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Features of the week

We have a rather wide range of interesting subjects and stories for you in today's "Features" wrap-up.

As we scroll down this list, you'll hear about Warren Buffett and Berkshire Hathaway's ever-increasing cash hoard, get Tim Iacono's view on the underpinnings of the US economy, and take an audio slideshow tour through Putin's Russia.

Sound good? It's all here in this Friday's edition of, "Features of the week".

1. US economy: spending eroded by inflation, business sentiment falls.

2. The US dollar breaks down against a range of foreign currencies.

3. Vacant homes and developer ghost towns.

4. Detroit Housing = ~$0. House prices in Motown may signal a bigger Rust Belt trend.

5. John Rubino profiles the canny moves of real estate investor Marcel Arsenault.

6. The three trillion dollar war. Costs of conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

7. Across Putin's Russia. An FT "In depth" audio slideshow tour.

8. Sheep in human clothing - scientists reveal our flock mentality. (Hat tip to The Big Picture).

9. Speaking of crowd mentality: our review of Mobs, Messiahs, and Markets.

10. What if conventional wisdom is wrong? Tim Iacono on the economy.

11. Soviet art emerges from behind the Iron Curtain.

12. Weak dollar, record sales at Sotheby's London auction.

13. Alt-A mortgage securities tumble, signaling losses.

14. Pimco's Gross plans to buy subprime-casualty assets.

15. Buffett's big problem: an ever-increasing cash hoard.

16. Overheard in Chicago: a banker tells a friend that the loan business is locked up, and "nothing the Fed has done has helped".

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Have a nice weekend!

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