Secret mission. The White House acknowledged yesterday that it tried and failed to rescue journalist James Foley and other American hostages held by ISIS earlier this summer. The U.S. military airdropped special operations forces into Syria for the secret mission, but the troops did not find the hostages where they thought they would. The Wall Street Journal reported that ISIS had demanded a $132.5 million ransom from Foley’s family during his captivity. ISIS released a video Tuesday of Foley’s beheading, saying his death was retaliation for U.S. airstrikes on ISIS in Iraq. As of Wednesday, the military said it had conducted 84 more airstrikes in Iraq.
A break in violence. Ferguson, Mo., experienced another relatively peaceful night as tensions appear to be calming over the police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown. Six protesters were arrested, but no shots or tear gas were reported fired. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder visited the community yesterday and attended a meeting of residents. He shared his own experience being racially profiled in a traffic stop. “I’ve confronted this myself,” he said. The Department of Justice is investigating whether police violated any civil rights laws in the shooting.
Slap on the wrist. Bank of America agreed to a $16.7 billion settlement with the Justice Department for its devious sales of mortgage-backed securities prior to the nation’s 2008 financial crisis. Though the settlement is the largest yet between a bank and the government over the mortgage meltdown, its impact on Bank of America’s bottom line probably won’t be as dramatic as it sounds. A large portion of the settlement will take the form of relief to troubled homeowners, for which the bank can receive tax credits. It might also be able to deduct a portion of the settlement as a business expense.
Dollar store dance. The struggling discount chain Family Dollar has said yes to suitor Dollar Tree but no to rival Dollar General. Family Dollar has an $8.5 million deal on the table with Dollar Tree, the No. 3 dollar store in the market. Dollar General, the biggest name in the business, offered almost $9 million to Family Dollar earlier this week but was refused on account of possible anti-trust problems with the deal. “Given the significant antitrust issues involved with Dollar General’s proposal, we will not jeopardize the Dollar Tree deal for a transaction with Dollar General that has a high likelihood of not closing,” Family Dollar investor Ed Garden said in a statement.
Scapegoat? Former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell has taken the witness stand to defend himself against corruption charges. McDonnell and his wife, Maureen McDonnell, are accused of trading political favors for gifts and money from a Virginia businessman. But the trial has turned into more of a public airing of the couple’s marital problems. Bob McDonnell has painted his wife as hostile and hysterical, and appears to be setting up to blame her for the scandal. He said he told her to keep her business relationships separate from his political career, but she did not always heed his advice.