Get Ready For Bank Runs

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The media was wrong in pronouncing the economic crisis over in Europe. They are wrong in America, too. The real economic indicators — the ones not based on fraud, propaganda, deception or delusion — prove that the economic crisis caused by too much government, too much spending, too much taxing, too many government regulations and too many government employees with obscene salaries and pensions is just beginning.

Get ready for bank runs, capital controls, theft of your pension funds, economic collapse and a government armed to the teeth that wants to disarm you: its citizens. Because what is happening now in Europe is a sign of things to come under Barack Obama.

The media has told us for months that “everything is fine in Europe, a recovery is under way, the worst is over.” Really? How’s that working out for you? The economic crisis and contagion in Europe that was supposedly “under control” are now spiraling out of control. There is desperation in the air. Fear and panic are everywhere.

Think I’m exaggerating? Well, don’t take my word for it. A major bank executive stated publicly last week: “Only Jesus can save the EU now.”

Bank runs might be a sign that things are deteriorating, don’t you think? Well, they started in Cyprus last week as it became clear that Cyprus was bankrupt, insolvent and out of options.

Just as I’ve predicted in dozens of commentaries over the past three years, a historic economic collapse is under way in the EU. The media and world leaders denied it, but it’s getting worse by the day. Do you think this can’t happen in the United States under Obama? Think again.

Over the past three years in Europe we’ve heard political and leaders and economic experts recite the same lies over and over again: telling us to relax, government is smarter than you and we have it all under control. Recognize that theme? It’s the same theme we hear daily from Obama, his socialist lackeys and the Obama-adoring media here in the U.S. It’s how you keep the masses calm and prevent unrest, rioting and bank runs.

Well, the Cyprus crisis proves that the worst isn’t over; it’s actually just beginning.

More importantly, you need to understand how the EU “solved” the Cyprus crisis: by stealing the money out of the citizens’ personal bank accounts. The final decision is in. EU authorities are freezing any funds above 100,000 euros in personal bank accounts and stealing up to 40 percent to pay for the bailout.

But worst of all, this is now the model for what’s to come all around the globe. It was announced just yesterday that this is exactly how the EU will bail out Italy, Spain and France, too: by stealing money directly out of citizens’ bank accounts.

Well, I have news for the EU’s financial geniuses. They haven’t solved anything. This news will start a banking crisis. The falling dominoes will now accelerate. Tell me what sane citizen would keep more than 100,000 euros in his accounts any longer? Which means, starting at this moment, the wealthy of Europe are removing all their money from their bank accounts. And if no one has more than 100,000 euros in their bank accounts anymore, then the only choice for the next bailout will be raiding smaller bank accounts of average citizens — which was the original plan anyway.

Guess what this does to the EU banking system? There will be panic, uncertainty and loss of confidence. Your money is certainly no longer safe in a bank account. Guess how the first Great Depression started? Exactly how this one is starting: with bank runs and loss of confidence in the banking system. And if bank runs spread throughout Europe, you can be sure the United States is next, as American bank account holders realize that our money is no longer safe from theft by government in a crisis.

The Signs Of An EU Economic Collapse Are Everywhere

While the EU seizes bank accounts from citizens in Cyprus, Spain has already stolen the pensions of its citizens.

Formerly respectable professionals in Spain and Greece are eating out of dumpsters.

In Bulgaria citizens are so desperate they are setting themselves on fire.

In Greece there is no money to heat homes, forcing desperate residents go out into the night to cut down trees in parks and national forests to use as firewood.

We recently found out that Italy’s economic situation may be even worse off than pathetic, completely bankrupt Portugal.

In Italy buses return to the station because there is no money to pay for gasoline.

The Jobs Minister of France publicly slipped and called the country “completely bankrupt.”

Why is this not front-page news in the United States? Because the Obama-adoring media doesn’t want you to make the connection that Obama’s policies mirror the exact same policies that destroyed the EU: big government, big debt, big spending, big taxes, big unions, big pensions, big entitlements, early retirement, free healthcare, green energy and high-speed rail.

The EU is the canary in the coal mine. Europe’s economic collapse proves that if everyone actually believes they deserve something for “nothing,” and everyone either works for government or gets checks from government, and everyone thinks it is their right to have free healthcare, eventually the economy collapses and the country (or in this case, the continent) goes kaput. Eventually, everyone lives in shared misery and malaise.

We will be reading about this disaster in the history books decades from now, shaking our heads, saying: “How could we have been this stupid to think that government had the answer or that government was too big to fail or that there was such a thing as a free lunch?”

Now to put this all in perspective, the EU is America’s No. 1 trade partner, meaning our best customer is about to go broke. That’s just another hit on our economy. Secondly, the EU banking system will require a massive, record-setting bailout. Guess who will be on the hook to give them trillions of taxpayer dollars? The United States. And third, the EU economic plan that led to this disaster is nothing more than the Obama economic plan. They are mirror images. The EU just started a couple of decades sooner with its financial suicide.

Up next: America. Because what happens in Europe doesn’t stay in Europe. It’s just a sneak peak at our future under Obama. Get ready for the bank runs. Get ready for a crisis that makes 2008 look like a walk in the park. I’m Wayne Allyn Root for PersonalLiberty. See you next week right back here. And may God bless America — because we will need all the help we can get!

When Private Property Isn’t Sacred

When is your property not really your property?

When you have it in the bank? When it is land? When you have it in a retirement account? Try all of the above.

People with money in Cyprus banks learned the hard way that their government officials — especially the elites at the EU and the International Monetary Fund — consider money in savings accounts theirs for the confiscation. How else to explain the plan to give savings accounts a “haircut” of up to 13 percent in order the save the criminal banksters? New Zealand saw the plan and thought it was such a great idea that it co-opted it. The word “haircut,” by the way, is government doublespeak for theft.

If you have money tied up in land and you think that land is yours, think again. What happens if you don’t give the king his annual remittance in the form of property taxes?

And watch your 401(k), individual retirement account or pension fund carefully. Our own government is in the planning stages of converting them to Treasuries to fund government. But have no fear. It’s being done for your own good, because government thinks you’re too stupid to plan for your own retirement.

John Adams once said: “The moment the idea is admitted into society that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence.”

Look at Cyprus and tell me that’s not what’s been happening.

Pardon Me, Mr. President?

An irony of the Administration of President Barack Obama is the President’s parsimonious attitude toward one of the office’s most distinguished powers: the Presidential pardon.

According to an analysis by Reason, Obama’s record on extending clemency is unmatched for stinginess.

Of the 43 U.S. Presidents who preceded Obama, only George Washington, William Henry Harrison and James Garfield pardoned fewer people than the current President has done through a single term in office.

An Illinois political science professor explains that those three examples would be hard for any President to match: as our Nation’s first President, Washington likely didn’t receive many clemency requests; Harrison died after serving one month in office; and Garfield made it four months before he was shot.

Where does that leave Obama?

Way behind Republican bulldogs like Richard Nixon and George (take your pick) Bush:

The odds of winning a pardon from Obama so far are 1 in 59, compared to 1 in 2 under Richard Nixon, 1 in 3 under Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter, 1 in 5 under Ronald Reagan, 1 in 10 under George H.W. Bush, 1 in 5 under Bill Clinton, and 1 in 13 under George W. Bush.

The President of social compassion and second chances is one tough customer when it comes to clemency.

Study: Social Networking Is Not New

TUCSON (UPI) — Long before Twitter and Facebook, societies maintained social networks even when the only network “traffic” was people moving on foot, U.S. researchers say.

Scientists at the University of Arizona studying late pre-Hispanic American Southwest societies said their findings show people of that period were able to maintain surprisingly long-distance relationships with nothing more than their feet to connect them.

UA anthropologist Barbara Mills and colleagues analyzed more than 800,000 painted ceramic and more than 4,800 obsidian artifacts dating from A.D. 1200-1450, uncovered from more than 700 sites in what is now Arizona and western New Mexico.

Analysis of the materials showed how social networks shifted and evolved during a period that saw large-scale demographic changes, including long-distance migration and coalescence of populations into large villages, a university release reported Monday.

Similar types of painted pottery were being created and used in villages as far as 150 miles apart, suggesting people were maintaining relationships across relatively large distances even when the only mode of transportation was walking, the researchers said.

“That really shocked us, this idea that you can have such long distance connections. In the pre-Hispanic Southwest they had no real vehicles, they had no beasts of burden, so they had to share information by walking,” Mills said.

“It changes our picture of the Southwest.”

Ship Risks To Whales In Southern California Studied

LOS ANGELES (UPI) — Researchers say they’ve identified areas off Southern California where whales face risks from potentially deadly collisions with commercial ship traffic.

Scientists from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration have created maps predicting the density of endangered humpback, fin and blue whales by merging observed whale sightings with oceanographic conditions to identify the habitat preferred by the different whale species, a NOAA release reported Monday.

Scientists from NOAA Fisheries, the Marine Mammal Commission and Cascadia Research Collective analyzed data collected over seven years by NOAA during marine mammal surveys in the region.

“We know several endangered species of whales occur in the waters off southern California,” NOAA Fisheries marine mammal biologist Jessica Redfern said. “What we didn’t know, and what this study helps provide, is an understanding of the areas with the highest numbers of whales.”

The study focused on current and alternative shipping routes to and from the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach and the risk they presented to humpback, fin and blue whales from ship strikes.

Knowing exactly where whales are most likely to be found in the ocean environment known as the Southern California Bight can help reduce human impacts, the researchers said.

“The [area] is an incredibly complex system with a diverse set of users, including the military, shipping industry and fishing industry,” Redfern said in a paper published in the journal Conservation Biology. “All users have specific needs and their input is necessary to plan the best and safest uses of these waters.

“This paper helps to incorporate whale habitat use in the planning process so that their needs can be considered as well.”

Google Takes On Swedish Language Watchdog

STOCKHOLM, Sweden (UPI) — Complaints from Google have led to the deletion of the word “ungoogleable” from a list of new Swedish words, the Language Council of Sweden says.

The country’s language watchdog has defined “ungoogleable” — “ogooglebar” in Swedish — as something that does not show up in results from any Internet search engine, but Google insisted the word, since it contains “Google,” should refer only to Google searches, the council reported.

The council publishes an annual list of 10 new words becoming popular in Sweden as an indication of how society and language are changing.

Council head Ann Cederberg said an email arrived from Google soon after publication of the list in December requesting a “disclaimer” while stressing that Google is a trademark.

Concerned at the prospect of a legal tussle and unwilling to change the word’s definition, the council instead removed it from its list.

“I don’t want to be influenced by a company, but this was the only way to solve the problem,” Cederberg told the BBC.

“We could not go to court. The only way was to remove the word from the list and tell the world what happened.”

Contacted for a comment, a Google representative told the BBC the company, “like many businesses, takes routine steps to protect our trademark.”

Two New Species Added To World Lemur Count

DURHAM, N.C. (UPI) — Scientists say genetics have helped them identify two new species of mouse lemur, tiny saucer-eyed primates native to the African island of Madagascar.

The finding brings the number of recognized species of the teacup-size creatures — specimens of the new species weigh less than 3 ounces — to 20.

Because these shy, nocturnal primates look so much alike, it’s only possible to tell them apart with genetic sequencing, researchers said.

“You can’t really tell them apart just looking at them through binoculars in the rainforest,” Peter Kappeler of the German Primate Center in Goettingen, who earned his doctorate a Duke University in North Carolina, said.

One of the new species has been name the Marohita mouse lemur, after the forest where it was found. In Malagasy, the word “marohita” means “many views,” a Duke release said Tuesday.

Much of the forest home of the mouse lemur has been cleared for logging and agriculture in the last decade, prompting the International Union for the Conservation of Nature to classify the new species as “endangered” even before it was formally described.

“Despite its species’ name, this mouse lemur is threatened by ongoing habitat destruction, and ‘many views’ of its members are unlikely,” the researchers wrote in the International Journal of Primatology.

EPA: Most U.S. Waters Polluted

WASHINGTON (UPI) — More than half of U.S. rivers, streams and other waterways are in too poor of a condition for aquatic life, the Environmental Protection Agency said.

The EPA said most the nation’s streams, rivers and other waters were in poor health.

EPA analysis said that 27 percent of the nation’s waterways have high levels of nitrogen and 40 percent have high levels of phosphorus. Those chemicals lead to algae blooms that can deprive water of oxygen.

In terms of mercury, potentially harmful to developing nervous systems, the EPA said that more than 13,000 miles of rivers contained fish species with elevated levels in the systems.

For bacteria, about 9 percent of the nation’s rivers and streams were considered unsafe for swimming while vegetation, which can help filter out pollutants, was down in about 24 percent of the waters monitored by the EPA.

“The health of our nation’s rivers, lakes, bays and coastal waters depends on the vast network of streams where they begin, and this new science shows that America’s streams and rivers are under significant pressure,” Acting Assistant Water Administrator Nancy Stoner said in a statement.

Low Rates Prompt Gain In Mortgage Activity

WASHINGTON (UPI) — U.S. mortgage activity rose last week, as long-term interest rates fell slightly, the Mortgage Bankers Association said Wednesday.

The association said mortgage activity rose 7.7 percent a week after falling 7.1 percent, when long-term interest rates were headed higher.

From the previous week, the MBA’s refinancing activity index rose 8 percent, the trade group said.

Interest rates for 30-year, fixed-rate conforming mortgages decreased from 3.82 percent to 3.79 percent during the week. Points for 30-year conforming loans rose from 0.38 to 0.44.

The average interest rate for 30-year contracts on jumbo loans — larger than $417,500 — fell from 3.95 percent to 3.9 percent. Points for 30-year jumbo loans rose from 0.36 to 0.42.

Interest rates for 15-year, fixed-rate mortgages were unchanged at 3.02 percent, with points rising from 0.36 to 0.42.

The average rate for 30-year loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration fell from 3.53 percent to 3.51 percent with points rising from 0.31 to 0.43. The average rate for short-term, adjustable-rate mortgages decreased in the week from 2.59 percent to 2.58 percent in the week, with points falling from 0.4 to 0.32, the MBA said.

Pending Home Sales Steady In February

WASHINGTON (UPI) — The U.S. Pending Home Sales Index was little changed in February, holding close to a 36-month high, a trade group in Washington said Wednesday.

The National Association of Realtors said the index that tracks contracts of intention, called the Pending Home Sales Index, shifted lower by 0.4 percent to 105.2 in February, but managed to settle at the second highest rate in nearly three years.

In February, the index was 8.4 percent higher than February 2012,  as the index posted its 22cnd consecutive months of improvements on an annual basis.

NAR said the market is recovering too fast for the current supply. “Only new home construction can genuinely help relieve the inventory shortage,” NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said in a statement.

“Most local home builders are small businesses and simply don’t have access to capital on Wall Street. Clearer regulatory rules, applied to construction loans for smaller community banks and credit unions, could bring many small-sized builders back into the market,” Yun said.

The Pending Home Sales Index for the Northeast fell 2.5 percent to 82.8, while the index in the Midwest rose 0.4 percent to 103.6. The index slipped 0.3 percent in the South to 118.8 and rose 0.1 percent in the West to 101.4, NAR said.

The index is a comparison to the monthly average for 2001, the first year the index was monitored, which was assigned a value of 100.

Atlanta’s Airport Is Busiest In 2012

WASHINGTON (UPI) — The busiest U.S. airport in 2012 was Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, Airports Council International reported.

The trade group said 95.4 million passengers flew in and out of Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport last year.

The second busiest U.S. airport last year was Chicago’s O’Hare International with 66.3 million passengers followed by Los Angeles International with 63.7 million passengers.

The busiest travel hubs in the United States included Dallas/Fort Worth International, Denver International, John F. Kennedy International in New York City, San Francisco International, Charlotte Douglas International in North Carolina, McCarran International in Las Vegas and Sky Harbor International in Phoenix, Airport Council International said.

Retail feels a chillWednesday, March 27, 2013 10:41 AMWASHINGTON, March 27 (UPI) —  U.S. retail receipts dropped 1.7 percent in the week ending Saturday, a trade group in Washington said.

The International Council of Shopping Centers-Goldman Sachs weekly sales report said sales fell week to week, but rose 1 percent over the same week of 2012.

The trade group said Tuesday that an abnormally cold bout of weather curbed consumer demand for spring goods, especially apparel.

While receipts climbed from the same week a year earlier, the year-over-year increase was the slowest it has been in more than three years.

Weather Trends International said the average temperature nationwide was 15.2 degrees Fahrenheit cooler than the same week in 2012 and 4.5 degrees cooler than the long range average for the week.

Vitamin D May Help Insulin Levels In Obese

COLUMBIA, Mo. (UPI) — Vitamin D supplements may help obese children and teens control their blood-sugar levels, which may help stave off diabetes, U.S. researchers say.

Catherine Peterson of the University of Missouri and colleagues studied 35 pre-diabetic obese children and adolescents who were undergoing treatment in the university’s Adolescent Diabetic Obesity Program.

All had insufficient or deficient vitamin D levels and had similar diets and activity levels.

Half of the study participants were randomly assigned either a high-dose vitamin D supplement or a placebo daily for six months, Peterson said.

The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found those who took the supplement developed sufficient vitamin D levels and lowered the amount of insulin in their blood.

“By increasing vitamin D intake alone, we got a response that was nearly as powerful as what we have seen using a prescription drug,” Peterson said in a statement. “We saw a decrease in insulin levels, which means better glucose control, despite no changes in body weight, dietary intake or physical activity.”

The vitamin D dosage given to the obese adolescents in the study was not something recommended for everyone, Peterson said.

“For clinicians, the main message from this research is to check the vitamin D status of their obese patients, because they’re likely to have insufficient amounts,” Peterson said. “Adding vitamin D supplements to their diets may be an effective addition to treating obesity and its associated insulin resistance.”

Youth With Diabetes Have Tough Transition

LOS ANGELES (UPI) — Youth with type 1 diabetes are at greater risk during their transition from pediatric care to adult care, U.S. researchers suggest.

Lead author Dr. Debra Lotstein, an associate clinical professor of pediatrics at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles, and Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA, said as children with type 1 diabetes grow into young adults, they leave their pediatric healthcare providers for adult providers.

The study, scheduled to be published in the April issue in the journal Pediatrics, found young people — median age 20.1 — with type 1 diabetes who had transitioned from pediatric to adult care were 2.5 times more likely to have chronically high blood glucose levels, putting them at higher risk for heart attacks, strokes, blindness and kidney failure later in life.

“The transition to adulthood can include changes in healthcare providers, insurance and often living situations as patients move from high school to college or work,” Lotstein said in a statement.

“These transitions can be challenging for anyone, but youth with a chronic health problem like diabetes are at risk of losing the support of their health care providers and their family that helps them stay healthy.”

Some Organic Food May Be Healthier

DALLAS (UPI) — Fruit flies fed an organic diet did better on tests of general health and two significant measures of health — fertility and longevity, U.S. researchers say.

Ria Chhabra a student at Clark High School in Plano, Texas; biologist Johannes H. Bauer of the Southern Methodist University in Dallas; and Santharam Kolli, a research associate at SMU, said the data demonstrated fruit flies raised on organic food extracts performed better on the majority of health tests.

“We don’t know why the flies on the organic diet did better. That will require further research. But this is a start toward understanding potential health benefits,” Chhabra said in a statement.

Chhabra said the study was inspired by a conversation her parents had on the merits of buying organic food.

Bauer said his laboratory utilized one of the most widely used model systems, the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, often used to study human diseases such as diabetes, heart function and Alzheimer’s disease because of the fruit fly’s short life cycle and low cost.

The study, published in PLoS One, also found some negative or neutral results using diets prepared from organic raisins, which might suggest the beneficial health effects of organic diets might be dependent on specific food items, Bauer said.

Social Isolation Can Kill Seniors

LONDON (UPI) — People age 52 and older who are socially isolated are at higher risk of dying, than those not socially isolated, British researchers say.

Andrew Steptoe, Aparna Shankar, Panayotes Demakakos and Jane Wardle of the University College London said they assessed social isolation in terms of contact with family and friends and participation in civic organizations in 6,500 men and women age 52 and older who took part in the English Longitudinal Study of Aging in 2004-05. A standard questionnaire measure of loneliness was also administered.

The researchers monitored all-cause mortality up to March 2012 — mean follow-up of seven years — and analyzed results using Cox proportional hazards regression.

After adjusting statistically for demographic factors and baseline health, social isolation remained significantly associated with mortality for the top 20 percent of the most isolated but loneliness did not.

Both social isolation and loneliness were associated with increased mortality but the effect of loneliness wasn’t independent of demographic characteristics or health problems and didn’t contribute to the risk associated with social isolation.

“Although both isolation and loneliness impair quality of life and well-being, efforts to reduce isolation are likely to be more relevant to mortality,” the researchers wrote in the study.

The findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

High Protein Breakfast May Limit Snacking

COLUMBIA, Mo. (UPI) — Overweight/obese, “breakfast skipping,” teen girls who ate a high-protein breakfast reduced their unhealthy snacking later in the day, U.S. researchers say.

Heather Leidy of the University of Missouri said the study involved 20 overweight or obese adolescent females ages 18-20 who either skipped breakfast, consumed a high-protein breakfast consisting of eggs and lean beef, or ate a normal-protein breakfast of ready-to-eat cereal.  Each breakfast consisted of 350 calories and was matched for dietary fat, fiber, sugar and energy density, but the high-protein breakfast contained 35 grams of protein, Leidy said.

Study participants completed questionnaires and provided blood samples throughout the day. Prior to dinner, functional magnetic resonance imaging brain scans were performed to track brain signals that control food motivation and reward-driven eating behavior, Leidy said.

The study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, found the consumption of the high-protein breakfast led to increased fullness or “satiety” along with reductions in brain activity responsible for controlling food cravings.

The high-protein breakfast also reduced evening snacking on high-fat and high-sugar foods, the study said.

“Eating a protein-rich breakfast impacts the drive to eat later in the day, when people are more likely to consume high-fat or high-sugar snacks,” Leidy said in a statement. “These data suggest that eating a protein-rich breakfast is one potential strategy to prevent overeating and improve diet quality by replacing unhealthy snacks with high quality breakfast foods.”

Funding for the research was provided by the Beef Check-off and the Egg Nutrition Center/American Egg Board.

TSA And Pepper Spray Don’t Mix

Good grief.

A Transportation Security Administration agent sent six people, including himself, to the hospital this week by being an idiot. (He’s clearly not alone.)

The New York Post reports the agent, Chris Yves Dabel, spotted a pepper spray container at a security checkpoint and evidently mistook it for a laser pointer.

Well, everybody knows how fun those are to play with — especially while in the employ of a government security agency whose sole mission seems to be letting would-be bad guys get onto planes while making the flying experience nearly unbearable for everyone else.

So Dabel started “playing around with it,” according to an official at Kennedy Airport. He ended up squirting himself and five of his good TSA buddies, and they all went to the hospital together.

Mercifully, no passengers were injured. The security lines at Kennedy were delayed about 15 minutes.

JPMorgan Chase Under The Microscope

NEW YORK (UPI) — A spokesman for JPMorgan Chase, acknowledged the U.S. financial giant is currently the subject of numerous regulatory probes.

“Jamie and other executives feel terrible that the bank’s self-inflicted mistakes have put regulators in an awkward position,” said bank spokesman Joe Evangelisti, referring to the bank’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer James Dimon.

Evangelisti said the bank was cooperating with authorities “to make things right.”

JPMorgan Chase is currently the target of investigations by at least eight agencies including Justice Department, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the FBI, the New York Times reported Wednesday.

In addition, Congress has called bank executives to testify in Washington concerning a highly publicized trading loss of $6.2 billion that occurred in a JPMorgan office in London last year.

The investigations include attempts to ferret out criminal behavior and bank carelessness that may have contributed to those losses.

JPMorgan is also under investigation by authorities looking to see when and how much bank officials knew about New York investor Bernard Madoff’s multi-billion Ponzi scheme.

At issue is how early bank officials may have suspected or known Madoff’s firm was illegitimate and how long they might have kept quiet about their suspicions.

Irving Picard, the court-appointed trustee charged with retrieving as much of the lost funds as possible has filed a lawsuit against JPMorgan claiming at least one official at the bank knew Madoff’s operation was fraudulent 18 months before he was arrested.

The myriad investigations are somewhat new for JPMorgan, which was seen as one of the large U.S. banks that survived the 2008 financial crisis in relatively good shape, the Times said.

Sources familiar with another investigation said JPMorgan is suspected of botching a review of mortgage files that were mandated by a multi-bank settlement over foreclosure abuses.

The bank may have incorrectly reported on more than 5,000 mortgage files out of 880,000 that it had to review.

Other banks have also made mistakes in their reporting, the Times said and the mistakes appear not to be deliberate. People close to the issue said JPMorgan may have over-estimated the problems found in the review.

Man Sets Out On 5-Year ‘Earth Wide Walk’

MALAGA, Spain, (UPI) — A Spanish man said he plans to walk around the world in five years, covering 12 to 18 miles per day, to “promote love and respect for the environment.”

Ignacio Dean Mouliaa, 32, of Malaga, set out March 21 on his “Earth Wide Walk” to raise awareness of environmental problems and raise money for charity, The Local.es reported Wednesday.

“This is day six, and everything’s going really well,” Mouliaa said.

Mouliaa said he initially came up with the idea a couple of years ago.

“It came out of two things: a dream and a need. The dream was my personal dream to walk around the world while the need was to promote love and respect for the environment. Our job is to look after the earth for our children, and the most environmentally friendly mode of transport is walking. Walk around the world is the best way of getting this message across.”

Mouliaa said he plans to walk across 40 countries on six continents.

Gov. Christie To Keep Eye On Prince Harry

TRENTON, N.J., (UPI) — Gov. Chris Christie has promised to keep Prince Harry of Britain on a short leash during an upcoming visit to New Jersey.

Harry will be in the Garden State in May to get a firsthand look at damage caused by Superstorm Sandy. The prince, an army officer who saw combat service in Afghanistan, is scheduled to be in the United States May 9-15 on a trip to raise money for U.S. and British troops.

Christie said Monday he will be with Harry for the day he is in New Jersey, the Asbury Park Press reported.

“If you trust me, all will be fine, because I’m going to spend … during his entire trip, I will be with Prince Harry,” Christie said on “Ask the Governor” show on FM-101.5.

Harry got into trouble during his last U.S. trip when photographs showing him in the buff during a game of “strip billiards” at a Las Vegas hotel went viral on the Internet.

Christie said Harry has apologized for last year’s incident.

“I certainly don’t want to get all over the prince,” Christie said. “I’m thrilled that he wants to come and see the destruction himself first hand and he wants to be helpful. And I’m going to be spending the entire day with Prince Harry.”

Prosecutor Drops Charges Against Groundhog

HAMILTON, Ohio, (UPI) — An Ohio prosecutor said he is dropping charges against Punxsutawney Phil after the groundhog’s handler took responsibility for spring’s late start.

Michael Gmoser, Butler County prosecutor, filed court documents announcing he was dropping the fraud charges against the Pennsylvania groundhog as the animal “has a defense with teeth in it — his handler stepped up to the burrow to take full responsibility for misinterpreting said defendant’s prediction of an early spring.”

“In these serious times, I hope this case brought a light-hearted moment to all concerned with a warm welcome to spring ahead,” Gmoser wrote in the memorandum in support of his dismissal of the charge.