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ST. LOUIS (AP) — A discovery made by two Washington University scientists could play a role in preventing credit card fraud.

Marcel Muller and Ron Indeck were attempting to shrink bits of data onto a hard drive in the mid-1990s when they learned that magnetic media has what amounts to a fingerprint.

Tiny signals are present on the magnetic medium that comprises both hard drives and the strips on the back of credit cards. If the unique fingerprint on those strips is compared to fingerprints in a database, fraud can be detected.

California-based MagTek has adopted the technology, seeding the market with millions of card readers that can detect the fingerprints. The company's chief executive says the technology just needs to be "turned on" and used.

Sunday, 14 April 2013 09:14
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CLAYTON, Mo. (AP) — Missouri authorities are trying to determine what to do with at least 1,700 concealed-carry permit holders who received their required firearms training from a man accused of shortchanging his students.

Fifty-two-year-old Donald Crangle is charged in St. Louis County Circuit Court with seven misdemeanor counts in the case. His attorney, Williams Buchholz, didn't immediately return a phone message from The Associated Press.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that an investigation began when a permit applicant presented a certificate showing he'd received eight hours of firearms training that very day. The St. Louis County police records clerk was stumped because it was only 1:30 p.m.

Undercover officers then attended Crangle's class. Police said participants were told they'd completed the course after just three hours and without meeting any state-mandated criteria.

Sunday, 14 April 2013 09:11
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WASHINGTON (AP) — Feeling pretty comfortable in retirement?

Here's something to think about: President Barack Obama's budget would raise Medicare premiums for individual retirees making more than $85,000 and couples making more than $170,000.

It would also freeze the indexing for inflation of those income thresholds, so eventually 1 in 4 retirees will have to pay more. Right now only about 1 in 20 pays the higher rate.

The higher premiums surprised a retired city worker from Albuquerque, Sheila Pugach.

She says she's paying about $500 a year more in premiums for Medicare outpatient and drug coverage, all because required withdrawals from her retirement savings bumped her into a higher income bracket.

Republicans like Obama's idea, so Pugach could soon have more company.

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The mother of a Newtown, Conn., shooting victim is making a deeply personal plea from the White House for all Americans to take action on gun violence.

Francine Wheeler's 6-year-old son, Ben, was killed inside Sandy Hook Elementary School. She's stepping in for President Barack Obama to deliver the president's weekly radio and Internet address. She is the first person to deliver the address other than Obama or Vice President Joe Biden since the two took office in 2009.

Wheeler says thousands of families are drowning in her family's grief and asks for help to do something, in her words, "before our tragedy becomes your tragedy."

In the Republican address, congresswoman Jackie Walorski of Indiana criticizes Obama's budget blueprint as a blank check for more spending and debt.

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