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What are the odds?

Twice now, U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Stephen Rhodes has rejected proposed settlements that would enable the city of Detroit to extricate itself from terribly costly obligations known as “interest rate swaps.” These swaps were essentially a huge gamble, with the city betting that interest rates would rise over time when it borrowed more than $1.4 billion back in 2005-06 to shore up its two pension funds. I ...

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Puerto Rico is insolvent

Puerto Rico, a colony of the United States, had its bonds dropped to junk status in early February by all three ratings agencies. The U.S. colony of 3.6 million people of color is entering its eighth year of recession with official unemployment at 14.7 percent. The amount of debt that bankers claim against the island is over $70 billion. The newly-elected Governor Alejandro Garcia Padilla is cutting governm ...

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Detroit’s bankruptcy focus of new reporting collaborative: New Michigan Media newspapers join the effort

Five of the largest ethnic and minority newspapers have a critical role in a new reporting project examining the city’s bankruptcy and its effect on the region. Funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the project involves four nonprofit media organizations as well as New Michigan Media (NMM). All the media outlets, as part of the grant, will form the Detroit Journalism Cooperative where coordi ...

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Loans available for Detroit small businesses

The Local Initiatives Support Corporation is offering a new line of small business loans. This new infusion of dollars could aid entrepreneurs who are currently operating and those that wish to operate in low-income communities. Working with the Small Business Administration and its Community Advantage program, LISC will provide loans under $250,000 to small businesses that put down roots in distressed neig ...

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South African mineowners agree to talks to end weeks-long strike for pay

South African platinum mineowners, feeling the pinch of a three-week-long strike by workers, met the week of Feb. 10 with a mediator to discuss worker demands for a wage increase. More than 70,000 miners have been on strike since Jan. 23 after the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (AMCU) first made it demands for a higher living wage. ...

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Muslims in Central African Republic fear extermination

A Muslim-led coup that brought chaos in the Central African Republic now threatens to ignite one of the worst religious wars on the continent. Observers fear Muslims will be violently exterminated by Christians who suffered heavy losses during the short period the country was headed by Michel Djotodia, a Muslim, who seized power in a coup with a rebel army, also Muslim. ...

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Malawi joins hundreds ‘rising up’ against gender violence

The Girls Empowerment Network Malawi recently joined a global day of action for women worldwide whose message is “We’re proud to be girls. We’re proud to be women. We are not alone in the world.” The day of action against gender violence, Feb. 14, was marked by women’s groups across Africa and worldwide. The organizer, Eve Ensler, is a feminist activist and author of the play “The Vagina Monologues.” She ca ...

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‘TRAIN SECURITY GUARDS’

Royal Oak Township resident Mckenzie Cochran, 24, died Jan. 28 at the hands of three security guards at Northland Mall in Southfield. A mobile video shows the three mall cops holding down a hand-cuffed Cochran, pressing his chest against the floor — one has his knee in Cochran’s back — after pepper spraying him. Cochran can be heard saying, “I can’t breathe.” One of the guards responds, “If you can talk, yo ...

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Michael Dunn verdict seen as another permit to kill Black men

Civil rights leaders are shaking their heads and demanding justice after a jury verdict once again appeared to let the killer of a young Black man off the hook. Michael Dunn could actually face decades in prison as he was found guilty, Feb. 15, of three counts of attempted murder and one count of firing into an occupied vehicle. But, because the Jacksonville, Fla., jury did not reach a verdict on a charge o ...

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