Tag Archives: Financial Crisis

Karzai Leading in Afghan Election So Far

The independent election commission in charge of last month’s elections in Afghanistan has annulled votes from 447 polling stations because of fraud. Current President Hamid Karzai is leading with about 3/4 of votes counted but he does not yet have the 50% majority he needs to avoid a run-off election, Al Jazeera.

Canada’s Globe and Mail has a series of reports from North Korea by reporter Mark MacKinnon and photographer Susan Gallagher, Day 1, Day 2, and what North Koreans think about the rest of the world.

New scheme from Wall Street: “Wall Street bankers plan to buy life insurance policies that ill and elderly people sell for cash and package hundreds or thousands of them together into bonds,” New York Times. “The earlier the policyholder dies, the bigger the return — though if people live longer than expected, investors could get poor returns or even lose money.”

White House environmental advisor Van Jones has resigned after controversy stemming from statements he made during the George W. Bush administration, Washington Post.

Today is the start of dolphin hunting season in Japan, but hunters may be staying at home thanks, in part, to The Cove, an undercover documentary about the dolphin industry, NPR.

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President Obama Announces New Financial Regulatuions

President Obama to present sweeping financial overhaul that will put new regulations in place in order to avoid the problems that caused the current financial crisis, BBC News.

Senate to look into exclusive cell phone plans that limit which phones can be used on a network, Digital Journal.

Eric Cantor introduces the Republican health care plan. Plan will offer subsidy to low income households to help them buy private insurance. The Congressional Budget Office has not yet gone over the plan to determine how much it would cost, CNN.

7 more people have died from swine flu in New York City, bringing the total number of deaths there to 23, Fox News.

The U.S. Global Change Research Program has released a new report detailing the challenges the US will face due to global warming, New York Times.

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Sri Lankan President Says Fighting to End Within 48 Hours

Sri Lanka says the military crackdown on the Tamil Tiger rebels should end in 48 hours. The Sri Lankan army has pushed the rebels, along with Tamil civilians, into a 1.5 square mile area in northern Sri Lanka along the coast. Conditions are very poor there and the only semi-legitimate reports come from doctors who have been treating the civilian victims. President Mahinda Rajapaksa says the army is expected to break through and eliminate the rebels in the next two days. The Red Cross has suspended relief efforts in the area because it is so dangerous. A Red Cross worker was killed two days ago, CNN.

The White House is expected to announce today that it will restart military tribunals for some of the detainees held captive in the Guantanamo Bay military prison. The administration says the detainees will have access to their lawyers in order to prepare a defense and that the trials will be more in keeping with U.S. due process laws than they were under the Bush administration but critics fear that secret evidence, which will not be available to either the detainees or their lawyers, will be used in the military tribunals, Christian Science Monitor.

Pakistan lifted a curfew in the Swat Valley to encourage civilians to flee the area. The Pakistani military, which is heavily engaged in conflict with Taliban rebels in the northwestern region of Pakistan, are hoping to minimize civilian casualties as fighting intensifies, Voice of America.

Europe’s recession may be reaching its low point. Growth dropped in many countries in Europe, Reuters.

Google issues apology for yesterday’s slow service, BBC News. Website to bookmark: Is it down for everyone or just me?

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Pakistan Steps Up Attacks on Taliban

Pakistan steps up attacks on Taliban militants in the northwestern mountainous region along the border of Afghanistan. The Pakistani government had tried to negotiate with the Taliban, allowing the group to take over areas of the Swat Valley, but has recently stepped up attacks due to international pressure. More than 40,000 have fled the region, BBC News.

Rupert Murdoch, the head of the global conglomerate News Corporation, says News Corp. newspaper websites will begin to charge for content within a year. The company owns the Wall Street Journal which has been successful in using paid content. Murdoch also owns the New York Post, the Sun and the Times of the UK and several Australian papers, CNN.

US government review of 19 troubled banks finds them in good shape according to an op-ed by US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, New York Times.

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South Africa Goes to the Polls

Voting begins in South African elections. The African National Congress (ANC), which has been the majority party for the 15 few years, is expected to be challenged by a new political party, Congress of the People (COPE), which is targeting younger voters. ANC leader Jacob Zuma is expected to win the presidency. BBC News has a live blog of the election. South Africa’s official election site has a list of all parties and candidates.

Sri Lanka says its military has broken into a warzone held by the Tamil Tigers and that people who were trapped inside are streaming out. Media has not been allowed near the disputed zone or allowed to interview civilians, Guardian.

Freddie Mack CFO David Kellermann was found dead in his Fairfax County, Virginia home this morning. Police did not find any evidence of foul play and suspect suicide. Freddie Mac is a company that provides financing for mortgages. The company was taken over by the federal government last year after the sub-prime mortgage crisis spiraled out of control, CNN.

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The U.S. Eases Restrictions on Cuba

For the first time in decades, Americans will be able to make unlimited trips to Cuba and the 1.5 million Americans with family in the communist country will be allowed to send money back to their families. The Obama administration announced the new policies today to try to eliminate some of the dependence of Cubans on the Castro regime, MSNBC.

Two people have been killed in Thai protests. Anti-government protests have been occurring for days now and violence between protesters and police is worsening. Today, protesters set cars on fire, a government building was torched, and Molotov cocktails have been used, Sky News. In pictures: Thai crackdown, BBC News.

A fire in a Polish hostel for homeless people has killed at least 21 people and injured dozens more. Despite the fast response from fire trucks, witnesses say the fire took over the three-story building rapidly. The hostel housed  people who were waiting for housing by the government, and some victims were there to visit family, BBC News.

In good economic news for a change, Goldman Sachs has posted a $1.8 profit for the first quarter of 2009. The company has received $10 billion from the government and vows to pay them back, with the profit being a good step in fulfilling that promise, Wa Po.

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Worldwide Outrage at New Afghan Law Restricting Rights of Shia Women

New legislation, quietly passed last month, will restrict rights for Shia women living in Afghanistan. The legislation, officially called the “Shia Personal Status Law,” puts the legal age of marriage at 16, specifies that husbands have a right to intercourse every four days, and restricts the movement of women outside the home without their husband’s consent. A provision in the Afghan constitution allows Shia’s in Afghanistan, about 15% of the population, to employ Sharia, or family, law which follows religious traditions. The law, which has been approved by Parliament and signed by President Hamid Karzai but has not yet gone into effect, is widely seen as an attempt by Karzai to gain Shia support in the upcoming presidential election, Guardian.

Markets rally on opening of G20 summit in London. Stock markets in Toyko, Hong Kong, London, Paris and New York all posted gains yesterday.

G20 summit issues: Germany and France pushing for increased regulation on tax havens. Final agreement of actions to be taken expected this afternoon, BBC News.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper misses official G20 summit group photo, CBC.

U.S. marshals seize Florida mansion and yacht belonging to convicted Ponzi scheme swindler Bernie Madoff, CNN.

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Protests in London Gear Up Ahead of G20 Summit

G20 protests remain mostly peaceful despite concern that anarchist groups will use the protests as a cover for acts of violence, Wall Street Journal. About 20 protesters vandalized a Royal Bank of Scotland branch, smashing windows and causing damage to the interior. As police try to contain the thousands of protesters gathered outside the Bank of England, minor incidents of violence have occurred. At least 11 have been arrested and many more are being held in police custody, Guardian.

In a joint press conference in London today, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and U.S. President Barack Obama discussed objectives for the G20 summit starting tomorrow in London, Guardian. Guardian Live Feed.

12 dead in Pakistan after an assault from an unmanned U.S. drone missile strike near the Afghanistan border, Fox News.

Venezuela opposition leader, Manuel Rosales, goes into hiding. Rosales is facing corruption charges which he believes are politically motivated. In the 2006 presidential election in Venezuela, Rosales unsuccessfully challenged incumbent president Hugo Chavez. Chavez, a member of the socialist party in Venezuela, is accused by critics of using the country’s legal system for political purposes, Reuters.

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