The Automobile Industry
Is Like The Model T
It Comes In One Color
Chances Dwindle on Bailout Plan for Automakers
By DAVID M. HERSZENHORN
Published: November 13, 2008
WASHINGTON – The prospects of a government rescue for the foundering American automakers dwindled Thursday as Democratic Congressional leaders conceded that they would face potentially insurmountable Republican opposition during a lame-duck session next week.
At the same time, hope among many Democrats on Capitol Hill for an aggressive economic stimulus measure all but evaporated. Democratic leaders have been calling for a package that would include help for the auto companies as well as new spending on public works projects, an extension of jobless benefits, increased food stamps and aid to states for rising Medicaid expenses.
Tech puts JFK conspiracy theories to rest
Sixth floor of book depository, not the grassy knoll, was origin of lethal shot
By Eric Bland Discovery
A team of experts assembled by the Discovery Channel has recreated the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy. Using modern blood spatter analysis, new artificial human body surrogates, and 3-D computer simulations, the team determined that the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository was the most likely origin of the shot that killed the 35th president of the United States.
“The question we were trying to answer is, given the spatter evidence in a vehicle, and knowing an individual was sitting at a particular location, is there something we could use to determine where the shot originated?” said Steve Schliebe, a blood spatter and trace evidence specialist with the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, who was part of the special investigation.
FDIC Details Plan To Alter Mortgages
Treasury Opposes Using Bailout Funds For Proposal to Ease Monthly Payments
By Binyamin Appelbaum
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, November 14, 2008; Page A01
Officials at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. yesterday detailed a plan to prevent 1.5 million foreclosures in the next year by offering financial incentives to companies that agree to sharply reduce monthly payments on mortgage loans.
The proposal, which has the support of leading congressional Democrats, would considerably expand the scope and force of the government’s efforts to stem foreclosures. Agency officials estimated the cost to the government at $24.4 billion.
FDIC Chairman Sheila C. Bair continues to face opposition within the Bush administration.
Fire destroys up to 80 houses in Montecito
The blaze, driven by strong winds, forces evacuations in the wealthy Santa Barbara County community, authorities say.
By Catherine Saillant and Steve Chawkins
November 14, 2008
Reporting from Montecito — A fast-moving brush fire driven by 50- to 70-mph winds erupted Thursday night in the hills above Montecito in Santa Barbara County, burning at least 800 acres, destroying up to 80 homes and forcing evacuations of luxury neighborhoods, authorities said.
The fire broke out about 6 p.m. in the wealthy Cold Springs area of Montecito, where a number of celebrities live, and quickly overwhelmed firefighters with its speed.
“I have so many concerns,” said Terry McElwee, operation chief for the Montecito Fire Department. “It’s just moving so fast right now. . . . We’re having trouble rounding up enough resources.”
Three helicopters with the state Department of Forestry and Fire Protection were dropping water where they could gain access as firefighters struggled to get engines and equipment to threatened structures. Nevertheless, the fire continued to press southwest, toward Santa Barbara.
EU unveils plan to weaken Russian grip on gas supply
• Southern corridor pipeline would bypass Gazprom
• Strategy is part of £1.5tn energy security package
Ian Traynor in Brussels
guardian.co.uk, Friday November 14 2008 00.01 GMT
Europe yesterday stepped up attempts to reduce its exposure to potential Russian blackmail over energy supplies, unveiling an ambitious strategy aimed at weakening Russian giant Gazprom’s domination of Europe’s gas imports.
On the eve of the Russia-EU summit today in France, the energy package released by the European commission highlighted Europe’s dependence on Russian exports and sought to devise strategies to wean Europe off the addiction.
Of six energy projects pinpointed for development, commission officials said the two “absolute” priorities were to connect the three post-Soviet Baltic states of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia to European power grids and to forge ahead with the so-called “southern gas corridor”, which is supposed to transport gas from the Caspian basin to Europe while, for political reasons, bypassing the world’s two biggest gas producers, Russia and Iran. Both projects are aimed at loosening Russia’s grip.
Church fury as coma woman allowed to die
talian court grants father right to end daughter’s life
By Peter Popham in Rome
Friday, 14 November 2008
Italy’s Supreme Court provoked the fury of conservatives yesterday by ruling that a father can disconnect the feeding tube that has kept his daughter alive in a coma for nearly 17 years.
In one of the most painfully emotive cases this Catholic country has confronted for years, the court overturned the earlier rejection by an appeal court of the father’s right to end his daughter’s life. The ruling was denounced by conservatives as the legalisation of euthanasia in Italy, but by the father, Beppino Englaro, as “a way out of hell”.
Off the coast of Somalia: ‘We’re not pirates. These are our waters, not theirs’
To foreign ships, they’re a scourge but Daniel Howden and Abdinasir Mohamed Guled discover that Somalia’s pirates see things very differently
Friday, 14 November 2008
When Bile Wadani is not counting his money, he counts his wives. So far he has three – but he promises there will be more to come. “I didn’t ever dream I would marry three wives but I have that dream now because I can get as much money as I want.”
As he speaks, waves can be heard crashing in the background. Bile is speaking by mobile telephone from the deck of a captured ship somewhere off the mountainous coast of northern Somalia, near the tip of the Horn of Africa. His words are interrupted by the crackle of gunfire.
Bile will not reveal his exact location or identify the captured vessel as he claims he is being hunted by foreign warships.
Congo refugees ‘have to be moved’
Thousands of refugees at a camp in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo must be moved before they are caught up in fighting, aid officials have warned.
More than 60,000 displaced people are at the Kibati camp, close to the front line separating government troops and rebels loyal to General Laurent Nkunda.
They are among 250,000 who have fled the violence which flared in August.
Fighting has stopped aid from reaching Kibati and forced many there to flee south to the provincial capital, Goma.
“We noticed these people might be in serious danger and the humanitarian community decided we should move them from there… as soon as possible,” Ibrahima Coly, the head of the UN refugee agency in the North Kivu region, told the Reuters news agency.
Clean-up runs out of steam in world’s most corrupt nation
?From The Times
November 14, 2008
Jeremy Page in Dhaka
How many people does it take to fix a broken lavatory in the most corrupt nation on earth? The answer, according to the Bangladesh Telecommunications Company, is 126.
To move some files from one cabinet to another? It takes 256, to judge by the same state-run company’s accounts.
In both cases the workers were paid – even though they never existed.
Just two examples of the endemic graft that earned Bangladesh – condemned as a “basket case” by Henry Kissinger in 1971 – the insult of being rated the world’s most corrupt nation from 2000 to 2005.
In another infamous case, a single employee of the biggest state gas company pocketed $145 million (£98 million) in bribes over 12 years while on a salary of $100 a month.
Greed, mad science and melamine>
By Stephen Wong
SHANGHAI – China’s scandal over melamine-contaminated food products is far from over. In the latest development, the poisonous chemical has been found not only in an array of dairy products – from infant milk formula to chocolate European sex toys – but as a widely used additive in poultry, fish and cattle feed.
It’s not just a few bad eggs. The trail of greed and negligence that allowed melamine – a toxic industrial chemical – to slip from modified animal fodder into the human food chain has now led to some of China’s top scientists – many of whom are widely regarded to have put personal profit over the public safety of billions.
Recent reports have found that China’s top scientific research
body – the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) – “discovered” as early as 1999 that adding melamine to food could boost its protein levels.
Militants turn to small bombs in Iraq attacks
By Katherine Zoepf and Mudhafer Al-Husaini Published: November 14, 2008
BAGHDAD: They are usually no bigger than a man’s fist and attached to a magnet or a strip of gummy adhesive – thus the name “obwah lasica” in Arabic, or “sticky bomb.”
Light, portable and easy to lay, sticky bombs are tucked quickly under the bumper of a car or into a chink in a blast wall. Since they are detonated remotely, they rarely harm the person who lays them. And as security in Baghdad has improved, the small and furtive bomb – though less lethal than entire cars or even thick suicide belts packed with explosive – is fast becoming the device of choice for a range of insurgent groups.
They are also contributing, in the midst of an uptick in violence, to a growing feeling of unease in the capital.
An intellectual makeover for Iranian women
In an impoverished Tehran district, a hairdresser-turned-activist helps girls and women help themselves through books, health workshops and civic action.
By Borzou Daragahi
November 14, 2008
Reporting from Tehran — In her eyes, they are all daughters and sisters. The waifish 18-year-old, already married and a mother, but with a hunger to learn. The pair of shy high school students, nervous at first, but soon browsing eagerly through the bookshelves. The matronly homemaker, unsure and uneducated, but discovering the world beyond the slums of southern Tehran by reading Feodor Dostoevski and Jean-Paul Sartre.
For the women in her neighborhood, Nazanin Gohari has become a savior of minds.
A few years back, the part-time hairdresser-turned-community activist transformed her shabby apartment into a library for women, collecting secondhand books to fill the makeshift shelves in her living room.
Riots break out across Colombia after investment scam collapses
Rory Carroll in Medellín
guardian.co.uk, Friday November 14 2008 00.01 GMT
Riots have flared across Colombia over the collapse of a pyramid investment scam that left thousands of investors broke and furious. Police used teargas and batons to quell crowds that tried to storm the offices of rogue investment firms, some of which had left notes taunting their victims for being gullible.
Mobs smashed doors and windows in a vain effort to enter the premises and recoup savings, or at least take revenge on fraudsters, who had vanished overnight.
“Dear investors, thanks for trusting us and depositing your money,” said a note on the door of a company in the province of Cauca. “Now, for being stupid and believing in financial witchcraft, you will have to work for your money.”