It doesn’t pay to mess with the Justice Department. Citigroup has agreed to cough up $7 billion to settle an investigation into its selling of risky subprime mortgages prior to the financial crisis. The deal includes a $4 billion penalty — the largest ever — as well as $500 million to state attorneys general and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., and $2.5 billion to help cash-strapped consumers with mortgages. The fine wipes out much of the bank’s second quarter profits, but the news sent shares upwards on Monday.
The Presidential Daily Brief
After 24 years, Deutschland is Weltmeister again. Ninety minutes of chess-like play ended 0-0, but in the 113th minute Germany’s Mario Götze deftly absorbed a cross ball with his chest and rocketed it past the Argentine goalkeeper for last night’s lone goal. Germany’s shutdown defense consistently frustrated Argentina’s strikers, who never managed a shot on goal. The performance left many wondering whether the four-time World Cup champs have developed the best-ever national soccer team.
Vowing to confront the leprosy-like scourge of child abuse by priests, Pope Francis reportedly stated that about two percent of the Catholic clergy — nearly 8,000 of 414,000 priests worldwide — are pedophiles. The Vatican claims the pontiff was misquoted. The discrepancy could be due to a reporting error, or an example of the pope’s off-the-cuff comments giving his advisers palpitations. Either way, many will be thrilled by his plan to “use a stick against pedophile priests.”
South Korea’s tech giant is schooling the Chinese on how children belong in school, not in factories. Five laborers under 16 were found in Samsung’s supply factory Shinyang Electronic by China Labor Watch investigators, and a subsequent Samsung probe supported the findings. The world’s largest technology firm has suspended trade with the supplier and will do so permanently if a final investigation determines children were used.
Abbas pleads for protection as thousands flee Gaza. (Euronews)
Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl set to return to active Army duty. (NPR)
Workers begin lifting wrecked cruise liner Costa Concordia. (BBC)
China charges corporate investigator for GSK. (Reuters)
A third of Alzheimer’s cases ‘preventable.’ (Press Association)
Kiev’s stepped-up assaults on rebels in the east are rattling the tiger’s cage: Russia is warning of “irreversible consequences” after a man was reportedly killed by a shell fired across the border. Ukrainian officials denied firing a cross-border rocket, but a Russian politician has suggested Russia use precision strikes, akin to Israeli air strikes, to retaliate. The incident has prompted loud calls for resumed crisis talks.
In the heart of conservative South Carolina, a town has rallied to reinstate its gay police chief. While the town mayor denied firing Crystal Moore over her sexuality, he has openly denounced her lifestyle. The response? Residents of Latta, despite their record of voting against gay marriage, launched a campaign to reappoint Moore as chief, arguing that her decades of loyalty to the 1,400-strong tobacco hub were more important than her sexuality.
The Scots may just want equality politically, but they’re looking to get ahead in the final frontier. The first commercial space travel outside the U.S. could blast off from Scotland. The British government plans to build a space tourism port by 2018 and six of eight potential sites lie in the nation of five million. With the space tourism sector starting to take off, a Scottish Yes! vote on September 18 could mean launching an independent Scotland miles ahead in the space race.
Color them hot. Men regard women who wear red in dating profile photos as sexier than the rest and ready for love, which can aggravate other females. Women tend to see ladies in red as rivals, which makes them feel insecure and triggers competitive instincts, driving them to protect their men, researchers have found. Clearly, not all women in red are “advertising sexual interest,” notes the lead scientist, but the color can trigger a hue and cry.
Why would anyone run slowly in front of a half-ton bull? For a killer selfie. A red-shirted, cell phone-wielding daredevil did just that on Friday in Pamplona, Spain. A law passed this year — aimed at cracking down on reckless behavior — bars the use of any recording device during the running of the bulls. The self-obsessed jogger may have escaped the horns, but he faces a $4,000 fine if he’s still running slowly enough to get caught by police.
The return of basketball’s best player to Cleveland isn’t just good for the Cavs. King James’ latest decision allows him to trade in an aging band of courtiers in Miami for a troop of energetic younger players, and if disgruntled Minnesota star Kevin Love joins him, the Cavs could become title contenders. But to truly make the transition from traitorous villain to hometown hero a slam-dunk, LeBron will need to bring home Cleveland’s first title in any sport in 50 years.