The following is a rundown of the day’s news drawn from other media sources with topics curated just for Money and Markets readers: personal security and freedom, the Venezuelan crisis and Bitcoin.
Personal Security and Freedom
Swiss Bank Accused of Helping Clients Evade U.S. Taxes
Switzerland’s second-largest bank, Credit Suisse, used elaborate measures to find wealthy clients and help an estimated 19,000 U.S. customers evade American tax authorities, a scathing report from a Senate inquiry said.
NSA Watchdog: Snowden Should Have Come to Me
The National Security Agency’s top watchdog slammed Edward Snowden on Tuesday for failing to follow official protocol in relaying his concerns about wayward intelligence gathering and also faulted Congress for not vetting the details of post-9/11 surveillance programs.
IRS Warns: Obamacare Tax Must Be Paid With Tax Return
Internal Revenue Service today quietly released a series of Obamacare “Health Care Tax Tips” warning Americans that they must obtain “qualifying” health insurance — as defined by the federal government — or face a “shared responsibility payment” when filing their tax returns in 2015.
Dad May Join Two Moms for ‘Disease-Free’ Designer Babies
A new technology aimed at eliminating genetic disease in newborns would combine the DNA of three people, instead of just two, to create a child, potentially redrawing ethical lines for designer babies.
Video Shows Officer Confronting Man Filming Arrests in Towson
Early Sunday morning, a man videotaped as Baltimore County police arrested two people in Towson. As the video rolled, he was confronted by an officer. “I thought I had freedom of speech here,” the man said. “You don’t. You just lost it,” the officer replied.
Venezuelan Crisis Unfolds
U.S. Expelling Three Venezuelan Diplomats
The United States has expelled three Venezuelan diplomats in response to similar action against three U.S. consular officials in Caracas. Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro expelled three U.S. diplomats from Caracas on Feb. 17, saying they were supporting opposition plots to overthrow him.
Venezuela Opposition Cancels Talks as Unrest Grows
“How do we go amid the repression, amid the violation of human rights,” Henrique Capriles, a two-time presidential hopeful and current Miranda state governor, told reporters in Caracas yesterday. “The presidential palace is not the place for dialogue in the country.”
Venezuela’s Maduro Faces Internal Criticism
A state governor and longtime ally of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro condemned attacks on protesters that have roiled the country, becoming the first critical voice from within the ruling party’s ranks.
‘Venezuela Is the New Cuba’
Marco Rubio, the Florida Republican, spoke Monday on the Senate floor about the reign of oppression in his parents’ native Cuba and in Venezuela. Rubio gave the address after Iowa Democratic senator Tom Harkin gave a rosy evaluation of Cuba after a recent trip there.
Ex-President Carter Planning Trip to Venezuela
Carter, a mediator of past political conflict in the deeply polarized South American nation, made the offer in private letters he sent this week to President Nicolas Maduro and opposition leader Henrique Capriles.
Bitcoin Exchange Disappears
Mt. Gox Website Says All Transactions Closed “for the Time Being”
Prominent Bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox posted an update on its website on Tuesday, saying a “decision was taken to close all transactions for the time being,” citing “recent news reports and the potential repercussions on MtGox’s operations.”
Mt. Gox Receives Subpoena from Federal Prosecutor
Mt. Gox, one of the largest Bitcoin exchanges, shut down on Tuesday, underscoring the risks of the virtual currency that has seen a meteoric rise in the past year. The subpoena was sent this month and asked Mt. Gox to preserve certain documents among other things.
Bitcoin Exchange Fears $400 Million Theft
Bitcoin is facing the biggest test of confidence in the nascent virtual currency, after its oldest and most famous exchange went dark and customers feared the loss of $400 million worth of Bitcoin.
Bitcoin ATMs Coming to the U.S.
Kiosks that allow people to buy the virtual coins, or exchange them for cash, will be installed within the next month or so in Seattle and Austin, Texas, according to Robocoin, the Las Vegas-based company that makes the machines.
The Money and Markets Team