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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Friday, May 14, 2010

BUSINESS BRIEFS
New York AG opens probe of 8 big banks


Associated Press

Hawaii news photo - The Honolulu Advertiser

Andrew Cuomo

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NEW YORK New York's attorney general has launched an investigation into eight banks to determine whether they misled ratings agencies about mortgage securities, according to a person familiar with the inquiry.

Attorney General Andrew Cuomo is trying to figure out if banks provided the agencies with false information to get better ratings on the risky securities, said the person, who asked not to be identified because the investigation has not been made public.

Cuomo's office is investigating Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Morgan Stanley, UBS AG, Citigroup Inc., Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Credit Agricole and Merrill Lynch, which is now part of Bank of America Corp.

UNEMPLOYMENT CLAIMS FALL BY 4,000

WASHINGTON New claims for unemployment benefits dipped for the fourth straight week, a sign the job market is improving at a slow but steady pace.

Employers, encouraged by a recovering economy, are hiring again. But they are not doing it at the level needed to reduce the jobless rate.

The Labor Department said yesterday that initial claims dropped last week by 4,000 to a seasonally adjusted 444,000, slightly above analysts' estimates. The previous week's total was revised up to 448,000.

After dropping steadily last year from a peak of 651,000, first-time claims have fluctuated at around 450,000 since January.

FACEBOOK BEEFING UP SECURITY FEATURES

NEW YORK Facebook's millions of users are a prime target for Internet criminals looking to steal passwords and more. To combat attacks, phishing scams and spam, the online social network is rolling out new security features.

You can ask to be notified by e-mail or text message when your account is accessed from a computer or mobile device you haven't used before. The log-in attempt may be legitimate when you're traveling, but if you haven't left home in a week, you probably ought to change your password.

Facebook is also adding roadblocks when it notices unusual activity, such as simultaneous log-ins from opposite sides of the planet. Users will also be able to check where the latest log-ins have come from.

Some of these changes are already available, while others are still being tested and will launch over the next few weeks. The features come as Facebook faces growing criticism over the way it handles users' privacy.