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Consumer bureau moves to end high-risk mortgages that fed crisis

The United States issued new rules Thursday restricting the kind of high-risk home loans that led to millions losing their homes in the housing collapse and sparked the financial crisis. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) set regulations that forbid lenders from granting mortgages to buyers who are not in…

Billions in Afghan aid could be wasted: U.S. inspector

Billions of dollars in American assistance to Afghanistan could ultimately go to waste without better planning and security in the war-torn nation, a US investigator said Thursday. John Sopko, the congressionally mandated Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, aired his concerns as Afghan President Hamid Karzai held talks in Washington…

NRA: White House has ‘agenda to attack the Second Amendment’

The top US gun lobby group Thursday accused the White House of caring more about ending gun rights than protecting children, after its representative met Vice President Joe Biden. The National Rifle Association representative met Biden along with other firearms lobby groups as part of the vice president’s search for…

Canadian astronaut appeals for peace from space

Reflecting on a recent photo he snapped from outer space of war-torn Syria, Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield appealed for peace from his perch in the sky, saying Thursday: “We’re all in this together.” “The perspective that we are subject to, that we are privileged enough to see directly with our…

Biden to deliver anti-gun violence recommendations to Obama on Tuesday

US Vice President Joe Biden said he would get the results of his probe into curbing gun violence to President Barack Obama by Tuesday, as the response to the Newtown school massacre gathers pace. As he met officials from sporting and hunting groups Thursday, Biden hinted that his ideas could…

Tensions rising in Canada over aboriginal living conditions

Canada’s governor general on Thursday invited native chiefs to meet with him amid growing tensions with aboriginal peoples over squalid living conditions on reserves. The “ceremonial meeting” at Rideau Hall, the official residence of Queen Elizabeth II’s representative in this former British colony, is scheduled for Friday evening after planned…

Catholic bishops slam Israel’s security barrier

A delegation of Roman Catholic bishops from Europe and North America pledged on Thursday to press their governments to act against the “injustice” of Israel’s West Bank separation barrier. During a three-day trip ending on Thursday, the eight prelates visited Christian congregations in the Gaza Strip, Bethlehem, the West Bank…

Obama mocks Lew’s loopy signature: Don’t devalue the dollar with illegible writing

President Barack Obama jokingly joined in criticism of Jack Lew’s signature on Thursday, urging his Treasury nominee to change it before it appears on the greenback and risks devaluing the dollar. Lew’s doodle-like eight-loop signature — a cute but utterly undecipherable scrawl described as an “unraveled slinky” by one graphologist…

94-year-old man breaks out of Munich hospital in search of a birthday beer

A 94-year-old pensioner broke out of hospital in Munich so he could belatedly celebrate his birthday in one of the German city’s famous beer halls, police said Thursday. A passer-by noticed the elderly man at an underground rail station on Wednesday as he still had an intravenous drip needle implanted…

Boston’s mayor declares public health emergency due to flu outbreak

Mayor Tom Menino urges residents to get vaccinated as city confronts 700 confirmed cases amid fears of nationwide danger The city of Boston has declared a public health emergency as fears of a nationwide flu outbreak intensify. Mayor Thomas Menino urged residents to get vaccinated against flu, as the city…

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