I’m Sure Giving Henry Paulson All That Power
Just Warms The Heart As You Look Forward To
Another Heck Of A Job Brownie Moment
Bailout Plan in Hand, House Braces for Tough Vote
By CARL HULSE and DAVID M. HERSZENHORN
Published: September 28, 2008
WASHINGTON – The House braced for a difficult vote set for Monday on a $700 billion rescue of the financial industry after a weekend of tense negotiations produced a plan that Congressional leaders portrayed as greatly strengthened by new taxpayer safeguards.
The 110-page bill, intended to ease a growing credit crisis, came after a frenzied week of political twists and turns that culminated in an agreement between the Bush administration and Congress early Sunday morning.
The measure still faced stiff resistance from Republican and Democratic lawmakers who portrayed it as a rush to economic judgment and an undeserved aid package for high-flying financiers who chased big profits through reckless investments.
European governments swoop to save troubled lenders
By Matthew Saltmarsh and Landon Thomas Jr.
Published: September 29, 2008
PARIS: Just days after the United States government brokered the sale of the largest U.S. savings and loan, Washington Mutual, regulators in Britain and Belgium swooped to engineer emergency rescues of two leading banks with heavy exposure to soured mortgages.
In the latest sign of trouble to hit Europe from the global credit crisis, the Belgian, Dutch and Luxembourg governments announced a partial nationalization of the troubled Belgian-Dutch financial conglomerate Fortis, involving a combined injection of €11.2 billion from the three governments, which take a 49 percent stake.
Prime Minister Yves Leterme of Belgium, who was joined Sunday by the European Central Bank president Jean-Claude Trichet in an unprecedented appearance, unveiled the accord after a weekend of emergency talks in which the governments had tried to broker a whole or partial sale of the bank to private bidders
Paulson will have no peer
The Treasury chief will gain sweeping, even unparalleled power under Congress’ compromise plan.
By Peter G. Gosselin, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
WASHINGTON — Despite all the constraints Congress supposedly wrapped around him, Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson is about to become the most powerful mortgage financier of the modern era — most likely of any era.
Buried beneath the 100-plus pages of detail that Paulson’s financial rescue plan has picked up during its 10-day journey from a Bush administration wish list to a bipartisan congressional compromise is the striking fact that the Treasury secretary got almost everything he sought — an eventual $700 billion and the authority to spend it largely as he sees fit.
To be sure, congressional bargainers did make one huge change.
And in the process, they created a potential stumbling block as the Treasury tries to stabilize the deeply damaged financial system by acquiring toxic mortgage-backed securities.
Under terms of the compromise announced Sunday, any firm selling troubled assets to the government would have to give Washington the right to take an ownership stake in the firm — a more sweeping requirement than had been expected.
More Americans on food stamps but say it’s not enough
By PATRICK McGEE
Krystal Follet’s husband left her in January. Her boss fired her in March. Her landlord gave her an eviction notice two weeks ago.
A tough year for someone with two children to feed.
Follet has turned to food stamps. The 31-year-old Arlington woman is among millions of Americans applying for government help to get enough to eat.
“I don’t know how I would have fed them,” Follet said. “Even when I worked, it was a struggle trying to get everything paid.”
The number of people on food stamps has been increasing for months. In June, the figure was 28.6 million, according to the government.
Israel supplied with long-range radar, but US to get missile warning first
• Installing system signals protection and support
• American personnel in charge of desert airbase
Ian Black, Middle East editor
Monday September 29 2008
The US has supplied Israel with a powerful long-range radar system that would provide an extra early warning in case of an Iranian missile attack, it was confirmed yesterday.
Israeli officials said the equipment was flown in last week along with 120 American staff and has been set up at an air force base in the southern Negev desert.
It is believed to be the first time American personnel have been stationed in Israel since the 1991 Gulf war, when Patriot anti-missile batteries were deployed – to little effect – against Iraq’s Scud missiles. In spite of the close strategic relationship between the two countries, Israel has traditionally preferred to staff its own defences and not depend on foreigners.
Syrian bombing: A jihadi attack?
The weekend bombing that killed at least 17 people was the worst of its kind since Syria’s battle with the Muslim Brotherhood in the 1970s and 80s.
By Nicholas Blanford | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor
from the September 29, 2008 edition
BEIRUT, Lebanon – As the Syrian authorities begin investigating a bomb attack that killed 17 people in Damascus Saturday, initial suspicion points to Islamist militants, either home-grown or foreign.
A car bomb, packed with an estimated 440 pounds of explosives, blew up close to a building reportedly housing the Palestine Branch of Syrian military intelligence. It was the worst of its kind since the violent confrontation between the Syrian regime and Islamist militants of the Muslim Brotherhood in the late 1970s and early 80s.
There was no claim of responsibility, and in Syria, one of the most opaque countries in the Middle East, there are plenty of potential perpetrators.
Congo’s child soldiers re-enlisted
Xan Rice in Nairobi
Monday September 29 2008
Up to half of the child soldiers reunited with their families in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s volatile North Kivu province may have been recruited again by warring militias over the past year, according to a new report released today.
Describing the human rights situation in the region as “appalling” Amnesty International also highlighted the rape of several hundred women and girls every month by government forces and armed groups.
North Kivu, near Congo’s eastern border, erupted into violence in August last year in the worst fighting since the official end of the civil war in 2003.
Sudan says six kidnappers killed in shootout
by Peter Martell KHARTOUM (AFP)
Sudanese forces have killed six heavily-armed bandits who kidnapped 19 European tourists and their Egyptian guides in a remote desert nine days ago, the army said.
The shootout erupted as Sudanese troops were scouring the desert for the 11 tourists and eight Egyptians who were snatched during a desert safari in southwestern Egypt and taken into Sudan, an army statement said.
Troops searching the Jebel Uweinat mountain range on the Sudan-Libya-Egypt border “spotted a moving white vehicle (and) when the soldiers tried to make it stop those inside the car opened fire,” it said.
Anti-foreigner campaign boosts Austrian far-right
By Tony Paterson in Berlin
Monday, 29 September 2008
Populist far-right parties made sweeping gains in Austria’s closely fought general election yesterday, making their strongest showing since 2000 when the country suffered European Union sanctions after a far-right party entered government.
Populist far-right parties made sweeping gains in Austria’s closely fought general election yesterday, making their strongest showing since 2000 when the country suffered EU sanctions after a far-right party won power for the first time since the Second World War.
Belarus opposition fails in polls >
Opposition candidates in Belarus have failed to win any seats in the parliamentary elections, near-complete results show.
All 99 seats went to pro-government candidates, electoral officials say. Only 11 seats remain to be confirmed.
The opposition says Sunday’s vote was not legitimate, urging international observers not to recognise the outcome.
The country’s authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko insists the poll was free and fair.
He says he expects the election to lead to better relations between the former Soviet republic and the West.
Unions in China still feeble, but gaining foothold
Most Fortune 500 companies operating there have agreed to let workers organize, but can expect little pushback from the state-controlled groups.
By Peter Ford | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
from the September 29, 2008 edition
Beijing – – Almost all the Fortune 500 companies in China will allow unions to open in their factories, according to union leaders who are wrapping up this week a 100-day campaign to organize workers in some of the world’s largest corporations.
There are holdouts, such as Microsoft and pharmaceutical giant, Wyeth. But even they “don’t dare say they will not set up unions,” which would be illegal, says Wang Ying, a senior official with the state-backed All-China Federation of Trade Unions (ACFTU). “They are finding all kinds of excuses to put it off.”
Many foreign firms see unions as an unnecessary hindrance, but even those that moved to China to escape unions “should not assume that just because unions are coming here, the sky is falling,” says Jim Leininger, Beijing head of the US management consulting firm Watson Wyatt.
Is Pakistan’s new president up to the job?
Corruption charges, jail terms, diagnoses of mental illness — critics wonder if Zardari will be able to tackle nuclear-armed Pakistan’s growing crisis.
By Henry Chu, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
September 29, 2008
ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN — Only a year ago, Asif Ali Zardari was best known as the husband of Benazir Bhutto, a highflying businessman with a taste for fine living, polo and, his critics allege, bribes. He was a man who spent 11 years in jail while awaiting trial on unproven corruption charges, the stress of which, according to court papers filed by doctors last year and viewed by a British newspaper, induced bouts of dementia and depression.
Today, Zardari is the leader of this nuclear-armed country, a nation crucial to the security of the United States but one beset by an internal crisis whose outcome could, some say, determine whether Pakistan stands or falls as a modern Muslim state.
Just three weeks into his presidency, Zardari is facing an unprecedented challenge from Islamic extremists, who blew up the Marriott Hotel here in the Pakistani capital in a brazen suicide attack that killed at least 53 people. He is now under enormous pressure to improve security for his people and rescue a flailing economy.
Voters in Ecuador Approve Constitution
New Document Would Enhance Presidential Powers, Allow Consecutive Terms
By Joshua Partlow and Stephan Küffner
Washington Post Foreign Service
Monday, September 29, 2008; Page A14
RIO DE JANEIRO, Sept. 28 — Ecuadorans approved by a wide margin Sunday a new constitution that would expand the powers of President Rafael Correa and open the possibility that he could serve a decade in office.
Preliminary and unofficial results Sunday evening indicated that at least 65 percent of Ecuadorans voted for the constitution. That result, if confirmed in final totals, would hand an important political victory to Correa, the 45-year-old former economic minister who has made this a central issue in his first two years as president.