Federal Housing Administration

10 things you need to know today: June 18, 2014

Obama discusses the capture of Khattala. 

Obama discusses the capture of Khattala. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

The Week

Commandos catch the suspected Benghazi ringleader, a suicide bomber targets Nigerian World Cup fans, and more

1. Commandos capture alleged ringleader in Benghazi attack
American commandos seized the suspected leader of the Sept. 11, 2012, attack that killed ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans in Benghazi, Libya, the Obama administration announced Tuesday. President Obama said the capture of the suspect, Ahmed Abu Khattala, should send the message that, “When Americans are attacked, no matter how long it takes, we will find those responsible and we will bring them to justice.” [The New York TimesBBC News]

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2. Bomber attacks soccer fans in Nigeria
An apparent suicide bomber riding a tricycle taxi attacked an outdoor viewing center in northern Nigeria on Tuesday as a crowd gathered to watch the Brazil-Mexico World Cup match. As many as 21 people, including small children, were killed, according to a hospital source. No one immediately claimed responsibility, but the prime suspect is Boko Haram, an Islamist insurgent group blamed for a similar attack that killed 14 earlier this month. [New York Daily NewsCNN]

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3. Executions resume after botched April lethal injection
Georgia and Missouri overnight conducted the country’s first executions since a botched April 29 lethal injection in Oklahoma. Georgia executed 58-year-old Marcus Wellons for raping and murdering a 15-year-old girl in 1989. Early Wednesday, Missouri executed John Winfield for the 1996 shooting deaths of two women. Several states have postponed executions since Oklahoma halted the lethal injection of Clayton Lockett, who died anyway of a heart attack. [Voice of America]

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4. Google confirms it is launching a paid streaming-music site
Google’s YouTube announced Tuesday that it planned to start offering a paid streaming music service. YouTube reportedly has signed deals with 95 percent of the music labels included in its existing ad-supported music video site, and said it was partnering with “hundreds of major and independent” labels for the new one. Critics feared that YouTube might keep labels that don’t join the paid service off of the free video site. [Rolling Stone]

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5. SunTrust settles mortgage allegations for nearly $1 billion
SunTrust Banks has agreed to pay $968 million to settle allegations of possible wrongdoing in its mortgage business leading up to the 2008 financial crisis. The company admitted to making loans that were insured by the Federal Housing Administration but didn’t meet its requirements. $500 million of the settlement goes toward relief for consumers hurt by bad mortgages, and the rest is a penalty. [Fox Business]

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6. Maliki fires four military commanders as Sunni militants surge
Sunni militants in Iraq continued their offensive on Wednesday, attacking the country’s largest oil refinery. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki fired four of his top military officers on Tuesday over their failure to perform “their national duty” and stop the advance by the Islamic extremists, the government said. The rebels have taken over several cities over the last week and vowed to attack Baghdad. [USA TodayUPI]

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7. Experts expect Amazon’s hyped new product to be a smartphone
Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is unveiling a major new product in Seattle on Wednesday. A YouTube teaser video suggests the new gadget will be a long-rumored Amazon smartphone, according to industry analysts. Amazon already competes directly with Apple with its iPad-rivaling Kindle tablet, streaming entertainment, and digital music and books. An Amazon smartphone would present a new, low-budget challenge to Apple’s iPhone, its most profitable gadget. [Forbes]

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8. Obama proposes vast new marine sanctuary
President Obama on Tuesday announced a proposal to ban fishing, oil exploration, and other activities in a vast section of the central Pacific Ocean. “I’m going to use my authority to protect some of our nation’s most precious marine landscapes,” Obama said. The proposal is on track to take effect later this year after a comment period. If enacted, it would create the world’s largest marine sanctuary. [The Washington Post]

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9. Rare 1856 stamp fetches a record $9.5 million at auction
A rare, 1-cent stamp from 19th-century British Guiana sold for a record $9.5 million in a Sotheby’s auction on Tuesday. The “British Guiana One-Cent Black on Magenta” was printed in 1856 after the then-colony ran out of stamps from London. The postmaster had clerks initial every stamp to prevent counterfeiting. This is the fourth time the stamp has broken the record for highest auction sale price. [CBS News]

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10. Mexico holds Brazil to a scoreless World Cup tie
Mexico held soccer powerhouse and host team Brazil scoreless Tuesday in one of the biggest thrillers yet in the 2014 World Cup. The star of the game was Mexico goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa, who held Brazil to a 0-0 draw with several spectacular saves, including one that kept Brazilian superstar Neymar from knocking a header just inside the post. Ochoa “came up with at least four miracles,” Brazil striker Fred said. [The Associated Press]

LET ‘EM DROWN

Why are Republicans so clueless when it comes to anyone outside of their rich folks’ club bubble?

The Huffington Post

John Boehner: Time For Government To Stop Helping Homeowners

House Speaker John Boehner thinks it’s about time for the government to stop trying to aid people with underwater mortgages.

Responding to a plan President Barack Obama  unveiled Wednesday to help homeowners refinance, Boehner scoffed at the idea and then suggested government should get out of the way of  increasing foreclosures and falling prices.

“One more time? We’ve done this. We’ve done this at least four times where there’s a new government program to help homeowners who have trouble with their mortgages,” the Ohio Republican told reporters on Capitol Hill.

“None of these programs have worked. I don’t know why anyone would think that this next idea is going to work,” Boehner continued. “All it does is delay the clearing of the market. As soon as the market clears and we understand where the prices really are — [that] will be the most important thing we can do in order to improve home values around the country.”

Obama’s plan would require legislation from Congress to permit the Federal Housing Administration to help certain homeowners — specifically, those who are underwater but current in their payments and whose loans are not held by the FHA, Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac — to obtain new loans at better interest rates, saving $3,000 a year on average. A similar plan already aids people whose mortgages are held by one of those government-backed entities, but other homeowners usually cannot get a bank to refinance their loans.

While the administration’s loan modification effort so far have fallen far short of its goals — reaching fewer than 1 million homeowners when it aimed for 4 million with the last initiative — Shaun Donovan, secretary of housing and urban development, argued Wednesday that doing more is vital.

“Economists on all sides of the political spectrum have recognized that a broad-scale refinancing effort is one of the most important things that we can do, not only for families and for the housing market, but also for the economy more broadly,” Donovan said at a White House briefing.

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