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A legislative proposal to require banks and other firms to reveal how they are spending federal bailout money was reintroduced this week by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D) of California and Olympia Snowe (R) of Maine. Plans to make the bill a top congressional priority in the new year came after an Associated Press report indicated banks have provided only general answers about how they're spending $700 billion in federal aid.

Consumer spending fell by 0.6 percent in November, the fifth straight month of decreased activity, the longest such stretch since 1959, the Commerce Department said. Meanwhile, the number of workers filing claims for unemployment benefits rose last week by 30,000 to 586,000.

President Bush pardoned 19 people this week, including a man considered a hero in Israel, but did not pardon any high-profile lawbreakers. Charles Winters of Boston was pardoned posthumously for a 1949 conviction on charges of conspiring to export aircraft to Israel, a violation of the US Neutrality Act.

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