How is the federal government addressing risks posed by too-big-to-fail banks?

The House declined to take up a Senate-approved bill aimed at mitigating risks from too-big-to-fail, or TBTF, banks. Now the Government Accountability Office has announced it will study whether provisions passed in 2010 to unwind TBTF institutions are enough to prevent future federal bailouts, Bloomberg reported. At the request of Sens. David Vitter, R-La., and Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, the GAO will research whether the pricing of banks' assets relative to their risk profile results in a perception that they would get bailouts if needed, whether they get favorable funding as a result of increased credit ratings based on the view that they are too big to fail and how they benefit from access to the Federal Reserve's discount window.

Why are sales of South African wines increasing?

Wine made in South Africa as well as in Chile and Eastern Europe is selling more briskly as bulk wine buyers scramble to deal with a shortage of French wines. Bad weather and disease led to a poor harvest in the Champagne and Beaujolais regions of France last year and a 20 percent drop in wine production. San Rafael, California-based wine broker Ciatti Co. told Bloomberg that France's inventory of bulk wine will probably sell out in the spring, with supplies of white and rose wines likely the first to be exhausted,

How likely is it that a contractor will win if it protests a federal contract decision?

The chance of success depends on which agency issued the contract. According to a Bloomberg report, companies are three times more likely to win if the contract being contested is with the State Department than if it is with the Department of Defense, where federal contractors win just 13 percent of protests. The U.S. Government Accountability Office arbitrates contract challenges, which, for the government as a whole, are successful about 19 percent of the time. The market for federal government contracting is estimated to be worth more than $500 billion in awards annually.