Among the stories for Wednesday from The Associated Press:
WASHINGTON â¿¿ It's the scenario that's been spooking employers and investors and slowing the U.S. economy: Congress and the White House fail to strike a budget deal by New Year's Day. Their stalemate triggers sharp tax increases and spending cuts. Those measures shrink consumer spending, stifle job growth, topple stock prices and push the economy off a "fiscal cliff" and into recession. The reality may be a lot less bleak. Even if New Year's passed with no deal, few businesses or consumers would likely panic as long as an agreement seemed likely soon. By Christopher S. Rugaber.
â¿¿ FISCAL CLIFF-ECONOMY-Q&A â¿¿ How much will my taxes go up? Questions and answers about the US 'fiscal cliff'
â¿¿ FISCAL CLIFF â¿¿ Fiscal cliff talks intensify, but with little apparent progress as end-of-year deadline looms.
WASHINGTON â¿¿ The Federal Reserve is wrapping up 2012 the way it began the year, searching for ways to help a U.S. economy that is still struggling with high unemployment and sub-par growth. Markets expect the Fed to announce a revamped bond-buying plan to try to keep long-term borrowing costs low and maintain its support for the U.S. economy. By Marty Crutsinger.
Eds: Statement due at 12:30 p.m. Fed forecasts at 2 p.m. Bernanke's press conference expected at 2:15 p.m.
FRANKFURT, Germany â¿¿ Deutsche Bank says its co-CEO Juergen Fitschen and chief finance officer Stefan Krause are under investigation as part of a tax evasion probe linked to the bank's emissions trading business.
CHINA'S REACH-HERITAGE FOR SALE
GEVREY-CHAMBERTIN, France â¿¿ Life in this Burgundy village revolves around wine. Everyone seems to have an opinion about the recent sale of a local vineyard to a Macau casino magnate. "It's a piece of French heritage that's heading abroad," says mechanic Bertrand Babouhot. On the other side of the globe, farmer Margaret Peacock expresses similar outrage over the sale of 13 dairy farms in New Zealand to a wealthy property developer from Shanghai. Such sentiments have long been directed at Americans and Japanese. Now it's China's turn. By Sarah DiLorenzo and Nick Perry.