A short and simple article by Alan Zibel.

Rates on 30-year mortgages fell this week to the lowest level on record after the Federal Reserve launched a new effort to assist the staggering U.S. housing market.

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* Europe fetches the monetary helicopters at long last (Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph)

* CHINA’S DOLLAR JITTERS (Irwin M. Stelzer, New York Post)

* Northern areas of Phoenix not spared from sales slumps (Michael Clancy, Arizona Republic)

* Skeptical Beshear signs payday loan bill (Joseph Gerth, Courier-Journal)

* Fewer new jobless claims beats prediction (Christopher S. Rugaber, Denver Post)

* Obama aide had stint at Freddie (Bob Secter, Los Angeles Times)

* Obama administration seeks to regulate large financial corporations (Jim Puzzanghera, Los Angeles Times)

* Should You Dip Into Your 401(k)? (Craig Clough, KFOX)

* Something of Historic Propotion is Happening (Pam Geller, North American Hunter)

* Plugging the Brain Drain (Jeremy Alford, The Independent)

* DA’s Office Seeking More Victims in Foreclosure Scam (H. Hughes, KNSD)

The San Diego District Attorney’s office is looking for more victims of the widespread foreclosure scam.

* Diversions and Disillusions reign as AIG saga unfolds (Sitafa Harden, Digital Journal)

In the court of public opinion Wall Street and all the banking institutions who dealt in questionable investments have been found guilty.

* Tougher penalties aimed at appraisal fraud (Margaret Jackson, Denver Post)

state bill that increases the penalties for violating real estate appraisal laws has cleared the House and awaits Senate action.

* February price uptick eases deflation risk (Martin Crutsinger, Denver Post)

Consumer prices rose in February by the largest amount in seven months as gasoline prices surged again and clothing costs jumped the most in nearly two decades.

* Gordon Brown has still not used the word sorry over the recession (Hugo Dixon, The Daily Telegraph)

But the UK prime minister has said he takes full responsibility for his role in the economic crisis. That counts as an apology of sorts.

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* Indictments unveiled in mortgage fraud sting

( Map , News ) – A lawyer, a tax-preparer and the owner of a mortgage brokerage are among more than a dozen people rounded up in what federal officials describe as a major crackdown on mortgage fraud in the Chicago area.

* Signs of Stress, Fraud on Roadside (Douglas Belkin, Wall Street Journal)

LAS VEGAS — Police detective Mark Menzie drove 55 miles into the desert Sunday to inspect the charred remains of a formerly silver Ford Expedition.

* Head of mortgage fraud scheme pleads guilty

( Map , News ) – Federal prosecutors say 41-year-old Joy Jackson has pleaded guilty in a $35 million mortgage fraud scheme in the Washington area.

* Will: States can’t fight illegal immigration alone (Topeka Capital-Journal)

PHOENIX Police Chief Jack Harris, a solid block of a man with a shock of thick gray hair, is stolid and patient, but there are limits. Clearly he is weary of explaining that this is one of America’s safest large cities, with declining rates of violent crime and property crime, even though it has one of the nation’s highest rates of home foreclosures. Unfortunately, there are the kidnappings.

* Mortgage fraud cases ‘straining’ FBI (Washington Times)

The number of FBI agents investigating mortgage fraud has more than doubled in the past two years, FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III said Wednesday.

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* Taxpayers Could Lose Money in Treasury Buying Plan (CBS News)

* Refinance boom sends mortgage applications higher (Bloomberg News)

* CPS Projects Big Budget Shortfall (WBEZ)

* Administration moves against bad assets (Tom Raum-)

* Comment on North Countys most abnormal foreclosure rates by AMac (The Californian)

* What are toxic assets, and how will Obama plan work?

* Jeremy Warner: Ninety per cent mortgages courtesy of the taxpayer (The Independent)

* Mortgage rates hit new lows (St. Louis Business Journal)

* Different Strokes (The Gamecock)

* Changes sought on bankruptcy rules for card debt

Devlin Barrett- says:

Thousands of financial fraud investigations are putting a strain on the FBI’s ability to fight other kinds of crimes, FBI Director Robert Mueller told Congress Wednesday.

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Here is today’s story from New York Post on Public-Private Investment Program.

Wall Street’s initial reaction to Trea sury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s Public-Private Investment Program to remove toxic assets from major banks’ books was enthusiastic: The Dow jumped nearly 500 points.

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* Y-S price dive one of nation’s worst (Howard Yune, Appeal-Democrat)

* What’s so bad about McMansions? (Sandy Bauers, Philadelphia Inquirer)

* February existing-home sales rise by 5.1 percent

* Mortgage program unfair (The Minnesota Daily)

* Tiffany blue (The Financial Times)

* Needs TLC (Beth W. Orenstein, Morning Call)

* More problems with mortgages about to hit (WJBF)

* Housing forum set for April, bankruptcy measure stalls (Las Vegas Sun)

* On tenants and foreclosure (Burlington Co. Times)

* Whitehouse Unveils Financial Rescue Plan. (KTSM)

* Homicide case opened, closed in a week (The Advocate)

NEWARK — The death of a 60-year-old woman in fall 2008 was ruled a homicide and cleared, all last week, according to the Licking County Coroner’s Office and Newark police.

* Be careful if they try to sell you loan protection (Charlie Weston, The Irish Independent)

THE recession and the surge in layoffs has provided fertile ground for lenders to prey on workers’ fears by attempting to flog them expensive payment protection insurance on personal loans.

* Wall Street’s Economic Crimes Against Humanity (BusinessWeek)

Wall Street’s Economic Crimes Against Humanity By refusing to consider the consequences of their actions, those who created the financial crisis exemplify the banality of evil, writes Shoshana Zuboff

* It’s not us, it’s THEM (Dallas Morning News)

As the financial crisis has evolved its moral has been simplified, grotesquely. In the beginning this crisis was messy. Wall Street financiers behaved horribly but so did ordinary Americans. Millions of people borrowed money they shouldn’t have borrowed and, not, typically, because they were duped or defrauded but because they were covetous and greedy: they wanted to own stuff they hadn’t earne…

* U.S. economy and The More Things Change (Dallas Morning News)

On the recommendation of colleague and fellow history geek Dave Flick, I’m reading (via Kindle, which makes it extra-geeky) What Hath God Wrought , David Walker Howe’s compelling examination of early 19th Century America.

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Here’s what the print edition of Times Online has to say today on Japanese-style.

Fears that Britain will slide into the grip of economically destructive Japanese-style deflation will mount tomorrow as inflation gauged by the retail prices index (RPI) is set to turn negative for the first time in almost half a century.

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