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The Republican Party, as it prepares for its convention next week has checked off item No. 1 on its housekeeping list — drafting a party platform. The document reflects the conservative views of its authors, many of whom are party activists. So don't look for any concessions to changing views among the broader public on key social issues.

Many public figures who took to Twitter and Facebook following the murder of five police officers in Dallas have faced public blowback and, in some cases, found their employers less than forgiving about inflammatory and sometimes hateful online comments.

As Venezuela unravels — with shortages of food and medicine, as well as runaway inflation — President Nicolas Maduro is increasingly unpopular. But he's still holding onto power.

"The truth in Venezuela is there is real hunger. We are hungry," says a man who has invited me into his house in the northwestern city of Maracaibo, but doesn't want his name used for fear of reprisals by the government.

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Ask a typical teenage girl about the latest slang and girl crushes and you might get answers like "spilling the tea" and Taylor Swift. But at the Girl Up Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C., the answers were "intersectional feminism" — the idea that there's no one-size-fits-all definition of feminism — and U.N. climate chief Christiana Figueres.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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DOJ Sues Bank Of America Over Mortgage-Backed Securities

Aug 6, 2013

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

And I'm Melissa Block. The Justice Department is bringing civil charges against one of the nation's largest banks. The government alleges Bank of America made false statements about the quality of $850 million worth of home loans. Those loans were then sold to investors. NPR's Chris Arnold reports.

CHRIS ARNOLD, BYLINE: U.S. attorneys allege, basically, this: that Bank of America told investors it was selling them a big bundle of mortgages back in 2008 that were of prime or good quality, but they say the bank was lying about that. In fact, they say that Bank of America didn't look at the loan quality and sold off a pile of garbage loans. According to the complaint, more than 40 percent of the mortgages did not comply with the bank's own quality control standards and had, quote, "glaring problems" - overstated income, fake employments, inflated home value appraisals.

And as a result, the government says investors lost millions of dollars when homeowners defaulted on those loans. The thing is, though, critics point out that civil charges like these are not new.

NEIL BAROFSKY: Where's the criminal action?

ARNOLD: Neil Barofsky is a former federal prosecutor who also served as the inspector general in Washington overseeing Congress' big bank bailout five years ago. He says we've already seen a string of these civil actions brought by the SEC and other regulators. But often, banks settle without admitting any wrongdoing. Nobody goes to jail.

BAROFSKY: Once again, we see the Department of Justice stepping forward on the civil, not criminal case. Fraud is fraud.

ARNOLD: Other former top regulators, too, say that they would like to see more FBI agents assigned to investigate fraud inside the largest financial institutions who, they say, damaged the economy through their role in the financial crisis. For its part, Bank of America declined an interview but said in a statement that these loans were sold to sophisticated investors with ample access to the loan data. A spokesman also said that the bank is, quote, "not responsible for the housing market collapse that caused mortgage loans to default at such an unprecedented rate." Chris Arnold, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.