank.

*Scores of people in Maryland, Virginia and the District are on a list compiled by federal investigators of more than 9,600 people who might have purchased fraudulent high school diplomas and college degrees, including some who appear to work in government and the military. Federal authorities are poring through studying the list for U.S. employees who might have purchased a diploma or degree from an Internet-based diploma mill that operated out of Washington state, said Brandon A. Montgomery, spokesman for Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Matched names will be sent to the agencies where the person works for possible administrative action, he said.

By Terri Rupar  |  July 31, 2008; 5:00 AM ET  | Category:  Morning Brief
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