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Friday, June 4, 2010 5:01 PM
Fannie, Freddie on Geithner's to-do list

WASHINGTON, June 4 (UPI) -- U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said the Federal National Mortgage Association and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corp. (NYSE:FRE) are next on his to-do list.

The struggling government-sponsored mortgage lenders, known as Fannie Mae (NYSE:FNM) and Freddie Mac, have been in government conservatorship and surviving with federal lines of credit since September 2008, having hemorrhaged huge losses during the subprime mortgage market meltdown.

In an interview, Geithner said the financial regulatory reform package, currently under review by a joint House and Senate committee, was his top priority for the moment. After that, Geithner said, "we're going to move on reform of Fannie and Freddie and the broader housing finance system."

He predicted Congress would act "quickly" to reform the two mortgage behemoths that buy bundled mortgage securities and, thereby, set the tone for lending in the housing market.

Geithner said, "We certainly welcome the broad support we've heard from Republicans and Democrats about the need to go forward on reform."

The Treasury Department would turn its attention to Fannie and Freddie "as soon as we get this (regulatory) bill passed," he said.

O2 offers Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) Streak for almost free

LONDON, June 4 (UPI) -- British communications company O2 said it was handling the new Dell Streak exclusively with a price that dropped down to zero with a two-year service contract.

Reviewers were having trouble deciding if the device with a 5-inch touchscreen display was a mobile phone, a reading tablet, a camera or an Internet platform. PCMag.com declared it was "not a tablet." Others wondered if consumers would hold a device that size to the ear, as one does a mobile phone.

But the price was clear. O2 offered a variety of two-year contracts that said they would hand the device to consumers for free. Otherwise, without a contract, the phone-tablet-camera-Internet platform costs around $654, eWeek reported Friday.

The device is labeled a digital reader -- often called a tablet computer -- that would put it in the class of an iPad or a Kindle reader. Industry analyst Charles King at Pund-IT suggested it was more "a study in iPad contrasts … a significantly smaller display, integrated camera, immediate support for voice calling and eventually for video chat."

Essentially, it fits into the category of "companion devices," King said.

It is available in Britain and has a retail debut scheduled for the United States this summer.

Hooters finds historic home in Prague

PRAGUE, Czech Republic, June 4 (UPI) -- U.S. restaurant chain Hooters said its first Czech Republic outlet will open Friday in a building with a 1763 facade and a basement that dates back to 1381.

Hooters called the new location in Prague one of its most unique.

The new restaurant extends the franchise's reach to 42 states and 29 countries. The chain -- famous for dividing patrons' attention between food, sports channels on television and waitresses in short shorts -- opened its first restaurant in Clearwater, Fla., in 1983.

Hooters of Prague is the 459th Hooters in operation. In the Czech Republic, the restaurant will be managed by Na Zdravi Ventures, a.s., a Czech company that includes six U.S. and two Czech partners, Hooters of America Inc. said in a statement.

(Source: UPI )

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