National / International News

VIDEO: Tory MP: World won't tolerate deaths

BBC - 8 hours 21 min ago
The Israeli bombardment of Gaza "is wrong" and has "no justification in terms of results", a Tory MP has said.

Met Opera in late union talks

BBC - 8 hours 23 min ago
The Metropolitan Opera in New York says it hopes last minute negotiations with unions over a pay dispute will avoid a staff lockout.

Senegal corruption trial 'political'

BBC - 8 hours 24 min ago
The flamboyant son of Senegal's ex-President Abdoulaye Wade calls himself a "political prisoner" during a first appearance at his corruption trial.

Filipinos urged to leave Libya

BBC - 8 hours 32 min ago
A top diplomat from the Philippines is to oversee the evacuation of 13,000 citizens from Libya after a Filipino worker was beheaded and a nurse raped.

Executive backs £78m cuts to budget

BBC - 8 hours 36 min ago
Stormont departments, excluding health and education, are to have their budgets cut by £78m as the executive agrees to endorse the June monitoring round.

Bank of America will pay a $1.3 billion penalty

Federal judge Jed Rakoff has imposed a civil penalty of $1.3 billion on Bank of America. 

This is the first time a jury has found a bank — or an individual banker — guilty of mortgage fraud in the financial crisis. A former mid-level Countrywide executive, Rebecca Mairone, was found liable and fined $1 million. Bank of America did not say whether it will assist her in paying the penalty.

The ruling comes after a jury in October 2013 found the bank liable for risky mortgages that were deliberately misrepresented as safe and sound, and sold to government mortgage guarantors Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The mortgages were marketed by Countrywide Financial, which Bank of America purchased for $2.5 billion in 2008.

The fraud took place in 2007-2008 (before Bank of America's acquisition of the troubled bank), during the run-up to the financial crisi - just as the housing market was crashing. The marketing plan for the risky mortgages had a name in Countrywide’s corner offices, says analyst Chris Whalen at Kroll Bond Rating Agency: It was called “the hustle.” That came from the acronym for “High Speed Swim Lane,” or HSSL.

“The hustle program was about selling as many loans as possible as fast as possible, regardless of the defects of those loans,” said Whalen.

In his ruling, Judge Rakoff said the program was “driven by a hunger for profits and oblivious to the harms thereby visited, not just on the immediate victims but also on the financial system as a whole.”

Bank of America has fought this case, asserting that it should not be held fully accountable, nor pay such a severe penalty, because it didn’t own Countrywide when the fraud and other shoddy mortgage practices occurred. Bank of America and several of the country's largest banks were at the time being pressured by federal banking regulators to acquire institutions like Countrywide that were teetering on collapse, to prevent them from causing a cascade of panic and failure throughout the financial system.  

“I find it troubling that B of A is effectively being penalized for having done a public good, which was to acquire Countrywide so that it would not have otherwise failed,” said banking analyst Bert Ely. “We want to get rid of too-big-to-fail, but if you have large financial firms that are in trouble for whatever reason, who wants to buy them?”

Cleaning up Countrywide has cost BofA approximately $55 billion in legal settlements so far, more than 20 times what it paid for the bank. 

'Africa Is Champion': Reporting From A Changing Continent

NPR News - 8 hours 50 min ago

Tell Me More has been dedicated to covering stories from Africa. Host Michel Martin speaks to NPR's Africa correspondent Ofeibea Quist-Arcton about reporting on the changing continent.

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Gatwick staff to help with baggage

BBC - 9 hours 4 min ago
Gatwick Airport will bring in up to 45 of its own staff to help with luggage handling to ensure there is no repeat of last weekend's delays.

Giraffe dies after 'hitting bridge'

BBC - 9 hours 12 min ago
South Africa's animal rights body is probing the death of a giraffe that reportedly hit its head on a bridge as it was being transported on a motorway.

Hospitals Fight Proposed Changes In The Training Of Doctors

NPR News - 9 hours 16 min ago

The Institute of Medicine this week urged Congress to allocate to community clinics more of the $15 billion it spends annually on training new doctors. But hospitals say that's the wrong prescription.

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CIA Chief Apologizes To Sens. Feinstein, Chambliss Over Computer Intrusion

NPR News - 9 hours 16 min ago

In a rare, scathing speech in March, Dianne Feinstein accused the CIA of tampering with the work of the intelligence committee. Now an internal CIA probe finds some officers acted improperly.

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Keatings earns gold for Scotland

BBC - 9 hours 22 min ago
Daniel Keatings secures the gold medal in the men's pommel horse final at the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

VIDEO: Rare contact with remote Amazon tribe

BBC - 9 hours 25 min ago
A group of previously isolated indigenous people from the Amazon has come face to face with a settled community of villagers for the first time in the Brazilian state of Acre, according to authorities.

Goalkeepers' penalty 'flaw' revealed

BBC - 9 hours 26 min ago
Why 'bad gambler' goalkeepers lose out in shoot-outs

Dark net drugs ads have 'doubled'

BBC - 9 hours 43 min ago
An investigation by the BBC indicates that the number of listings advertising illegal drugs sales on the dark net has doubled in less than a year.

Israel 'to destroy Gaza tunnels'

BBC - 9 hours 44 min ago
Israel says it will not halt its Gaza operation until tunnels built by Hamas are destroyed, as the UN warns Gaza is "facing a precipice".

VIDEO: Footage captures power station fire

BBC - 9 hours 46 min ago
A fire has broken out at Ferrybridge power station, near Castleford.

Council staff to strike in October

BBC - 9 hours 54 min ago
Council workers in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will strike on 14 October in an ongoing pay dispute.

Israeli Iron Dome firms 'hacked'

BBC - 9 hours 59 min ago
The BBC has seen evidence that appears to confirm hackers stole secret military documents from two Israeli government-owned companies.

VIDEO: More handlers to tackle Gatwick bags

BBC - 10 hours 5 min ago
Gatwick Airport is bringing in extra staff of its own to handle baggage following chaotic scenes last weekend, when passengers were left waiting for up to three hours for luggage.
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