17 December

Faust seeks Murphy disqualification in PA Congressional primary

Friday, March 31, 2006

Jane Faust, former Republican committeewoman once convicted of forging signatures, was a plaintiff yesterday in Pennsylvania’s Commonwealth Court (state court). Her lawyer, Larry Otter, argued that Patrick Murphy should be thrown off the ballot for the Democratic primary election in the eighth congressional district of Pennsylvania. The eighth district is primarily located in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.

Otter argued that during the period of election petition signature collection, Murphy had signed his name as the circulator on two petition sheets, but was not present for each signature that was signed on those sheets, and thereby breaking Pennsylvania state law. Pennsylvania law states that whoever signs a petition sheet as a circulator must be present for each signature and see each signature placed on the sheet.

Murphy admitted that he was not at the sheet for every signature, and he agreed that the 96 signatures on those two sheets should be invalidated. He also stated that he was unaware of that particular election statute. Otter argued that the candidacy should be thrown out because when Murphy presented his signatures he was required to sign an affidavit stating he would “not knowingly violate any election law.” It was Otter’s contention to Judge Robert Simpson, Jr., that it is unbelievable that Murphy would not know the law, as Murphy is a lawyer.

“Mr. Murphy is a member of the bar of this court. He can’t say he doesn’t know what the law was. He’s been campaigning over a year,” Otter said. He then continued, arguing that since Murphy knowingly falsified his name on those two circulation petitions, he also failed to fulfill his candidate affidavit, which according to state law is a criminal offense.

The campaign manager for the Murphy campaign, Josh Nanberg, said, “Under Otter’s argument, any candidate who has a meeting and puts a clipboard at the front table and … goes to the bathroom should be thrown out. That’s ridiculous.”

17 December

NASA’s Phoenix spacecraft lands safely on Mars

Monday, May 26, 2008

NASA’s Phoenix spacecraft has landed safely on Mars, following a ten-month flight. Landing occurred yesterday evening at around 23:38 GMT (20:38 EDT), with confirmation being received by flight controllers around fifteen minutes later at 23:53, the communications delay due to the time taken for light and radio signals to travel from Mars back to Earth.

Phoenix was launched atop a Delta II rocket last August. It is the first Mars Scout spacecraft to be sent to explore Mars. It will search for water and complex molecules at the North Pole of Mars. It is the third spacecraft currently operating on Mars, joining the Mars Expedition Rovers Spirit and Opportunity, which are currently operating on the planet’s surface. Phoenix is expected to operate on the surface of Mars for 90 Martian days, about 92 Earth days.

Scientists monitoring the landing at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California cheered as the news was transmitted by the spacecraft, saying it had landed safely.

According to the live broadcast on NASA TV, a systems check began in final preparation for landing at 22:20 GMT (7:20 p.m. eastern time) which was given the “all green”. At 22:22, Phoenix was confirmed to be properly aligned for entry into the Martian atmosphere. At 22:30 Phoenix began to accelerate into the atmosphere, where it will hurtle towards the planet at nearly 11,000 miles an hour. At 22:41 the data stream was successfully sent to Earth, Phoenix successfully separated from its boosters and sent a UHF signal to NASA. At 22:44 its main radio was confirmed to be on.

Scientists monitoring the MRO then confirmed the signal from Phoenix at 22:45. Approximately 3 minutes later Phoenix was confirmed to have entered the Martian atmosphere.

According to predictions before the landing – based on the sequence of events programmed into onboard computers – the cruise stage, which had controlled the spacecraft during its journey from Earth to Mars, separated from the probe which was to enter the atmosphere at 23:24:15 GMT. Entry interface occurred at 23:31:15, and the parachute deployed at 23:34:58. The heat shield was jettisoned at 23:35:13, followed by the rest of the “aeroshell”, which had protected the spacecraft during decent, and the parachute, at 23:37:13. Landing itself occurred at 23:38:36 GMT.

During descent, the spacecraft’s progress was monitored by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and 2001 Mars Odyssey spacecraft, already in Areocentric orbit. Mars Odyssey was in contact with Phoenix throughout the descent, including during the phase of the descent where maximum temperatures were reached, when controllers had predicted that data would be lost. The HiRISE camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter was able to photograph Phoenix under its parachute during descent.

Phoenix’s goal is to gather environmental information about Mars to search for possible locations for the best signs of microbial life in the soil. It will also research the history of water on Mars. The mission is scheduled to last for at least 92 Earth days, or 90 Martian days.

The spacecraft landed in an area near the North Pole of Mars, unofficially named the Green Valley. It is an area about 250 kilometres wide, located in the Vastitas Borealis plains.

Phoenix is carrying a number of instruments to investigate Mars. Some of these were taken from the cancelled 2001 Mars Surveyor lander, and some others were derived from instruments flown on the Mars Polar Lander (MPL) spacecraft. MPL was launched in January 1999, but failed during its descent to the Martian surface. Landing on Mars is considered to be one of the most difficult challenges in space exploration, and one scientist working on today’s landing said that “this is not a trip to Grandma’s for the weekend”. More than half of previous missions to Mars have failed, leading to jokes that exploration of the planet is cursed.

This is the 38th spacecraft to be launched to Mars, and the 19th to arrive successfully, bringing the success rate to exactly 50 percent. It is also the 12th spacecraft to attempt a landing on Mars, and the 7th to successfully accomplish this.

Upon confirmation of landing, a flight controller was heard to exclaim “The Phoenix has landed, welcome to Vastitas Borealis!”, whilst others cheered, and congratulated each other on the successful landing.

17 December

Bank of America leads Consumer Financial Protection Bureau complaints about mortgages

Thursday, October 3, 2013

A review this week by Wikinews of US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) complaints about mortgages in the United States shows Bank of America leads all lending institutions in complaints.

Since mortgages complaints were recorded in December 2011, 77,622 total have been added to CFPB’s database. 29.2% of these complaints involved Bank of America, with the second most received by Wells Fargo, accounting for 15.5% of all complaints. JPMorgan Chase ranked third by volume of complaints with 9.8%. Ocwen was fourth with 8.7% and Citibank was fifth with 4.8%. Nationstar Mortgage; Green Tree Servicing, LLC; HSBC; PNC Bank; U.S. Bancorp; OneWest Bank; SunTrust Bank; Flagstar Bank; and Select Portfolio Servicing, Inc. each had between 1.0 and 3.8% of total complaints. The remaining 14.4% of all complaints about consumer mortgages were divided between about 530 other lending institutions.

The Motley Fool reported last month that for the past fiscal quarter, the biggest US based mortgage lenders were from first to fifth Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Quicken Loans and U.S. Bancorp.

According to the US Federal Reserve, debt for family residences stands at US$10.706 trillion for the second quarter of 2013. As of the end of June of this year, Bank of America is the United States’s second largest commercial bank with US$1.343 trillion in domestic assets. Wells Fargo is the fourth largest commercial bank with US$1.251 trillion in domestic assets. JPMorgan Chase is the largest US commercial bank with US$1.329 trillion in domestic assets and US$1.947 trillion in total assets.

The mortgage complaints in the CFPB report include several subproducts. Conventional fixed mortgages account for 27.1% of all complaints. Conventional adjustable mortgages account for 10.0%. FHA mortgages account for 7.7% of all complaints. Home equity loans or lines of credit account for 3.8% of all complaints. VA mortgages are 1.4% of all complaints. Second mortgages and reverse mortgages each account for 0.6% of complaints. The remaining 48.7% of complaints are about other mortgages or other mortgage issues. A few years ago, FHA loans accounted for about 10% of all US mortgages while VA loans accounted for about 3%. Prime loans accounted for over 75% of the market and the rest were subprime mortgages.

California leads all states by volume of complaints with 14768. It is followed by Florida, New York, Georgia and Texas. When complaints are divided by a state’s total population, New Hampshire leads. The state is followed by Washington D.C., Maryland, Georgia and Florida. Complaints do not correlate with national rankings for August’s foreclosure rate by state where Nevada topped the list, followed by Florida, Ohio, Maryland and Delaware.

Two zip codes account for over 1,000 total complaints between them. 565 complaints originated in the 48382 zip code, which is in Commerce Township, Michigan, located in suburban Detroit. 553 complaints originated in the 33071 zip code, in Coral Springs, Florida. According to real estate website Zillow, there are currently 1,033 properties in foreclosure in Coral Springs while Commerce Township only has 131 properties currently in foreclosure. Four other zip codes have 100 plus complaints originating from them. 91730, in Rancho Cucamonga, California, had 158 complaints. 33409, in West Palm Beach, Florida, had 132. 92626, in Costa Mesa, California, had 125 complaints. 92660, in Newport Beach, California, had 122 complaints. Respectively, the towns had 534, 1,068, 153, and 134 properties currently in foreclosure. These numbers are higher than for the cities of a few sampled zip codes where there was only one complaint, such as Gold Hill, Oregon which has 4 properties in foreclosure, and Decatur, Illinois which has 6 properties in foreclosure.

The CFPB categorizes complaints into six categories: “Loan modification, collection,foreclosure” or problems when a person is unable to pay; “Loan servicing, payments, escrow account” or problems with making a payment; “Application, originator, mortgage broker”; “Credit decision / Underwriting”; “Settlement process and costs”, and “Other”. The CFPB says the complaint types indicate consumers “appear to be driven by a desire to seek agreement with their companies on foreclosure alternatives. The complaints indicate that consumer confusion persists around the process and requirements for obtaining loan modifications and refinancing, especially regarding document submission timeframes, payment trial periods, allocation of payments, treatment of income in eligibility calculations, and credit bureau reporting during the evaluation period.” Currently, 59.6% of all complaints against lenders deal with being unable to pay. 25.1% deal with problems in making a payment. 7.0% have to do with the application process.

Of the complaint-heavy zip codes, for 48382 in Commerce Township, Michigan, 98.9% of all complaints have to deal with being unable to pay. Accounting for 23.4% of all mortgage complaints in Commerce Township, 132 of the complaints for being unable to pay were made regarding Bank of America, accounting for 97.8% or all but 3 complaints against them from the zip. 121 of the Bank of America responses in Commerce Township were closed with explanation and 12 were closed with non-monetary relief. 33071 in Coral Springs is different, with 537 of the 553 complaints being categorized under other. Only 11 complaints relate to foreclosure and issues with being able to pay. 92626 in Costa Mesa, where 32% of the mortgage complaints were about Bank of America and 26.4% were about Wells Fargo, had 93.6% of its complaints dealing with being unable to pay. 5 total complaints dealt with payment issues and 3 dealt with applications.

Beyond regional variance in complaint types lodged, the top five mortgage lenders by volume of complaints all had being unable to pay as their top complaint category, ranging between 55.8% for Citibank and 69.4% for Bank of America. Problems with payment accounted for the second largest area of complaints, with Ocwen having the largest percentage of complaints at 31.9% and Bank of America having the smallest at 18.8%. Foreclosure was the top area of complaints for a number of other lending institutions including 1st Alliance Lending, OneWest Bank, Ally Bank, Banco Popular de Puerto Rico, Bank of the West, BMO Harris, BOK Financial Corp, Caliber Home Loans, Inc, Capital One, Deutsche Bank and EverBank.

Nationally, complaints reached a high of 5,840 for January 2013, 1,107 more than the next highest month of April 2013. The total emerging for September is the second lowest since records were first kept in December 2011. On a state by state level, this pattern largely repeats with a major exception for Florida which saw a peak of 849 complaints in June 2012. Then, as now, Florida was one of the top five states in the nation in its foreclosure rate. The national January spike came as the Qualified Mortgage standard required by the The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 came into play. It required mortgage lenders to take steps to insure borrowers could repay their mortgages.

Bank of America’s complaint volume follows the national trend, with a spike in January 2013 with 1,925 total complaints. Unlike nationally, the next month by volume of complaints was February of this year with 1,598 complaints. Prior to that, the highest month was May 2012 with 1,418 complaints. The lowest volume of complaints is September this year with 334.

Wells Fargo matched national trends for volume of complaints by month, with the exception of the current month being the lowest on record for number of complaints with 197 compared to the next lowest month, December 2011, when they had 221. JPMorgan’s complaint volume by month spiked in January and March of this year with 504 complaints. April of this year was the next highest month with 493 complaints, edging out May of last year with 488 complaints. September this year is on track to be the lowest month by complaint volume.

The federal government shutdown is unlikely to impact the current mortgage situation in the United States directly for most consumers, though mortgage processing by the Federal Housing Administration could be slower, resulting in fewer mortgages processed.

16 December

Melbourne – Adelaide train services disrupted into next week following fatal crash

Friday, May 26, 2006

Rail services between Melbourne and Adelaide in Australia are expected to be disrupted until early next week following a fatal crash between a truck and freight train in Lismore, Victoria 170 Km (105 miles) South-West of Melbourne.

The B-Double truck hit the side of a 1,375 metre long freight train at a level crossing at 7:13 a.m. AEST on Thursday in heavy fog, derailing two locomotives and 44 goods wagons. Victorian police said that the truck had been wedged beneath the wreckage of the train.

The driver of the truck, thought to be a 34-year-old man from Wedderburn in Victoria’s North-West died in the crash. The train driver and an observer escaped uninjured. Police said it could take a number of days to retrieve the truck driver’s body. “It could possibly take days to retrieve the body” a Victorian police spokesperson said.

Great Southern Railways, which operates “The Overland” passenger train service between Melbourne and Adelaide said it expected rail services to be disrupted up until early next week. The company will transfer passengers to bus services or allow them to claim a full refund.

The crash will also disrupt freight services between Melbourne and Adelaide.

Local residents and the Victorian opposition are blaming the crash on the level crossing itself, which has no booms, lights or bells.

Rob Dennis, a local resident said the level crossing is the cause of the crash, as it is not fitted with boom gates or flashing lights.

“And it’s a blind turn for anything in a large vehicle,” he said.

Terry Mulder, the opposition’s transport spokesperson said the Bracks Government should have spent part of the $750 million allocated to fast rail projects to upgrading level crossings in Victoria.

“The State Labor Government has wasted $750 million on fast rail projects,” Mr Mulder said.

Mr Mulder said that Victoria has 2,274 level crossings, 1,468 which have no warning systems in place.

16 December

Commonwealth Bank of Australia CEO apologies for financial planning scandal

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Ian Narev, the CEO of the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, this morning “unreservedly” apologised to clients who lost money in a scandal involving the bank’s financial planning services arm.

Last week, a Senate enquiry found financial advisers from the Commonwealth Bank had made high-risk investments of clients’ money without the clients’ permission, resulting in hundreds of millions of dollars lost. The Senate enquiry called for a Royal Commission into the bank, and the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC).

Mr Narev stated the bank’s performance in providing financial advice was “unacceptable”, and the bank was launching a scheme to compensate clients who lost money due to the planners’ actions.

In a statement Mr Narev said, “Poor advice provided by some of our advisers between 2003 and 2012 caused financial loss and distress and I am truly sorry for that. […] There have been changes in management, structure and culture. We have also invested in new systems, implemented new processes, enhanced adviser supervision and improved training.”

An investigation by Fairfax Media instigated the Senate inquiry into the Commonwealth Bank’s financial planning division and ASIC.

Whistleblower Jeff Morris, who reported the misconduct of the bank to ASIC six years ago, said in an article for The Sydney Morning Herald that neither the bank nor ASIC should be in control of the compensation program.

16 December

Active Directory Software Tools: Making Sure Your Companies Technology Has Been Fully Maintained

Active Directory Software Tools: Making Sure Your Companies Technology Has Been Fully Maintained

by

J Spice

How do you ensure that your network is fully supported? Active Directory software.

The safety and integrity of a companies network belongs to IT professionals putting them in the drivers seat of great responsibility. In the past, if people on your network had problems, they’d pester you with calls, emails, or even disrupt the tranquility and serenity of your work space.

Active Directory Tools Have There Advantages:

Regaining your peace of mind by knowing your network is being taken care of is what active directory software is all about. Network management activity is made possible right from your screen with Active Directory so you can be the office hero, as well as go about your day with fewer distractions.

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Features Of Active Directory Software:

Among the benefits that quality Active Directory software can afford your business:

Allows an IT administrator with full admin rights on their system to be able to fully manage the network from one central computer

Having a firsthand view of changes that users have made to their accounts is made possible for IT managers

Unlock accounts that have been accidently locked by users or lock accounts should an employee need to be investigated for suspicious behavior

From any location within your network you can make changes to employee s accounts while remaining at your desk. Network administrators protect network integrity by become an invisible eye in the sky!

Resetting passwords, opening locked accounts and gaining access to user accounts are all valuable abilities for any network administrator to be able to bring forward. You are able to use Active Directory to link devices to identified users as well as communicating with them when help tickets are submitted by systems administrators.

Where can I access Active Directory tools?

Thanks to Spiceworks.com you can now manage user accounts absolutely free of any charge! After downloading their free Active Directory software you will have the ability to link devices, view help tickets, manage accounts and so much more.

And should you hit any snags in the process, Spiceworks even provides free support by phone, email, or our online community of more than 1,000,000 other IT pros already using Spiceworks to completely manage and monitor their networks. Get Spiceworks’ free

Active Directory software

now!

Article Source:

ArticleRich.com

16 December

2008 Boao Forum for Asia starts with sectors on economy, environment, and the Internet

Sunday, April 13, 2008

“2008 Boao Forum for Asia” started two days ago in Bo’ao, Hainan, China, and participated with government and industrial executives worldwide. Because revolutions in the Web 3.0 era have made a major impact on global economy, several elites from the Internet industry like Kai-Fu Lee provided forecasts for this key industry in the forum.

Furthermore, Vincent Siew, the vice-president elect, provided his comments in the forum. But two coalitions (Pan-Blues and Pan-Greens) declared different comments on Siew’s participation.

But due to a hot topic of environment and greenhouse effect, Rajendra Kumar Pachauri, winner of 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, commented on this forum: “There were several sectors on energy-saving, not governments, but the public should play a great role in this global warming era.”

16 December

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15 December

Former White House press secretary Robert Gibbs may work for Facebook

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Robert Gibbs, the former press secretary for the U.S. White House, has been said to be in talks with Facebook about possible future employment as a manager for the communications aspect of the company.

According to an anonymous source close to the company, Gibbs is being pressed to quickly accept the job, in which Mr. Gibbs may receive millions of dollars in both salary and initial stock options for a planned public offering of Facebook Inc. in 2012.

Both Facebook and Gibbs have declined to comment.

Mr. Gibbs, who has worked for the Obama administration for two years, left in February 2011, and was reportedly “relaxing” and had denied rumors that he was planning to campaign for chairman of the Democratic National Committee if Tim Kaine were to leave the committee to run for a position in the senate.

In recent months, Facebook has stepped up lobbying the US capital to communicate its public image to policy makers, and may use Gibbs for their public relations stratagem in the future.

14 December

Wikinews interviews U.S. Libertarian presidential candidate Wayne Allyn Root

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Wikinews held an exclusive interview with Wayne Allyn Root, one of the candidates for the Libertarian Party nomination for the 2008 U.S. presidential election.

Root is the founder and chairman of Winning Edge International Inc., a sports handicapping company based in Las Vegas, Nevada. In addition, he is an author and a television producer, as well as an on-screen personality both as host and guest on several talk shows.

Root, a long-time Republican, declared his candidacy for the Libertarian Party on May 4, 2007.

He says he is concerned about the qualities of many who run for president, and fears that they do not know the needs of American citizens. He also says that they cater to big businesses instead of small ones.

He has goals of limiting the federal government and believes that the US went into Iraq for wrong reasons. A strong supporter of the War on Terror, he feels that it was mishandled. He has conservative values and came from a blue collar family in New York. He graduated from Columbia University with fellow presidential hopeful Barack Obama in 1983.

Root believes that America is in trouble and hopes to change that if elected.


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