- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 18, 2010


Low rates drive spike in refinancing

Mortgage applications rose 13 percent last week as consumers refinanced at the lowest rates in decades.

The increase was driven by a 17 percent surge in applications to refinance home loans, the Mortgage Bankers Association said Wednesday. Mortgage applications taken out to purchase homes fell by more than 3 percent. The numbers are adjusted for seasonal factors.

Home refinancing hit the highest level since May 2009, but was still lower than the last big boom during the first three months of that year.

Applications to refinance loans made up more than 81 percent of all home loan activity, the highest share since January 2009. Low mortgage rates have failed to spark home sales, which remain hobbled by the weak economy and tight credit standards.


Obama backs U.N. inquiry on Burma

The Obama administration will support the creation of a U.N. commission to look into suspected crimes against humanity and war crimes in Burma.

The White House says it thinks the commission could advance the cause of human rights in Burma by “addressing issues of accountability.”

By supporting the U.N. inquiry, the administration is committing itself to backing an investigation of senior members of the military junta.

Loyalists of the general who has led the junta since 1992 overturned election results in 1990 that favored the political party of Aung San Suu Kyi. The Nobel Peace Prize laureate remains under house arrest.

Critics of the upcoming November elections say they’re a sham designed to perpetuate the military’s commanding role in politics.


Candidate rejects offers to withdraw

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