This year’s hajj (the pilgrimage to Mecca that is required for all Muslims to make once in their lives if they are able) will probably begin next week, but a pall was cast over the event when a crane collapsed into the Grand Mosque, killing 107 and injuring hundreds more. [more inside]
In South Korea, 2 people have died of MERS, with 18 people becoming infected over the past 10 days, resulting in nearly 700 people being placed in quarantine. A man broke quarantine and traveled to China, subsequently testing positive for China's first confirmed case of MERS. Untill recently, all cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) had been linked to countries in and near the Arabian Peninsula. Right now, there is no vaccine for MERS and no treatment.
The Saudi Arabian government has been tight-lipped about the spread of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS), a disease first discovered in 2012 that has "killed more than half of those who contracted it", "responding slowly to requests for information and preventing outside researchers from publishing their findings about the syndrome. [more inside]
How the Online World Is Fighting the Next Pandemic "The online community of interest that began to form after SARS has matured into a community of practice: groups, professions, and individuals with differing skills but a shared concern for obtaining and sharing reliable information and getting it out all over the world." [more inside]
Massachusetts AG Sues 5 Biggest Banks The first suit by a state attorney general to address the robosigning allegations of last fall, the suit may signal the failure of the talks among the 50 state attorney's general, federal regulators, and the big banks. (Previously). The most interesting aspects of the suit may be its allegations about mortgage modifications, however, which are new. (Attorney General's full complaint here.) [more inside]
Remember that whole thing last fall where the banks got caught lying in court while trying to foreclose? And the attorneys general of all 50 states got all pissy? Well, on the quiet, ever since then….in some states it seems like the banks have quietly stopped foreclosing. Even though they said this was all sorted out back in October. In state courts across the land, legal troubles for the banks are mounting --- most especially, with regards to the Mortgage Electronic Registration System, or MERS, which maybe kinda sorta hopelessly FUBARs 400 years worth of property law. But not to fear --- the nation’s largest banks are about two months from making this all go away: The state AGs and every federal regulator have almost come up with some sort of settlement plan with the banks. Details leaked today in American Banker (pdf of whole proposal; cliff notes version). Does the settlement have its heart in the right place? Or is it a useless slap on the wrist? [more inside]
Dan Ekstrom is a guy who is in the right place at the right time. His profession? He performs securitization audits (Reverse Engineering and Failure Analysis) for a company called DTC-Systems. The typical audit includes numerous diagrams... The following flow chart reverse engineers the mortgage on the Ekstrom family residence. It took Dan over one year to take it this far and it clearly demonstrates what happens when there are too many lawyers being manufactured.