The Bush Deregulation, No Holds-Barred, Who Needs Oversight
Economy Begins Circling The Drain And
Its Not Funny
After Frantic Day, Wall St. Banks Falter
This article was reported by Jenny Anderson, Eric Dash and Andrew Ross Sorkin and was written by Mr. Sorkin.
By ANDREW ROSS SORKIN
Published: September 14, 2008
In one of the most dramatic days in Wall Street’s history, Merrill Lynch agreed to sell itself on Sunday to Bank of America for roughly $50 billion to avert a deepening financial crisis, while another prominent securities firm, Lehman Brothers, said it would seek bankruptcy protection and hurtled toward liquidation after it failed to find a buyer.
The humbling moves, which reshape the landscape of American finance, mark the latest chapter in a tumultuous year in which once-proud financial institutions have been brought to their knees as a result of hundreds of billions of dollars in losses because of bad mortgage finance and real estate investments.
New phase of disaster plagues Ike’s survivors
Texas shelters grow crowded after nearly 2,000 rescued; death toll at 28
GALVESTON, Texas – As teams continued the biggest search and rescue operation in Texas history, a new phase of the disaster wrought by Hurricane Ike was only beginning as thousands of people faced long stays in crowded shelters because their homes were damaged or destroyed.
The death toll from Ike rose to 28, but many of those were far to the north of the Gulf Coast as the storm slogged across the nation’s midsection, leaving a trail of flooding and destruction. Glass-strewn Houston was placed under a weeklong curfew, and millions of people in the storm’s path remained in the dark.
Spike in jobless rate for women is worst in more than 33 years
By Tony Pugh | McClatchy Newspapers
WASHINGTON – A sharp monthly rise in unemployment for women could be a sign that the economic slowdown has begun to hit working women with a force not seen in decades.
When the unemployment rate for women went from 4.6 percent in July to 5.3 percent in August, it was the largest one-month spike in the jobless rate for women in more than 33 years.
Black women were hit even harder, as their unemployment rate jumped 21 percent, from 7.5 percent in July to 9.1 percent in August.
Among single mothers and women with families, unemployment climbed to 9.6 percent in August – the highest level in 15 years.
Cheney Shielded Bush From Crisis
?This is the second of two stories adapted from “Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency,” to be published Tuesday by Penguin Press.
By Barton Gellman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, September 15, 2008; Page A01
Vice President Cheney convened a meeting in the Situation Room at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, March 10, 2004, with just one day left before the warrantless domestic surveillance program was set to expire. Around him were National Security Agency Director Michael V. Hayden, White House counsel Alberto R. Gonzales and the Gang of Eight — the four ranking members of the House and the Senate, and the chairmen and vice chairmen of the intelligence committees.
Even now, three months into a legal rebellion at the Justice Department, President Bush was nowhere in the picture. He was stumping in the battleground state of Ohio, talking up the economy.
Georgia war sparks political battle in Ukraine
The ruling coalition is near collapse as the president and the prime minister spar over whether to treat Russia as foe or friend.
By Megan K. Stack, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
September 15, 2008
KIEV, UKRAINE — They are at each other’s throats again, this country’s political lions: the president whose face is pocked from the poison that didn’t quite kill him four years ago, and the prime minister with the golden braid who once fought alongside him in the name of democracy.
The president’s office now calls Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko a traitor who refuses to speak out against Moscow. She shoots back that President Viktor Yushchenko is a loose cannon who has antagonized Russia to the point of endangering Ukraine.
The war in Georgia is over. But the war over the war in Georgia rages unabated in Ukraine, the former Soviet state that, like Georgia, has drawn the wrath of Moscow by building ties with the West
Murder in Italy: Sex, lies and justice
The trial of three people accused of murdering British student Meredith Kercher finally opens tomorrow. But after a year of intense speculation, can justice be done asks Peter Popham
Monday, 15 September 2008
The dark season accords well with Perugia, a moody city of huge medieval arches, underground labyrinths and steep and crooked cobbled lanes. Hallowe’en is in sight, and with it the first anniversary of the atrocious murder of the young English student Meredith Kercher.
Tomorrow in the old law courts in Piazza Matteotti in the city centre, preliminary hearings in the trial of the three people accused of the murder of Meredith finally get under way. The defence lawyers for Meredith’s American flatmate Amanda Knox and her Italian former boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito will try to persuade the judge that they have no case to answer. The third, Rudy Guede, a drifter from the Ivory Coast, will press for a fast-track trial in exchange for an admission of partial guilt.
£1bn aid in the balance as west waits to gauge change in Zimbabwe
· Package depends on proof Mugabe not still in control
· Power over police and bank become key tests
Chris McGreal in Harare
Monday September 15 2008
About £1bn in western aid to revive Zimbabwe’s economy will hang in the balance today as western donors watch to see how a power-sharing deal to be signed by President Robert Mugabe works in practice before committing a rescue package.
Under the deal with his arch-rival Morgan Tsvangirai, Mugabe is to surrender many of his powers for the first time in 28 years. But though the agreement, to be formally signed today, marks a huge climbdown by Mugabe, foreign donors indicated that they want to see just how much power Tsvangirai wields as the new prime minister in the coalition government.
Vilified at home and abroad, Thabo Mbeki may be missed when he is gone
From The Times
September 15, 2008
Analysis: Jonathan Clayton
President Thabo Mbeki, whose slow but persistent efforts to negotiate a deal in Zimbabwe have brought him little but political brickbats, could be forgiven for feeling hard done by at today’s ceremony. At the moment of his greatest diplomatic triumph, a man often accused of being more interested in foreign than domestic affairs faces political ruin at home.
Last week’s decision by a High Court judge to dismiss 16 charges of corruption, fraud and racketeering against Jacob Zuma, his great political rival, has left Mr Mbeki in the line of fire. The judge agreed that Mr Zuma had been the target of a political conspiracy and accused the President of abuse of power. Mr Mbeki, already weakened when Mr Zuma ousted him from the leadership of the ruling African National Congress last December, now faces calls to step down before the end of his second term in April 2009.
Thaksin Shinawatra brother-in-law nominated as new Thai premier
From Times Online
September 15, 2008
Andrew Drummond in Bangkok
Thailand’s government party the People’s Power Party (PPP) today nominated a brother-in-law of exiled Premier Thaksin Shinawatra as the country’s Prime Minister, a move which could send the country spiralling into further chaos.
The PPP’s choice of Somchai Wongsawat is certain to antagonise the protesters who have occupied Government House for three weeks, accusing the government of being a puppet of the ousted premier.
Indian Police Hunt for Bombers >
Authorities Arrest 10 Suspects in Deadly New Delhi Blasts
By Rama Lakshmi
Washington Post Foreign Service
Monday, September 15, 2008; Page A20
NEW DELHI, Sept. 14 — A day after five serial bomb blasts rocked the Indian capital, killing 21 people and wounding about 100, police teams raided several neighborhoods Sunday and questioned a balloon seller, a street vendor and an auto-rickshaw driver. Authorities also examined scanty evidence from closed- circuit TV cameras and detained at least 10 suspects for interrogation.
A police spokesman, Rajan Bhagat, told reporters that the team had “strong leads.”
Counterterrorism squads from two other Indian states flew to New Delhi to assist in the investigation.
In Iran, Barbie seen as cultural invader
A veiled Muslim doll launched in 2002, the Iranian Sara, has failed to counter Barbie’s popularity in Tehran.
By Scott Peterson | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
from the September 15, 2008 edition
TEHRAN, Iran – According to Iran’s judiciary, the most dangerous items in a Tehran toy shop are not the lifelike pistols and sub-machine guns in the display case. The authorities have instead singled out the hot-pink boxes showcasing Barbie dolls as the real portents of a Western “cultural invasion.”
Illegally imported Barbie dolls are “destructive culturally and a social danger,” Iranian prosecutor Ghorban Ali Dori Najafabadi warned in a letter last April. Barbie, Batman, Spiderman, and Harry Potter toys, he wrote, are a “danger that needs to be stopped.” He added: “Undoubtedly, the personality and identity of the new generation and our children, as a result of unrestricted importation of toys, has been put at risk and caused irreparable damage.”
Iraq: Al-Qaida intensifies its stranglehold in the world’s most dangerous city
Insurgents turn de facto northern capital into war zone by exploiting divisions between Arabs and Kurds
Jonathan Steele in Mosul
Monday September 15 2008
It is the most dangerous city in the world’s most dangerous country, a sad, half-empty relic whose rich and middle classes have long since fled. To reach it, one has to travel incognito in convoys of rundown small cars whose drivers conceal their walkie-talkies and weapons under the seats. Their bodyguards sometimes switch to dented taxis with shattered windshields as an extra disguise.
Mosul – the de facto capital of northern Iraq – should have been as safe as Basra and Baghdad if a massive military offensive by Iraqi and US forces, which was launched in May, had succeeded. But most al-Qaida insurgents slipped away before it began – and they are now slipping back. “They use car bombs and roadside bombs, and target areas which used to be very safe. Now they are assassinating people with pistols that have silencers. The offensive was not as successful as expected,” said Doraid Kashmoula, the provincial governor.
Bolivia death toll rises
At least 28 have died in violence. Evo Morales’ government and the opposition accuse each other of arming paramilitaries.
By Patrick J. McDonnell, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
September 15, 2008
SANTA CRUZ, BOLIVIA — The death toll in last week’s violence in a remote northern province rose to more than two dozen, Bolivia’s government said Sunday, as it held frantic talks with opponents to avert further bloodshed.
Sporadic clashes were reported Sunday on roads outside this eastern city, center of opposition to President Evo Morales. Many Bolivians expressed fears that a tense situation could spin out of control if a deal was not reached.
Each side has accused the other of arming illegal paramilitary groups.
“Better that we take action now, before we have 100 or 1,000 dead,” said Gov. Mario Cossio of Tarija province, designated negotiator for the states opposed to Morales.
There was no immediate word on the outcome of the talks in La Paz, the capital.
Rifts have been widening for two years, with intermittent outbursts of violence, but so far Bolivia has avoided falling into full-fledged civil conflict. However, many analysts call the current crisis the nation’s most perilous point in decades.