News in Brief: “Anonymous” Hackers Release Controversial Bank of America Emails, and More

“Anonymous” Hackers Release Controversial Bank of America Emails

According to Reuters, hacker activist group Anonymous released a number of emails Monday leaked by a former Bank of America (BofA) employee that allegedly show corruption and fraud in a foreclosure division. The emails, which date from November 2010, show people from BofA unit Balboa Insurance discussing removing documents from loan files for an undetermined reason. A BofA spokesperson said the documents were clerical and unrelated to foreclosure. “We are confident that his extravagant assertions are not true,” the spokesperson said in reference to the former employee.

GOP and Democrats Fight Over Yucca Mountain as Site for New Nuclear Plants

Nevada’s Yucca Mountain has persevered through 24 years as the country’s storage area for nuclear waste, writes McClatchy Newspapers. Congress chose the desert area as the sole repository site in 1987 after a search that included Hanford in Washington State and Deaf Smith County in Texas. Now, House Republicans have recommended utilizing the site as part of a plan to build 200 new nuclear plants by 2030, adding to the nation’s current total of 104 reactors. The plan would also require the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to review Yucca Mountain as a repository for waste “without political interference.” While President Obama has stated his support of nuclear power as part of an agenda for “clean energy,” the option of using Yucca Mountain as a storage site is “off the table,” according to Energy Secretary Steven Chu, leading some to believe that Hanford could emerge as the next-best option. Supporters of the plan have pointed to the costliness of the government’s failure to build the repository, as utilities around the country have filed more than 70 lawsuits, with $1 billion paid out in settlements.

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Quake Survivors Face Devastating Aftermath

Rescue workers struggled to bring enough food and water to Japan’s northern communities Monday in the wake of a devastating 8.9-magnitude earthquake that continues to affect the country’s financial markets and economy, The Wall Street Journal reports. The official death toll reached 1,800 by Monday afternoon as more than 450,000 people were reported to have moved into temporary shelters. Officials grappled with the threat of a meltdown at one of Japan’s nuclear plants, as water levels precipitated to a dangerously low level and radiation leaks reached a third reactor. As some commuters attempted to return to work, train services were cut, unplanned rolling blackouts shut down power and water for many buildings and traffic lights went out. Many stores in the area had to close down business because they did not have enough supplies to keep their doors open.

Democrats in Wisconsin Begin Fighting Anti-Union Bill

Mother Jones reports that Democrats have asked the Dane County district attorneys to look into the legality of the state Senate’s Wednesday night vote, which passed a rewritten version of the controversial “budget repair” legislation that would disable public workers’ collective bargaining rights. Because the vote took place without the 14 Senate Democrats who fled the state in protest of the bill earlier in February, it may have violated the state’s Open Meetings Law. The law requires 24 hours’ notice of “every meeting in a governmental body.” But Wisconsin’s state Senate’s chief clerk said that proper notice had been given before the vote took place. Other movements against the bill include a potential strike and walk-out among pubic-sector workers and an upcoming election for the Wisconsin Supreme Court that could lead to a face-off between Democrat JoAnne Kloppenberg and Republican David Prosser.