Fraud Street That’s How The People See It
Anger At The Economic and Ruling Classes
Means Only One Thing And Cake Isn’t It
Breakthrough Reached in Negotiations on Bailout
By DAVID M. HERSZENHORN and CARL HULSE
Published: September 27, 2008
WASHINGTON – Congressional leaders and the Bush administration reached a tentative agreement early Sunday on what may become the largest financial bailout in American history, authorizing the Treasury to purchase $700 billion in troubled debt from ailing firms in an extraordinary intervention to prevent widespread economic collapse.
Officials said that Congressional staff members would work through the night to finalize the language of the agreement and draft a bill, and that the bill would be brought to the House floor for a vote on Monday.
Egyptian sheik’s outburst against Shiites roils Mideast
Sunni cleric Yusuf Qaradawi calls Shiites heretics trying to invade Sunni nations, tapping into anti-Iran anxieties. Shiites express dismay at the remarks amid Iraq war and efforts to forge unity.
By Jeffrey Fleishman, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
9:56 PM PDT, September 27, 2008
CAIRO — A popular Sunni Muslim cleric with a television show and a website that churns out religious edicts and dieting tips agitated centuries-old animosities in the Islamic world recently by referring to Shiite Muslims as heretics seeking to invade Sunni societies.
The bitter, often bloody, divide between the two main branches of Islam has been an undercurrent since the 7th century, but Sheik Yusuf Qaradawi’s vitriol comes at a fragile time, when Sunni countries such as Saudi Arabia and Egypt are wary that the predominantly Shiite nations of Iraq and Iran could destabilize the region.
Anger at bailout turns on fat salaries for Wall Street execs
By David Lightman | McClatchy Newspapers
WASHINGTON – Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s office has heard from about 50,000 constituents since Congress began considering a financial rescue plan about a week ago – and “only one of a thousand supports it – whatever it is,” the California Democrat said.
Lawmakers from both parties reported similar confusion and concern among constituents as they spent their Saturday painstakingly, and sometimes painfully, trying to craft a still-elusive compromise package.Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell aimed to have a final plan ready by 6 p.m. Sunday, in time for the opening of markets around the world.
When smalltown USA turned on ‘Fraud Street’
Americans have watched with horror as financial chaos has spread across the country, choking the economy and threatening to plunge the country into recession. Last week they turned their anger on the administration as it battled to put together a rescue package. Report by Paul Harris in Pennsylvania, Ruth Sunderland and Heather Stewart
Paul Harris in Pennsylvania, Ruth Sunderland and Heather Stewart
Sunday September 28 2008
It was the week that an angry Main Street finally fought back after a decade when the financial masters of Wall Street were seemingly invincible. As President George Bush looked straight into the television cameras last week and spelt out to the nation the economic peril facing America, the fury and fear were mounting in millions of homes.
‘Without immediate action by Congress, America could slip into a financial panic,’ Bush warned. He sketched out a scenario of failing banks and plunging share prices which would savage retirement plans and put millions out of work. It was a terrifying scenario. Having waged two wars that are not yet over, Bush faced the final legacy of his tumultuous two-term period in office: the possible collapse of the American economy.
Some on the right are joining a chorus of criticism over Sarah Palin
John McCain’s running mate and his sharp reactions to the nation’s economic crisis have led several prominent conservative columnists to slam the senator as reckless and strident.?
By James Rainey, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
While John McCain and his aides have railed against the “liberal mainstream media” in recent weeks, some of the most searing attacks against the Republican presidential nominee have come from conservative intellectuals.
McCain’s surprise vice presidential pick, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, and his sharp reactions to the continuing economic storm have led several prominent columnists on the right to slam the Arizona senator as more reckless than bold, more strident than forceful.
Those opinion leaders, in turn, have triggered a backlash from other commentators, who have dubbed the critics elitists and risen to the defense of a woman they see as the Republican Party’s new populist star.
The spirited debate may have reached its apogee last week, with George F. Will issuing McCain a harsh dressing-down.
Revealed: secret Taliban peace bid
Saudis are sponsoring a peace dialogue involving a former senior member of the hardline group
Jason Burke in Kabul
Sunday September 28 2008
The Taliban have been engaged in secret talks about ending the conflict in Afghanistan in a wide-ranging ‘peace process’ sponsored by Saudi Arabia and supported by Britain, The Observer can reveal.
The unprecedented negotiations involve a senior former member of the hardline Islamist movement travelling between Kabul, the bases of the Taliban senior leadership in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and European capitals. Britain has provided logistic and diplomatic support for the talks – despite official statements that negotiations can be held only with Taliban who are ready to renounce, or have renounced, violence.
Sources in Afghanistan confirmed the controversial talks, though they said that in recent weeks they had ‘lost momentum’
Beijing, we have lift-off
After the Olympics, China’s first space walk marks another milestone in the rise of a new superpower
By Clifford Coonan in Beijing
Sunday, 28 September 2008
Securely attached to his capsule high above the world, mission commander Zhai Zhigang waved the red flag yesterday to mark China’s first space walk and celebrate the latest milestone in his nation’s astonishing rise.
“I’m feeling quite well. I greet the Chinese people and the people of the world,” said the 41-year-old taikonaut as he floated out of Shenzhou VII’s orbital module and began his 13-minute manoeuvre in space. Just like the Olympics in August, the space walk is a powerful symbol of how China has emerged as an Asian superpower, and underlines its technological ambitions.
CIA ‘backed’ Irish battle against Brussels treaty
From The Sunday Times
September 28, 2008
Nicola Smith Brussels
FIRST it was the sheer ingratitude of the Irish, then it was the failure of the Dublin government to mount a successful yes campaign. Now Brussels has found a new explanation as to why Ireland voted down the European Union treaty in June – a CIA and Pentagon-backed plot, devised by American neoconservatives to weaken the EU.
The European parliament wants an inquiry into whether Declan Ganley, the multi-millionaire chairman of the Libertas group that campaigned against the treaty, could be in the pockets of US defence and intelligence services.
Austrians vote in early election
Voters in Austria have gone to the polls in an early general election that opinion polls suggest could result in a surge from the far right.
The elections were called after a coalition between the Social Democrats and the conservative People’s Party fell apart after just 18 months.
Polls suggest the right wing Freedom Party and Alliance for the Future of Austria are set to benefit.
For the fist time in a EU country, 16 and 17-year-olds will be able to vote.
Around 200,000 young people are eligible to cast their votes, in an electorate of just over 6.3 million.
The centre-right People’s Party and the centre-left Social Democrats are battling for first place in Sunday’s election.
Foreigners farm for themselves in a hungry Africa
Some of the world’s richest nations are coming to grow crops and export the yields, hoping to turn the global epicenter of malnutrition into a breadbasket for themselves.
By Edmund Sanders, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
September 28, 2008
WAD RAWAH, SUDAN — Africa’s abundant natural resources have long invited foreign exploitation.
Over generations, foreign empires and companies stripped the continent of its gold and diamonds, then its oil. Rubber and ivory were plundered from Congo. Even Africa’s people were exploited: captured and sold into slavery abroad.
Now foreigners are enjoined in a new scramble in Africa. The latest craze? Food. Amid a global crisis that for a time this year doubled prices for wheat, corn, rice and other staples, some of the world’s richest nations are coming to Africa to farm, hoping to turn the global epicenter of malnutrition into a breadbasket for themselves.
Lured by fertile land, cheap labor and untapped potential, oil-rich Persian Gulf countries such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, where deserts hinder food production, are snapping up farmland in underdeveloped African nations to grow crops for consumption back home.
US destroyer watching hijacked ship off Somalia >
By MOHAMED OLAD HASSAN, Associated Press Writer
MOGADISHU, Somalia – A U.S. destroyer off the coast of Somalia closed in Saturday on a hijacked Ukrainian ship loaded with tanks and ammunition, watching it to ensure the pirates who seized it do not try to remove any cargo or crew.
As Russian and American ships pursued the hijackers of the Ukrainian-operated vessel, pirates seized another ship off Somalia’s coast, an international anti-piracy group said.
The Greek tanker with a crew of 19 is carrying refined petroleum from Europe to the Middle East. It was ambushed Friday in the Gulf of Aden, said Noel Choong, who heads the International Maritime Bureau’s piracy reporting center based in Malaysia. He said pirates chased and fired at the ship before boarding it.
Help for the Heavy at Ramadan
A Diet Doctor in Iran Guides Obese Patients Through the Annual Fasting and Feasting
By Thomas Erdbrink
Washington Post Foreign Service
Sunday, September 28, 2008; Page A20
TEHRAN — Millions of faithful Muslims worldwide do not eat or drink between dawn and sunset during Ramadan, a month of sacrifice and humility punctuated by joyous family gatherings — and vast quantities of food.
But until the Saadati family consulted a Tehran diet doctor, Ramadan was a time of frustration and anger. Their obese son, Mehdi, struggled to contain his appetite at a time of year when it becomes normal to consume the equivalent of several meals at one sitting.
Scholars search for missing pages of Hebrew Bible
The quest to find the rest of the Crown of Aleppo is underway on four continents, and researchers say they have good leads this time.
From the Associated Press
September 28, 2008
JERUSALEM — A quest is underway on four continents to find the missing pages of one of the world’s most important holy texts, the 1,000-year-old Hebrew Bible known as the Crown of Aleppo.
Crusaders held it for ransom, fire almost destroyed it, and it was reputedly smuggled across Mideast borders hidden in a washing machine. But in 1958, when it finally reached Israel, 196 pages were missing — about 40% of the total — and for some Old Testament scholars they have become a kind of holy grail.
Researchers representing the manuscript’s custodian in Jerusalem now say they have leads on some of the missing pages.
The Crown of Aleppo, known in English as the Aleppo Codex, may not be as famous as the Dead Sea Scrolls.
Ecuadoreans go to polls to vote on constitution
By FRANK BAJAK, Associated Press Writer
QUITO, Ecuador – Ecuadoreans go to the polls Sunday to vote on a constitution that would significantly broaden President Rafael Correa’s powers and let him run for two more consecutive terms.
Correa says approval of the Andean nation’s 20th constitution will spur “rapid, profound change,” benefiting the hardworking, humble majority and helping him eradicate a political class that made Ecuador one of Latin America’s most corrupt countries.
While conceding that it’s far from radical compared to similar projects in Venezuela and Bolivia, critics say the new constitution would give Correa far too much control over the economy, as well as the judicial and legislative branches.