Joseph Keller doesn’t expect he’ll live to see the end of 2013. He blames the house at 190 Avondale Avenue.
Five years ago, Keller, 10 months behind on his mortgage payments, received notice of a foreclosure judgment from JP Morgan Chase. In a few weeks, the bank said, his three-story house with gray vinyl siding in Columbus, Ohio, would be put up for auction at a sheriff’s sale.
The 58-year-old former social worker and his wife, Jennifer, packed up their home of 13 years and moved in with their daughter. Joseph thought he would never have anything to do with the house again. And for about a year, he didn’t.
Then it started to stalk him.
First, in 2010, the county sued Keller because the house, already picked clean by scavengers, was in a shambles, its hanging gutters and collapsed garage in violation of local housing code. Then the tax collector started sending Keller notices about mounting back taxes, sewer fees and bills for weed and waste removal. And last year, Chase’s debt collector began pressing Keller to pay his mortgage, which had swollen, with penalties and fees, from $62,100.27 to $84,194.69.
The worst news came last January, when the Social Security Administration rejected Keller’s application for disability benefits; the “asset” on Avondale Avenue rendered him ineligible. Keller’s medical problems include advanced liver disease, hepatitis C and inactive tuberculosis. Without disability coverage, he can’t get the liver transplant he needs to stay alive.
“I can’t make it end,” says Keller. “This house, I can’t get out.”
SPECIAL REPORT: The latest foreclosure horror: the zombie title
A Pakistani girl shot in the head by the Taliban for advocating girls’ education has been discharged from a British hospital after doctors said she was well enough to spend time recovering with her family.
Fifteen-year-old Malala Yousufzai, who was shot by the Taliban in October and brought to Britain for treatment, was discharged on Thursday but is due to be re-admitted in late January or early February for reconstructive surgery to her skull, doctors said.
The shooting of Yousufzai, in the head at point blank range as she left school in the Swat valley, drew widespread international condemnation.
She has become a an internationally recognized symbol of resistance to the Taliban’s efforts to deny women education and other rights, and more than 250,000 people have signed online petitions calling for her to be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for her activism.
More than 60,000 people have died in the Syrian uprising and civil war, the United Nations said on Wednesday, dramatically raising the death toll in a struggle that shows no sign of ending.
Dozens were killed in a Damascus suburb when a government air strike turned a petrol station into an inferno, incinerating drivers who had rushed there for a rare chance to fill their tanks, activists said.
“I counted at least 30 bodies. They were either burnt or dismembered,” said Abu Saeed, an activist who arrived at the area an hour after the raid occurred at 1:00 PM (1100 GMT) in Muleiha, a suburb on the eastern edge of the capital.
U.N. Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay said in Geneva that researchers cross-referencing seven sources over five months of analysis had listed 59,648 people killed in Syria between March 15, 2011 and November 30, 2012.
“The number of casualties is much higher than we expected and is truly shocking,” she said. “Given that there has been no let-up in the conflict since the end of November, we can assume that more than 60,000 people have been killed by the beginning of 2013.”
People walk on a street littered with debris after Hurricane Sandy hit Santiago de Cuba October 26, 2012. The Cuban government said on Thursday night that 11 people died when the storm barrelled across the island, most killed by falling trees or in building collapses in Santiago de Cuba province and neighbouring Guantanamo province. [REUTERS/Desmond Boylan]
LIVE COVERAGE/VIDEO: Tracking Hurricane Sandy
Officials at the White House and State Department were advised two hours after attackers assaulted the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11 that an Islamic militant group had claimed credit for the attack, official emails show.
One of the emails, obtained by Reuters from government sources not connected with U.S. spy agencies or the State Department and who requested anonymity, specifically mentions that the Libyan group called Ansar al-Sharia had asserted responsibility for the attacks.
The brief emails also show how U.S. diplomats described the attack, even as it was still under way, to Washington.
U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed in the Benghazi assault, which President Barack Obama and other U.S. officials ultimately acknowledged was a “terrorist” attack carried out by militants with suspected links to al Qaeda affiliates or sympathizers.
A police officer uses his baton to hit an activist from the National Committee to protect Oil, Gas, Mineral Resources, Power and Ports during a protest against the government in Dhaka September 30, 2012.
Demonstrators demanding the government withdraw the recent power tariff hike marched towards the city’s energy ministry on Sunday, but were dispersed by local authorities using batons and tear gas, according to local media. [REUTERS/Andrew Biraj]
A riot policeman shoots a student protester with a pinball gun as he is arrested during a protest against the government to demand changes in the public state education in Santiago, September 27, 2012. Chilean students have been protesting against what they say is profiteering in the state education system. [REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado]
Exclusive: Former Navy SEAL in “material breach” of non-disclousre agreements with Osama bin Laden book, according to the Pentagon’s top attorney in a letter obtained by Reuters.
The Pentagon says it is considering “all remedies legally available” against the former Navy SEAL and all those acting in concert with him. The Pentagon says further public dissemination of the book “will aggravate your breach and violation of your agreements.”
*THIS IMAGE IS NOT REAL*
Here’s a screenshot of the post allegedly put on Reuters’ site by hackers, a post that openly suggests Syrian rebels had pulled out of Aleppo. Reuters said they were compromised “and fabricated blog posts were falsely attributed to several Reuters journalists.” All in all, a scary incident for a trusted source.
Two members of the Free Syrian Army hold their weapons as they take defense positions in a house in El Moalimin neighborhood in Homs July 14, 2012.
The Red Cross now views fighting in Syria as an internal armed conflict - a civil war in layman’s terms - crossing a threshold experts say can help lay the ground for future prosecutions for war crimes.
The independent humanitarian agency had previously classed the violence in Syria as localised civil wars between government forces and armed opposition groups in three flashpoints - Homs, Hama and Idlib. Picture taken July 14, 2012. REUTERS/Yazen Homsy