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March 15, 2014 | By Steve Chawkins, Los Angeles Times
Caked with sweat and the desert sand that had been lashing his face over hundreds of miles, Drino Miller rolled his hopped-up dune buggy to a stop. He was nine miles from the finish line of the 1970 Mexican 1000 - a grueling test for man and machine that he was achingly close to winning. It was the middle of the night. He was miles ahead of a field that included racing legend Parnelli Jones and actor James Garner. He had roared past dozens of battered racing vehicles stuck on the torturous dirt roads and non-roads of Baja California, their engines blown, suspensions shot and drivers exhausted.
March 9, 2014 | By Lew Sichelman
It hurts when you've been rejected for a mortgage. Of course, there are many reasons you can be turned down. You may not have been employed long enough in your current job, for example, or you may not make enough money for the property you want to buy. But if you are spurned because of a low credit score, the pain of rejection is sometimes made worse by the reason your score didn't make the grade. Actually, lenders don't give you a reason, per se. Rather, you receive what's called a "reason code": a two-character numeric code and a terse, industry-speak statement - for example, "01 Amount owed on accounts is too high" - as to why your credit score isn't higher.
March 2, 2014 | By Kenneth R. Harney
WASHINGTON - One of the mortgage products that contributed to the housing crash is booming again: New home equity credit line borrowings soared 42% in the final three months of 2013 and were up sharply for the entire year, to $111 billion. But does this point to a return to the "my house is an ATM" mentality that characterized excessive home equity borrowing from 2004 through 2007, just before the crash? Should consumers - and the banks doling out the cash - be cautious about this trend?
February 27, 2014 | By E. Scott Reckard
Here's some welcome news for first-time and lower-income mortgage borrowers: Home loans insured by the Federal Housing Administration are getting easier to come by. The average credit score on FHA-backed loans declined steadily in 2013, Inside Mortgage Finance reported Wednesday. The trade publication said FHA borrowers' average debt-to-income ratio - a measure of how much of their earnings are needed to keep up with housing and other debt payments - rose noticeably as well. That's another sign that banks have eased up a bit. QUIZ: How much do you know about mortgages?
February 26, 2014 | By Jim Puzzanghera
WASHINGTON -- The chief executive of Credit Suisse told U.S. senators Wednesday it was "unacceptable" for Swiss banks to help Americans evade U.S. taxes and he regrets some of the firm's employees did so in the past. "We deeply regret that -- despite the industry-leading compliance measures we have put in place -- before 2009, some Credit Suisse private bankers appear to have violated U.S. law," Brady Dougan said in prepared remarks for a Senate subcommittee hearing into the bank's tax-evasion activities.
February 26, 2014 | By Salvador Rodriguez
Microsoft is encouraging users to try its Bing and OneDrive services by offering them 100 GB of free cloud storage for one year. Users can earn the storage by signing up for Bing Rewards, a program that gives users credits every time they use Microsoft's search engine. Those credits can then be traded in for rewards, such as gift cards. Microsoft said users who earn 100 credits can redeem them for the free storage with OneDrive, the company's cloud service that was formerly known as SkyDrive.
February 25, 2014 | By Jim Puzzanghera
WASHINGTON - A Senate subcommittee investigation accused Swiss banking giant Credit Suisse of using elaborate "cloak and dagger" methods to hide the accounts of 22,000 wealthy American citizens with a total of up to $12 billion in assets from U.S. authorities so they could avoid paying taxes. The bipartisan probe also sharply criticized the Justice Department for being lax in using subpoenas and other legal tools to pressure the bank to reveal most of the names of account holders, which have been withheld as part of a long Swiss tradition of bank secrecy.
February 22, 2014 | By Richard Verrier, This post has been corrected. See note at the bottom for details.
More than 1,000 entertainment industry workers gathered in Burbank on Saturday, launching a campaign to support an expansion of California's film and TV tax credit program. The rally, organized by a coalition of entertainment industry unions, drew an unusually large swath of set decorators, prop makers, grips, camera operators and other technicians who filled two conference rooms at the Pickwick Gardens on Riverside Drive. They were urged by union leaders to volunteer their services and write emails and letters to state lawmakers in support of legislation recently introduced by Assemblymen Raul Bocanegra (D-Pacoima)
February 20, 2014 | By Marc Lifsher
SACARAMENTO - Californians, who already pay some of the highest gasoline prices in the nation, could soon be asked to pay more. Pump prices are likely to climb more than 12 cents per gallon starting Jan. 1, both the oil industry and environmental experts agree. That's when the state's complex cap-and-trade system for pollution credits expands to cover vehicle fuels and their emissions. As a result, gasoline producers would need to buy pollution credits, and they are expected to pass the cost along at the pump.
February 19, 2014 | By Ari Bloomekatz
An 8-year-old boy who woke up to smoke and fire in his Whittier home early Wednesday morning managed to wake up the five other members of his family in the house and get them out before anyone was seriously harmed, officials said. "The family is actually very lucky," said Los Angeles County fire Capt. Brian Jordan. "The 8-year-old smelled the smoke, woke up and started the wake-up process for everyone in the home. " Fire crews responded to the blaze in the 12700 block of East Beverly Boulevard just before 4:30 a.m. Jordan said the first paramedics on the scene saw fire and smoke coming out of the second-story windows.
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