CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuela’s opposition plastered election centers with slogans and planned to rally in honor of dead protesters on Monday in a final week-long push to force President Nicolas Maduro into aborting a controversial congress.
CAIRO (Reuters) – Libya officials should investigate and dismiss forces involved in atrocities, a human rights group said on Monday, after a video appeared on social media purportedly showing a military unit executing 20 suspected militants.
DOHA (Reuters) – Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan left Qatar on Monday after two days in the Gulf trying to mediate in the worst row among Arab states for years but there was no sign he had made any progress.
A 10-year-old girl who says she was raped and impregnated by her uncle is trying to win permission from India’s Supreme Court to abort the child, with the girl’s parents claiming her body isn’t developed enough to carry the baby.
SCHAFFHAUSEN, Switzerland (Reuters) – A chainsaw-wielding loner who mostly lived in the woods stormed into an insurance office in a Swiss town on Monday, wounding two members of staff and three other people before fleeing, police said.
MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia is ready to help mediate in the dispute between Qatar and Arab states if approached, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said in an interview released on Monday.
(Reuters) – Amazon.com Inc plans to meet on Wednesday with a dozen U.S. ranchers, seeking to expand distribution of organic and grass-fed meats as it takes over Whole Foods Market Inc, according to the meeting’s organizer.
The latest round violence that has plagued the region for more than a week has spilled over into neighboring Jordan, and could further complicate international efforts to lower tensions between Israelis and Palestinians in the Holy Land.
ASUNCION (Reuters) – Two men and two women were shot dead early on Monday as they sat in front of a discotheque in the Paraguayan border town of Pedro Juan Caballero, an attack that police said appeared to be related to drug trafficking.
BALLARAT, Australia (Reuters) – One of the pope’s top advisers, Cardinal George Pell, makes his first court appearance in Australia this week on charges of historic sex crimes, a bitter reminder for his home town reeling from more than a dozen abuse cases.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two Chinese fighter jets intercepted a U.S. Navy surveillance plane over the East China Sea over the weekend, with one coming within about 300 feet (91 meters) of the American aircraft, two U.S. officials told Reuters on Monday.
LONDON (Reuters) – The parents of Charlie Gard dropped their legal battle to give the terminally ill British baby further treatment on Monday and will now hold discussions with his London hospital about how he should be allowed to die.
TRIPOLI (Reuters) – Libya’s coastguard rescued an estimated 278 migrants including women and children on Monday off the shores of two different towns west of the capital Tripoli, a spokesman said.
“Cold and calculating and not willing to take the tiniest bit of responsibility” is how federal whistleblower Sandra Jolley describes Joseph Otting, President Donald Trump’s pick for comptroller of the currency, the nation’s chief bank regulator.
Otting’s confirmation hearing is scheduled for Thursday before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs.
“There shouldn’t even be a hearing,” said Jolley, whose disclosures resulted in an $89 million fraud settlement between the Department of Justice and Otting’s old bank.
The government had alleged Financial Freedom Senior Funding, a division of OneWest, where Otting was CEO, bilked taxpayers by wrongfully foreclosing on borrowers and then sticking the government with excess insurance payments on federally insured reverse mortgages.
Otting could not be reached for comment. In an email, Gina Prioria, a spokeswoman for CIT — a New York-based holding company that purchased OneWest in 2015 — said her firm was “pleased to have resolved” the claims that stemmed from Jolley’s allegation, adding that “the settlement is within the company’s reserve.”
CIT fired Otting shortly after purchasing the company from a private equity fund run by Steve Mnuchin, now Trump’s treasury secretary. It paid Otting a reported $12 million in severance.
Jolley said she learned of the fraud fighting what she said was a wrongful foreclosure on her parents’ Southern California home. She said the company’s improper activities started with its sales tactics.
“My dad was in the last month of his life with terminal cancer on narcotic pain medication. And my mother had Alzheimer’s disease and couldn’t complete a sentence,” Jolley said.
But after her father saw a television advertisement featuring James Garner and Robert Wagner – “men he always respected,” Jolley said – a salesman visited the house. “It was predatory through and through,” she said.
After Otting’s appointment, two House Democrats, Rep. Maxine Waters of California and Rep. Al Green on Texas, wrote to the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, asking for a Congressional inquiry into the $89 million settlement.
“A myriad of questions remain regarding the impartiality and adequacy of the settlement,” the Democrats wrote.
“The Administration has not announced what steps it will take to assure the public that no special treatment will be provided for one of their own.”
The letter noted a number of irregularities, including the Justice Department’s decision not to make the agreement public. “It is crucial that the Committee take steps to ensure that the settlement with and investigations into Secretary Mnuchin’s former bank have operated and will operate without White House interference.”
A spokeswoman for Committee Chairman Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, did not respond to requests for comment.
Documents obtained from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, show Financial Freedom foreclosed on 16,000 homes between the spring of 2009, when it was acquired by OneWest, and the end of 2015, when Otting was fired.
Though its share of the reverse mortgage market was just 17 percent, it was responsible for 39 percent of reverse mortgage foreclosures.
The bank is also being investigated by HUD for discriminatory lending. According to a redlining complaint filed in February by the California Reinvestment Coalition, OneWest violated the Fair Housing Act by giving fewer mortgages to people of color and locating fewer branches in communities of color.
“It’s crazy,” said the coalition’s Kevin Stein. “Mr. Otting would be regulating all the national banks in America when we question how closely they followed the rules when he was the CEO.”
During the last two years of Otting’s tenure, federal banking records show OneWest made just 5 home loans to black borrowers and 26 to Hispanics – despite being headquartered in Southern California.
At least three Democratic Senators — Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, Sharrod Brown of Ohio, and Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada – have come out against Otting’s confirmation. To date, however, no Republicans have expressed public skepticism about his appointment.
BERLIN (Reuters) – Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan is putting at risk vital and long-established relations with Germany, Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said in an interview published on Monday.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two Chinese fighter jets intercepted a U.S. Navy surveillance plan over the East China Sea over the weekend, with one coming within about 300 feet (91 meters) of the American aircraft, two U.S. officials told Reuters on Monday.
SRINAGAR, India (Reuters) – India’s federal counter-terrorism agency arrested seven members of Kashmir’s main separatist alliance on Monday on charges of receiving funds from Pakistan-based militant groups to wage attacks, the agency said, the first such case against the group.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A seven-year Republican effort to repeal and replace Obamacare faces a major test this week in the U.S. Senate, where lawmakers will decide whether to move forward and vote on a bill whose details and prospects are uncertain.
BANGKOK (Reuters) – A reform panel headed by Thai junta chief Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha on Monday approved a “reconciliation social contract”, part of a plan aimed at healing years of political division, but critics of the military were not impressed.
LAHORE, Pakistan (Reuters) – A suicide bomber killed at least 16 people, many of them police, in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore on Monday, officials said, shattering a period of relative calm in Pakistan’s second-largest city.
BERLIN (Reuters) – – With a comfortable lead in opinion polls, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has left the stage for a quiet three-week summer holiday shrouded in secrecy – even though just two months remain before the election.
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