MID-DAY UPDATE: Dodd-Frank, budget cuts, Middle East and Lap-Band

The Senate banking committee today is questioning regulators of the Dodd-Frank law to gauge how much they've improved the financial system. The law's ambiguity has left some legislators hoping to de-fund the six-month-old law.

What would happen if average American citizens were allowed to tackle the budget deficit? According to Steven Kull, researcher at Maryland's Program for Public Consultation, they would be pretty successful. Kull and his team tested about 800 Americans, asking them to decide whether to invest in or cut 31 areas of the budget. Participants cut spending levels by about $146 billion. Test your accounting skills by visiting our News In Brief blog and trying out the budget exercises there.

More news from the Middle East today. The International Monetary Fund has recommended that Afghanistan's largest bank, Kabul Bank, should be taken over, placed in receivership, and sold off after years of corruption and poor management. The IMF hopes the move will stabilize the country's financial system. Protests have turned violent today in Bahrain, killing three protesters and injuring hundreds more according to reports.

The Food and Drug Administration has approved a broader use of the Lap-Band -- Allergan's alternative to gastric bypass surgery. The inflatable stomach-restricting band now is available to patients who are less obese than those currently using the device.

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