US Congress ponders slower cuts

■ Some politicians in the US Congress are considering replacing across-the-board $109bn (£68bn) spending cuts with targeted savings of just $55bn, according to aides familiar with the discussions. The move would be part of a bid to help avoid a so-called fiscal cliff, whereby sudden consolidation could harm America’s economic recovery. The automatic spending cuts were mandated by Congress as part of a deal to raise the debt ceiling for federal borrowing last year.