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Sunday, Apr 19th

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Fight for $15 goes global: Workers set to launch worldwide protest

fast food workers set to go world wideOn Wednesday morning, the fast-food labor campaign known as Fight for $15 will stage what organizers say will be its largest ever protest — spanning 40 countries, including actions in 200 U.S. cities. In addition to fast-food restaurant employees, workers from a number of other industries are expected to participate and, in many cases, walk off the job.

The other participants will include airport service and retail workers as well as adjunct professors. Activists from outside of labor circles have also said they will join in on the protests, including the racial justice group #BlackLivesMatter and the environmental advocacy campaign 350.org.

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How Wall Street captured Washington’s effort to rein in banks

Wall StreetIn the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis, Keith Higgins was certain: Banks weren’t to blame.

Higgins, a top attorney at prominent law firm Ropes & Gray LLP, was chairman of an American Bar Association committee on securities regulation. As such, he lobbied strenuously against a rule U.S. regulators were drafting that would require banks to disclose a lot more about asset-backed securities like those that had just torpedoed the economy.

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JPMorgan Chase on track to pay $4b to homeowners as part of settlement

JPMorgan ChaseJPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) is on track to meet its mandate to provide billions of dollars in consumer relief to struggling homeowners as part of a settlement it reached over bad residential mortgage-backed securities it sold before the financial crisis, an independent monitor said on Thursday.

Joseph Smith, the monitor overseeing the settlement the largest U.S. bank reached in 2013 with the federal government and five states, credited Chase $2.2 billion out of the $4 billion goal it is required to provide to consumers by 2017.

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SEC ruling is a major victory for whistleblowers

Whistleblowers muzzledIn what is being called a landmark ruling for whistleblowers, the Securities and Exchange Commission announced Wednesday that one of the nation’s largest government contractors used confidentiality agreements that had the potential to intimidate and “muzzle” workers from reporting allegations of fraud.

The ruling involving Kellogg Brown & Root, also known as KBR, sends a powerful signal to corporations that the improper use of confidentiality agreements will result in civil fines and possible criminal penalties, according to legal experts.

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Feds aim to protect low-income users of ‘payday’ loans

payday loansEach month, more than 200,000 needy U.S. households take out what’s advertised as a brief loan.

Many have run out of money between paychecks. So they obtain a “payday” loan to tide them over. Problem is, such loans can often bury them in fees and debts. Their bank accounts can be closed, their cars repossessed.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau proposed rules Thursday to protect Americans from stumbling into what it calls a “debt trap.” At the heart of the plan is a requirement that payday lenders verify borrowers’ incomes before approving a loan.

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Exposing America's Billionaire Welfare Ranchers

billionaire welfare ranchersAmericans love ranchers: Gritty ranchers, mom-and-pop ranchers, renegade ranchers — especially those who raise livestock on the vast open prairies of the West through a mixture of hard work and rugged independence.

But there’s another side to the ever-popular rancher mythology— a side the media doesn’t cover and the public never sees. The Koch brothers, Ted Turner, the Hilton family and nine other powerful ranchers share an uncommon privilege: giant public subsidies, unknown to U.S. taxpayers.

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AIG investors' $970.5 million settlement wins U.S. court approval

AIG settlementAmerican International Group Inc (AIG.N) shareholders won approval on Friday of a $970.5 million settlement resolving claims they were misled about its subprime mortgage exposure, leading to a liquidity crisis and $182.3 billion in federal bailouts.

U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain in Manhattan granted final approval at a hearing to what lawyers for the investors call one of the largest class action settlements to come out of the 2008 financial crisis.

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