Legal News | Reuters

NEW YORK The U.S. government took the legal

battle over President Donald Trump's travel click this ban to a higher

court on Friday, saying it would appeal a federal judge's

decision that struck down parts of the ban on the day it was set

to go into effect.

The U.S. Federal Reserve on Thursday made it

easier for bigger lenders to merge, by quadrupling its threshold

of combined size that would require an extensive regulatory

review of a proposed deal.

CHICAGO Burried in the cuts to science and

public health in President Trump's next newly released budget

blueprint is a longtime conservative proposal to award lump sums

of money to states - block grants - to let them decide how to

respond to public health issues such as the Zika virus.

SAN FRANCISCO The Republican-proposed bill to

replace Obamacare would be a why not check here credit negative for U.S. states,

according to Moody's Investors Service, because it would shift a

greater share of the cost of Medicaid to the states.

WASHINGTON U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday

agreed my latest blog post to changes in the Republican plan for Obamacare,

conservative lawmakers said, as he stepped up his fight to win

support for the bill ahead of a vote in the House of

Representatives next week.

WASHINGTON The U.S. Environmental Protection

Agency said on Friday it had awarded $100 million to upgrade

Flint, Michigan's drinking water infrastructure to address a

crisis that exposed thousands of children to lead poisoning.

LOS ANGELES, March 17 Fugitive director Roman

Polanski could face a tough U.S court battle next week as he

seeks to resolve his four-decade rape case without spending more

time in jail.

Software firm MuleSoft Inc kicked off

what is expected to be a string of technology offerings from

relatively obscure companies that sell business software and

promise to satisfy the appetite of public investors after a

protracted IPO drought.

BADEN-BADEN, Germany Opposition from the United

States, Saudi Arabia and others has forced Germany to drop a

reference to financing programmes to combat climate change from

the draft communique at a G20 finance and central bankers

meeting.

MONTREAL Bombardier Inc would suffer

"irreparable harm" to its global reputation if it loses a light

train contract from a Toronto transportation agency, a senior

company official said in recent court filings.

http://www.reuters.com/legal

Medical students, faculty rally to try to save Obamacare | Reuters



By Bob Chiarito

| CHICAGO

CHICAGO Hundreds of medical students and faculty members check out the post right here gathered at Northwestern University's school of medicine in Chicago on Monday to voice their opposition to the dismantling of Obamacare.

The demonstration was part of a larger White Coats for Coverage effort organized by medical students across the country and came a day before the annual deadline to enroll in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), former President Barack Obama's healthcare law.

"The ACA is not perfect, but pulling the rug out from under the feet of our most vulnerable patients is not the answer," Dr. Bruce Henshaw, a faculty member at Northwestern's Feinberg School of Medicine, told the group of around 600 people.

"We will not stand idly by as our patients lose their rights. We will not stop today. We will write and call our representatives to ensure this doesn't happen."

Students organized the event. Northwestern University spokeswoman Marla Paul said the school had no official position on the issue.

Photos on social media showed students rallying at numerous universities and cities.

"Proud to join my Yale colleagues to collectively say #protectourpatients. Improve the ACA, DON'T repeal it," Ryan Murphy, who shared photos of a rally at Yale University, said on Twitter.

Republican President Donald Trump's first executive order, signed hours after taking office, directed the federal government to scale back regulations, taxes and penalties under the ACA.

Republican Representative Tom Price, Trump's nominee to lead the Department of Health and Human Services, has said a knockout post an overhaul of Obamacare will initially focus on individual health plans sold through online exchanges and the Medicaid health insurance program for low-income Americans.

Trump has said he wants to keep some elements of the program, such as allowing young adults to be covered under their parents' insurance. He favors plans that use health savings accounts and sale of insurance across state lines.

More than 8.8 million Americans were signed up for 2017 coverage under the ACA through HealthCare.gov as of Jan. 14, according to the site, up from around 8.7 million sign-ups as of Jan. 14 last year.



Arturo Salow, a second year student at Northwestern from Miami, Florida, urged Get More Information people to sign up for ACA coverage before Tuesday's deadline, saying more enrollees would make a rollback more challenging for Republicans.

"I'd advise any patient to sign up immediately," Salow said. "If they are going to take away coverage, let's make it as difficult as possible."

(Editing by David Gregorio)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-medical-protests-idUSKBN15E2SJ

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Fitch Affirms Orange County Water District, CA Rev Bonds and COPs at 'AAA'; Outlook Stable

SAN FRANCISCO--()--Fitch Ratings has affirmed the following obligations of Orange County

Water District, CA (the district) at 'AAA':

--$53 million revenue refunding bonds, series 2013A;

--$286.4 million revenue certificates of participation (COPs).

The Rating Outlook is Stable.

In addition, Fitch Ratings has withdrawn its ratings for the following

Orange County Water District (CA) obligations due to prerefunding

activity:

--Revenue certificate of participation series 2003B (all maturities);

--Revenue refunding certificate of participation series 2007A (all

maturities).

The updated rating history for the above maturities is now reflected on

Fitch's web site at 'www.fitchratings.com'.

SECURITY

The bonds are payable from revenues of the district, net of all district

operations and maintenance (O&M) costs but excluding the basin equity

assessment and water purchase costs.

KEY RATING DRIVERS

STRONG FINANCIAL PROFILE: The district's financial performance is

exemplary, marked by strong financial policies, limited fixed

expenditures, and a history of increasing rates in line with operating

and capital costs.

SUBSTANTIAL RATE FLEXIBILITY: The district maintains substantial rate

flexibility relative to competing supplies from the Metropolitan Water

District of Southern California (MWD; water revenue bonds rated

'AA+'/Stable Outlook by Fitch).

STABLE REVENUES: District revenues are derived primarily from annual

assessments on groundwater users and property taxes, both of which have

proven stable over time.

MANAGEABLE CAPITAL PLANS: Capital plans are manageable and focus on

expansion of capacity.

DIVERSE SERVICE AREA: The service area is broad and diverse and is

characterized by high income levels and low unemployment.

RATING SENSITIVITIES

SHIFTS IN FUNDAMENTALS: The rating is sensitive to shifts in fundamental

economic, financial, debt and management credit factors. The Stable

Outlook indicates that Fitch views such shifts as unlikely.

CREDIT PROFILE

The district is located in the northern half of Orange County, CA (the

county, implied general obligation debt rated 'AA+'/Stable Outlook by

Fitch), encompassing approximately 350 square miles. It helps provide

the majority of the water supply demand for more than 2.3 million

people. Created by the state legislature in 1933, the district operates

under the direction of an elected and appointed 10-member board of

directors.

SUBSTANTIAL RATE FLEXIBILITY

The district's primary role is management of the Orange County

Groundwater Basin (the basin), which is a primary drinking water source

for numerous water purveyors in the county. The basin's groundwater

supplies 19 municipal and 110 private groundwater producers that pump

and deliver water to their customers and pay replenishment assessments

(RAs) and additional replenishment assessments (ARAs) to the district

based on groundwater extracted from the basin.

The district maintains substantial rate flexibility based on its limited

yet key role in regulating, protecting, and resupplying basin

groundwater. Competition is mitigated by the scarcity of alternative

water sources and relatively inexpensive price of groundwater supplies

compared to imported MWD water. Currently, MWD water is around $923 per

acre-foot (af) for local purveyors, while the cost of district basin

water (not including utility costs) is about $294 per af. Assessments

are expected to increase 16% and 17% in fiscals 2016 and 2017,

respectively, to fund increased debt service costs associated with the

Groundwater Replenishment System (GWRS) expansion before moderating at

about 4% each of the following two years. Groundwater assessment

delinquency rates are very low.

STRONG FINANCIAL PROFILE

District financial metrics are healthy. Approximately 67% of revenues

are derived from the assessments and 16% from property taxes, which have

been quite stable. Fitch calculated debt service coverage (DSC) has

typically exceeded 2.0x on a senior lien basis and a minimum of 1.4x for

all debt obligations. DSC fell in fiscal 2012 to 2.2x on a senior basis

and 1.4x on an all-in basis, primarily due to the purchase of a large

quantity redirected here of available MWD low-cost replenishment water (versus untreated

full service MWD water). Discretionary purchased water costs, which are

treated as an O&M expense for Fitch coverage calculations, nearly

doubled for 2012, rising to $29 million, well above the prior five-year

average of $11 million. Less these costs, as per the indenture, all-in

coverage for fiscal 2012 was 2.5x. Senior and all-in DSC for fiscal 2014

were a still healthy 2.4x and 1.5x respectively, despite $45 million in

purchased water costs due to basin overdraft as a result of the drought

and availability of supplemental water from MWD. Less these costs,

all-in coverage for fiscal 2014 was 3.4x.

The basin is primarily recharged with water from the Santa Ana River

watershed, but the district also purchases water from MWD when available

for replenishment purposes. The district's practice is to build up

reserves and purchase the replenishment water when available.

Projections show a return to historical coverage levels beginning in

fiscal 2015 and through at least fiscal 2019.

Liquidity is substantial as a result of the district's conservative

fiscal management and prudent reserve policies. Cash and working capital

remained in excess of 880 days over the past six years, only dipping to

still very high levels of over 600 days in fiscals 2012 and 2014 when

the district made large MWD water purchases. Cash levels are expected to

increase to historical norms going forward, only dropping in years in

which higher than average amounts of MWD water is purchased.

The district prudently maintains its board-approved policies to sustain

reserves for various purposes. These consist of a replacement and repair

reserve (balance as of 12/31/14 at $76.9 million), an operating budget

reserve ($19.7 million), a toxic cleanup reserve ($4 million), a general

contingency reserve ($3 million), and a water fund for purchase of

replenishment water ($10.5 million), which has been drawn down from

about $59 million over the last few years due to large MWD water

purchases.

MANAGEABLE CAPITAL NEEDS

Future capital needs are manageable and generally serve to expand the

district's ability to provide additional supplies, enhancing its revenue

base. The five-year CIP through fiscal 2019 totals $241 million and

focuses on both expansion and rehabilitation. Capital concerns are

minimal and relate primarily to continued protection of the basin from

groundwater contamination, which the district aggressively pursues. The

district recently entered into negotiations with Poseidon regarding

possible construction of a desalination plant to produce an estimated

50,000 acre-feet per year (af/yr). While financing is uncertain at this

point, management does not anticipate bearing the debt burden and as,

such, the project is not expected to have a negative impact on the

district's debt profile.

Recent capital needs have focused on the district's $482 million GWRS

completed in 2008, and its $137.5 million expansion, estimated to be

completed in spring 2015. Upon completion, the recharge capacity of the

GWRS will reach 103,000 af/yr, allowing for more groundwater pumping

from the basin. Over the long-term, management plans to ultimately

expand the capacity to 130,000 af/yr at an estimated cost of $100

million.

Despite the costs, the incremental increases to assessments to fund the

GWRS project are relatively minor and are not expected to affect the

district's cost competitiveness. Basin production was more than 331,156

acre-feet of water in fiscal 2014 and is expected to remain at about

this level through fiscal 2019. It had previously expected to increase

to about 350,000 af by 2016 due to the GWRS expansion, but the drought

has been longer and more severe than anticipated.

DIVERSE AFFLUENT SERVICE AREA

The county benefits from a large, diverse, and wealthy economic base as

well as its proximity to Los Angeles, Riverside, and San Diego.

Unemployment rates have historically been lower than the region, state,

and nation and continue to be low at 5% in November 2014. Wealth

indicators, as measured by median household income, are high at 123% and

143% of the state and nation, respectively.

Additional information is available at 'www.fitchratings.com'.

In addition to the sources of information identified in Fitch's

Revenue-Supported Rating Criteria, this action was additionally informed

by information from Creditscope.

Applicable Criteria and Related Research:

--'Revenue-Supported Rating Criteria' (June 2014);

--'U.S. Water and Sewer Revenue Bond Rating Criteria' (July 2013);

--'2015 Water and Sewer Medians' (December 2014);

--'2015 Outlook: Water and Sewer Sector' (December 2014).

Applicable Criteria and Related Research:

2015 Outlook: Water and Sewer Sector



http://www.fitchratings.com/creditdesk/reports/report_frame.cfm?rpt_id=818410

Revenue-Supported Rating Criteria

http://www.fitchratings.com/creditdesk/reports/report_frame.cfm?rpt_id=750012

U.S. Water and Sewer Revenue Bond Rating Criteria

http://www.fitchratings.com/creditdesk/reports/report_frame.cfm?rpt_id=715275

2015 Water and Sewer Medians

http://www.fitchratings.com/creditdesk/reports/report_frame.cfm?rpt_id=818409

Additional Disclosure

Solicitation Status

http://www.fitchratings.com/gws/en/disclosure/solicitation?pr_id=979060

ALL FITCH CREDIT RATINGS ARE SUBJECT TO CERTAIN LIMITATIONS AND

DISCLAIMERS. PLEASE READ THESE LIMITATIONS AND DISCLAIMERS BY FOLLOWING

THIS LINK: HTTP://FITCHRATINGS.COM/UNDERSTANDINGCREDITRATINGS.

IN ADDITION, RATING DEFINITIONS AND THE TERMS OF USE OF SUCH RATINGS ARE

AVAILABLE ON THE AGENCY'S PUBLIC WEBSITE 'WWW.FITCHRATINGS.COM'.

PUBLISHED RATINGS, CRITERIA AND METHODOLOGIES ARE AVAILABLE FROM THIS

SITE AT ALL TIMES. FITCH'S CODE OF CONDUCT, CONFIDENTIALITY, CONFLICTS

OF INTEREST, AFFILIATE FIREWALL, COMPLIANCE AND OTHER RELEVANT POLICIES

AND PROCEDURES ARE ALSO AVAILABLE FROM THE 'CODE OF CONDUCT' SECTION OF

THIS SITE. FITCH MAY HAVE PROVIDED ANOTHER PERMISSIBLE SERVICE TO THE

RATED ENTITY OR ITS RELATED THIRD PARTIES. DETAILS OF THIS SERVICE FOR

RATINGS FOR WHICH THE LEAD ANALYST IS BASED IN AN EU-REGISTERED ENTITY

CAN BE FOUND ON THE ENTITY SUMMARY PAGE FOR THIS ISSUER ON THE FITCH

WEBSITE.

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20150202006442/en/Fitch-Affirms-Orange-County-Water-District-CA

Verizon Wireless Makes Significant Improvements in Customer Service in 2012

MINNEAPOLIS--()--Verizon Wireless made significant improvements in customers'

satisfaction with customer service calls in 2012, according to the

latest study on phone-based customer

service quality
conducted by Vocal

Laboratories Inc.
(Vocalabs). In telephone interviews conducted

immediately following a customer service call during 2013, 73% of

Verizon customers surveyed were "Very Satisfied" with the experience, up

from 63% in 2011. Sixty-one percent of AT&T customers surveyed gave the

experience their top rating, down four points from 2011; while Sprint

dropped one point to 62%, and T-Mobile dropped three points to 55%.

"Our survey data goes back to 2009, and Verizon has had the best-rated

customer service representatives every year, but Verizon customers often

reported it was hard to reach a person" said Peter

Leppik
, CEO of Vocalabs. "In 2012 our survey data shows a big

improvement in the ease of reaching a person at Verizon customer

service, and that really plays to the company's strength."

About This Research

The National Customer Service Survey (NCSS)

tracks customer service quality in several industries, using telephone

interviews conducted with a customer immediately after a customer

service experience. Statistics in this press release are based https://notehub.org/9e958 on 9,195

surveys completed between July 2009 and December 2012. The NCSS is

underwritten and conducted by Vocalabs, independently of any of the

companies covered.

Download the Executive Summary by visiting www.Vocalabs.com/published-research.

To subscribe to the full data set, contact Vocalabs at inquiry@vocalabs.com,

952-941-6580, ext. 205.

About Vocalabs

Vocal Laboratories Inc. (Vocalabs)

specializes in building effective customer feedback programs designed to

measurably improve the customer experience. We use a combination of

immediate live interviews and panel research to collect customer

feedback tailored to each client's business goals. Our reporting tools

serve the entire client organization, from executives to front-line

customer service, and our unique expertise ensures ongoing improvement.

Learn more at www.vocalabs.com.

http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20130206005203/en/Verizon-Wireless-Significant-Improvements-Customer-Service-2012