JPMorgan Chase has reached a record $13 billion settlement with federal and state authorities to resolve claims over the bank's sales of mortgage-backed securities that collapsed during the U.S. housing crisis.
It is the largest settlement ever between the Department of Justice and a corporation, and marks a key chapter for the crisis. But the deal does not affect an ongoing criminal probe.
The settlement announced Tuesday requires JPMorgan to pay $9 billion and provide $4 billion in consumer relief, including principal reductions and other mortgage modifications for homeowners facing foreclosure.
The bank said it committed to completing all of those consumer measures by the end of 2017.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who sued JPMorgan in 2012, says the state will get $613 million in cash and about $400 million in relief for struggling homeowners.
A settlement has been expected for weeks but was held up repeatedly by disputes, including the tax deductibility of the deal and whether the bank would be absolved of criminal liability.
The on-again, off-again talks were seen at risk of collapse late last month but got back on track a few weeks ago.
At one point JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon went to the Justice Department to negotiate personally with Attorney General Eric Holder.
Last week the bank also agreed to a separate, $4.5 billion, settlement with mortgage investors.
By Mike Snider
Sony's PlayStation 4 is off to a hot start. Consumers in North America bought more than 1 million PS4s within the first 24 hours of the new $399 home video game console going on sale Friday. That's the fastest start for a PlayStation system so far.
Shuhei Yoshida, president of Worldwide studios for Sony Computer Entertainment, posted the news on Twitter Sunday.
As often happens when a mass release of a high-tech product occurs, a few consumers get a lemon. Some PS4 owners reported that their new console would not output video and had a flashing light, entertainment news site IGN.com reported.
"A handful of people have reported issues with their PlayStation 4 systems," Sony said in a statement to IGN. "This is within our expectations for a new product introduction, and the vast majority of PS4 feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. We are closely monitoring for additional reports, but we think these are isolated incidents and are on track for a great launch."
(Read more: 10 must-have games this holiday)
And the highly publicized release of PS4 attracted the attention of some thieves. Two men were arrested in Bakersfield, Calif., after robbing a customer of a PS4 outside a store, Yahoo News reported. And in Hutchinson, Kan., thieves broke into a home and took a PS4 in the early morning hours Saturday.
Sony will release the PlayStation 4 in Europe and Latin America on Nov. 29 and in Japan on Feb. 22, 2014.
By Chris Woodyard
As new-car buyers flood showrooms, used car prices are hitting a four-year low, according to an analysis released Wednesday.
Prices may go even lower next year as more new-car buyers trade in their jalopies and more used cars with expiring leases show up on lots.
The average used car sold for $15,617 at a franchised dealership in the third quarter, the lowest since the same quarter in 2009, when they averaged $14,808, according to the analysis by car-pricing website Edmunds.com. Prices have been easing for most of the year, and the third-quarter average was down 2.8 percent from the second quarter and 0.9 percent from the same quarter last year.
Another used-car price watcher, Tom Kontos of Adesa Analytical Services, noted a tiny uptick in wholesale prices in October, but says the overall trend is down.
Why prices are dropping:
"There was a big rise in leases," says Richard Arca, senior pricing manager for Edmunds.com. Now, "we're seeing the result."
Arca cautions, however, that used-car prices still aren't as low as they dipped a decade ago. Prices of some late-model used cars still are so close to the price of a new car that it might make more sense to buy new, he says.
(Read more: Nissan's big drive for global growth)
Kontos notes, too, that there hasn't been "a dramatic decline in used-car prices or a flood of used cars on the market" because of the gradual nature of the recovery.
Look for more declines he says.
"The used-car market, in terms of pricing, is poised for further softening," Kontos says. He predicts even more cars will be pouring into the used-car market, making them all cheaper.
By Terry Tamminen
Inventor and futurist Ray Kurzweil predicts that before mid-century, the exponential acceleration of information technologies, robotics, medical science, and artificial intelligence will result in a "singularity," a point at which humans will essentially merge with their technology. Such an event may seem implausible, but discoveries of how technology and humans really interact are being made every day, leading one to the conclusion that it's not an unimaginable future — and it may be the key to sustainable living on an increasingly overcrowded planet.
Heart pacemakers and artificial hips already demonstrate the seeds of Kurzweil's vision and innovations like Google Glass will get more real-time information a lot closer to us very soon. But could we use such technology to measure what our bodies actually need and then design foods and homes that maximize our limited resources to sustain a growing population?
The U.S. Department of Defense has been working on these ideas since 2008 at its National Center for Telehealth and Technology, introducing wearable sensors that report to smartphones on a user's health and wellness. Called "BioZen," the system shows real-time data from the heart, respiration, skin responses, temperature, blood chemistry, and brain waves. The data are used to determine what medicine or nutrition might be needed by the soldier in the field or by the returning veteran undergoing rehabilitation.
(Read more: Is Samsung focusing on a rival to Google glass?)
Dozens of companies all over the globe are working on various versions of BioZen, bringing down cost, increasing functionality, and improving the analytics. These technologies can make limited health-care dollars go a lot farther by preventing illness or by identifying and treating conditions much earlier. Using the same technology to monitor our nutritional needs, and the actual value of the foods we consume, will fundamentally change the way we grow, process, and deliver food to consumers in the future.
Another example of taking a cue from our bodies and improving the technology to meet those demands comes from NASA. Astronauts in the International Space Station go through a 24-hour day of light and dark every ninety minutes. Not surprisingly, their sleep is disrupted and productivity is impacted, so high-tech lights are tuned to mimic natural daylight, stimulating alertness. At "night," when light may be needed for performing some tasks, but astronauts want to avoid stimulation that inhibits sleep, special lights filter out certain wavelengths for a more restful environment.
Florida-based Lighting Science Group, which designed these lights for NASA, has brought the technology to earth with its Definity Digital light bulbs that give you the choice of being alert or promoting sleep (Disclosure: I was so impressed by the company, I invested in their stock). A growing number of studies highlight this problem on Earth, where we spend hours before bedtime illuminated by computer screens, TVs, and other lights that make us more alert at precisely the time we want to start decompressing and getting ready for restful sleep. By combining things like BioZen sensors and Definity lights in the future, the body could send signals to tune lights for our bodies' needs making us more productive and healthy.
(Read more: Apple to launch iPhone with curved screen)
And lest you think that these developments are the sole domain of science fiction or risky Silicon Valley venture capitalists, tech giant Qualcomm is sponsoring a $10 million Tricorder XPRIZE competition to stimulate more innovation in the "integration of precision diagnostic technologies," specifically diagnosing a patient's health from his or her mobile device.
The "singularity" event when man and machine merge may actually be more of a series of "multiplicity" events that collectively make better use of scientific discovery and information technology, but either way, our lives are about to evolve into a digital existence that can make us healthier and more sustainable for the foreseeable future.
By Eric Baculinao and Elisha Fieldstadt
American forces were dispatched to the Philippines as the Pacific island country struggled to cope Sunday after one of the most powerful storms in recorded history killed thousands and wreaked damage far worse than expected.
"At the request of the government of Philippines, Secretary Hagel has directed U.S. Pacific Commandto support U.S. government humanitarian relief operations in the Philippines in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan," the Department of Defense said in a statement late on Saturday night. Officials did not say how many Americans were being sent to the disaster zone.
The first wave of U.S. force — a team of 90 Marines and sailors — flew to Philippines on Sunday to assist with search and rescue operations and provide air support, the Marines said in a statement.
The death toll could climb as high as 10,000 on the island of Leyte after storm surges as high as trees and wind gusts reaching 175 mph destroyed towns and villages, said chief superintendent Elmer Soria, a regional police director.
The national government and disaster agency have not confirmed the latest death toll -- a notable increase from Philippine Red Cross estimates on Saturday of about 1,000 people killed.
NBC News was unable to independently confirm these numbers.
Super typhoon Haiyan destroyed about 70 to 80 percent of structures in its path as it tore through Leyte Friday, Soria told Reuters.
(Read more: How to help Typhoon Haiyan survivors)
An estimated 9.5 million people were affected and over 630,000 were forced from their homes and served within and outside evacuation centers, according to a Sunday report from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council(NDRRMC) of the Philippines.
The United Nations Children's Fund estimated that 1.7 million children lived in the areas that were pummeled by Haiyan. "This is not the first natural disaster to strike the Philippines recently, following the earthquake in Bohol three weeks ago, so we know how vital it is to reach children quickly," said Tomoo Hozumi, UNICEF's representative in the Philippines.
The NDRRMC started to compile a list of the dead by names and regions — listing electrocution, drowning and falling debris as causes of death in most cases.
"We had a meeting last night with the governor and the other officials. The governor said, based on their estimate, 10,000 died," Soria said Sunday. "The devastation is so big."
The surging seas, which flattened buildings and swept away hundreds of people, resembled a tsunami, according to Reuters.
"The devastation is … I don't have words for it, it is really horrific," the country's interior ministerMar Roxas said in Tacloban, the hardest hit city. "All systems, all vestiges of modern living, communications, power, water, all are down."
Tacloban, a town of more than 220,000 people, was almost completely submerged by waves of up to 40 feet in height.
"The water was as high as a coconut tree," Sandy Torotoro, who lives near the Tacloban airport, told The Associated Press.
Mila Ward told the AP she saw over 100 bodies on the street on her way to the airport. "They were covered with just anything — tarpaulin, roofing sheets, cardboards," she said.
"From a helicopter, you can see the extent of devastation. From the shore and moving a kilometer inland, there are no structures standing. It was like a tsunami,"said Roxas, who had been in Tacloban since before the typhoon struck the city.
Throughout Leyte, officials were struggling to cope with the number of dead.
"We have so many dead people," said Remedios Petilla, an official in Leyte. "We don't have bags, bags for the dead."
Communications were difficult and emergency crews were slowly making their way into the hardest hit areas, but some regions were still not assessable due to closed roads and power outages, contributing to the ambiguous death toll.
"There were heavy winds, heavy rains, no power, no cell phones while the storm passed," aid worker Joe Curry of Catholic Relief Services said.
The deaths came even after officials evacuated almost 800,000 residents to emergency shelters.
"People are walking like zombies looking for food,'' Jenny Chu, a medical student in Leyte, told Reuters. "It's like a movie.''
By Sunday, Haiyan had become a category 1 storm and continued to weaken as it brushed by the island of Hainan off the coast of China and Vietnam, The Weather Channel reported.
"The typhoon should make landfall in northern Vietnam by early Monday and may actually weaken to a tropical storm before landfall," but heavy rainfall and flooding was a concern, it said.
Page 3 of 111