The news at a glance

GM chief faces Congress; FBI targets high-frequency trading; Yellen confirms continued low rates; BofA settles mortgage claims for $9.3B; Apple and Samsung duke it out

Autos: GM chief faces Congress

Let the finger-pointing begin, said Matthew L. Wald in The New York Times. General Motors CEO Mary Barra and acting National Highway Traffic Safety Administration chief David Friedman went to Capitol Hill this week to answer questions about how the automaker and the regulator handled an ignition switch flaw that led to 2.6 million recalls and has been linked to 13 deaths. During her turn in the hot seat, Barra struck an apologetic tone, admitting she could not explain “why it took years for a safety defect to be announced,” but pledging “to be ‘fully transparent’ when she had answers.” In his prepared remarks, Friedman made it clear that the NHTSA blamed GM, saying the company “had critical information that would have helped identify this defect.”

Talk about insult to injury, said Siobhan Hughes and Jeff Bennett in The Wall Street Journal. As Barra was preparing to face lawmakers, GM recalled yet another 1.5 million vehicles—due to faulty steering systems—on top of the already recalled cars with the flawed ignition switches. The latest round is more bad news for the company, which currently faces a $750 million hit to its first-quarter revenues, a total of 6.3 million recalled vehicles worldwide, and an ongoing Justice Department inquiry.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up

Regulators: FBI targets high-frequency trading

The Feds have high-speed traders in their crosshairs, said Scott Patterson and Michael Rothfeld in The Wall Street Journal. The FBI “is probing whether high-speed trading firms are engaging in insider trading by taking advantage of fast-moving market information unavailable to other investors.” While the FBI’s investigation “is still in its early stages,” the probe comes amid similar inquiries by New York’s attorney general and federal regulators, which are scrutinizing whether high-speed firms gain unfair advantages or work to manipulate markets.

Fed: Yellen confirms continued low rates

Janet Yellen is doing damage control, said Jeff Kearns and Craig Torres in During a speech in Chicago this week, the Federal Reserve chair doubled down on the central bank’s pledge to keep interest rates low, “easing investor concern” by saying the U.S. economy “will need Fed stimulus for ‘some time.’” Stocks were buoyed by Yellen’s remarks just weeks after she inadvertently spooked investors by suggesting a timeline for when “the Fed might start raising the benchmark interest rate above zero.”

Banks: BofA settles mortgage claims for $9.3B

Bank of America is ponying up, said Margaret Chadbourn and Aruna Viswanatha in The nation’s second-largest bank said last week that it will pay $9.3 billion “to settle claims that it sold Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac faulty mortgage bonds.” The bank also settled a suit with New York’s attorney general that alleged “it misled investors about mounting losses at Merrill Lynch & Co.,” which BofA acquired during the financial crisis. The firm also acknowledged that it is working to resolve other cases with the U.S. Department of Justice and states over mortgage-backed securities.

Tech: Apple and Samsung duke it out

“Two of the largest smartphone-makers in the world” are squaring off again, said Brian Feldman in Apple and Samsung were in court this week “over new claims of patent infringement,” after the iPhone-maker accused Samsung of stealing features “such as slide-to-unlock, autocomplete, and universal search.” But the latest dispute could also impact Google, maker of “the Android operating system that Samsung uses.” The tech giant may be forced to implement “across-the-board changes” to its mobile OS if Samsung loses the suit.

Continue reading for free

We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.

Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.