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Debt Relief

February 20, 2012 | By Henry Chu, Los Angeles Times
Europe's ailing currency union approved its second bailout for Greece in less than two years, signing off on a $170-billion rescue package early Tuesday after weeks of bickering and rising ill feeling between Athens and other regional capitals. The deal should help ward off the specter of an imminent Greek default, which threatened to occur as early as next month and to throw global markets into turmoil. But the price for Greece is a fresh round of punishing austerity cuts that its parliament approved last week, despite an economy already gutted by previous belt-tightening measures.
December 11, 2011 | Liz Weston, Money Talk
Dear Liz: Several years ago, we were talked into getting what I believe was a predatory loan - a negatively amortizing mortgage for 100% of the purchase price of our home. The loan broker assured us we could refinance the following year to a more traditional mortgage. We paid the minimum monthly payment required, which didn't cover all the interest owed, so that amount was added to our mortgage balance. Like others, we have experienced the nightmare of the current housing market, and with the negative amortization adding on even more debt, we are severely underwater.
October 28, 2011 | By Tom Petruno and Jim Puzzanghera, Los Angeles Times
In one day, two of the biggest fears tormenting global financial markets since summer have been swept to the sidelines, at least for now. European leaders agreed on a bold plan to end their 2-year-old debt crisis, while a new report showed that the U.S. economy accelerated last quarter, dousing fears of another recession. The result was a powerful rally in stocks that left the Dow Jones industrial average on track for its biggest monthly gain in 25 years. If it sticks, the latest surge in share prices could help bolster business confidence about the economic outlook for 2012.
January 30, 2011 | Liz Weston, Money Talk
Dear Liz: A friend of mine had a savings account for many years but didn't put any money in it for some time. When he went to take money out, the bank had taken the money because he hadn't used it enough. Are banks allowed to close an account and take the money if the account hasn't been used in a while without contacting you? If so, how long do you have before the bank can take the money? Answer: One of two things happened here. Either your friend's funds were eaten up by account fees, or the account was declared abandoned and whatever money was left was turned over to his state's unclaimed property office.
August 2, 2010 | By Stuart Pfeifer, Los Angeles Times
Here's a weekly roundup of alleged cons, frauds and schemes to watch out for. Bogus Bowflex — A Southern California woman brought counterfeiting to a new arena, importing bogus exercise equipment from China to the United States, according to prosecutors from the U.S. attorney's office. A federal jury in Los Angeles convicted Chunchai Yu of Chino of trafficking counterfeit Bowflex, Beachbody and Malibu Pilates exercise equipment. The charges on which Yu was convicted carry a maximum penalty of 90 years in prison and more than $12 million in fines.
April 22, 2010 | Kim Geiger
A new report by undercover government investigators bolsters longstanding concerns that companies promising to help consumers overwhelmed by credit card and other debts often turn out to be financial predators that charge high fees but deliver little or nothing in return. When investigators for the Government Accountability Office posed as distressed consumers seeking help, so-called debt management companies gave them wildly exaggerated descriptions of the firms' success rates and sometimes promised savings of as much as 50 cents on the dollar, Gregory Kutz, the GAO official who ran the investigation, told Congress on Thursday.
February 19, 2010 | By Clement Tan
The Obama administration agreed Thursday to provide $1.25 billion to compensate African American farmers who alleged racial discrimination by the Department of Agriculture farm loan programs. The deal, subject to congressional approval, would set up a nonjudicial claims process that would allow farmers to seek damage awards or debt relief. This is in addition to more than $1 billion the federal government paid to settle about 16,000 claims that were part of a discrimination suit black farmers brought against the department.
More than 160 farmers were arrested when they blocked a key highway and clashed with police in a protest to demand that Congress pass a law to ease their debts, Nicaraguan police said. About 2,000 growers blocked a section of the Pan-American Highway late Monday about 20 miles from the capital. Police spokeswoman Vilma Reyes said 167 people were arrested. Two police officers and one farmer were injured before police reopened the highway, she said. The farmers were pushing a proposal they presented to Congress late in 2008 that would allow them to temporarily suspend debt payments.
October 6, 2008 | Peter Y. Hong, Times Staff Writer
The $700-billion rescue package for the financial system includes measures designed to stem the rising tide of foreclosures. Here's a look at the specifics. How does the bailout plan help homeowners facing foreclosure? The plan provides the Treasury secretary as much as $700 billion to buy troubled mortgages, and securities tied to these mortgages, that are held by banks and other large investors.
July 7, 2008 | Doug Smith, Times Staff Writer
Prime Minister Nouri Maliki traveled Sunday to the United Arab Emirates, where he won a promise that at least $4 billion of Iraq's debt would be forgiven. The visit was a significant step forward in efforts by Iraq's Shiite-dominated government to improve relations with Sunni Arab nations in the region. Maliki's administration has been criticized for its close ties with Shiite-led Iran and accused of failing to deal firmly with Shiite militias at home.
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