Obama pitches mortgage reform ... Americans holding onto cars longer ... Jurors to decide 'Whitey' Bulger's fate

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Associated Press

Posted on August 6, 2013 at 9:00 AM

Updated Tuesday, Aug 6 at 9:00 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama heads to Phoenix today to refocus his agenda on middle-class Americans still struggling to recover from the recession. Obama wants to overhaul the nation's mortgage finance system, including shutting down government-backed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The president will outline his proposals at a construction company in Phoenix, once the epicenter of the housing crisis following the 2008 economic collapse.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — New numbers say U.S. homeowners are getting better at paying their mortgages on time. The credit reporting agency TransUnion says from April to June, the national rate for late payments on home loans was its lowest in five years. In the second quarter of this year, 4.09 percent of borrowers were at least two months behind on their mortgage payments, compared to 5.49 percent during the same time last year.

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — People are hanging on to their vehicles a lot longer. The Polk research firm says the average age of the 247 million cars and trucks on U.S. roads hit a record 11.4 years in January. That's up from 11.2 years in 2012, and nearly two full years older than in 2007.

BOSTON (AP) — Jurors in Boston are about to decide the fate of mob boss James "Whitey" Bulger, who's accused of taking part in 19 murders in the 1970s and '80s. In closing arguments, the prosecution called Bulger "one of the most vicious, violent and calculating criminals ever to walk the streets of Boston." The defense accused prosecutors of making sweetheart deals with ruthless killers and pathological liars.

OTTAWA, Ill. (AP) — Escape artist Anthony Martin is hoping to pull this off today. He'll be chained and locked inside a wooden casket and rolled out of an airplane at 14,500 feet over northern Illinois. Two skydivers will stabilize the casket by holding its handles while the 47-year-old Martin picks the locks and expects to free himself at around 7,000 feet. After about 40 seconds of free fall he plans to land on a farm in the town of Serena.

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