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BofA sets aside $14 bn for U.S. mortgage claims

Bank of America said Wednesday it would set aside a massive $14 billion to settle claims from angry investors for losses on dodgy mortgage-backed securities in the country’s housing collapse. Hoping to put its disastrous 2007 purchase of mortgage lender Countrywide Financial behind it, Bank of America said it would…

Chicago House Authority plans drug screenings for all residents

The Chicago Housing Authority has floated the idea of forcing all current and prospective residents of public housing property over the age of 18 to undergo mandatory drug testing. The Chicago Sun-Times reported that the measure is among several proposed changes to CHA’s Admissions and Continued Occupancy Policy. Under the…

Fukushima plant not ready for approaching typhoon

Officials from the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) are apologizing in advance for the fact that the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant is not ready for the high winds and heavy rain of Typhoon Songda, a massive storm that could make landfall in Japan as early as Monday. The BBC quotes…

New approach brings US homeless in from the cold

WASHINGTON — In the dead of winter last year, after 13 years of wandering the streets and homeless shelters of the US capital, Maureen Brosnahan was given a tiny apartment with no strings attached. She would no longer have to endure icy nights lying on cardboard and wrapped in blankets…

Seventh Algerian sets herself on fire

ALGIERS — Two people in Algeria set themselves on fire on Wednesday, bringing the country’s total number of attempted public suicides to seven in a week, in replica of a protest that sparked a popular revolution in neighboring Tunisia. A woman in her fifties soaked herself with a flammable product…

Gov’t regulator refuses to allow mortgage reductions, despite Obama mandate

The Obama administration has been pushing for banks and investors to cut mortgage balances for homeowners who owe more than their home is worth. But the regulator for the biggest investors of them all — the government-controlled Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — won’t let the two do it. The…

Cost of Fannie, Freddie bailouts could double

Rescuing Fannie, Freddie could cost taxpayers as much as $259 billion, regulator says The government spelled out Thursday just how much the most expensive rescue of the financial crisis will end up costing taxpayers — as much as $259 billion for mortgage buyers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. That figure…

Israel angers Palestinians with new settlement plan

Israeli plans to build 238 new settler homes in east Jerusalem, as reported in Friday’s press, provoked a furious response from the Palestinians who said Israel was bent on “killing” peace talks. The plans for new housing units in the settlement neighbourhoods of Pisgat Zeev and Ramot were approved on…

China gives citizens a chance to dissent via official Web site

In a rare example of openness, China has set up a website for citizens to express their views to top leaders — and users have wasted little time in firing unusually blunt criticisms at the government. Web-surfers have left tens of thousands of messages since the site launch last week,…

Anxiety still rampant in Katrina kids, study says

Study says emotional problems still rampant in Katrina kids five years after hurricane struck A startling number of Gulf coast area children displaced by Hurricane Katrina still have serious emotional or behavioral problems five years later, a new study found. More than one in three children studied — those forced…

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