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Mortgage woes propel Calif. foreclosures to record
October 27, 2007 12:18 PM - Jim Christie, Reuters
SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Mortgage lenders launched more than 70,000 foreclosure proceedings in California in the third quarter, marking a record for the state, where many housing markets are slumping amid mortgage market turmoil, according to a report released on Friday.
Mortgage lenders filed 72,571 notices of default against delinquent borrowers from July through September, up 34.5 percent from the prior quarter and 166.6 percent from a year earlier, according to the report by DataQuick Information Systems, a La Jolla, California-based real estate information service.
California's third-quarter default level topped the state's previous peak of 61,541 in the first quarter of 1996, reflecting a surge in mortgage borrowers failing to keep up with loan payments.
Californians return to fire-scarred homes
October 27, 2007 12:15 PM - Dan Whitcomb, Reuters
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Thousands of Californians forced from their neighborhoods by this week's wind-whipped wildfires returned home on Friday, some of them finding their property unscathed amid the destruction and others discovering nothing but blackened rubble.
In San Diego County, where an estimated 500,000 people fled the smoke and flames in the largest mass evacuation in modern California history, lines of cars streamed back into fire-scarred mountain communities that had been left ghost towns.
Traffic was jammed for miles as weary residents made their way one at a time past police checkpoints. In some neighborhoods the hop-scotching fires left a single home standing while burning everything else to the ground.
Survey: Cape Wind Project Backed By 61 Percent of Cape Cod and Island Residents
October 26, 2007 06:34 PM -
Boston, Mass. - More than three out of five Cape Cod/Island residents (61 percent) -- including a bipartisan 54 percent of Republicans, 69 percent of Democrats and 50 percent of Independents -- favor the Cape Wind project, according to a major new scientific survey of 501 Cape and Island residents conducted by Opinion Research Corporation (ORC) for the Newton, MA.-based Civil Society Institute, a nonprofit and nonpartisan think tank.
The Civil Society Institute survey tests six arguments made against Cape Wind by critics of the project and finds that not one of the arguments succeeds in persuading half or more of Cape/Island residents to oppose the project. In fact, fully half of the arguments -- tourism/the regional economy, boating and commercial fishing -- backfire and generate more support than opposition for Cape Wind.
Green Savings are in the Bag
October 26, 2007 05:51 PM -
GUILDFORD, England, October 26/PRNewswire/ -- An innovative new range of reusable supermarket shopping bags has been launched to help shoppers reduce their consumption of disposable plastic carrier bags, estimated to be 220 per year for every shopper. The launch comes as London considers a tax or even a complete ban on disposable plastic bags in the capital.
Geccobags.co.uk argue that small lifestyle changes by large numbers of people can have a major impact in reducing waste and the creation of carbon, the main cause of global warming. The Geccobag, which holds the equivalent of three plastic carrier bags, opens out to clip inside a supermarket trolley. This, say the makers, not only cuts the average shopper's consumption of plastic carrier bags, but also reduces customer checkout time by up to 20%, making for a less stressful shopping experience. "The majority of plastic carrier bags go straight to landfill. Although these make up only a small percentage of total plastic waste, tackling the issue will help raise people's awareness of wider issues surrounding our unsustainable 'throw away' society", says Geccobags managing director Georgina Tuson-Little.
Class Action Lawsuits Filed Against Aurora Organic Dairy Alleging Deceptive Practices
October 26, 2007 03:17 PM -
St. Louis, MO, Denver, CO - Class action lawsuits were filed in US district courts in St. Louis and Denver this week alleging that Aurora Dairy Corporation, doing business as Aurora Organic Dairy, committed "unfair and deceptive practices" and was unjustly enriched by marketing and selling milk alleged to be organic, at prices "much higher" than non-organic milk, when the company knew or should have known that its milk did not meet the standards of organic certification.
Aurora Dairy said it will defend itself vigorously against the fraud claims and against any other such suits that may be brought. The company expressed confidence it will prevail, should any of the cases go to trial.
"Non-Flying Dutchmen" Push Climate Awareness
October 26, 2007 12:21 PM -
AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - A Dutch environment group launched a campaign on Friday called "Proud to be a non-Flying Dutchman" to get the travel-happy Dutch to reduce their air miles for the sake of the climate.
"We want to discourage Christmas shopping in London, disco nights in Ibiza, Milan weekends and stag nights in Barcelona," Dutch Friends of the Earth said on Friday.
Children kept indoors as Beijing fog turns to smog
October 26, 2007 12:17 PM -
BEIJING (Reuters) - Beijing's weather office warned children and the elderly to stay indoors on Friday as heavy fog blanketed the host city of the 2008 Olympics, exacerbating its chronic air pollution, Chinese state media reported.
Fog caused severe delays at Beijing airport and reduced visibility in the centre of the city to less than 200 meters.
"The fog will not only affect the traffic but also harm humans' respiratory system. I suggest old people and children avoid going outdoors or wear a mask," Sun Jisong, the city's chief weatherman, told the official Xinhua news agency.
With fires waning, California assesses the damage
October 26, 2007 12:13 PM - Dan Whitcomb, Reuters
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Four burned bodies found in the path of California's fierce wildfires raised the death toll to at least 12 people, even as firefighters won the upper hand and officials turned on Friday toward assessing the damage.
Though more than 20 fires raged across Southern California into a sixth day, some 8,000 firefighters had brought most of them under control and no more homes were in imminent danger.
Some lost everything to the flames but most of the 500,000 people forced to flee in California's largest evacuation were expected to be back in their homes by the weekend.
A Carbon Neutral Olympic Torch?
October 26, 2007 10:58 AM - , Environmental Graffiti
Officials for the 2012 Olympics made an eyebrow raising announcement today when they declared the London Olympic flame will be carbon neutral. Previous games have used high-carbon fuels such as paraffin to fuel the torch so that the flame was more visible. Organizers plan to abandon this, and French company EDF, a major London 2012 sponsor, is assisting the games organizers in finding a low-carbon fuel for the torch.
Toyota to Halve Hybrid Price, Size for Next Prius
October 25, 2007 07:51 PM - Chang-Ran Kim, Reuters Asia Auto Correspondent
TOKYO (Reuters) - Toyota Motor Corp will slash the price and size of its hybrid system by around half for the next-generation Prius model, and use a nickel-metal hydride battery instead of lithium-ion, a top executive said.
"When we went from the first-generation Prius to the second-generation, we did the same thing," Executive Vice President Kazuo Okamoto, in charge of Toyota's research and development, told reporters in Tokyo.
Toyota, the world's biggest automaker, has not publicly disclosed a timeframe for the introduction of the third-generation Prius model. Some media reports have speculated the planned late-2008 launch would be delayed because of concerns over the safety of lithium-ion batteries.