Need to know:
The US housing market may be doing a little bit better, but nearly one in three homeowners are still underwater on their mortgages, according to the real estate website Zillow.
A few sunbelt states and Michigan have it even worse. In Arizona, one of the states hardest hit by the housing downturn, more than half of all homeowners owe more than their homes are worth.
But the news isn’t all bad. Zillow said nine in every 10 underwater borrowers were still making mortgage payments on time.
Want to know:
Everyone knows CEOs make a lot more money than pretty much everyone else, but the Associated Press has painful new way to quantify it.
David Simon, the head of Simon Property, the company that operates probably at least a few of your favorite shopping malls, was paid more than $137 million last year. It would take a minimum wage employee at a Simon Mall 3,489 years to earn that much money, according to the AP’s fascinating CEO pay analysis.
Of course, Simon is among the higher-paid US CEOs. He makes more than the US government’s top 600 leaders combined. The media CEO salary is around $9.6 million. Of course a minimum wage worker would have to work 636 years to earn even that much.
Dull but important:
Petrol is not a happy word in India today.
The Indian government raised fuel prices today in hopes of stopping the Indian rupee’s slide. The people, perhaps understandably, are not happy, particularly if they're burning gas trapped in traffic in Delhi or Mumbai.
The increase is the steepest in a decade. Pretty much any one who needed fuel was scrambling to a station to beat the increase Thursday, and station owners ended up having to call in the police as their own fuel stocks ran dry, Time said.
The Vatican has fired its top banker, Financial Times reported.
Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, an ethics professor, had been part of an Italian investigation into potential money laundering violations by the bank. The Vatican didn’t specify why he was dismissed beyond saying the bank’s board had lost faith in Tedeschi’s ability to do his job.
The Vatican’s bank has been having a tough time lately. The bank is on a US list of institutions susceptible to money laundering and had $23 million frozen by suspicious foreign officials in 2010.
Strange but true:
Alex Kenjeev is a man who likes to pay cash, even for a $111,000 student loan bill.
Kenjeev recently sold the software start-up he’s been pouring most of his money into for the past few years. Since he walked away with more than enough money to pay off his student loan tab, he decided to make it memorable.
Kenjeev went to his bank and withdrew $111,000 in cash, put it in a grocery bag and walked down the street to pay off his student loan, ABC said. Naturally, he snapped a photo and posted it to Facebook. "It was a milestone moment in your life, when you become debt-free, and not everyone had a receipt, but I did because of the way I did it," he told ABC.