Ahmed Abu Khattalah, a suspect charged in connection with the 2012 Benghazi attacks, had a hearing Wednesday in Washington, D.C. After a public defender outlined her arguments in Khattalah's defense, the judge ordered that he be detained.
The independent Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board has offered recommendations on how to reform one of the surveillance programs deployed by the National Security Agency. The privacy board found that the program, which was revealed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, is constitutional and free of abuse, but it's still proposing reforms.
Files detailing Nebraska's homesteading history have been digitized and are now available to the public. The milestone's part of a larger effort by the Homestead Digitization Project to put all homesteading documents from around the U.S. online. For more on the subject, Robert Siegel speaks with historian Blake Bell from the Homestead National Monument in Beatrice, Neb.
Tensions between Israelis and Palestinians are as high as they have been in years, following the killings of three Israeli teens and the death of a young Palestinian.
As CEO of an outdoor equipment retailer, Sally Jewell was used to taking risks. Now, as the secretary of the interior, she has found there's little appetite for it in government.
The California city of Murrietta is embroiled in unrest, as anti-illegal immigration protesters have successfully blocked three buses transferring migrants from Texas to a local Border Patrol screening facility.
A new breed of tech company is offering mobile apps to help drivers using public, metered parking spots sell them to the highest bidder. But in San Francisco, city officials want to put a stop to it.
Facebook scientists were criticized for a study that manipulated what some Facebook users saw on their feeds. COO Sheryl Sandberg said they didn't mean to upset users.
Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson did not provide specifics for the new measures, but he said the agency is hoping to cause "as few disruptions to travelers as possible."
Just over a year ago, NPR's Emily Harris packed up and moved to Jerusalem. She covers Israel and the Palestinian territories, which means plenty of politics and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
The Supreme Court term ended Monday. The New York Times correspondent and lawyer Adam Liptak talks with Fresh Air's Terry Gross about what the decisions reveal about the nine justices.
In the thick of the housing crisis, some lenders slashed borrowers’ interest rates to as little as 2 percent. But rates start to rise again this year, and that will be hard for homeowners who are still struggling.
That group includes Adriana Martinez. She and her husband bought their dream house, in Olney, Maryland, in 2005. Right now, their monthly mortgage payment is about $2,200, thanks to an interest rate cut they got in 2010, through the government’s Home Affordable Loan Modification Program, which is referred to as HAMP. But even that payment has been tough, since Martinez lost her job last November.
“I need to find a job because, you know, it’s hard. It’s hard,” she says, holding back tears.
Martinez’s 16-year-old daughter, Julie, tries to help. She works part time at a gift shop. Julie says she and her mom were at the bank last week, confronted with a zero balance after the mortgage payment was deducted.
“I gave my mom my entire paycheck -- it was like $150 -- because she really actually needed it," she says.
And Martinez’s mortgage payment will rise by about $240 a month next year, because the HAMP interest rate cut is only temporary. After five years, the rate goes up by one percentage point a year, until it reaches the average interest rate at the time the loan was modified. Now, Martinez is afraid she’ll lose her home.
She is trying to get help, meeting with a housing counselor at the non-profit Housing Initiative Partnership, or HIP. They talk about how Martinez can pare expenses, maybe try to get the principle on her loan reduced.
HIP counseling director Mary Hunter says they have a lot of clients like Martinez, who are already struggling and now face rising interest rates.
“If the mortgage payment goes up but their income hasn’t gone up, they’re going to be stretched,” she says, adding that some my lose their homes. “I am worried that there’ll be a new wave of foreclosures in the next year.”
It’s already happening. More than a million homeowners got a mortgage interest rate reduction through the HAMP program. But since the program began in 2009, about a third of them have dropped out.
“Well, over 350,000 were not able to make their payments," says Christy Romero, inspector general of the Treasury Department’s Troubled Asset Relief Program. "And more than a third of those lost their home in foreclosures. Others lost their home in other ways, like short sales.”
Romero says the Treasury still hasn’t spent about $26 billion that was supposed to be used to help homeowners. Recently, Treasury announced it’ll use some of that money to extend the HAMP program to more people, through 2016. But Romero says Treasury should focus on homeowners already in HAMP, to keep them from dropping out, and causing that new foreclosure wave.
Homeowners across the country who got an interest rate cut through HAMP are now facing a rate increase. Some haven’t been able to keep up with their mortgage payments.Special Inspector General, Troubled Asset Relief Program quarterly report to Congress. April 30, 2014
Some parts of the program come "close to the line of constitutional reasonableness," so the board is offering some proposals to fix those concerns.