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Tuesday, Oct 21st

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Labor sharks sink teeth into low-wage immigrant workers

Wage theftWhen Ophelia Hernández, a 53-year-old clothing store owner from El Salvador, got working papers to come to the United States, she jumped at the chance to escape the gang violence and extortionists who had forced her out of business in her native country. As she began her job search in New York, however, Hernández came up against a different kind of extortion in the form of labor sharks.

These predatory employment agencies exploit low-wage job seekers, many of whom are newly arrived or undocumented immigrants, by charging them exorbitant fees for jobs that pay less than the minimum wage – and sometimes don’t even exist.

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Cisco to cut another 6,000 jobs as forecast falls flat

Cisco layoffsCisco Systems Inc (CSCO.O) forecast tepid current-quarter results and said it plans to cut another 6,000 jobs, as the network equipment maker works through a transition toward a new cycle of high-end switches and routers.

The latest round of layoffs is at least the third workforce reduction in about as many years for a company once synonymous with the Internet boom, but which has lately struggled to sustain growth.

The company announced in August 2013 that it would cut 4,000 jobs. And in 2011, it said it planned to reduce its workforce by more than 11,000.

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Report: 18 firms hold a third of US wealth

major corporations in USIncome inequality is a hot political topic and a report showing that a small number of U.S. companies hold most of the wealth could stir up more talk about ways to change tax policy.

The majority of corporate cash is amassed in the coffers of 18 U.S. firms — they held 36 percent of all wealth last year, a jump from 27 percent in 2009 with the gap expected to widen further, according to a report from Standard & Poor’s, a New York-based credit rater.

That means that out of a record $1.53 trillion in cash and short-term investments held by U.S. corporations the wealthiest 18 held about $535 billion.

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The 1% May Be Richer Than You Think, Research Shows

super richThe 1 percent is literally rich beyond measure, depriving nations of billions in tax revenue and obscuring shifts in global inequality.

Research conducted separately by European Central Bank economist Philip Vermeulen and London School of Economics’ Gabriel Zucman show the wealth of the super-affluent -- hidden by tax shelters and nonresponse to questionnaires -- is undercounted. Correcting for similar lapses in income data almost erases progress made from 1988 to 2008 in narrowing the gap between the world’s rich and poor, World Bank research found.

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Judge Orders Bank Of America To Pay $1.3 Billion Fine

Bank of AmericaA federal judge has ordered Bank of America to pay a $1.27 billion fine for fraud perpetrated by Countrywide Financial Corp., a mortgage company the bank acquired in 2008.

, a jury held Bank of America liable for bad loans Countrywide sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as part of its "Hustle" mortgage-lending program as the housing market soured in 2007 and 2008.

In his ruling Wednesday, Federal District Judge Jed Rakoff did not mince words.

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A third of Americans delinquent on debt

Americans in debtMore than a third of the country is in trouble when it comes to paying debts on time; 35% of Americans have debt in collections, according to a study out Tuesday from the Urban Institute, which analyzed the credit files of 7 million Americans.

That means the debt is so far past due that the account has been closed and placed in collections. This typically happens after the bill hasn't been paid for 180 days. It also means the debt has been reported to credit bureaus and can affect someone's credit score.

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Banks accused of rigging silver price

silver price riggingDeutsche Bank, HSBC and Bank of Nova Scotia have been accused of attempting to rig the price of silver, in a lawsuit filed in the US.

The plaintiff alleges the banks, which set the price of silver each day, abused their position in the market.

Deutsche Bank and HSBC have not commented on the filing, while Bank of Nova Scotia told Bloomberg news agency it would "vigorously defend" itself.

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