Wikinews interviews Stephen Murphy about the upcoming by-election in the Higgins electorate of the Australian parliament

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

With two by-elections coming up in Australia, many minor parties and independents will be looking to gain a seat in the House of Representatives. Stephen Murphy is one of the independents.

Mr Murphy is a computer programmer from the Melbourne suburb of Brunswick.

“After growing up in South-East Melbourne I studied Science at Monash with first class Honours, worked in Europe for 10 years and have recently returned to Australia. I work in finance as a computer programmer and speak five languages,” Mr Murphy said.

Wikinews reporter Patrick Gillett held an exclusive email interview with Mr Murphy, candidate for the Division of Higgins.

((WN)) Why do you want to get into parliament?

Stephen Murphy: I am standing up for what I believe is the correct course of action on the biggest issue in Australian politics in 100 years – Kevin Rudd’s flawed emissions trading scheme (ETS).

((WN)) What would the three main policies you are taking into this by-election be?

SM: I will oppose the emissions trading scheme, ensure that all government policy is based on accurate scientific evidence and return common sense to Canberra

((WN)) How would you address these policies?

SM: By asking for a Royal Commission into climate change so that the facts (such as that global warming stopped in 2001 and the emissions trading scheme will not change the climate one bit) are openly presented to the Australian people.

((WN)) Sending asylum seekers to Indonesia: good or bad?

SM: Any government policy that does not properly consider all implications (be it emissions trading, or any other issue) is a bad one.

((WN)) Is the Australian dollar’s near parity with the US dollar a sign that the Australian economy is healthy, the US economy in chaos or both?

SM: It’s a sign of both. Many countries around the world look with envy at how well (relatively) Australia is doing, to our credit! It is of concern that the American economy is in such bad shape and that their levels of debt seem unsustainable.

((WN)) How do you rate the governments economic stimulus package?

SM: The economic stimulus package was poorly targeted and poorly carried out. When we could have been building roads, dams, railways and hospitals yet instead we were paying for tattoos, PlayStations and overseas holidays.

((WN)) Should it be wound back?

SM: The question about levels of stimulus spending is a complicated one and requires expertise in economics, however one could say in general terms that all government spending should be well targeted and spent in the most efficient way.

((WN)) Is Kevin Rudd a better Prime Minister than John Howard?’

SM: Australian voters are the best judge of that and we will know in 2019 🙂

((WN)) Is the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme an effective solution to climate change? Why?

SM: Absolutely not. The CPRS will not change the climate by any amount that we can measure – it’s just a new tax that will hurt Australians and drive businesses and jobs overseas. Since 2003 there has been mountains of new scientific data which contradicts the popular theory that human carbon dioxide emissions are causing significant global warming. Recently, many of the scientists who wrote the IPCC report (on which the ETS / CPRS is based) have been reported as manipulating scientific data to create scary global warming scenarios. The science is definitely not settled

((WN)) Is there a better solution?

SM: We can very easily refocus the momentum and goodwill that has been generated on climate change and channel this energy into other worthwhile environmental projects in Australia that will make a difference.

((WN)) Why should the electorate vote for you?

SM: I will oppose the ETS and support responsible environmental policies instead of radical environmental policies that could end up costing every Australian taxpayer $4550 per year in new taxes.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Wikinews_interviews_Stephen_Murphy_about_the_upcoming_by-election_in_the_Higgins_electorate_of_the_Australian_parliament&oldid=4567772”

Driftwood crucifix listed on eBay for $25,000

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Monday, March 21, 2005A piece of driftwood in the shape of a crucifix is listed for sale on eBay with a starting bid price of $25,000. The seller, known as “Marzipanda,” from Scottsdale, Arizona lists its description as a “Natural Found Wood Jesus Christ Crucifix Cross Easter.”

Maripanda describes the discovery of the piece as, “My very dear friend found this amazing natural driftwood while hiking a few years ago. So striking because it clearly resembles the Lord and all the details.”

Expensive found art Christiana made international headlines in November 2004 when a Florida woman named Diana Duyser sold a partially eaten grilled cheese sandwich on eBay for $28,000 to Canadian online gambling website, GoldenPalace.com, after claiming she saw the likeness of the Virgin Mary burned onto the toast.

But not all high-priced Christian fare on eBay is of dubious value. A perusal of Christian-themed items as of March 20, showed 13,944 for sale on eBay. They ranged from other found art to some very expensive and authenticated rare art.

One such item has an eBay seller from Tel-Aviv, Israel listing a 19th century iron wall plaque with a starting bid of $30,000 and a shipping cost of $2,000, making it the most-expensive Christian religious item listed for sale on the auction web site.

Under the “Christian Icons” section of the site, the 14 cast iron plaques are advertised to have been made in 1855 and portrays “Jesus in Jerusalem” with the 14 stations of Christ.

Another high-priced Christian-themed item is a set of chalices and paten in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida for $3,550. The gold-plated silver is thought to have been made in the 1870s.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Driftwood_crucifix_listed_on_eBay_for_$25,000&oldid=2606825”

Study says poor African American women less likely to receive pap smears

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Wednesday, December 28, 2005Black American women living in communities with high poverty rates are significantly less likely to be screened for cervical cancer, a study finds.

The Harvard School of Public Health’s Geetanjali Dabral Datta investigated the relationship between individual characteristics and larger socioeconomic factors and cervical cancer screening rates. The Febreuary 1 issue of Cancer carries the study. More than 40,000 black women from across the United States participated in the Black Women’s Health Study.

“African-American women have twice the mortality rate from cervical cancer as white women,” said Elizabeth Ward, the director of the American Cancer Society. “Researchers need to investigate how those differences are related to socioeconomic status. One of the big factors that may account for this finding is access to high-quality medical care. Often communities that have high poverty rates either lack access to good quality care, or people have to travel longer distances to obtain high-quality care.”

David L. Katz at Yale University’s School of Medicine said; “While this finding is not surprising, it is noteworthy just the same. No one should die of cervical cancer, because a simple screening test reliably finds the condition in its earliest stages when cure is almost universally achievable. Yet, several thousand deaths from this cancer occur each year in the U.S.”

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Study_says_poor_African_American_women_less_likely_to_receive_pap_smears&oldid=2185159”

Eurovision 2008: First semi-final held in Belgrade

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Last night saw the first semi final of this year’s Eurovision Song Contest in Belgrade, Serbia. The entries from Israel, Azerbaijan, Norway, Poland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Armenia, Finland, Romania, Russia and Greece are through to the final, leaving the representatives from Montenegro, Estonia, Moldova, San Marino, Belgium, Slovenia, Ireland, Andorra and the Netherlands failing to qualify for this weekend’s final.

The aforementioned countries join host nation Serbia, automatically through as is last year’s winner, and the ‘big four’ – the United Kingdom, France, Germany and Spain. The other entries will compete in the second semi final tomorrow. Below is a summary of each entry in running order:

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Eurovision_2008:_First_semi-final_held_in_Belgrade&oldid=4580648”

Filing Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

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byalex

Bankruptcy is legal mechanism which allows a debtor to wipe clean their debts and to give them financial relief from creditors and others pursuing them. When you file bankruptcy, most of your assets are surrendered to a court-appointed trustee who will liquidate said assets to go towards paying back your debts. This includes vehicles and artwork and houses and electronics and toys. For people who don’t want to forfeit their belongings (or for those whose income is too high and cannot file a liquidation bankruptcy) a Chapter 13 in Toms River is a viable, and sometimes only, option.

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A Chapter 13 in Toms River is a bankruptcy in which your creditors agree to a repayment plan of your debt. The steps to do this is to first hire a qualified lawyer who understands bankruptcy Chapter 13 in Toms River who will thoroughly analyze your assets, your income and expenses to determine if you pass the means test. This test is used to compare your income to the mean of others in your area. If your income is too high, then filing for a Chapter 7 liquidation bankruptcy is not an option, and a Chapter 13 is your only alternative.

Working with your attorney, you will list all of your creditors– secured and unsecured– and put together a good faith proposal of how much of a monthly payment you can afford to make towards your debt and for how long you will have to make those payments. Most payment plans last anywhere from as little as three years and go up to five years. You get to keep your assets– your cars and house and other items– and once you have completed the term of your payments, any remaining debt amount is discharged and your Chapter 13 in Toms River is closed out.

If you have unsecured debts such as medical bills and credit card debt, your bankruptcy lawyer should be able to negotiate with them to accept reduced payoffs, sometimes as little as pennies on the dollar. Secured debts take priority over non-secured debts. Secured debts are debts which there is collateral securing the debts such as house secures a mortgage debt and a car secures an auto loan. These creditors must agree to your proposal for your Chapter 13 to be accepted.

If you make too much money or you do not want to surrender your assets, the Law Offices of Lee D. Gottesman provides a lawyer to help you file a bankruptcy Chapter 13 in Toms River, New Jersey (NJ). Get in touch with them!

Bank of America leads Consumer Financial Protection Bureau complaints about mortgages

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Thursday, October 3, 2013

A review this week by Wikinews of US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) complaints about mortgages in the United States shows Bank of America leads all lending institutions in complaints.

Since mortgages complaints were recorded in December 2011, 77,622 total have been added to CFPB’s database. 29.2% of these complaints involved Bank of America, with the second most received by Wells Fargo, accounting for 15.5% of all complaints. JPMorgan Chase ranked third by volume of complaints with 9.8%. Ocwen was fourth with 8.7% and Citibank was fifth with 4.8%. Nationstar Mortgage; Green Tree Servicing, LLC; HSBC; PNC Bank; U.S. Bancorp; OneWest Bank; SunTrust Bank; Flagstar Bank; and Select Portfolio Servicing, Inc. each had between 1.0 and 3.8% of total complaints. The remaining 14.4% of all complaints about consumer mortgages were divided between about 530 other lending institutions.

The Motley Fool reported last month that for the past fiscal quarter, the biggest US based mortgage lenders were from first to fifth Wells Fargo, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Quicken Loans and U.S. Bancorp.

According to the US Federal Reserve, debt for family residences stands at US$10.706 trillion for the second quarter of 2013. As of the end of June of this year, Bank of America is the United States’s second largest commercial bank with US$1.343 trillion in domestic assets. Wells Fargo is the fourth largest commercial bank with US$1.251 trillion in domestic assets. JPMorgan Chase is the largest US commercial bank with US$1.329 trillion in domestic assets and US$1.947 trillion in total assets.

The mortgage complaints in the CFPB report include several subproducts. Conventional fixed mortgages account for 27.1% of all complaints. Conventional adjustable mortgages account for 10.0%. FHA mortgages account for 7.7% of all complaints. Home equity loans or lines of credit account for 3.8% of all complaints. VA mortgages are 1.4% of all complaints. Second mortgages and reverse mortgages each account for 0.6% of complaints. The remaining 48.7% of complaints are about other mortgages or other mortgage issues. A few years ago, FHA loans accounted for about 10% of all US mortgages while VA loans accounted for about 3%. Prime loans accounted for over 75% of the market and the rest were subprime mortgages.

California leads all states by volume of complaints with 14768. It is followed by Florida, New York, Georgia and Texas. When complaints are divided by a state’s total population, New Hampshire leads. The state is followed by Washington D.C., Maryland, Georgia and Florida. Complaints do not correlate with national rankings for August’s foreclosure rate by state where Nevada topped the list, followed by Florida, Ohio, Maryland and Delaware.

Two zip codes account for over 1,000 total complaints between them. 565 complaints originated in the 48382 zip code, which is in Commerce Township, Michigan, located in suburban Detroit. 553 complaints originated in the 33071 zip code, in Coral Springs, Florida. According to real estate website Zillow, there are currently 1,033 properties in foreclosure in Coral Springs while Commerce Township only has 131 properties currently in foreclosure. Four other zip codes have 100 plus complaints originating from them. 91730, in Rancho Cucamonga, California, had 158 complaints. 33409, in West Palm Beach, Florida, had 132. 92626, in Costa Mesa, California, had 125 complaints. 92660, in Newport Beach, California, had 122 complaints. Respectively, the towns had 534, 1,068, 153, and 134 properties currently in foreclosure. These numbers are higher than for the cities of a few sampled zip codes where there was only one complaint, such as Gold Hill, Oregon which has 4 properties in foreclosure, and Decatur, Illinois which has 6 properties in foreclosure.

The CFPB categorizes complaints into six categories: “Loan modification, collection,foreclosure” or problems when a person is unable to pay; “Loan servicing, payments, escrow account” or problems with making a payment; “Application, originator, mortgage broker”; “Credit decision / Underwriting”; “Settlement process and costs”, and “Other”. The CFPB says the complaint types indicate consumers “appear to be driven by a desire to seek agreement with their companies on foreclosure alternatives. The complaints indicate that consumer confusion persists around the process and requirements for obtaining loan modifications and refinancing, especially regarding document submission timeframes, payment trial periods, allocation of payments, treatment of income in eligibility calculations, and credit bureau reporting during the evaluation period.” Currently, 59.6% of all complaints against lenders deal with being unable to pay. 25.1% deal with problems in making a payment. 7.0% have to do with the application process.

Of the complaint-heavy zip codes, for 48382 in Commerce Township, Michigan, 98.9% of all complaints have to deal with being unable to pay. Accounting for 23.4% of all mortgage complaints in Commerce Township, 132 of the complaints for being unable to pay were made regarding Bank of America, accounting for 97.8% or all but 3 complaints against them from the zip. 121 of the Bank of America responses in Commerce Township were closed with explanation and 12 were closed with non-monetary relief. 33071 in Coral Springs is different, with 537 of the 553 complaints being categorized under other. Only 11 complaints relate to foreclosure and issues with being able to pay. 92626 in Costa Mesa, where 32% of the mortgage complaints were about Bank of America and 26.4% were about Wells Fargo, had 93.6% of its complaints dealing with being unable to pay. 5 total complaints dealt with payment issues and 3 dealt with applications.

Beyond regional variance in complaint types lodged, the top five mortgage lenders by volume of complaints all had being unable to pay as their top complaint category, ranging between 55.8% for Citibank and 69.4% for Bank of America. Problems with payment accounted for the second largest area of complaints, with Ocwen having the largest percentage of complaints at 31.9% and Bank of America having the smallest at 18.8%. Foreclosure was the top area of complaints for a number of other lending institutions including 1st Alliance Lending, OneWest Bank, Ally Bank, Banco Popular de Puerto Rico, Bank of the West, BMO Harris, BOK Financial Corp, Caliber Home Loans, Inc, Capital One, Deutsche Bank and EverBank.

Nationally, complaints reached a high of 5,840 for January 2013, 1,107 more than the next highest month of April 2013. The total emerging for September is the second lowest since records were first kept in December 2011. On a state by state level, this pattern largely repeats with a major exception for Florida which saw a peak of 849 complaints in June 2012. Then, as now, Florida was one of the top five states in the nation in its foreclosure rate. The national January spike came as the Qualified Mortgage standard required by the The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 came into play. It required mortgage lenders to take steps to insure borrowers could repay their mortgages.

Bank of America’s complaint volume follows the national trend, with a spike in January 2013 with 1,925 total complaints. Unlike nationally, the next month by volume of complaints was February of this year with 1,598 complaints. Prior to that, the highest month was May 2012 with 1,418 complaints. The lowest volume of complaints is September this year with 334.

Wells Fargo matched national trends for volume of complaints by month, with the exception of the current month being the lowest on record for number of complaints with 197 compared to the next lowest month, December 2011, when they had 221. JPMorgan’s complaint volume by month spiked in January and March of this year with 504 complaints. April of this year was the next highest month with 493 complaints, edging out May of last year with 488 complaints. September this year is on track to be the lowest month by complaint volume.

The federal government shutdown is unlikely to impact the current mortgage situation in the United States directly for most consumers, though mortgage processing by the Federal Housing Administration could be slower, resulting in fewer mortgages processed.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Bank_of_America_leads_Consumer_Financial_Protection_Bureau_complaints_about_mortgages&oldid=3250043”

Wikinews interviews 2020 Melbourne Lord Mayor Candidate Wayne Tseng

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This article mentions the Wikimedia Foundation, one of its projects, or people related to it. Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

2020 Melbourne Lord Mayor candidate Wayne Tseng answered some questions about his campaign for the upcoming election from Wikinews. The Lord Mayor election in the Australian city is scheduled to take place this week.

Tseng runs a firm called eTranslate, which helps software developers to make the software available to the users. In the candidate’s questionnaire, Tseng said eTranslate had led to him working with all three tiers of the government. He previously belonged to the Australian Liberal Party, but has left since then, to run for mayorship as an independent candidate.

Tseng is of Chinese descent, having moved to Australia with his parents from Vietnam. Graduated in Brisbane, Tseng received his PhD in Melbourne and has been living in the city, he told Wikinews. Tseng also formed Chinese Precinct Chamber of Commerce, an organisation responsible for many “community bond building initiatives”, the Lord Mayor candidate told Wikinews.

Tseng discussed his plans for leading Melbourne, recovering from COVID-19, and “Democracy 2.0” to ensure concerns of minorities in the city were also heard. Tseng also focused on the importance of the multi-culture aspect and talked about making Melbourne the capital of the aboriginals. Tseng also explained why he thinks Melbourne is poised to be a world city by 2030.

Tseng’s deputy Lord Mayor candidate Gricol Yang is a Commercial Banker and works for ANZ Banking Group.

Currently, Sally Capp is the Lord Mayor of Melbourne, the Victorian capital. Capp was elected as an interim Lord Mayor in mid-2018 after the former Lord Mayor Robert Doyle resigned from his position after sexual assault allegations. Doyle served as the Lord Mayor of Melbourne for almost a decade since 2008.

Retrieved from “https://en.wikinews.org/w/index.php?title=Wikinews_interviews_2020_Melbourne_Lord_Mayor_Candidate_Wayne_Tseng&oldid=4598699”

Category:Health

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  • 21 December 2020: Prime Minister of Slovakia Igor Matovi? tests positive for COVID-19
  • 27 November 2020: Wikinews interviews Craig Farquharson, Liberal Democrat candidate for 2020 Groom by-election
  • 12 October 2020: Second US Biden-Trump debate cancelled amid safety controversy
  • 3 October 2020: US President Donald Trump tests positive for COVID-19
  • 22 August 2020: Russia’s Navalny airlifted to Germany
  • 8 July 2020: 11-month old baby finds illegal drugs in playground in British Columbia, Canadian police report
  • 5 June 2020: Face coverings to be mandatory on public transport in England from June 15, transport secretary declares
  • 29 May 2020: SARS-CoV-2 surpasses 100,000 confirmed deaths in the United States
  • 29 April 2020: SARS-CoV-2 surpasses one million confirmed infections in the United States
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The Most Commonly Overlooked Tax Deductions}

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The Most Commonly Overlooked Tax Deductions

by

roni deutch

1. Mortgage Insurance Premiums

Although most people remember to deduct mortgage interest they paid, many forget that mortgage insurance premiums are also deductible. In order to qualify, the policy must be for a debt used to purchase a first or second home. This deduction was due to expire at the end of last year, but was extended through 2011 as part of the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act of 2010.

2. Out-of-Pocket Educator Expenses

Another tax benefit that was extended at the last minute is the deduction available to teachers and educators who make out-of-pocket expenses, up to $250. You can read more about this deduction in this blog entry I posted earlier in the year.

3. Unreimbursed Job Expenses

If you have to make a purchase for work, you may qualify to deduct those expenses on your tax return. However, the IRS considers only specific expenses allowable, and they must be considered ordinary and necessary. To find out more about this deduction read this article on the RDTC Tax Help Blog.

4. Student Loan Interest

If you paid interest on a student loan for your own, your spouses or your dependents education, you may be able to deduct up to $2,500 worth of interest. This deduction is considered above-the-line, so you can claim it even if you do not itemize. Just keep in mind that there are strict income limits for this deduction in 2011.If you make more than $75,000 for single filers or $150,000 for married couples filing jointly, you may not be able to claim it.

5. State Tax Deduction

Remember that you can deduct your state income or sales taxes on your federal return. The deduction has been extended through 2011, so be sure to keep track of all state and local taxes you pay. To determine if you should claim your income or sales taxes paid you can use this calculator at IRS.gov.

6. Qualifying Legal Fees

Most fees paid to an attorney are not considered deductible. However, there are a few exceptions such as fees paid to an attorney related to a class action suit, estate tax advice, and alimony collection expenses paid to a lawyer. However, the deduction is subject to the 2% miscellaneous deduction limit.

7. Alimony Payments

Speaking of alimony, if you are required to make alimony payments, you may be able to deduct them on your tax return. You will need to file an itemized return, and must meet a few IRS qualifications. For more information, you can find details about the deduction in this article on the RDTC Tax Help Blog.

The Tax Lady Roni Deutch and her law firm

Roni Deutch, A Professional Tax Corporation

have been helping taxpayers across the nation find IRS tax relief for over seventeen years. The firm also recently began offering

bankruptcy filing representation

to residents to Northern California.

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The Most Commonly Overlooked Tax Deductions}

Wikinews interviews 0 A.D. game development team

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

0 A.D. is a historical, open source, strategy game, published by Wildfire Games. It focuses on the period between 500BC and 500AD. The game will be released in two parts: the first covering the pre-AD period, and the second running to 500AD. With development well underway, Wikinews interviewed the development team.

Aviv Sharon, a 24-year-old Israeli student responsible for the project’s PR, compiled the below Q&A, which the full team approved prior to publication.

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