News in Brief: After 19 Years, Algerian President Agrees to End State of Emergency, and More …

After 19 Years, Algerian President Agrees to End State of Emergency

Egypt’s next-door-neighbor, Algeria, will soon come out of its 19-year state of emergency. Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika has announced that he will lift the state of emergency in the “very near future,” leaving activists hopeful, but wary. Al Jazeera reports that the president has made other concessions, telling state-run TV to give airtime to “all political parties” and allowing protests, which were banned under emergency rule, in all cities but the capital. Experts believe these moves are a direct response to pressure from the continuing mass protests in neighboring Egypt.

JP Morgan “Complicit” in Madoff Fraud

The legitimacy of Bernard L. Madoff’s investment business was in doubt by senior executives at JPMorgan Chase more than 18 months before Madoff’s Ponzi scheme collapsed, reported The New York Times News Service, but the company continued to do business with him. According to internal bank documents made public in a lawsuit unsealed Thursday, despite warnings from a high-level risk management officer, the bank allowed Madoff to move billions of dollars of investors’ cash in and out of his accounts with the bank up until the day of his arrest in December 2008. Meanwhile, the bank had withdrawn the majority of its $276 million it has invested in Madoff-linked hedge funds, leaving only $35 million.

Global Food Prices Skyrocket

Global food prices have risen for the seventh month in a row and are likely to continue rising, according to a reported from the United Nations. Unpredictable weather plans have been a significant cause of the rise, reported The New York Times. In Australia, rains damaged much of the country’s wheat crop and led to a 100 percent increase in the price of American wheat in the last year. Meanwhile, countries like China and India are consuming more meat and grain as their wealth increases.

Default Rate of Repayment on For-Profit College Loans Hits 25 Percent

About one-quarter of students who borrowed federal loans to attend for-profit colleges defaulted on their loan this year, up from an estimated 21 percent in December 2009. According to an Education Department report to be published Friday, most students defaulted within three years of starting repayment. As The Washington Post reports, the default rate for public colleges has risen about 1 percent, to an 11 percent default rate; the rate for private nonprofit colleges is about 8 percent, up from 7 percent in the previous report. The Obama is considering new regulations to help ensure students in for-profit colleges find “gainful employment,” but many for-profit schooling companies have vigorously opposed the idea.