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Business Highlights

WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ Federal regulators for the first time are laying out rules aimed at ensuring that mortgage borrowers can afford to repay the loans they take out.

The rules unveiled Thursday by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau impose a range of obligations and restrictions on lenders, including bans on the risky "interest-only" and "no documentation" loans that helped inflate the housing bubble.

Lenders will be required to verify and inspect borrowers' financial records. The rules discourage them from saddling borrowers with total debt payments totaling more than 43 percent of a person's annual income. That includes existing debts like credit cards and student loans.


Herbalife defends itself against Ackman's claims

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ Herbalife came out swinging Thursday against claims made by hedge fund manager William Ackman that the business amounts to a pyramid scheme.

But Ackman didn't back down, saying in a statement that Herbalife "distorted, mischaracterized, and outright ignored large portions" of Pershing Square Capital Management's December presentation.

A series of Herbalife's executives looked to refute Ackman's allegations during an analyst and investor meeting earlier in the day, laying out everything from how the business operates to who its customers are.

Critics have questioned the company's business model, which uses a network of distributors to sell its nutritional supplements and weight-loss products in more than 80 countries.


FDA requires lower doses for sleep medications

WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ The Food and Drug Administration is requiring makers of Ambien and similar sleeping pills to lower the dosage of their drugs, based on studies suggesting patients face a higher risk of injury due to morning drowsiness.

The agency said Thursday that new research shows that the drugs remain in the bloodstream at levels high enough to interfere with alertness and coordination, which increases the risk of car accidents.

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