Jim Cramer Handed His Hat
Among Other Things
Investors See a Glimmer and Shares Soar Worldwide
By STEVE LOHR and JACK HEALY
Published: March 13, 2009
A few clues that the economy’s downward spiral might be slowing galvanized Wall Street on Thursday and sent world stock markets soaring for the second time this week.
Investors searching for relief from a relentless march of bad economic news found wisps of hope in developments that, not many months ago, would have been regarded as alarming. The news, by and large, was bad – just not quite as bad as feared.
General Electric, the blue-chip corporation, was stripped of its triple-A credit rating, an emblem of business prowess it proudly held since 1956. But its rating fell just one notch, less than some analysts predicted. Shares of G.E. soared 13 percent.
Secret emails show Iraq dossier was ‘sexed up’
Intelligence chiefs criticised ‘iffy drafting’ of key document
By Nigel Morris, Deputy Political Editor Friday, 13 March 2009
Secret Whitehall emails released yesterday provide damning new evidence that the notorious dossier making the case for invading Iraq was “sexed up”.
They disclose that the intelligence services were sceptical over the “iffy drafting” of government claims that Saddam Hussein could mount a missile strike on his neighbours within 45 minutes of ordering an attack.
Officials privately mocked assertions that the Iraqi president was covertly trying to develop a nuclear capability and wisecracked that perhaps he had recruited “Dr Frankenstein” to his supposed crack team of nuclear scientists.
The release of a series of confidential memos and emails, following a protracted Freedom of Information battle, reignited the controversy over accusations that Tony Blair’s government “spun” Britain into war.
Last night both the Tories and the Liberal Democrats renewed their demands for a full public inquiry into the decision to join the US-led invasion of Iraq.
A stem cell battle along state lines
Conservatives who oppose the use of embryonic cells will lobby at the national level too.
By Dahleen Glanton
March 13, 2009
Reporting from Atlanta — Faced with a new federal policy that opens the door for more embryonic stem cell research, conservatives have geared up for a political battle at the national and state levels that goes to the core of their beliefs about the sanctity of human life.
Since President Obama lifted the eight-year ban on nearly all federal funding for stem cell research this week, conservative leaders have stepped up efforts to lobby Congress to preserve some restrictions, they said. They plan to launch a far-reaching campaign to educate the public about their point of view — as well as research alternatives that are not as controversial.
“This executive order is just the beginning of the process. Our concern is how broad this will be interpreted, and will there be limitations,” said Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council. “With limited tax dollars available, we should not use those funds for research that is at best morally questionable.”
Despite Madoff Guilty Plea, Questions Swirl and Rage Boils
Victims Gather at Courthouse as Financier Reports to Jail
By Keith B. Richburg and Tomoeh Murakami Tse
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, March 13, 2009; Page A01
NEW YORK, March 12 — Some of Bernard L. Madoff’s victims came to Lower Manhattan on Thursday to catch a glimpse of the man who had taken away their life savings, robbing them of their kids’ college funds and of their pride.
On a clear but bitterly cold morning outside U.S. District Court, they wanted more answers about how the massive Ponzi scheme was perpetrated, who was involved and what was left. They wanted to tell the judge he should show no mercy. They wanted to vent their rage.
“To see him for the first time, I’m just very emotional and close to falling apart,” Sharon Lissauer said as she stood in the chill, biting back tears. “I lost all my savings. I don’t have anything else. If only he could reveal where [the assets] are and help make the investors whole.”
Raped and killed for being a lesbian: South Africa ignores ‘corrective’ attacks
• Women living in fear of brutal assaults by male gangs
• Country’s ‘macho politics’ lead to lack of action
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 12 March 2009
The partially clothed body of Eudy Simelane, former star of South Africa’s acclaimed Banyana Banyana national female football squad, was found in a creek in a park in Kwa Thema, on the outskirts of Johannesburg. Simelane had been gang-raped and brutally beaten before being stabbed 25 times in the face, chest and legs. As well as being one of South Africa’s best-known female footballers, Simelane was a voracious equality rights campaigner and one of the first women to live openly as a lesbian in Kwa Thema.
Her brutal murder took place last April, and since then a tide of violence against lesbian women in South Africa has continued to rise. Human rights campaigners say it is characterised by what they call “corrective rape” committed by men behind the guise of trying to “cure” lesbian women of their sexual orientation.
Bailed Roy Bennett tells of horror conditions in Mugabe jail
From The Times
March 13, 2009
Jan Raath in Mutare
Roy Bennett, one of the right-hand men of Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai – and an implacable opponent of President Mugabe – walked out of a squalid Zimbabwean jail yesterday.
The 51-year-old Deputy Agriculture Minister-designate was arrested a month ago – as Mr Mugabe was swearing in the Government’s power-sharing Cabinet – on allegations of “banditry, sabotage and insurgency”.
Emerging from the gates of Mutare remand prison and struggling to hold back tears yesterday, he said that his incarceration had been “a harrowing experience”.
He said: “I would not wish it on my worst enemy. There are people there who look worse than the photographs of prisoners in Dachau and Auschwitz.
Seven arrested over Dutch bomb plot
• Group suspected of plan to target stores, says mayor
• Anonymous call resulted in anti-terrorism operation
The Guardian, Friday 13 March 2009
Dutch police arrested seven people yesterday on suspicion of plotting to bomb an Ikea outlet and other shops in Amsterdam. Among those held was a relative of one of the suspected Madrid train bombers who killed 191 people five years ago, prosecutors said.
Job Cohen, Amsterdam’s mayor, said police received an anonymous phone call from Brussels on Wednesday night warning that an Ikea shop and other major retail outlets were being targeted by bombers. The caller named a suspect and identified locations to search.
Police sealed off a shopping street in the city close to the stadium used by Ajax football club yesterday morning, forcing the cancellation of a concert by the US rock band the Killers scheduled last night at a nearby venue.
Tangled mind of a school killer
Teenage gunman was a loner dogged by depression who left a warning in internet chatroom before he massacred 15 people
By Tony Paterson in Berlin Friday, 13 March 2009
Tim Kretschmer was a reclusive gun freak who had dozens of airguns on display in his bedroom. He liked to practise with his father’s arsenal of 15 pistols and rifles on a firing range in the basement of his home. Officials described the 17-year-old killer yesterday as “well trained in the use of firearms”.
But the teenager who, on Wednesday, went on a rampage at his former school and shot dead 15 people, also saw himself as a failure. He was said to have been mobbed by fellow pupils and teachers, suffered fits of depression, had few friends and had visited a psychiatric clinic at least five times to receive treatment.
Eight of his victims were teenage girls; three were women teachers.
Chinese Premier concerned about assets in US
From Times Online
March 13, 2009
Jane Macartney in Beijing
China’s Premier admitted this morning that his goal of eight per cent growth for the world’s third-largest economy would be tough to meet this year, but he had more weapons in his armoury if need be to ensure Beijing reaches that target.
Speaking at his annual news conference after the end of the session of the National People’s Congress, China’s ceremonial parliament, Premier Wen Jiabao reminded the United States of its responsibilities in easing the global financial crisis – and of its indebtedness to his country, which now owns the bulk of US Treasuries.
“I would like … to once again request America to maintain its trustworthiness, keep its promise and guarantee the safety of Chinese assets,” he said.
Pakistan’s airwaves: On militant turf, Radio Khyber offers a softer voice
In tribal areas, it provides an alternative to hard-line clerics with a medley of local news, talk shows, and music.
By Huma Yusuf | Correspondent
from the March 13, 2009 edition
PESHAWAR, PAKISTAN – Kishwar yanks at her veil, caught in the sound equipment of a cramped radio production studio, and pins it back. “It’s hard to be the voice of anything with all this cloth on my face,” she jokes, alluding to her station’s tag line, “The Voice of Khyber.”
Kishwar, who, like others in this story, asked to have her last name withheld for security, is one of 15 reporters for Radio Khyber, a rare nonextremist station broadcasting in the town of Jamrud, in the militant stronghold of Pakistan’s northwestern tribal areas. Airwaves in this region are filled with the illegal broadcasts of “FM mullahs” preaching about “holy war” and recruiting fighters.
Radio Khyber, launched in 2006 with government support, provides an alternative to the hard-line clerics with its medley of local news, talk shows, and music. But it treads carefully, trying to avoid backlash from either the militants – who criticize the playing of music – or the Pakistani government, which dislikes its news coverage in this sensitive region.
“Until Radio Khyber started news reporting, the FM mullahs were winning the dial wars,” says Aurangzaib Khan, the manager of Media Development at Internews Pakistan in Peshawar, an international nonprofit that trains radio journalists and lobbies for free media.
Some Iraqis Support Tough Shoe-Thrower Sentence
Not all Iraqis want to let the shoe thrower off the hook and some even agree with the harsh three-year jail sentence Muntadhar al-Zeidi received today from an Iraqi court.
Granted, it’s a minority. Zeidi was lauded in street demonstrations in Baghdad and other capitals when the 30-year-old television reporter zinged his two shoes past a ducking President George W. Bush in a press conference here Dec. 14. Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, at a lectern next to Bush, vainly tried to block the flying leather. Iraqi security wrestled and pummeled Zeidi and whisked him off to jail.
Zeidi later told the court that he couldn’t bear listening to Bush claim success in Iraq while all the reporter could think of was the monumental human loss and suffering of the last six years. He said he viewed Bush as an occupier. Iraqis and other Arabs have hailed him as a national hero. It’s probably the majority view, but there’s a nuance, too.
Israelis support captured soldier’s family
By JOSEF FEDERMAN, Associated Press Writer
JERUSALEM – A protest tent set up outside the prime minister’s home by the family of a captive Israeli soldier has become an unofficial pilgrimage site this week, attracting Cabinet ministers, Holocaust survivors and schoolchildren from across Israel.
But not Prime Minister Ehud Olmert himself, who’s facing pressure to get the soldier released before leaving office.
Posters and bumper stickers of Sgt. Gilad Schalit decorate the tent, with a growing number of handwritten cards. The outpouring has drawn new attention to the soldier, who marks his 1,000th day in captivity next week and is at the center of efforts for a long-term cease-fire with Gaza’s Hamas rulers.
Noam Schalit, the soldier’s father, said he’s drawn strength from the hundreds of visitors.
“We expected people to come and support us, but we didn’t expect such widespread support,” he said.
Mexico drug cartels buying public support
As traffickers recruit among the poor, their networks are being woven into the social fabric of the country.
By Tracy Wilkinson
March 13, 2009
Reporting from Monterrey, Mexico — The small houses of the Independencia neighborhood climb a hill that rises from the bone-dry Santa Catarina riverbed. Gang graffiti proliferate the higher you go, until they completely cover the cinder-block walls with slogans, threats and declarations.
Young men in baggy pants, sweat shirt hoodies pulled tightly around their faces, populate the desolate street corners, in between vacant lots and shattered wooden stoops.
Look out from the top of the hill and in the distance you see the impressive skyline of Monterrey, the wealthiest city in Mexico, its fancy museums, glistening high-rises, leafy plazas and pristine palaces bathed in sunlight.
Look down, however, to the steep, potted streets of Independencia, one of the city’s oldest and poorest barrios, and it’s a different picture, one of stray dogs, braying burros and no jobs.
It is here that Mexico’s biggest drug traffickers find an easy following of collaborators and pliable disciples.