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Wal-Mart can't account for 15,800 of its exit signs that contain a potentially dangerous radioactive gas

It began in late 2007 as a routine audit. Retail giant Wal-Mart noticed that some exit signs at the company's stores and warehouses had gone missing. As the audit spread across Wal-Mart's U.S. operations, the mystery thickened. Stores from Arkansas to Washington began reporting missing signs. They numbered in the hundreds at first, then the thousands. Last month Wal-Mart disclosed that about 15,800 of its exit signs – a stunning 20 per cent of its total inventory – are lost, missing, or otherwise unaccounted for at 4,500 facilities in the United States and Puerto Rico.

Poor housekeeping, certainly, but what's the big deal? In a word: radiation.

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Final Economic Stimulus Bill Permits Americans' Personal Health Information to Be Sold for Research and Public Health Purposes WITHOUT Patients' Consent

The final economic stimulus bill permits Americans' personal health information to be exchanged and sold -- without patients' consent -- for research and public-health purposes, warns the Institute for Health Freedom (Washington, DC) and Citizens' Council on Health Care (Saint Paul, MN).

The bill also mandates the plan for each American to have a single electronic health record by 2014, without opt-out or patient consent provisions.
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FBI investigating 530 corporate fraud cases

The FBI is conducting more than 500 investigations of corporate fraud amid the financial meltdown. FBI Deputy Director John Pistole is describing the bureau's efforts to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Pistole says there are 530 active corporate fraud investigations, and 38 of them involve corporate fraud and financial institution matters directly related to the economic crisis.

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TVNL Comment: Locking the barn door a bit late?  The horses are gone.  Just asking.

SEC chief resigns

AP reports that Securities and Exchange Commission Chief Linda Thomsen is leaving the agency less than a week after receiving an angry dressing-down before Congress over the agency’s failure to detect the $50 billion Ponzi scheme allegedly run by money manager Bernard Madoff.

Thomsen was front and center at a Feb. 4 hearing by a House subcommittee investigating the Madoff affair and the enforcement breakdown at the SEC. She was put on the defensive by lawmakers and forced to defend the SEC's position that she and other officials couldn't publicly discuss details of the matter because of an ongoing investigation by the agency's inspector general.

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FAA to loosen fuel-tank safety rules, benefiting Boeing's 787

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has quietly decided to loosen stringent fuel-tank safety regulations written after the 1996 fuel-tank explosion that destroyed flight TWA 800 off the coast of New York state.

The FAA proposes to relax the safeguards for preventing sparks inside the fuel tank during a lightning strike, standards the agency now calls "impractical" and Boeing says its soon-to-fly 787 Dreamliner cannot meet.

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Todd Palin held in contempt of Alaska state Senate

The husband of 2008 Republican vice presidential candidate Gov. Sarah Palin has been found guilty of contempt by the Alaskan Senate.

Last summer, Todd Palin and others had refused to comply with subpoenas issued by Alaska lawmakers seeking testimony in the "Troopergate" investigation launched in July, triggered by the allegedly forced resignation of a state official.

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Whistleblower says Madoff had help, blasts SEC

Harry Markopolos, a former investment manager who warned U.S. regulators about Bernard Madoff, criticized the Securities and Exchange Commission and said on Wednesday that Madoff had help in running his alleged $50 billion fraud.

Markopolos told Congress that the SEC staff was neither willing nor able to uncover what Madoff, accused of having run the world's biggest Ponzi scheme, was really doing. He also said that he knows the names of a dozen other so-called feeder funds that helped Madoff raise money from pension funds and wealthy investors and that he would turn these over to regulators this week.

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