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The Upper East Side Completes Renée Zellweger

The actress smoothly buys into a hard-to-crack co-op, while JPMorgan and the New York 'Times' struggle, in our daily digest of real-estate, finance, media and law news.

Reporters Pissed About Changes at ‘The Wall Street Journal’

MEDIAThe Wall Street Journal wants a cut in its reporters' book deals. Also, they fired their longtime First Amendment lawyer Stuart Karle. "We're pissed," one reporter says. [NYO, Ad Age] • Former Condé Nast execs James Truman and Mitch Fox are collaborating on a project that will combine "a green market and eco-technology with a Cirque du Soleil-like performance series." [WWD]

A Wave of Online Banking Frauds Soaks HSBC

ATMs
News to everyone who uses HSBC online banking: We've heard of four different people who mysteriously had a couple of thousand dollars withdrawn from their HSBC checking accounts this week. When they called the bank to figure out what was going on, they discovered that it's been happening to hundreds of other people. So much so, that the bank's fraud department can't keep up with the reports. A quick Internet search turned up this consumerist.com post on the subject, which explains that it's a widespread problem among online banking users. According to the Website, a fraud investigator told one customer that the bank's "fraud department was so overwhelmed, it was still in the developing stage" of how to handle it. When we contacted HSBC, they acknowledged there was an issue but reassured us:
We are ensuring zero liability for our customers and are reissuing ATM/debit cards to those impacted. HSBC has well-established internal security measures to prevent fraudulent activity. We take fraud of any kind very seriously and are continually monitoring customer activity to identify and avert fraud.
"I don't what angers me more, the fact that I am missing all this money or that this crook only got charged a $1.50 withdrawal fee!" one customer, who lost nearly $3,000, told us. "They tell me it will take 10 to 20 business days to get my money back in my account. This is not a very impressive turnaround for the 'world's bank.'" So, if you have an HSBC account and use online banking, you should probably check your accounts today. You'd rather deal with it today than stew over the weekend about it. You've got guacamole to make for the Oscars! Is HSBC Straining Under an 'Unprecedented' Wave of Fraud Activity? [Consumerist]

Bloomberg's Baby Problems: They Just Keep Popping Out

FINANCE • Another woman joined the federal discrimination lawsuit against Bloomberg LP. After her first child in 2005, her pay fell and her colleagues turned into sharks. One supervisor even asked, "What is this, your third baby?" [NYT] • More of the same on the Street: Bank of America wrote down $3 billion, Bear Stearns $1.2 billion, and British bank HSBC took the cake with $3.4 billion, largely due to U.S. mortgage weaknesses. Meanwhile, Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein laughed in everyone's face, predicting no more write-downs (not that they lost much in the first place) at the Teflon bank. [NYP, NYT, NYT, DealBreaker] • Is the credit crunch just like Enron all over again? So says Bethany McLean, the reporter who first broke Ken Lay's fraud wide open. [Fortune]