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US wealth gap between young and old is widest ever

The wealth gap between younger and older Americans has stretched to the widest on record, worsened by a prolonged economic downturn that has wiped out job opportunities for young adults and saddled them with housing and college debt.

The typical U.S. household headed by a person age 65 or older has a net worth 47 times greater than a household headed by someone under 35, according to an analysis of census data released Monday.

While people typically accumulate assets as they age, this wealth gap is now more than double what it was in 2005 and nearly five times the 10-to-1 disparity a quarter-century ago, after adjusting for inflation.

The analysis reflects the impact of the economic downturn, which has hit young adults particularly hard. More are pursuing college or advanced degrees, taking on debt as they wait for the job market to recover. Others are struggling to pay mortgage costs on homes now worth less than when they were bought in the housing boom.

Wolf

Congress Figures Out Sneaky Way To Raise Taxes And Cut Social Security Benefits Without Anyone Noticing

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© commons.wikimedia.org

Washington - Just as 55 million Social Security recipients are about to get their first benefit increase in three years, Congress is looking at reducing future raises by adopting a new measure of inflation that also would increase taxes for most families - the biggest impact falling on those with low incomes.

If adopted across the government, the inflation measure would have widespread ramifications. Future increases in veterans' benefits and pensions for federal workers and military personnel would be smaller. And over time, fewer people would qualify for Medicaid, Head Start, food stamps, school lunch programs and home heating assistance than under the current measure.

Taxes would go up by $60 billion over the next decade because annual adjustments to the tax brackets would be smaller, resulting in more people jumping into higher tax brackets because their wages rose faster than the new inflation measure. Annual increases in the standard deduction and personal exemptions would become smaller.

Heart - Black

US, Texas: Man Guilty of Marrying Girl to Polygamist Sect Leader

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© Reuters/Jud Burkett/Pool
U.S. polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs reacts as he listens to the jury being polled after handing down the verdicts against him, in St. George, Utah, September 25, 2007.
Ex-bishop Fredrick Merril Jessop was found guilty on Monday of marrying a 12-year-old girl to polygamist leader Warren Jeffs, who is serving a life term for sexually assaulting two child brides.

Jeffs, 55, leader of a breakaway Mormon sect, was convicted in August of sexually assaulting that girl and a 15-year-old he had taken as so-called "spiritual" wives. Prosecutors said the girls were among two dozen underage brides Jeffs had acquired over the last decade.

A rural West Texas jury found Jessop, 75, guilty of performing an illegal marriage ceremony, a third-degree felony punishable by two to 10 years in prison and a fine up to $10,000.

Jessop, a former bishop with the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, was excommunicated by Jeffs in January.

Jeffs' polygamist sect, which experts estimate has 10,000 followers in North America, has been condemned by the mainstream Mormon Church and is accused of promoting marriages between older men and girls.

FLDS men enter into so-called "celestial marriages" with multiple wives in a process known as "sealing." The FLDS, which broke off from the mainstream Mormon church in the early 20th Century, believes polygamy is necessary to advance to the highest level of heaven.

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US: Man With Sign Dangles Off New York's Tappan Zee Bridge

Ex-government worker accuses Rockland County officials of a 'cover-up'



A 54-year-old man who had been fired from his county job in 2008 spent more than three hours hanging from the Tappan Zee bridge on a rope ladder before he crashed into the water and was pulled into a police boat Monday.

Authorities told NBC New York the protester had picketed officials in upstate Rockland County for years. Rockland County officials identified the man as Michael A. Davitt.

Rockland County Sheriff James Kralik said he sent a deputy to provide security during meetings after Davitt sent legislators letters "which some people considered threatening."

"We decided to keep an eye on him to make sure he didn't step over the line, and he never did,'' Kralik said. "Today he not only stepped over the line, he jumped over it.''

Info

Official says 16 Hindus die in stampede during religious ceremony at Ganges in northern India

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© unknown
A stampede killed 16 Hindu pilgrims and injured about 50 during a religious ceremony Tuesday on the banks of the Ganges River in northern India, an official said.

The stampede at Haridwar in Uttar Pradesh state was triggered when some of the pilgrims tripped and fell while those behind continued to push forward, government spokesman Amit Chandola said.

Thousands of people had converged on the river banks for the prayer ceremony in the temple-filled town at the foothills of the Himalayas where the Ganges enters the sprawling plains of northern India. Haridwar is about 300 miles (500 kilometres) southwest of the state capital of Lucknow.

Dollar

US, Chicago: City Fines and Fees Double, Triple for Minor and Major Offenses

Rahm Emanuel
© unknown
Rahm Emanuel
Mayor Rahm Emanuel has said his plan to raise taxes, fines and fees by $220 million in 2012 includes higher fines for a laundry list of offenses, but he has yet to air that laundry list.

Now, the mayor's 2012 revenue ordinance makes the details public. It's a doozy.

If your car is impounded for carrying drugs, driving drunk, soliciting a prostitute or carrying a firearm registered to someone other than the driver, the penalty will double - to $2,000. But, if the violations occur within 500 feet of a park or school, the fine will triple - to $3,000.

If your car is seized for drag racing on Chicago streets, there's a new, $1,000 fine in addition to the towing and storage fee. For playing a radio too loud, the new fine will be anywhere from $500 to $750.

If the vehicle is snatched for driving with a suspended or revoked license or displaying altered temporary registration permits, the fine would double - to $1,000. Vehicles towed after being used in an unlawful attempt to flee or elude police officers would also double - to $2,000.

Tampering with parking meters or pay-and-display boxes - something motorists have done on occasion to vent their anger at the deal that privatized Chicago parking meters - would carry a fine ranging from $500 to $750.

Question

US, Chicago: Who is Cain accuser Sharon Bialek?


Sharon Bialek, who lives in suburban Mundelein, said Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain reached under her skirt 14 years ago when she was asked him about a job.

In this Intelligence Report: Who is Sharon Bialek? The Chicago-area woman has an extensive corporate and personal history in the area going back to the early 1990s.

It was her hope for a new job that Bialek says brought her to Herman Cain that day in 1997. Bialek's resume and a trail of public records indicates that changing jobs has been a regular occurrence for the Chicagoan. She has worked for at least nine different employers over the past 17 years and appears to have struggled financially.

Green Light

Australia Passes Controversial Carbon Pollution Tax

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© Agence France-Presse
anti-carbon tax protest, known as The Convoy of No Confidence is seen encircling the Parliament House ring road in Canberra, in August. Australia's upper house passed a controversial pollution tax on Tuesday in what the government called an "historic day" after years of bitter debate which felled a sitting prime minister.
Australia's upper house passed a controversial pollution tax on Tuesday in what the government called an "historic day" after years of bitter debate which felled a sitting prime minister.

Cheers and applause broke out as the Senate approved the Clean Energy Act by 36 votes to 32, requiring Australia's coal-fired power stations and other major emitters to "pay to pollute" from July 1 next year.

The laws -- 18 in total -- will now return for a final vote in the lower house, where they are expected to again be approved after winning approval last month 74 votes to 72.

Deputy Prime Minister and Treasurer Wayne Swan said the passage through the Senate was a "victory for the optimists and... a defeat for the deniers."

"Today is an historic day for economic reform," he said ahead of the vote.

"No longer will the big polluters be able to pump carbon pollution into the atmosphere for free."

Arrow Down

US, California: Ronald Reagan Statue Vandalized In Newport Beach


A bronze statue of former President Ronald Reagan was vandalized early Sunday, according to officials.

Police received a call at approximately 5:30 Sunday morning about a possible vandalism in progress at the Bonita Canyon Sports Park.

A witness saw a suspect tie something around the top of the statue and the other end to the front of his vehicle. The witness said the suspect then got into his vehicle and put it in reverse in an attempt to pull the statue down.

Stormtrooper

US: Police Will Get Tough on 'Occupy D.C.' Protesters

Chief Lanier cites five injuries last week
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© Andrew Harnik / The Washington Times
William G. Estrella, living in McPherson Square on K Street beats a drum as protesters, upset by multiple hit-and-run incidents last Friday during a protest of the American for Prosperity Conference outside the Washington Convention Center, converge on the front steps of the Metropolitan Police Headquarters at 300 Indiana Avenue, Monday, November 7, 2011.

Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said Monday that her department is adjusting its tactics in response to Occupy D.C.'s "increasingly confrontational and violent" demonstrations, following the actions of other U.S. cities looking to evict - or at least crack down - on what officials are characterizing as unruly protesters.

The chief's tough talk changed the tone of what had been about a month of congenial relations between protesters and authorities. It came after a Friday night incident in which several people attending a downtown event where the protesters were demonstrating were hurt.