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, immigration, business and economy.
Personal security and freedom
New York City Awash in Cheap Heroin
Heroin seizures in New York State are up 67 percent over the past four years, the federal Drug Enforcement Administration said. Last year, the agency’s New York office seized 144 kilograms of heroin, nearly 20 percent of its seizures nationwide, valued at roughly $43 million.
Feds: NSA ‘Probably’ Spies on Members of Congress
Deputy Attorney General James Cole buckled under questioning from multiple lawmakers during a House Judiciary Committee hearing reviewing proposals to reform the NSA’s surveillance activity. The NSA “probably” collects phone records of members of Congress and their staffs, a senior Justice Department official conceded Tuesday.
Federal Emergency Alert System Easily Taken Over by Hackers
The underlying problem is the failure of federal agencies to hire top-notch information-technology workers, pay them enough and give them enough clout to enforce routine security practices. Agency directors are rarely held accountable for security failures, experts said, because it is often unclear who is responsible.
Pope: Unjust Unemployment Can Mean Sin, Suicide
“When power, luxury and money become idols, they take priority over the need for a fair distribution of wealth,” he said in the short message. “Our consciences thus need to be converted to justice, equality, simplicity and sharing.”
U.S. Fighting Increase in Tax Crimes Under Obama
The U.S. government has been bringing more criminal tax prosecutions against Americans under President Barack Obama than under President George W. Bush, with a surge in tax-refund fraud partly to blame, a non-partisan watchdog said on Tuesday.
‘Limit Immigration or Watch Conservative Efforts Become Irrelevant’
For reasons largely outside the control of conservatives, immigrants and their children gravitate to left-wing parties in almost all Western countries. The problem for conservatives is not race or ethnicity but immigration as such.
Immigrant Teen Faces Deportation After Killing Two in Hit-and-Run
Prosecutors said the crash on Oct. 20 in Forest Grove, 25 miles west of Portland, was an accident. But they say the teen failed to come forward after learning she might have struck the children in the leaf pile, which was on the street. Police found her the following day.
Sotomayor: Labeling Illegal Immigrants Criminals Is Insulting
She was asked at a talk at Yale Law School later in the day about her use of the term “undocumented immigrants” rather than the traditional illegal alien. “I think people then paint those individuals as something less-than-worthy human beings and it changes the conversation,” Sotomayor said.
New York City Public School Kids Getting New Muslim, Lunar New Year Holidays
Mayor de Blasio said Monday that he’d move forward with closing schools for Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha, two Muslim holy days, and for Lunar New Year. But he was hesitant regarding Hindu festival Diwali.
Republicans to Rescue Democrats, Betray the Nation
The Republican plan for granting legalization up front, while withholding citizenship, is too clever by half. It is like saying that you can slide halfway down a slippery slope. Republicans may yet rescue the Democrats, while demoralizing their own supporters and utterly failing the country.
Business and economy
Debt Up $6.66 Trillion Under Obama
The total debt of the United States did not exceed $6.66 trillion from the country’s founding until July 2003. In the little more than five years of the Obama presidency, the U.S. has accumulated as much new debt as it did in its first 227 years.
Call for Calm After $3 Trillion Global Stock Wipeout
“We didn’t expect the U.S. would be this weak,” Kathy Matsui, chief Japan strategist for Goldman Sachs in Tokyo, said by e-mail. “Since we do not see sufficient reason to change our fundamental earnings outlook and stock prices have fallen, the market still appears attractive to us.”
Trump Vows to Cut N.Y. Taxes by 50 Percent
Newsmax CEO Christopher Ruddy joined billionaire Donald Trump at his Super Bowl Bash in Palm Beach, Fla., on Sunday and heard first-hand from the real estate mogul what his key election plank would be if he chooses to run for governor of New York later this year.
California Drought, as Seen from Space: No Snow, No Water
“We can’t make it rain, but we can be much better prepared for the terrible consequences that California’s drought now threatens, including dramatically less water for our farms and communities and increased fires in both urban and rural areas,” Governor Jerry Brown said in declaring the state of emergency last month.
Airline-Pilot Shortage Arrives Ahead of Schedule
The shortage flows from both a long-anticipated wave of pilot retirements and recently enacted rules that require an increase in training for new pilots and more rest for existing aviators at passenger airlines.
The Money and Markets Team