Monday, September 29, 2008

Comment: Will the Bailout Work?

Here's a list of the Wall Street bailouts already implemented in an attempt to stem the financial crisis:

  • $29 billion to save Bear Sterns

  • $300 billion in early loans to Wall Street firms

  • $300 billion for the Federal Housing Administration

  • $200 billion for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac

  • $87 billion to bail out Lehman Financing

  • $85 billion for AIG, Inc

  • $50 billion to support Money Market Funds

  • That's about a trillion dollars that has not accomplished what the government promised. Indeed the situation is not said to be so dire that a $700 billion w/o oversight was originally requested within 24 hours to stop the end of the world!

    Obviously, more thought is needed in order to figure out why bailing out Wall Street firms has failed to stop the crisis, especially with millions of adjustable rate mortgages still in danger of default.

    Friday, September 26, 2008

    UN chief praises efforts to tackle world poverty

    UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said that the United Nations program to fight world povery has raised more than $16 billion so far.

    "This has exceeded all our expectations," Ban Ki-moon said of support for the Millennium Development Goals, which have a target date of 2015. The $16 billion amount is focused specifically on getting the world's children in school by that date.


    UN chief: $16B being given to help world's poor
    International Herald Tribune - 2 hours ago
    AP UNITED NATIONS: Bill Gates said Thursday the UN's goals to fight poverty have grabbed the world's attention - and the UN chief said the world has responded with more than $16 billion despite the current financial crisis.
    World leaders recommit to poverty goals Reuters
    Ban: About $16 bln pledged at UN summit to combat poverty Xinhua

    Thursday, September 25, 2008

    Pakistan and American forces exchange fire

    Pakistani and American forces near the border of Afghanistan exchanged fire briefly Thursday in an escalation of tensions between the two nations.

    According to reports, Pakistani troops fired on two U.S. helicopters flying near the border, and ground troops exchange fire shortly after the incident. No casualties were reported on either side.

    Reuters South Africa
    Pakistani and American Troops Exchange Fire

    New York Times - 1 hour ago

    By ERIC SCHMITT WASHINGTON - Pakistani and American ground troops exchanged fire along the border with Afghanistan on Thursday after the Pakistanis shot at two American helicopters, ratcheting up tensions as the United States increases its attacks ...

    Pakistani troops fire at US helicopters on border Reuters
    Pakistan Fires at US Helicopters on Afghan Border (Update2)


    US denies copters attacked by Pakistan crossed border
    CNN International - 1 hour ago
    Officials with the Pentagon and NATO's International Security Assistance Force, however, said the copters never entered Pakistan. US officials also denied ...
    NATO copters exchage fire and fly back Online - International News Network
    AFGHANISTAN: Marine colonel says Pakistani military copter helped ... Los Angeles Times
    Pakistani troops, foreign copters trade fire The Daily Advertiser

    Chronology of the most serious attacks in Pakistan since January 2008. Pakistani troops fired at two helicopters from the NATO-led force in Afghanistan, causing no damage but accusing them of crossing the border amid escalating tensions across the frontier.(AFP Graphic/Er/Jfs)

    Wednesday, September 24, 2008

    Venezuela rapidly expanding ties with China

    Venezuela's socialist leader Hugo Chavez has forged close relations with Russia, and is wasting time building ties with that other natural ideological partner, China.

    Chavez, visiting Beijing this week, said that he expects his country to export 1 million barrels of oil to China by 2012.

    He will also ink deals to build three oil refineries in China to refine Venezuelan oil, and to launch the VENESAT-1 communications satellite using a Chinese Long March 3b rocket.

    Venezuela will also purchase 24 K-8 fighter-trainer aircraft from Beijing.

    Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, center, walks out of the airplane after arriving at Beijing Airport in Beijing, China, Tuesday, Sept. 23, 2008. Chavez is on a three-day visit to China. (AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan)
    AP Photo: Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, center, walks out of the airplane after arriving at Beijing Airport...

    Monday, September 22, 2008

    Japan names right-winger to head govt

    Conservative Taro Aso will lead Japan governing party in an attempt to stave off the opposition's challenge in upcoming elections.

    However, many analysts believe that the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which has dominated Japanese politics, is set for inevitable defeat.

    The key opposition Democratic Party of Japan has effectively blocked legislation in the Upper House of the Japanese Diet.

    Aso is known as a hawk who has angered many of Japan's Asian neighbors with his forthright statements.

    Japanese ruling party names Taro Aso as new leader - 34 minutes ago

    Despite his hawkish stance, Aso has said that Japan should not view China 'with hostility'. Photograph: Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/Getty Images Japan's ruling party today elected the colourful rightwinger Taro Aso as its leader in a last-ditch attempt to ...

    Doubts grow over Japan PM's remedy for economy Reuters
    Taro Aso is chosen to be governing party's leader in Japan International Herald Tribune
    Washington Post - Bloomberg - New York Times - United Press International
    all 894 news articles

    Sunday, September 21, 2008

    Zardari to protect Pakistan sovereignty

    Faced with increasing pressure from all sides, Pakistan's new President Asif Ali Zardari vowed to protect the nation's sovereignty from both terrorists and foreign forces.

    Zardari, the husband of slain President Benazir Bhutto, said: "I ask of the government that it should be firm in its resolve to not allow the use of its soil for carrying out terrorist activities against any foreign country. We will not tolerate the violation of our sovereignty and territorial integrity by any power in the name of combating terrorism."

    Zardari to uphold Pakistan sovereignty
    United Press International - 1 hour ago
    ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Sept. 20 (UPI) -- Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari says he won't allow either terrorists or foreign forces fighting them to violate the country's sovereignty.
    Pakistani president tells foreign troops to keep out CNN
    Pakistan's Zardari to give up powers AFP

    Pakistani tribesmen shout slogans in front of the parliament building during the address of President Asif Ali Zardari in Islamabad in protest at a military operation in Holy month of Ramadan at the Bajur district. Zardari has told parliament to abolish his wide-ranging powers and warned that Islamabad "will not tolerate" sovereignty violations after a series of cross-border strikes.(AFP/Farooq Naeem)

    Saturday, September 20, 2008

    Possible al-Qaeda attack on Marriot Hotel in Pakistan

    A terrorist bombing at the Marriot Hotel in Islamabad, Pakistan killed at least 40 people although the final toll is expected to be much higher.

    The country appears to be in an extremely precarious situation after the fall of former president Pervez Musharraf, and the onset of U.S. raids across its borders in violation of its national sovereignty.

    Although no group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack which has completely destroyed the hotel by fire, experts say the bombing has all the hallmarks of an al-Qaeda operation.

    Voice of America
    At Least 40 Are Killed in Blast at Pakistan Hotel
    New York Times - 38 minutes ago

    Flames poured from the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad on Saturday after a massive truck bombing. More Photos > By CARLOTTA GALL ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - A huge truck bomb exploded at the gateway of the five-star Marriott Hotel in Islamabad on Saturday ...
    Video: Dozens killed in Pakistan hotel blast - 20 Sep 08 AlJazeeraEnglish

    Explosion at Pakistan Marriott hotel kills 40 The Associated Press
     A massive bomb has blown up in front of the fortified Marriot Hotel in Islamabad.Play
    Dozens die in Pakistan hotel blast
    Reuters via Yahoo! News - 2 hours, 50 minutes ago

    The Marriot Hotel burns after a suspected suicide car-bomb attack in Islamabad in this video grab, September 20, 2008. (AAJ via Reuters TV/Reuters)

    Tuesday, September 16, 2008

    Pakistan orders troops to shoot at raiders

    Tensions between Pakistan and the U.S. may heat up after Islamabad ordered its troops to fire at troops crossing into its terrritory.

    The United States has conducted cross border raids from Afghanistan against insurgent without obtaining permission from the Pakistani government.

    Washington has accused Pakistan of not trying hard enough to rid the Taliban and al-Qaeda from its territory.

    BBC News

    Pakistan Would Fire on Intruders
    New York Times - 3 hours ago
    By SALMAN MASOOD and GRAHAM BOWLEY ISLAMABAD, Pakistan - The Pakistani military said on Tuesday its troops would fire on foreign forces if they crossed the country’s borders but denied that this was a change of policy.
    Video: Pakistani Troops Ordered to Fire It US Raids AssociatedPress
    Pakistan in border warning to US BBC News

    Asian markets tumble on Wall St. news

    Asian markets fell sharply led by losses in Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong after news of the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the takeover of Merrill Lynch & Co. on Wall Street.

    The bad news was compounded by reports that American Insurance Group, Inc. (AIG) is also in trouble after its credit rating was downgraded.

    On a positive note, oil prices have dipped sharply as speculators surmise demand will slow along with economic growth.

    Turmoil hits Asia; Hong Kong, Seoul deep in the red
    MarketWatch - 1 hour ago

    By Chris Oliver, MarketWatch HONG KONG (MarketWatch) -- Markets across Asia were blasted by a wave of selling Tuesday, with creditors of Lehman Brothers among the leading decliners, followed by consumer exporters, as investors reassessed the outlook ...

    Stunned Lehman Employees Pack Bags Across Asia; Investors Fume
    Wall Street's Upheaval Unnerves Asian Markets Forbes

    Saturday, September 13, 2008

    North Korea builds new ICBM site

    Satellite imagery reveals that North Korea has built a new site capable of launching ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads.

    Tongch'ang-dong facility near Pongdong-ni, North Korea
    Pongdong-ni's location was discovered by Janes Intelligence Group Photo: AP

    The Pongdon-ni site is located in the hills near the China border and has a tower capable of supporting the
    Taepodong-2 intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) with a range of 6,000 miles.


    North Korea builds secret launch site for ballistic missiles, United Kingdom - Sep 11, 2008
    North Korea has secretly built a launch site for ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear warheads, according to new satellite imagery. ...

    Friday, September 12, 2008

    Pakistan threatens to quit 'war on terror'

    Pakistan's main opposition party threatened Friday to withdraw from the 'war on terror' after further suspected U.S. attacks in its border region with Afghanistan.

    The country is still considered unstable after a power vacuum left by the departure of former president Pervez Musharraf.

    Pakistani sources claim 12 people were killed after an apparent U.S. drone shot a missile at a target in north Waziristan. U.S. President George W. Bush has approved unilateral strikes from Afghanistan across the border into Pakistan.

    Pakistan threatens to pull out of war on terror after U.S. attacks (AP)

    Pakistani protesters chant slogans against government as they hold a placard reading 'Pakistan army, you have pleased America a lot, let us please Allah (God) now' at a rally to condemn military operations against militants and Talibans in Pakistan's tribal areas, Friday, Sept. 12, 2008 in Peshawar, Pakistan. (AP Photo/Mohammad Sajjad)AP - Pakistan's main opposition party said Friday the country could pull out of the war on terror over stepped-up attacks by U.S. forces in the restive tribal regions bordering Afghanistan.

    Suspected US missile kills 12 in Pakistan: official
    AFP - 55 minutes ago
    MIRANSHAH, Pakistan (AFP) — A missile from a suspected US drone killed 12 people Friday in a Pakistani tribal area where US forces have been aggressively ...
    Did President Bush Authorize Ground Assaults in Pakistan? FOXNews
    Dissension in Pakistan's ranks Asia Times Online
    Pakistan opposition wants plan on border issue The Associated Press

    Wednesday, September 10, 2008

    Quakes shake Japan and Indonesia

    A magnitude 6.9 earthquake hit Japan on Thursday, within minutes of a magnitude 6.6 quake in Indonesia, the U.S. Geological Survey said.

    The NOAA said that neither earthquake generated a Pacific-wide tsunami threat. However, "earthquakes of this size sometimes generate local tsunamis that can be destructive along coasts located within a hundred kilometers of the earthquake epicenter," the administration said.

    On Wednesday, quakes rocked Iran and northern Chile. The Iranian earthquake was said to have destroyed 200 villages.


    Major quakes hit Japan and Indonesia
    CNN International - 1 hour ago
    (CNN) -- A magnitude 6.9 earthquake rattled Japan on Thursday, within minutes of a magnitude 6.6 earthquake in Indonesia, the US Geological Survey said.
    Powerful earthquake rattles northeastern Indonesia The Associated Press
    Powerful earthquake rattles northeastern Indonesia International Herald Tribune

    North Korean leader may be ill

    North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il has reportedly suffered a stroke or cerebral hemorrage but is still running the country according to South Korean intelligence sources.

    Kim has not been seen in public recently and he apparently was set to appear at the Sept. 9 national anniversary but canceled probably due to inadequate recovery from surgery after the stroke. South Korean sources said that Chinese and French doctors have visited the country to treat Kim.

    Pyongyang recently has started rebuilding its nuclear facilities after a deadlock in talks over verification procedures.

    BBC News

    NKorean leader suffered stroke: Seoul intelligence
    AFP - 1 hour ago
    SEOUL (AFP) - North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il has suffered a stroke but is still able to run the country and will recover, South Korea's intelligence agency told parliament Wednesday.
    Video: N. Korea's Kim Jong Il May Be Sick AssociatedPress
    Kim Jong Il had stroke, Seoul officials say International Herald Tribune

    Wednesday, September 03, 2008

    Militants attack Pakistani PM

    In another sign that Pakistan is becoming increasingly unstable after the resignation of former President Pervez Musharraf, militants struck the car of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani with gunfire today.

    No one was reported injured in the attacks and three arrests were made at the site of the incident.

    In other news, the United States for the first time launched a unilateral ground assault in Pakistan drawing sharp protests from Islamabad.

    ABC News

    Pakistan Says Gilani Attack Aimed at Harming Country (Update1)
    Bloomberg - 2 hours ago
    By Paul Tighe and Khaleeq Ahmed Sept. 4 (Bloomberg) -- A gun attack on the motorcade of Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani was aimed at disrupting Pakistan and the government won't allow militants to challenge the state, Information Minister Sherry ...
    Video: Pakistan PM's Car Hit by Bullets AssociatedPress
    Shots fired at car of Pakistan premier Financial Times

    Monday, September 01, 2008

    Japanese PM Yasuo Fukuda resigns

    Unpopular Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda resigned today less than a year after replacing Shinzo Abe quit due to ill health.

    Opinion polls gave Fukuda less than a 30 percent approval rating, and he was routinely blocked in the Diet, the Japanese legislature, by the upper house-controlling opposition party.

    The surprise announcement brought calls for snap elections by the opposition Democratic Party of Japan. Fukuda's Liberal Democratic Party has ruled Japan for almost its entire history following World War II.

    Voice of America

    Fukuda gives up the unequal struggle
    Financial Times, UK - 1 hour ago
    Less than a year after Shinzo Abe, the aristocratic nationalist prime minister, quit on the grounds of ill health, Yasuo Fukuda has become the second ...
    Japanese PM Yasuo Fukuda resigns
    Japanese Prime Minister Announces Resignation Voice of America
    Japanese Prime Minister in shock resignation after less than a ... Daily Mail

     Japan's Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda has announced his resignation. CNN's Kyung Lah reports.Play
    Japanese PM resigns CNN via Yahoo! News - Sep 01 9:02 AM

    Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda leaves after a press conference at his official residence in Tokyo Monday, Sept. 1, 2008. Fukuda, 72, suddenly announced his resignation after less than a year in office Monday, throwing the world's second-largest economy into political confusion. Fukuda said he was stepping down to avoid a 'political vacuum' as the deeply troubled government heads into a special parliamentary session later in the month. (AP Photo/Toru Takahashi)