Nation Briefs 03-21-14 Study: 11 percent of long-term unemployed regain full-time work

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WASHINGTON -- A new study found that of Americans who have been unemployed for more than six months, just 11 percent of them will ever regain steady full-time work.

The findings by Princeton University economists show the extent to which the long-term unemployed have been shunted to the sidelines of the U.S. economy since the Great Recession.

During any given month from 2008-12, barely more than one in 10 of the long-term unemployed had found full-time work. Their troubles were similar in states with high as well as low unemployment rates.

Orders new round of sanctions: Seeking to intensify pressure on Russia, President Barack Obama on Thursday expanded U.S. economic sanctions against Moscow over its actions in Ukraine, targeting President Vladimir Putin's chief of staff and 19 other individuals, as well as a Russian bank that provides them support. Obama, warning of more costs to come for the Kremlin if the situation worsens, said he also had signed an executive order that would allow the U.S. to penalize key sectors of the Russian economy, including its huge energy business.

Phone scam is largest ever: More than 20,000 taxpayers have been targeted by fake Internal Revenue Service agents in the largest phone scam the agency has ever seen, the IRS inspector general said Thursday. Thousands of victims have lost a total of more than $1 million. As part of the scam, fake IRS agents call taxpayers, claim they owe taxes, and demand payment using a prepaid debit card or a wire transfer. Those who refuse are threatened with arrest, deportation or loss of a business or driver's license. The inspector general's office started receiving complaints about the scam in August.

Orders forensic examination: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has ordered the Senate's chief law enforcement officer to conduct a forensic examination of top-secret computers used for a study of the CIA's detention and interrogation program, escalating an unprecedented battle over legislative oversight of the spy agency. In a letter sent Wednesday to CIA director John Brennan, Reid repeated allegations that the CIA conducted three unauthorized searches of the computers on which staffers of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence reviewed millions of pages of top-secret documents and began drafting the still-unreleased study. In a separate letter also sent Wednesday, Reid urged Attorney General Eric Holder to have the Justice Department "carefully examine" what Reid called an apparent CIA bid to intimidate the committee by seeking a criminal investigation of the staff's alleged unauthorized penetration of agency computer networks.

Barra to testify at House hearing: General Motors Co. CEO Mary Barra will testify next month at a hearing by a House panel investigating the delayed recall of 1.6 million small GM cars. The investigative panel of the House Energy and Commerce Committee will hear Barra's testimony on April 1. The head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, David Friedman, has been invited to testify the same day. This week Barra apologized for deaths linked to the delayed recall. She says GM took too long to tell owners to take their cars in for repairs of a defect involving ignition switches. She also named a new head of global safety. The Department of Justice is investigating whether any laws were broken in the way Detroit-based GM handled the recall.

Judge approves Toyota-U.S. deal: Federal Judge William H. Pauley III has approved a deal letting Toyota pay $1.2 billion and dodge confronting a criminal charge that it defrauded consumers by issuing misleading statements after defects caused Toyota and Lexus vehicles to accelerate unexpectedly and cause injuries and deaths. Pauley III also scolded Toyota on Thursday, saying the case demonstrates that corporate fraud can kill. And he urged prosecutors to continue to investigate the individuals who were responsible. Pauley effectively approved a deferred prosecution agreement that calls for a criminal wire fraud charge against Toyota to be delayed for three years. The charge eventually will be dismissed if the company lives up to the terms of the deal.

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