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Friday, Jul 25th

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Judge says will accept SAC Capital guilty plea

SAC guilty pleaA federal judge agreed to accept SAC Capital Advisors' guilty plea to fraud charges in the U.S. government's insider trading case against the hedge fund firm controlled by billionaire Steven A. Cohen.

U.S. District Judge Laura Taylor Swain said she will accept the plea at a Thursday hearing in Manhattan federal court.  She is also expected to decide at the hearing whether to accept SAC Capital's agreement to pay a $900 million fine in its settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice, as part of an overall $1.8 billion payout to resolve criminal and civil litigation.

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U.S. Obama signs executive order on equal pay for women

equal pay for equal workKeeping with his promise to champion women’s rights in the workplace, President Barack Obama signed an executive order Tuesday that addresses the issue of unequal pay among federal contractors. While equal-pay advocates hail the move as a victory, many also say it doesn’t go far enough.

The executive order addresses the federal government’s gender wage gap by mandating that contractors publish wage data — by gender and race — to ensure compliance with equal-pay laws. The order also prohibits contractors from retaliating against employees who compare salaries.

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Forget about the "1%." Top "0.1% pulling ahead more

wealthiest americansThe "top 1%" might be the primary target of the masses' ire and envy, but it's actually the top 0.1% who are grabbing a bigger slice of wealth.

The average household in the top 1% pulled in earnings of $1,264,065 in 2012, according to a just-released analysis by investment firm Sadoff Investment Research. That's 41 times greater than the $30,997 average income of Americans.

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Bank Of America To Pay $9 Billion To Settle Mortgage Securities Suit

bank of americaHere’s a story that’s starting to sound weirdly familiar: Bank of America Corp. just agreed to pay $9.5 billion to settle U.S. claims linked to mortgages sold to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from 2005 to 2007. The deal, which roughly $6.3 billion in cash to end legal claims and an agreement to buy back $3.2 billion worth of mortgage-backed bonds, might seem like a landmark … if it was not so similar to multi-billion dollar agreements Bank of America signed in 2011 and 2013.

The 2013 deal, signed that January, also involved paying $3.6 billion in cash and buying back mortgages with billions of dollars in outstanding principal. At the time, Bank of America CEO Brian T. Moynihan called the 2013 agreements “a significant step in resolving our remaining legacy mortgage issues.” One analyst told Bloomberg that the deal would let Bank of America put its Fannie and Freddie issues behind it.

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Citigroup reports nearly $400m fraud in Mexico unit

Citigroup reports fraudCitigroup Inc (C.N) said on Friday that it has discovered at least $400 million in fraudulent loans in its Mexico subsidiary and said employees may have been in on the crime.

The bank wrote down bogus loans to a company whose assets Mexican law enforcement officials have now seized. Citigroup's 2013 profit fell by $235 million to $13.67 billion after the write-down. Citigroup Chief Executive Officer Michael Corbat called the incident a "despicable crime" and said the bank believes it was an isolated episode.

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Wealth gap is widest in some affluent US cities

NYCThe gap between the wealthy and the poor is most extreme in several of the United States' most prosperous and largest cities.

The economic divides in Atlanta, San Francisco, Washington, New York, Chicago and Los Angeles are significantly greater than in the rest of the country, according to a study released Thursday by the Brookings Institution, the Washington-based think tank. It suggests that many sources of both economic growth and income inequality have co-existed near each other for the past 35 years .

These cities may struggle in the future to provide adequate public schooling, basic municipal services because of a narrow tax base and "may fail to produce housing and neighborhoods accessible to middle-class workers and families," the study said.

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Nation of Change: More Inequality Shock

inequalityInequality is a cancer on society, here in the U.S. and across the globe. It keeps growing. But humanity seems helpless against it, as if it's an alien force that no one understands, even as the life is being gradually drained from its victims.

The recent Oxfam report on global wealth inequality reveals some of the ugly extremes that have divided our world. It also directs our attention to the Global Wealth Report compiled by Credit Suisse, and the companion Databook, which offer a shocking testament to the severity of U.S. and global inequality.

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