Correspondent, Chicago
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Feb 15, 2012

Corruption still rife in Chicago years after Al Capone: study

CHICAGO (Reuters) – The city where gangster Al Capone once kept the mayor on his payroll ranked first in public corruption convictions over the past three decades though the recent pace, perhaps because lessons have been learned or due to earnest prosecutors, researchers said on Wednesday.

“We here lead the country in corruption, just like in Al Capone’s era of corrupting Mayor Big Bill Thompson” during the 1920s, said University of Illinois at Chicago political scientist and former city alderman Dick Simpson, who spoke to reporters before testifying to a city task force on ethics.

Feb 14, 2012

Plenty find love online, where lies abound

By Andrew Stern

(Reuters) – Half of American adults know someone who found love online, and while the Internet plays a more important role than before in starting relationships it is also a forum for cheating and lies that ends them, according to a survey released on Monday.

Released on the eve of Valentine’s Day, the survey of 1,000 people commissioned by marketing consultant Euro RSCG Worldwide found one in five said they have had a romantic or sexual relationship start online. Forty-nine percent knew someone whose relationship began that way.

Feb 13, 2012

Plenty find love online, where lies abound: study

By Andrew Stern

(Reuters) – Half of American adults know someone who found love online, and while the Internet plays a more important role than before in starting relationships it is also a forum for cheating and lies that ends them, according to a survey released on Monday.

Released on the eve of Valentine’s Day, the survey of 1,000 people commissioned by marketing consultant Euro RSCG Worldwide found one in five said they have had a romantic or sexual relationship start online. Forty-nine percent knew someone whose relationship began that way.

Feb 9, 2012

Chicago scraps boy’s design, fearing gang signs

CHICAGO (Reuters) – A 15-year-old Chicago boy’s winning design to appear on the city’s next vehicle sticker was scrapped on Wednesday after crime experts declared it may contain gang signs and symbols.

City Clerk Susan Mendoza accepted the advice of gang crime experts who said Herbie Pulgar’s drawing of four hands could be interpreted as flashing a gang sign. Other evocative symbols like a heart, possibly with horns, could also be viewed as another gang’s symbol.

Feb 3, 2012

Grounded whooping cranes taking to the road

By Andrew Stern

(Reuters) – A flock of young whooping cranes stuck in Alabama have lost interest in following an ultra-light plane leading them to a Florida winter habitat, so the rare birds’ human coaches prepared on Friday to drive them to a nearby marsh.

“Whether the birds have recognized this is as far as they need to go, we just don’t know,” said Liz Conde, a spokeswoman for Operation Migration, a public-private U.S.-Canadian partnership aimed at re-establishing migratory flocks of whooping cranes, a species that was nearly wiped out in the 1940s.

Jan 24, 2012

Job market hurt teens most: study

CHICAGO (Reuters) – U.S. workers suffered many more job losses during the 2007-2009 Great Recession than in downturns over the past 30 years, and fewer than half got another position within six months of the recession’s official end, researchers said on Tuesday.

More than 15.4 million American workers aged 20 or over lost their jobs, or 11 out of 100 adult workers, during the three-year period from 2007 through 2009, according to the Northeastern University’s Center for Labor Market Studies, in Boston, who analyzed U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics.

Jan 23, 2012

Protests intensify as mortgage settlement nears

By Andrew Stern and Aruna Viswanatha

(Reuters) – As state and federal officials near a deal with top banks to settle claims of foreclosure abuses, left-leaning activist groups have stepped up pressure on the officials to reach a deal that demands more from the banks.

Around three dozen protestors from groups that include MoveOn.org, National People’s Action and The New Bottom Line gathered outside the State of Illinois building in downtown Chicago on Monday morning in a blustery rain chanting “banks got bailed out, we got sold out.”

Jan 12, 2012

“Mormon moment” examined in U.S. survey

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Most Mormons believe their religion is not well understood by Americans and many sense hostility but a survey done as Mormonism gains political and cultural prominence shows they are also optimistic that tolerance of their faith is rising.

The New York Times and other media have dubbed this the “Mormon moment” with two Mormons – Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman – vying for the Republican nomination to run for U.S. president, a hit play (“The Book of Mormon”), a popular cable television series (HBO’s “Big Love”) and the best-selling “Twilight” vampire books written by a Mormon.

Jan 11, 2012

Fed officials at odds over policy path

LAKE FOREST, Illinois (Reuters) – Top Federal Reserve officials disagreed on Wednesday over how aggressive the central bank should be to spur faster growth and bring a lofty jobless rate down more quickly.

Chicago Fed President Charles Evans said he favors the Fed strengthening its commitment to holding interest rates near zero by adopting specific thresholds that unemployment and inflation must hit before interest rates could go up.

Jan 11, 2012

Chicago Fed’s Evans: Need to see better housing market

LAKE FOREST, Illinois (Reuters) – The president of the Chicago Federal Reserve Bank said on Wednesday that a more vibrant housing market will be necessary to boost home prices and provide a lift to the overall economy.

Answering questions after addressing a Rotary Club meeting in Lake Forest, Illinois, Evans also said the U.S. central bank’s dual mandate of promoting employment and keeping inflation contained could be beneficial with an inflation target of 2 percent.

    • About Andrew

      "Cover the Midwest -- from Tennessee to Kansas and the Dakotas -- with help from other correspondents in Chicago and Kansas City. Also keep tabs on issues related to religion and the environment, especially as concerns the Great Lakes."
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