The Briefcase: Chief of staff may head Treasury
by From wire reports
January 09, 2013 10:32 PM | 741 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
WASHINGTON — White House chief of staff Jack Lew is President Barack Obama's expected pick to lead the Treasury Department, with an announcement possible before the end of the week, as the administration moves to fill the most critical jobs in the Cabinet.

White House officials would not confirm that a final decision had been made. But aides did not dispute that Lew is emerging as the consensus choice.

Lew would bring to the Treasury Department a wide range of experiences in both the public and private sector. He has spent much of his career mastering the mechanics of the federal budget, including two stints at the helm of the Office of Management and Budget, once under Obama and also under former President Bill Clinton.

Boeing defends new plane

Boeing said Wednesday it has “extreme confidence” in its 787 Dreamliner even as federal investigators try to determine the cause of a fire that has prompted new worries about the plane.

The fire happened Monday in one of the plane's lithium ion batteries. Mike Sinnett, Boeing's chief engineer for 787, wouldn't comment on that specific incident, but told reporters that the battery is designed to avoid overheating and the area around the battery is designed to withstand a fire.

But questions remain about the high-profile jet, which has a lot riding on it both for Boeing and its airline customers. After a nearly three-year delay, Boeing has delivered 49 of the 787s so far, and has about 800 more on order.

Morgan Stanley to cut 1,600

NEW YORK — The investment bank Morgan Stanley plans to cut about 1,600 jobs, nearly 3 percent of its workforce, a person familiar with the bank said Wednesday. The cuts will focus on senior ranks at the bank.

About half of the cuts will be in the U.S. Morgan Stanley's investment banking unit has been asked to cut about 6 percent of its staff. Back-office functions, including human resources and communications, have also been asked to cut staff. The person familiar with the matter wasn't authorized to speak on the record and insisted on remaining anonymous.

Job cuts have become common in the banking industry, which has been shrinking in the years since the financial crisis imploded.

Eatery chain replaces exec

NEW YORK — Darden Restaurants Inc. is replacing the president of its flagship Olive Garden chain after a new marketing campaign failed to reverse slumping sales.

Dave George, who most recently headed Darden's LongHorn Steakhouse restaurants, will be the new president of Olive Garden effective next Monday. He takes over for John Caron.

Darden said Caron is leaving the company after 10 years.

Valerie Insignares, Darden's chief restaurant operations officer, will take over for George as president of LongHorn.

Darden Restaurants to change

Tech delegation pressing NKorea Internet openness

PYONGYANG, North Korea (AP) — A private delegation including Google's Eric Schmidt is urging North Korea to allow more open Internet access and cellphones to benefit its citizens, the mission's leader said Wednesday in the country with some of the world's tightest controls on information.

Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson also said his nine-member group called on North Korea to put a moratorium on missile launches and nuclear tests that have prompted U.N. sanctions, and the delegation asked for fair and humane treatment for an American citizen detained. He spoke in an exclusive interview in Pyongyang with The Associated Press.

The visit has been criticized for appearing to hijack U.S. diplomacy and boost Pyongyang's profile after North Korea's latest, widely condemned rocket launch. Richardson has said the delegation is on a private, humanitarian trip.

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