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Report: Family and medical leave law working

Also: 18 face fraud charges; Year of the Snake's effect on markets probably won't be so bad.

Thursday, February 7, 2013 - 6:26 am

WASHINGTON – Just 16 percent of eligible workers took time off under the Family and Medical Leave Act last year to recover from an illness, care for a new child or tend to a sick relative, according to a government report released on the law's 20th anniversary Tuesday. Most employers said the absences did not hamper productivity or profitability.

The law allows eligible workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave without fear of losing their jobs. Most leaves are relatively short, with 40 percent of workers reporting they were away from work for 10 days or fewer, the survey said.

Feds: 18 charged in $200M global credit card fraud

NEWARK, N.J. – Eighteen people have been charged in what may be one of the nation's largest credit card fraud rings, a sprawling international scam that duped credit rating agencies and used thousands of fake identities to steal at least $200 million, federal authorities said Tuesday.

The elaborate scheme involved improving fake cardholders' credit scores, allowing the scammers to borrow more money that they never repaid, investigators said.

The U.S. attorney in Newark, Paul Fishman, described an intricate Jersey City-based con that began in 2007, operated in at least 28 states and wired money to Pakistan, India, the United Arab Emirates, Canada, Romania, China and Japan.

Year of the Snake promises calmer HK market

HONGKONG – As the Year of the Snake slithers into sight, investors should take comfort that the reptile's traditionally negative effect on stock markets probably won't be so big this year, according to the astrological predictions of a Hong Kong brokerage.

CLSA Asia-Pacific Markets released its annual “feng shui” index Wednesday ahead of the Chinese lunar new year, which begins Sunday. The report features lighthearted predictions for financial markets, property and celebrities.

“The snake is a skin shedder. That signifies radical changes,” said Mariana Kou, CLSA's “sorcerer's apprentice.”

–From wire reports