Bank of America faces $1.3 billion fine for Countrywide’s risky mortgages

A federal judge imposed a $1.3 billion fine against Countrywide Financial, owned by Bank of America, for selling risky mortgages. This is the first time a bank has been found liable for mortgage fraud leading up to the financial crisis.

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Moscow fights back after sanctions; battle rages near Ukraine crash site

MOSCOW/KIEV (Reuters) - Russia fought back on Wednesday over new U.S. and EU sanctions imposed over Ukraine even as G7 leaders warned of further steps, while Ukraine's government accused pro-Russian rebels of placing land mines near the site of a crashed Malaysian airliner to prevent a proper investigation.

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At least 18 killed when landslide sweeps through Indian village

At least 70 homes were buried and another 158 hit by a landslide in Ambegaon, a village in India's Maharashtra state. Rescue workers say at least 18 were killed, and seven injured people have been rescued.

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White House accidentally leaks post-9/11 CIA torture report findings

Reuters/Larry Downing

The revelation comes from the Senate’s still-unreleased report scrutinizing the United States’ post-9/11 interrogation techniques, and first came to the public’s attention Wednesday when the White House unintentionally emailed a document detailing the findings to an Associated Press reporter.

The report – parts of which could be declassified by the White House in the coming days – also apparently found that some of the ambassadors who were briefed on the CIA’s activity were told not to notify their superiors in the State Department. One congressional official confirmed to the AP that these findings are documented in the Senate’s report, while a former CIA official said then-Secretary of State Colin Powell may not have known about the agency’s techniques when they first started using them.

The White House document noted that the CIA employed slapping, humiliation, sleep-deprivation, exposure to cold temperatures, and waterboarding in its attempts to interrogate suspects. The document does not go as far as saying the methods are legally considered torture, but it does reportedly say the Senate report categorizes the techniques as “torture by a common definition.”

According to the AP, the White House document states that the State Department wishes to stand behind the report’s findings and harshly criticize the CIA.

"This report tells a story of which no American is proud," the document says in a section labeled, "Topline Messages (as proposed by State)."

"But it is also part of another story of which we can be proud. America's democratic system worked just as it was designed to work in bringing an end to actions inconsistent with our democratic values."

The State Department also wants to maintain that the Senate report "leaves no doubt that the methods used to extract information from some terrorist suspects caused profound pain, suffering and humiliation. It also leaves no doubt that the harm caused by the use of these techniques outweighed any potential benefit."

Additionally, the document features multiple questions that, presumably, the White House is preparing to answer if and when the findings of the Senate report becomes public. They include:

"Until now the (U.S. government) has avoided conceding that the techniques used in the RDI program constituted torture. Now that the report is released is the White House prepared to concede that people were tortured?"

"Doesn't the report make clear that at least some who authorized or participated in the [CIA interrogation] program committed crimes? Will the Justice Department revisit its decision not to prosecute anyone?"

"Isn't it clear that the CIA engaged in torture as defined in the Torture Convention?"

According to a Tuesday report from Reuters, the White House may very well declassify the Senate report’s 600-page summary within the next week or so. In addition to its conclusions on the CIA’s methods themselves, the report is believed to state that no significant counter-terror information was gained through the techniques, and that the CIA claimed greater, more beneficial results than the evidence supports.

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A different story of the Gaza crisis

On June 12, 2014, the news agencies of the world reported that three youths, residents of the Israeli town of Gueto, were abducted and possibly killed. Eighteen days later, the government of Israel discovered the bodies of the young people, which according to report, had been shot dead.

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LIVE UPDATES: Israeli military calls up 16,000 more reserve soldiers

LIVE UPDATES: Hagel reiterates support for Israel's right to self defense ● U.S. agrees to Israeli request for ammunition, CNN reports ● Israeli delegation returns from Cairo truce talks ● Ministers order military to press on with Gaza op.






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Argentina fails to reach debt agreement, default imminent

BUENOS AIRES/NEW YORK (Reuters) - Argentina will default on its debt within hours after talks with holdout creditors broke down on Wednesday.






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Attorney general to decide who is charged under national security plans

Coalition proposes package of national security reforms to head off a homegrown Manning and Snowden

Continue reading...






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World Briefing: Peace Corps Pulls 340 Volunteers as 2 Are Isolated for Ebola Exposure

The Peace Corps said that it was temporarily withdrawing the volunteers from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, and that two volunteers had been isolated after being exposed to a person who died of the Ebola virus.

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Pat Roberts confronted by tea party challenger in surprise attack

Senator Pat Roberts was interrupted at a campaign stop by tea party challenger Milton Wolf, who accused the three-term senator of refusing to debate him before the Kansas Republican primary.

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