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Retail sales in December dropped 2.7 percent, more than twice as much as in Wall Street forecasts, and a record sixth straight monthly decline, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday. For the year, overall retail sales fell for the first time (by 0.1 percent) since government statistics on the subject were kept in 1992.

Timothy Geithner, President-elect Obama's pick to head the Treasury Department, is expected to come in for tough questioning at his confirmation hearing, which could begin Friday, after public revelations about his personal tax-paying errors. The Senate Finance Committee released information Tuesday that he belatedly paid $34,000 in self-employment taxes.

The manhunt for the Indiana investment adviser who allegedly crashed his small plane in northwest Florida in order to fake his death ended Tuesday when authorities arrested Marcus Schrenker at a campsite in Milton, Fla. The suspect, who had slashed one of his wrists, may have been trying to escape divorce proceedings and accusations of business wrongdoing.

After taking over as chief executive of Yahoo Inc. Tuesday, Carol Bartz said the struggling Internet company had "enormous assets," but "could use a little management." Lured away from softwaremaker Autodesk Inc., Bartz replaces Yahoo cofounder Jerry Yang, who stepped down after potentially lucrative deals with rivals Microsoft Corp. and Google Inc. collapsed.

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