In The Morning News

Bloomberg News: Proportion Of Vacant Homes Reaches Record Levels
A "record" 18.6 million U.S. homes "stood empty in the first quarter as lenders took possession of a growing number of properties in foreclosure." And the Census Bureau says the new number "is 5.7 percent higher than a year ago, when 17.6 million properties were vacant."
AP: Security Breaches At Credit Card Companies Suggest More Security Is Needed
"While some of the biggest and most spectacular privacy breaches in recent years have happened at large corporations, state governments have also mishandled or failed to protect some of the sensitive information entrusted to them - data that identity thieves would love to get their hands on." But "most states don't have statewide privacy officers in charge of safeguarding data, statewide policies on protecting sensitive material, or standing procedures for responding to breaches."
MarketWatch: Despite Bad Press Annuity Sales Continue To Increase
Paul Farrell writes, "The press loves trashing annuities, year after year after year. But what's really striking is how the critics are still hammering away at the same old problems, suggesting that all the bad press, criticisms, lawsuits and piñata whackings have had little effect on changing the annuity industry's bad behavior." While "there really are honest annuity companies and brokers out there. And annuities do work for many investors." But 'annuities have countless, hidden flaws that all too often remain undisclosed until it's too late: excessive commissions, lower returns, payout delays, surrender fees and long lock-ins." With commissions "as high as 14%," the annuities industry "attracts aggressive hustlers with questionable ethics preying on vulnerable customers, especially the elderly, a pattern that gives the rest of the industry a bad name."

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