Docudharma Times Friday October 24

Alan Greenspan “Regrets” Sending

The Economy Right Into A Blackhole

How Nice

Friday’s Headlines:

Palin appointed friends and donors to key posts in Alaska, records show

Pakistan rejects ‘America’s war’ on extremists

UN report: North Korea clamps down on communication

Election doubts over Ahmadinejad’s health

Israel invites Cat Stevens then tells him ‘stay away’

War declared on mafia as car bomb kills journalist Ivo Pukanic

PM ‘undermined’ Turkey secularism

Robert Mugabe may hang on to rule over corpse of his country



Asian Markets Plummet on Earnings Fears, and Europe Follows


Published: October 24, 2008

HONG KONG – Japan and South Korea led Asian stock markets in steep declines Friday as dismal corporate earnings and economic data underscored the depth of the challenges facing the export-dependent economies in the Asia-Pacific region.

As the Asian markets closed, Europe’s major exchanges opened with declines of around 5 percent. In early trading, the FTSE 100 in London fell by 4.9 percent to 3,885.11, the CAC 40 in Paris was down 4.9 at 3,148.78 and in Frankfurt the DAX lost 5.3 percent at 4,279.78. But the declines were not as severe as in Asia where some markets crashed through key levels.

West is in talks on credit to aid poorer nations


By Mark Landler Published: October 24, 2008

WASHINGTON: With the financial crisis engulfing developing countries from Latin America to Central Europe, raising the specter of market panic and even social unrest, Western officials are weighing coordinated action to try to stabilize these economies.

The International Monetary Fund, which is in negotiations with several countries to provide emergency loans, is also working to arrange a large credit line that would allow other countries desperate for foreign capital to borrow dollars, according to several officials.

The list of countries under threat is growing by the day, and now includes such stalwarts of the emerging market as Brazil, South Africa and Turkey. They have become collateral damage in a crisis that began in the American subprime housing market.

The fast-growing economies of the developing world depend on money from Western banks to build factories, buy machinery and export goods to the United States and Europe



AIG Has Used Much of Its $123 Billion Bailout Loan

 By Carol D. Leonnig

Washington Post Staff Writer

Friday, October 24, 2008; Page D01

The troubled insurance giant American International Group already has consumed three-quarters of a federal $123 billion rescue loan, a little more than a month after the government stepped in to save the company from bankruptcy.

AIG has borrowed $90.3 billion from the Federal Reserve’s credit line as of yesterday, the bulk of it to pay off bad bets the company made in guaranteeing other firms’ risky mortgage investments. That’s up from roughly $83 billion AIG had borrowed a week ago, and the $68 billion level it reached a week before that. The news comes as the company’s new chief executive warned Wednesday that the government’s financial lifeline may not be enough to keep AIG afloat.

Palin appointed friends and donors to key posts in Alaska, records show

?100-plus jobs went to campaign donors or their relatives, sometimes without apparent regard to qualifications. Several donors got state-subsidized loans for business ventures of dubious public value.

By Charles Piller

October 24, 2008

Reporting from Anchorage — Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, plucked from relative obscurity in part for her reform credentials, has been eager to tout them in her vice presidential campaign.

“I took on the old politics as usual in Juneau when I stood up to the special interests and the lobbyists and the big oil companies and the good old boys,” Palin told the Republican National Convention in her acceptance speech. She said that as a new governor she “shook things up, and in short order we put the government of our state back on the side of the people.”

By midway through her first term, she had signed an ethics reform bill, increased oil profit taxes and tweaked Big Oil again by awarding a gas pipeline contract to a Canadian company.

In some other respects, a Los Angeles Times examination of state records shows, her approach to government was business as usual. Take, for example, the tradition of patronage. Some of Palin’s most controversial appointments involved donors, records show.


Pakistan rejects ‘America’s war’ on extremists

• Parliament vows to end military action on border

• Relations with US will be strained by new strategy

Saeed Shah in Islamabad

The Guardian, Friday October 24 2008

Serious doubts multiplied yesterday about Pakistan’s commitment to America’s military campaign against al-Qaida and the Taliban after parliament overwhelmingly passed a resolution calling for dialogue with extremist groups and an end to military action.

The new strategy, backed by all parties, emerged after a fierce debate in parliament where most parliamentarians said that Pakistan was paying an unacceptable price for fighting “America’s war”. If implemented by the government, support for Pakistan from international allies would come under severe strain, adding further instability to a country facing a spiral of violence and economic collapse.

UN report: North Korea clamps down on communication

From Times Online

October 24, 2008

Richard Lloyd Parry

North Korea is clamping down on mobile phones and long distance telephone calls to prevent the spread of news about a worsening food crisis, according to the United Nations investigator on human rights for the isolated communist country.

In a report to the UN General Assembly, Vitit Muntarbhorn, a Thai law professor who has never been allowed to visit North Korea, said that its government is using public executions as a means of intimidating the population, and using spies ton infiltrate and expose religious communities. His report came two days after the World Food Programme said that two thirds of North Koreans do not have enough to eat, in the country’s worst crisis since as many as three million people died of famine a decade ago

Middle East

Election doubts over Ahmadinejad’s health

Robert Tait

The Guardian, Friday October 24 2008

He is renowned for his long hours and hectic schedule, but the stress of high office may be taking its toll on the health of Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and jeopardising his political future.

Speculation about the hyperactive leader’s physical condition was prompted this week after a speech to the state statistics and planning body on Wednesday was cancelled at the last minute and a cabinet meeting took place without him. A speech to a martyr’s commemoration event was also called off. A senior aide, Amir Mansour Borghei, told journalists that the president was “indisposed”.

That explanation has triggered rumours that Ahmadinejad, 52, is suffering from a long-term illness that may force him to abandon plans to stand for re-election next year

Israel invites Cat Stevens then tells him ‘stay away’

By Donald Macintyre in Jerusalem

Friday, 24 October 2008

The British Muslim singer Yusuf Islam has lost the chance to sing “Peace Train”, the hit he made world-famous as Cat Stevens, in Israel after his planned visit to the country was cancelled by the hosts who originally invited him.

Islam was to perform at the high-profile 10th anniversary celebrations in Tel Aviv of The Peres Centre for Peace, a leading organisation founded by Israel’s present President, Shimon Peres, and devoted to improving Israeli-Palestinian relations. But the centre confirmed yesterday that the star – who was refused entry to Israel on security grounds eight years ago – would not now be coming after a “re-evaluation”.


War declared on mafia as car bomb kills journalist Ivo Pukanic

?From The Times

October 24, 2008

Bojan Pancevski in Vienna

Croatia declared a war on organised crime last night after one of the country’s most prominent newspaper publishers was killed by a car bomb in the capital, Zagreb.

Ivo Pukanic, 47, the publisher of the leading weekly Nacional, known for its investigations into corruption and organised crime, was killed after an explosive device was detonated beneath his new Lexus car outside the magazine’s offices. Niko Franic, 38, the marketing manager, was also killed in the blast.

“The criminal underworld has confronted the country with an unprecedented challenge,” said Stjepan Mesic, the Croatian President, summoning an emergency meeting of the National Security Council.

PM ‘undermined’ Turkey secularism>

Turkey’s prime minister was involved in anti-secular activities, the country’s Constitutional Court has said.

The court was explaining why it it imposed financial sanctions on the governing AK Party in July.

But it said that while PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other AKP leaders had broken secular principles, they had not promoted violence.

The court did not, in the end, ban the AKP, as many commentators had predicted it would.

The case pitted the secular elite against the AKP. The party has denied it wants to create an Islamist state by stealth.


Robert Mugabe may hang on to rule over corpse of his country

Robert Mugabe may be able to hold power in Zimbabwe for “a very long time” unless his neighbours intervene, according to a senior Western diplomat.

By Sebastien Berger, Southern Africa Correspondent

The deadlocked power-sharing agreement with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change has failed to produce a new government. Meanwhile, the economy is spiralling into hyperinflation and collapse, forcing the regime to print money in order to pay its bills.

But the diplomat judged that Mr Mugabe had enough resources to keep his regime afloat. “There’s still enough in the country in terms of minerals, remittances and printing money to keep this regime in office, in power, for the foreseeable future,” he said.

“There’s still enough meat on the carcass of Zimbabwe for this regime to survive and not to be threatened. He doesn’t need as many people as you think.”


Mohammed Bello Masaba has fallen foul of northern Nigeria’s Islamic laws and is now in prison.

By Sarah Simpson | Correspondent of The Christian Science Monitor

from the October 24, 2008 edition

BIDA, NIGERIA – He’s not what most women might describe as a “good catch.”

Mohammed Bello Masaba, from a small town in Nigeria, is a short, slightly built 84-year-old with no apparent income. But that hasn’t stopped him taking 86 wives at the same time – and with a little help from God, he says, he may just marry a few more.

For decades, his unusual domestic arrangements drew little attention. But when Mr. Bello Masaba, a Muslim, gave interviews to local journalists and television crews claiming he had special God-given powers and challenged accepted interpretation of the Islamic holy book, the Koran, his world came tumbling down.

Bello Masaba has run afoul of northern Nigeria’s Islamic sharia laws, Muslim clerics, Nigerian federal law, and even his town’s traditional ruler, the Emir of Bida. Local authorities have stationed a dozen armed policemen outside the home he normally shares with his wives and over 150 children to protect them from angry neighbors, while Bello Masaba languishes in prison. Yet he remains unrepentant.

Latin America


The region is affected by global downturn, but more prepared this time thanks to greater foreign reserves and less external debt.

By Sara Miller Llana – Staff writer and Andrew Downie – correspondent

from the October 24, 2008 edition

MEXICO CITY AND SAO PAULO, BRAZIL – As leaders in Washington rushed to stem the growing financial crisis in the United States, Latin American leaders thought they’d be unscathed. Brazil’s president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, when asked what repercussions he expected at home, retorted, “What crisis?” Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez called it the “crash of capitalism.”

A few weeks later, the tone has changed remarkably for a region heavily dependent on the international prices of minerals, crude oil, and food – all of which have taken a hit – not to mention remittances, tourism, and investment.

Stock markets across the region are falling. Argentina’s has sunk 20 percent since Tuesday. Brazil’s dropped 10 percent Wednesday; Mexico’s, 7 percent; Chile, 6 percent.

Mexico and Brazil, the region’s two largest economies, spent chunks of their federal reserves to stem unexpected currency declines. Mexico introduced an emergency stimulus package, while Brazil offered $2 billion in loans to exporters through local banks.

1 comment

    • RiaD on October 24, 2008 at 3:30 pm

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