HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - During a ceremony in his office Thursday, Gov. Neil Abercrombie signed the strictest mortgage foreclosure law in the nation.
Read the entire bill here.
Goldman Sachs is bracing itself for what may be the most contentious annual meeting in the embattled investment bank's 142-year history.
On Friday, angry shareholders, including a coalition of religious groups, are planning to call on Goldman's executives to justify the combined $69.6m (£42.4m) payday its top five executives received in 2010 and to answer questions about allegations that the bank misled clients and lied to Congress.
Goldman's most recent financial results comfortably beat expectations and its shares have rallied spectacularly since the lows of the credit crunch. But the bank has continued to be mired in controversy. Chairman and chief executive Lloyd Blankfein faces shareholders amid speculation that he may be planning to step down. The bank has denied any such move.
The meeting comes amid mounting pressure on the bank. Earlier this week Eric Holder, the US attorney-general, confirmed that the justice department was investigating Goldman's role in the financial crisis following a withering report on the bank's role led by senators Carl Levin and Tom Coburn. The 650-page report "Wall Street and the Financial Crisis: Anatomy of a Financial Collapse," gave Goldman its own section titled "Failing to Manage Conflicts of Interest: A Case Study of Goldman Sachs."
In July the bank paid $500m to settle charges brought by financial regulator the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) that it misled customers over complex sub-prime mortgage products it sold in 2007.
While Goldman is unlikely to lose any shareholder vote, the spotlight on executive pay could not come at a more sensitive moment for the bank. Among those protesting Goldman's payouts are the Nathan Cummings Foundation, a Jewish charity, and the Interfaith Centre on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR).
Among the proposals being put forward by shareholders is one calling for a formal annual review of Goldman's pay deals every year that would compare the wages of top earners with those at the bottom of the Goldman pay scale.
In an interview with the Guardian last month Sister Nora Nash, a member of the ICCR, said St Francis, founding saint of her order, would be "spinning in his grave" if he knew how much the Goldman elite were paying themselves.
The bank's top five executives received cash and stock last year that was 13 times greater than the year before. Goldman's 2010 net revenues fell 13% and profits fell 37%. Goldman paid Blankfein close to $19m in compensation for 2010, almost double his award for the previous year. The bank increased Blankfein's 2011 annual pay by $2m.
Goldman has dismissed the shareholder's actions as "a distraction" that "would entail an unjustified cost to our firm and would not provide shareholders with any meaningful information," since it says shareholders can already get this information in its filings.
William Cohan, author of Money and Power: How Goldman Sachs Came to Rule The World, said AGMs tended to be "more about theatre than substance". But he added: "I think the impact of the negative publicity on the top executives of the firm has been considerable. They don't like it, don't think it is fair and feel it is unwarranted. No surprise there. But there is not much they can do. They are the firm that came out of the crisis in the best shape financially, along with JP Morgan, so they are a natural target of legitimate public anger and frustration."
Madonna with her adopted daughter, Mercy James, during a brick-laying ceremony in 2010 for Raising Malawi Girls Academy. (Mike Hutchings, Reuters / May 6, 2011)The Kabbalah Centre, the Los Angeles-based spiritual organization that mingles ancient Jewish mysticism with the glamour of its celebrity devotees, is the focus of a federal tax evasion investigation probing, among other things, the finances of two charities connected to Madonna, the center's most famous adherent.
Copyright © 2011, Los Angeles Times
By JEANNINE AVERSA, AP Economics Writer
WASHINGTON — Companies created 268,000 jobs in April, the most since February 2006.
The gains were widespread. Retailers, factories, financial companies, education and health care and even construction companies all added jobs.
After subtracting cuts by federal, state and local governments, the economy added 244,000 net jobs last month, the Labor Department said Friday. That marked the third straight month in which more than 200,000 jobs were created, the best three-month hiring spree in five years. Job gains in March and February were even stronger than previously reported.
The unemployment rate ticked up to 9 percent from 8.8 percent in March, the first increase since November. The government uses a separate survey to calculate the unemployment rate. The survey sometimes diverges from a separate survey used to number of jobs employers added.
The latest employment figures suggest businesses are confident in the economy despite weak growth earlier this year and soaring gas prices. Stocks rose after the employment report was released. The Dow Jones industrial average gained more than 168 points in morning trading.
Companies are finally starting to spend the nearly $2 trillion in cash that they stockpiled after the recession ended in June 2009, economists say. Businesses are gaining confidence in their sales and the economy's ability to grow, despite some obstacles.
"It is a sign of relief. Economic momentum has not been lost," said Sung won Sohn, economist at California State University. "Surprisingly, the rising energy prices have not made a significant dent in businesses' willingness to hire, indicating that their optimism on the economy has not faded."
The positive jobs report completes a strong week for President Barack Obama, who announced earlier that a team of Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden, the mastermind behind the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
Workers' paychecks edged up in April. Average hourly earnings rose to $22.95, up from $22.93 in March.
All told there were 13.7 million people unemployed in April, still almost double since before the recession began in December 2007.
Including part-time workers who would rather be working full time, plus people who have given up looking altogether, the percentage of "underemployed" people rose to 15.9 percent in April.
To calculate the unemployment rate, the government calls 60,000 households and asks people if they're working or looking for a job. This survey includes the self-employed, farm workers and domestic help — people not counted in the payroll survey.
For the payroll survey, the government seeks input from about 140,000 businesses and government agencies to determine the number of jobs added.
Most analysts agree the economy has strengthened enough to keep growing this year. And many say the factors that held back growth at the start of the year were most likely temporary. They predict growth will pick up over the rest of the year.
There have been some positive signs. Retailers reported strong April sales, helped by a late Easter. Auto companies reported brisk sales. And factories have expanded production this year at the fastest pace in a quarter-century.
Economists' prediction for a pickup in overall growth is based, however, on gasoline prices stabilizing in the months ahead and then dropping to around $3.50 a gallon or lower near the end of the year.
Gas prices had risen for 44 straight days before holding steady Friday at a national average of roughly $3.99 a gallon.
"The U.S. labor market strengthened in April, damping concerns that rising energy costs are staunching the recovery, said Sal Guatieri, an economist at BMO Capital Markets Economics.
Today, the Republicans in the House of Representatives celebrated this massive redistribution of wealth from American families to oil executives. With the support of 7 oil-patch Democrats, 234 Republicans voted to block a bill to eliminate a $1.8 billion annual subsidy that treats oil drilling as “domestic manufacturing”:
House Republicans rejected an effort by Democrats Thursday to use a procedural maneuver to force a vote on a bill to repeal a key oil industry tax break.
More Americans were hired last month than at any time since 2006, evidence that economic growth could pick up momentum later this year.
Private employers created 268,000 jobs in April.
Private employers created 268,000 jobs in April, a report from the Labor Department showed on Friday, overshadowing the 24,000 jobs that were cut by the public sector in the same month.
It wasn't enough, though, to prevent the unemployment rate rising to 9pc from 8.8pc as more of the country's unemployed joined the hunt for work.
The anemic pace of job creation has been the Achilles heel of America's recovery from its worst recession since World War II.
The world's biggest economy has only replaced about 1.5 of the 8.5m jobs that went during the recession, with industries like construction unlikely to create new employment soon.
The report provides some evidence that companies' confidence to hire has withstood the marked slowing in gross domestic product in the first quarter of the year.