Financial
Michaels confirms breach of as many as 2.6M cards PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by ANNE D'INNOCENZIO, AP Retail Writer   
Friday, 18 April 2014 07:00

NEW YORK (AP) — Michaels Stores Inc. said Thursday that about 2.6 million cards, or about 7 percent of all debit and credit cards used at its namesake stores, may have been affected in a security breach.

The nation's largest arts and crafts chain said its subsidiary Aaron Brothers was also attacked, with about 400,000 cards potentially affected.

Irving, Texas-based Michaels said that it has contained the incident, which began last year. It has received "limited" reports of fraud from banks and the payment card brands that are potentially connected to the breach.

The compromised data includes customer information such as payment card numbers and expiration dates. But there's no evidence that other personal information such as names, addresses or PIN numbers were at risk, Michaels said.

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Texas seizes polygamist group's secluded ranch PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Associated Press   
Friday, 18 April 2014 06:33

ELDORADO, Texas (AP) — The secluded Texas ranch where followers of imprisoned polygamist Warren Jeffs lived in near isolation was seized by state agents on Thursday, nearly six years after FBI agents raided the property and removed hundreds of children amid child sex abuse allegations.

The Texas Department of Public Safety said its agents took possession of the Yearning For Zion Ranch near Eldorado. In a statement, DPS said only eight adults were still living on the West Texas property and agreed to leave after meeting with agents. DPS said authorities helped them vacate the ranch and take an inventory.

Jeffs is serving life in prison after being convicted in 2011 of sexually assaulting two girls he took as child brides. The ranch was owned by his Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, a radical offshoot of mainstream Mormonism whose roughly 10,000 followers believe polygamy brings exaltation in heaven. They see Jeffs as God's spokesman on earth.

The state asked a judge to allow the forfeiture, alleging that FLDS leaders financed a $1.1 million purchase of the land in 2003 through money laundering. It also cited sexual assaults committed on the property. Under Texas law, authorities can seize property that was used to commit or facilitate certain criminal conduct. A judge granted the state's request in January.

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Apartheid abuse cases against Ford, IBM go ahead PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by Associated Press   
Friday, 18 April 2014 06:58

NEW YORK (AP) — A federal judge on Thursday declined to toss out decade-old lawsuits that accuse IBM Corp. and Ford Motor Co. of supporting apartheid by letting their subsidiaries sell computers and cars to the South African government.

The three lawsuits seek to hold IBM and Ford responsible for race-based injustices including rape, torture and murder under apartheid, a system of race-based segregation and discrimination against nonwhites that ended 20 years ago.

The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled on the legal reach of the statute under which the plaintiffs are suing, the Alien Tort Statute. The 1789 statute originally was enacted to prosecute pirates and was revived in recent decades to permit lawsuits in the United States against those who violate human rights abroad.

Thursday's ruling from Judge Shira Scheindlin in Manhattan allows plaintiffs to file amended complaints that fit within the reach ruled upon by the Supreme Court.

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U.S.: Forfeiture deal over Iran assets sets record PDF  | Print |  E-mail
Written by LARRY NEUMEISTER, Associated Press   
Friday, 18 April 2014 06:30

NEW YORK (AP) — A federal judge has approved plans to sell a 36-story Manhattan office building and other properties owned by Iran nationwide in what will be the largest terrorism-related forfeiture ever, a prosecutor said Thursday.

U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said Judge Katherine Forrest approved the deal between the U.S. government and 19 holders of more than $5 billion in terrorism-related judgments against the government of Iran, including claims brought by the estates of victims killed in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The deal calls for the Manhattan building and other forfeited assets to be sold by the U.S. Marshals Service, with the U.S. government receiving reimbursement for litigation expenses and any costs of the sales before the rest is distributed to victims of terrorist attacks. The agreement stems from a 2008 lawsuit by the government against the building's owners.

Bharara said the settlement is an important step toward "completing what will be the largest ever terrorism-related forfeiture and providing a substantial recovery for victims of terrorism."

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