Big Banks' $300 Trillion Problem, & 6 More Things You'll Want to Know Today

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Here's a quick rundown from the world of business and economics this morning: the things you need to know, and some you'll just want to know.

$300 trillion worth of loans and contracts. That's how much will ultimately be affected in a case being heard in UK court this week against Barclay's (BARC) and Deutsche Bank (DB). It all comes back to the LIBOR scandal. You remember last year, when it was revealed that the world's biggest banks had been underhandedly manipulating a key interest rate for their own profits? Well, the scandal may have been complicated (here's a simple infographic explanation of it), but this is what you need to know today. If the banks lose this case, it will set a precedent that could cost all the banks involved billions, as others hurt by LIBOR manipulation start bringing their own cases to court.

• Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) may be near agreement on a pact to end the budget and debt ceiling standoff in Washington. "We hope that with good fortune ... that perhaps tomorrow will be a bright day," said Reid, hinting that Tuesday might witness that announcement of deal in the Senate. That still would leave the House to act -- and the latest House GOP plan involves a bill that includes provisions that likely make it a nonstarter with Democrats. But, hey -- it's progress, folks.

• Speaking of the budget fight, here's a surprising tidbit from the world of politics and government budgets: Based on a study of articles in the National Review, its abundantly clear that conservatives really do care a lot about fiscal restraint. But only when Democrats are running the show.

• For many older Americans, the obvious solution to financial fears about retirement is to keep working for a few more years. But public sector workers across the country are facing the opposite pressure: They're retiring earlier because they worry that the longer they wait, the more likely it is that they'll see their pensions slashed.

%VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks%• There are plenty of investors looking forward to the Twitter IPO (as witness the accidental bump they gave Tweeter stock a couple of weeks ago). But the banks involved are getting squeezed like a novelist trying to work within a 140-character limit. The meager 3.25 percent the institutions involved will make on the billion-dollar offering will make it the least profitable major IPO for banks since 2008.

• You probably already heard about what happened Saturday at a Louisiana Walmart (WMT): Food stamp recipients discovered that, due to a glitch in the payment processing system, they had an unlimited amount of money on their cards, and they essentially cleaned the store out. Today, Walmart is blaming Xerox, which runs the payment system, for its losses. Xerox (XRX) blames Walmart: It says that when the computer system goes down, store employees are supposed to follow procedure and pick up the phone, not just let customers make obvious overcharges. This is likely to play out in court.

And finally, we end on a sad note: Hans Riegel, the businessman responsible for the worldwide popularity of Gummi Bears, died Tuesday in Bonn, at the age of 90. Reigel was the longtime head of German candy-maker Haribo, and the son of its founder.
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