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Tuesday
Oct052010

Corrupt Paperwork Threatens US Foreclosure Mess

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The discovery of a sea of corrupt paperwork has threatened to make the U.S. foreclosure epidemic -- already bad -- significantly worse, delaying resolution by months or years.

In recent days, major lenders -- including JPMorgan Chase, Ally Financial's GMAC Mortgage unit and Bank of America -- have conceded that paperwork supporting an unknown number of foreclosures contains errors ranging from wrong dates to forged or inconsistent signatures. In many cases, mortgage company employees signed foreclosure documents without first verifying the information in them.

Whether sloppiness or deceit is the greater culprit remains to be determined. In response, the banks have suspended tens of thousands of pending foreclosures. Bank of America, for example, has suspended all its foreclosures in 23 states.

It's not as if foreclosures weren't a big enough mess already. In August, according to real estate data firm RealtyTrac, lenders foreclosed on 95,364 U.S. properties -- the highest monthly total since May 2005, when the company first began its tracking. In 19 states the number of homes seized by lenders at least doubled; in seven states it more than tripled. The number of loans 60 days or more past due now stands at 5.2 million.

Rep. Dennis Cardoza, D-California, who has drafted legislation to stabilize foreclosures, calls the paperwork scandal "a cloud over the whole mortgage and banking industry. It could delay things two to ten years. I don't know how it will all shake out, but it's going to require ongoing attention from Treasury and from Congress."

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Oct052010

Toshiba to Create First Glasses-Free 3D TV

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(TOKYO) -- Toshiba announced Monday it will manufacture the first-ever glasses-free 3D television.  As AFP reports, the Japanese electronics company will offer two models that will be available in Japan starting at the end of December.

A 12-inch model is expected to go for about 120,000 yen, which is the equivalent of about $1,400, while the second model, a 20-inch, will cost 240,000 yen, according to Dow Jones Newswires.

Current 3D models require viewers to wear glasses that act like filters, dispersing separate images to both eyes to create the illusion of depth.  The screens on Toshiba's new models will use processing technology that will create depth-filled images from any angle.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Oct052010

Toyota Repair Tally Reaches Five Million 

Photo Courtesy - Toyota(TOYOTA CITY, Japan) -- Instead of selling cars, Toyota has spent much of 2010 fixing them.  The Japanese automaker's reputation was affected following three recalls at the end of 2009 and beginning of this year involving numerous models with either floor mats that slipped under gas pedals or sticky accelerators that made cars speed up on their own.

The U.S. government fined Toyota $16.4 million, the steepest of its kind in history, for deliberately hiding problems that were blamed for dozens of deadly crashes.

Over the past nine months, Toyota has made five million repairs to vehicles in the U.S. alone. The company said Monday that 80 percent of 2.3 million cars diagnosed with a “sticky pedal” have been fixed.

Meanwhile, about six in ten of the 5.4 million vehicles with floor mat problems have been brought to dealerships, while about 150,000 Prius and Lexus models found to have braking problems were repaired.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Monday
Oct042010

YouTube Launches Arabic Website

Photo Courtesy -- YouTube.com(NEW YORK) -- The Google-owned website YouTube launched an Arabic version Monday, according to ArabianBusiness.com. 

The new version is one of seven local language sites that would assist users of the popular video sharing site.

“We are always looking for ways to improve the online video experience for our incredibly diverse global community," Google told ArabianBusiness.com.

Google also added that its addition of a YouTube site in Arabic is an acknowledgment and celebration of its global roots.

YouTube is the second-most popular site in Saudi Arabia and the third-most popular in Egypt, reports The National, citing internet traffic monitor Alexa.com.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Monday
Oct042010

Justice Department Sues American Express, MasterCard and Visa

Photo Courtesy -- PRNewsFoto | American Express(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Department of Justice announced Monday that it filed a civil antitrust lawsuit challenging rules that American Express, MasterCard and Visa currently have in place that prevent merchants from offering rewards, discounts and information about card costs.  As a result, consumers ultimately end up paying more for purchases. 

 “With today’s lawsuit we are sending a clear message: We will not tolerate anticompetitive practices,” said Attorney General Eric Holder.  “We want to put more money in consumers’ pockets, and by eliminating credit card companies’ anticompetitive rules, we will accomplish that.”

According to the statement from the Justice Department, a proposed settlement with Visa and MasterCard has also been filed, that, if approved by the court, would require for the two companies to allow merchants to offer consumer discounts, incentives and encourage the use of less costly methods of payment.

The proposed settlement states that merchants that only accept Visa and MasterCard will be allowed to take advantage of the relief immediately.  However, ongoing litigation against American Express will seek to allow merchants that accept its credit card to engage in the same kind of relief named in the proposed settlement with MasterCard and Visa.

Once American Express files its response to the government's lawsuit, the court will determine a pretrial schedule for the case against the company.        

Monday
Oct042010

Twitter CEO Ev Williams Steps Down

Photo Courtesy -- Twitter (SAN FRANCISCO) -- Twitter CEO Ev Williams announced Monday in a post on the site's blog that he would be stepping down from his role to focus on the growing company's product strategy.  Dick Costolo, who served as Twitter COO for the past year, will take Williams' place as CEO. 

After recounting some of Twitter's accomplishments and challenges, Williams said that he had come to his realization during the recent Twitter relaunch. 

Williams wrote, "I am most satisfied while pushing product direction. Building things is my passion, and I’ve never been more excited or optimistic about what we have to build.  This is why I have decided to ask our COO, Dick Costolo, to become Twitter’s CEO. Starting today, I’ll be completely focused on product strategy."

Williams, who began his new Twitter role Monday, stated that he expects a smooth transition, given Costolo's previous experience in a CEO role.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio


Monday
Oct042010

Google TV: The Future of Interactive Television?

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif.) -- First, Google revolutionized Web searches. Now it's trying to reinvent the way you watch TV.

Inside a top-secret lab in Silicon Valley, programmers are putting the finishing touches on a new product called Google TV. The company says this new device will take all the best features of watching television, surfing the Web, playing online games, and connecting with friends on Twitter and Facebook, and combine them into a single experience.

With Google TV, users can channel-surf between traditional TV shows, websites, online video, social media, and eventually programs recorded on a DVR, all with just a few clicks of the remote. (The DVR function has not yet been worked out with all major cable and satellite providers.)

Google is betting that it will transform TV the same way smartphones transformed the telephone.

The device is expected to hit store shelves later this month. It will be marketed as a stand-alone unit that can be attached to an existing TV, and also as a built-in feature in Sony TVs and Blu-Ray DVD players.

Google TV already has competition from Apple, which markets a system called Apple TV. Apple's device -- a sleek little black box -- provides access to TV shows, movie downloads, online music, photos and more. Amazon and Netflix are also looking at new ways to provide immediate content for viewers to turn watching TV into a more interactive experience.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Monday
Oct042010

Verizon Wireless Admits Billing Errors, Will Refund Customers

Image Courtesy - Verizon Wireless(BASKING RIDGE, N.J.) -- Verizon Wireless is beginning one of the largest-ever customer refunds by any telecommunications company in a move that could cost Verizon $90 million after complaints about web and data use overcharges.

About 15 million customers will receive refunds or credits of $2 to $6, the company said in a statement, adding that some customers will be issued larger amounts.

The FCC said that it is investigating the case.

"We're gratified to see Verizon agree to finally repay its customers,” said Michele Ellison, FCC Enforcement Bureau Chief. “But questions remain as to why it took Verizon two years to reimburse its customers and why greater disclosure and other corrective actions did not come much, much sooner.”

Ellison said that additional penalties against Verizon are still possible.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Oct032010

Indiana Car Dealership Offers $79 Vehicles

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(FORT WAYNE, Ind.) -- More than 600 bargain-seekers flocked to an Indiana used car dealership this weekend that promised deals as low as $79 on some vehicles.

The crowd began to gather Friday night for the Saturday event, which the company said would offer reductions on more than 400 cars, trucks and SUVs.

“It’s like giving back for all the support we’ve seen from the community,” said Bo Nahrwold, a manager at Fort Wayne Toyota-Lexus-Kia. “It’s our way of giving back, and it’s only right.”

The dealership blamed the economy for its surplus of inventory, saying many have taken advantage of low interest rates and upgraded to newer cars.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

Saturday
Oct022010

U.S. Government Wants 60+ Mph Fuel Economy

Photo Courtesy -- Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Government issued a “Notice of Intent” on Friday indicating that it will propose much tougher fuel economy standards. 

The proposal would call for 3 to 6% increased fuel economy every year, topping out in 2025 at 62 miles an hour.

New fuel standards went into effect earlier this year that are expected to increase average fuel economy to 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016. 

This initiative is keeping with President Obama's vision to reduce greenhouse gases and increase fuel efficiency.  It is also a key part of the administration's energy and climate goals, which call for the increased domestic production and use of existing, advanced and emerging technologies to strengthen the auto industry and enhance job creation in the the United States.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio








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