Archive for the ‘United States’ Category

G7 finance ministers reject protectionist measures

February 14, 2009

Rejecting protectionism, the Group of Seven finance ministers pledged Saturday to work together to support growth and employment and to strengthen the banking system so the world can overcome its worst financial crisis in 50 years.

But the bad news continues. The final statement on their two-day meeting in Rome also predicts a gloomy forecast, with the severe economic downturn continuing through most of 2009.

By COLLEEN BARRY and ARIEL DAVID, Associated Press Writers

The G-7 ministers warned that any protectionist measures to boost national economies would only undermine global prosperity. They also stressed the need to support developing countries to prevent the world’s poorest from being the biggest losers in the downturn.

“The stabilization of the global economy and financial markets remains our highest priority,” the statement said, noting that the world’s seven most industrialized countries have “collectively taken exceptional measures” to address the challenges.

The statement endorses the U.S. and British approach to fixing the banking system by recapitalizing banks. The ministers also said a way must be found to deal with the banks’ toxic assets, however no prescription was laid out.

The meeting marked the international debut of new U.S Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who conferred with Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke as the session began Saturday at the Italian Finance Ministry.

Geithner smiled at cameras, but declined to respond, when asked if any progress was being made.

The G-7 countries urged China to continue allowing its currency to rise in value to even out the world’s massive trade imbalances. But there was no reference to comments Geithner made in Washington that were seen as a strong rebuke of China’s currency policy, which many believe keeps the yuan artificially low to boost exports.

Geithner, who arrived after a week of widespread criticism over the rollout of the administration’s new bank bailout plan, got a boost with Friday’s passage of President Barack Obama‘s $787 billion plan to resuscitate the economy.

But new economic data out Friday in Europe showed the continent’s recession deepening, lending urgency to the ministers’ task.

The ministers from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States, along with their central bankers, are looking for agreement on common approaches to the crisis, with the United States pushing for a bold approach to match its stimulus package.

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What’s China’s Long Term Global Strategy?

January 30, 2009

Since the United States is now discussing an economic “stimulus” of almost $1 Trillion, we  have been trying to figure who benefits most from this deal?  The answer is China, if they decide to underwrite the U.S. loan, and buy the U.S. Treasurys that will fund the stimulus.  Just by doing that, China will get more than $300 Billion in payments of interest from the U.S.

So, why does China like this deal, in addition to the money?  China wants power and the ability to call the shots.  “Buying” the American debt is a lot faster and potentially less expensive than fighting the U.S. with some future Chinese military — which is not culturally in China’s psyche or style anyway…..


“I think the objective of the grand strategy is to squeeze out, very slowly and very gradually, the influence of the United States in East Asia, without war, with economy and culture,” said Chong-pin Lin, Professor at the Graduate Institute of International Affairs and Strategic Studies at Tamkang University in Taiwan at Princeton.

Chong-pin engaged Princeton University students and professors in a lively discussion Nov. 18 that focused on China’s relationship with Taiwan and China’s growing importance in world affairs.

A professor at the Graduate Institute of International Affairs and Strategic Studies at Tamkang University in Taiwan, Chong-pin was brought to Princeton by the East Asian Studies department. His lecture was titled, “More carrot than stick: Beijing’s adjusted Taiwan policy.”

Chong-pin mentioned beauty pageants and high-visibility sporting events as examples of China’s emerging emphasis on culture.

“Now I think it’s generally agreed that Beijing is using economic and cultural influence to establish its international status,” he said. “The idea is to make the rest of the world look to Beijing unconsciously or subconsciously as the future mecca of the world.”

By Megan DeMarco
The Times (Trenton, NJ)

Read about China’s “Grand Strategy” to ease the U.S. out of East Asia:

Economic Stimulus About “Soul of America”

Biggest Beneficiary of U.S. Economic Stimulus?

McCain on Bipartisanship in Stimulus, “This Was Not The Way To Start”

Audacity, Hope and Obama’s Spending Stimulus: Once Discredited Theory Gets A Real Try

China Starts to Set Limits On Its Biggest Borrower: Barack Obama and The U.S.

 Get the Feeling Russia and China Are Slicing Up The World and the U.S. Will Be Left Out?

For Refugees, Recession Makes Hard Times Even Harder

January 30, 2009

After escaping violence in Burma and spending 27 years in the bamboo huts of a United Nations camp in Thailand, Nyaw Paw, 33, arrived in the United States last August to face the traumatic adjustment and cultural vertigo known to every refugee.

The New York Times
But with high rents, lagging federal aid and now a recession that is drying up entry-level work, the transition has become harder than ever, refugee workers say. Overwhelming housing costs are its starkest symptom. Many new arrivals spend 90 percent or more of their income on rent and utilities, leaving them virtually no disposable income and creating enormous hardships.

Ms. Nyaw Paw, who was placed in Salt Lake City with her two sons, ages 6 and 13, has scraped together the $600 rent on their one-bedroom apartment from federal payments that ended in December. Now, her only income is a welfare grant of about $500 a month; a private aid agency fills the gap.

Ms. Nyaw Paw has tried for traditional starter jobs, like motel housekeeping, but no one is hiring here. Her life demands such frugality that she washes the family clothes in the bathtub rather than feeding quarters to the machine down the hall.

“I think about the rent every minute,” Ms. Nyaw Paw said through a translator, “and I don’t know what I’ll do when the aid programs run out.”

Poor refugees — like low-income Americans — can apply for rent subsidies, which require that recipients spend 30 percent of their income on rent, with the federal government picking up the rest. But in Salt Lake City, there is a two-year waiting list, and it is longer in many other cities.

Starting in February, in the first program of its kind, Utah plans to soften the huge and growing burden of housing costs by providing rent subsidies to recently arrived families for up to two years. The money is being drawn from unspent federal welfare reserves. Under the welfare reforms of 1996, states can use the federal grant flexibly for families that already qualify for welfare, mainly single-parent families like Ms. Nyaw Paw’s. For them, such help will make a world of difference.

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Schools Need More Play Time?

January 26, 2009

A study says kids in school need more play time and recess.  NFL Quarterbacks are on TV taking about more gym class.

I sure don’t know what is right.

But I do know that our schools haven’t made Americans of greatness lately and the school system in places like China is rigorous, orderly and full of challenges…. 


From Reuters
All work and no play may be a hazard for some U.S. school children.

Researchers reported on Monday that a growing trend of curbing free time at school may lead to unruly classrooms and rob youngsters of needed exercise and an important chance to socialize.

A look at more than 10,000 children aged 8 and 9 found better classroom behavior among those who had at least a 15-minute break during the school day compared to those who did not, Dr. Romina Barros and colleagues at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York reported.

The behavior assessments were general in nature and not made at any particular time of the school day, their report said.

“The available research suggests that recess may play an important role in the learning, social development, and health of children in elementary school,” the research team said in a study published in Pediatrics, the journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

But today many children get less free time and fewer physical outlets at school “because many school districts responded to the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 by reducing time committed to recess, the creative arts, and even physical education in an effort to focus on reading and mathematics,” they added.

The researchers also found that children not getting recess were more likely to be black, from poor families and attending public schools in large cities.

“This raises concern in light of evidence that many children from disadvantaged backgrounds are not free to roam their neighborhoods or even their own yards unless they are accompanied by adults,” the team said. “For many of these children, recess periods may be the only opportunity for them to practice their social skills with other children.”

 Economic Stimulus? Math, Science, Schools Must Create High Tech Jobs, Not More Shovel Jobs

Bill Cosby: We Need To Educate; Do the Math

U.S. Students Failing International Science Measures

“America becoming the nation of the unemployed” — Schools to Blame?

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Obamelation: Some Israelis Worry, Fear “Messianic Fervor” of “Obama’s Media”

January 25, 2009

It’s good when Americans, especially top American political leaders and the media that follows them, recall reality now and again.  Israel is not the 51st state of the USA; and it is good for Israelis to remember that too….


If not for the fact that the words running along the bottom of the screen during Tuesday evening’s broadcast were in Hebrew, one might have mistaken Channel 10 for an American network.

ByRuthie Blum Leibowitz  
Jerusalem Post

Factoids about previous inaugurations flowed through the “ticker tape,” as though prepping the public for a pop quiz on the  history of our noble nation. The trouble is that, as noble a nation as the United States is (something all local newscasters suddenly discovered, as soon as it became clear that a Democrat would be occupying the Oval Office), it is nevertheless not ours. No matter how crucial its moves on the world stage are to Israel’s survival and well-being, the US is a foreign country. And it would have been treated as such by the local media had John McCain won the election on November 4.
Indeed, the local media’s anxious awaiting of the arrival of the Great Black Hope on the proverbial white donkey has been so unbridled that they could be as appropriate as their American counterparts for parody in an apt cartoon by Dana Summers in the Orlando Sentinel. In it, a group of screaming fans flinging panties at Barack Obama is reproached by a policeman. “Stop throwing your underwear at him, and make way for the media,” he scolds.

A woman responds by flashing her press card at him. “We are the media,” she says.

President Barack Obama, accompanied by Vice President, and retired military
AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite

The messianic fervor surrounding the meteoric rise of the charismatic candidate, who virtually swiped a seemingly surefire victory in the Democratic primaries from Hillary Clinton – as if out from under her – is the stuff for psychoanalysts and future historians to sift through and sort out.

That most of the American media made this possible on the one hand, and were as affected by it as the voters on the other, is not the least bit surprising. Even revolutionaries must grow weary of lugging around all those heavy protest banners. And even leftists long for leaders they can love. To them, Hillary would have certainly been better than any – gasp! – Republican. She, at least, could have assuaged the anger felt by all those females whose fear of chipping a nail makes it difficult for them to break through the glass ceiling they claim is preventing their promotions.

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Iran Short On Uranium?

January 24, 2009

Western powers believe that Iran is running short of the raw material required to manufacture nuclear weapons, triggering an international race to prevent it from importing more, The Times has learnt.

Diplomatic sources believe that Iran’s stockpile of yellow cake uranium, produced from uranium ore, is close to running out and could be exhausted within months. Countries including Britain, the US, France and Germany have started intensive diplomatic efforts to dissuade major uranium producers from selling to Iran.

Before Christmas, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office sent out a confidential request for its diplomats in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Brazil, all major uranium producers, to lobby governments not to sell uranium products, specifically yellow cake, to Iran.

Iran’s stock of yellow cake, acquired from South Africa in the 1970s under the Shah’s original civil nuclear power programme, has almost run out. Iran is developing its own uranium mines, but does not have enough ore to support a sustained nuclear programme.

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Western powers believe that Iran’s supply of yellow cake uranium, the material required to manufacture nuclear weapons, could run out within months, the Times of London reported on Saturday.

The British newspaper reported that countries including Britain, the United States, France and Germany have all launched intensive diplomatic efforts to dissuade major uranium producers from selling to Iran.

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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks at a news conference ... 
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad speaks at a news conference in Tehran January 15, 2009.REUTERS/Caren Firouz

Obama Talks of ‘New Approach’ to Iran

January 12, 2009

President-elect Barack Obama addressed some of the most delicate foreign policy issues over the weekend, confirming that he intended to pursue a clear policy of engagement with Iran and to press immediately for peace in the Middle East.

The New York Times

Speaking on the ABC News program “This Week,” Mr. Obama reiterated that he wanted to work directly with Iran — a country whose president has called for Israel’s destruction — to improve relations and halt a nuclear program that Tehran describes as peaceful, but that the West believes is not.

“We are going to have to take a new approach,” he told the program’s host, George Stephanopoulos. “My belief is that engagement is the place to start.”

Mr. Obama said he wanted to adopt “a new emphasis on respect and a new willingness on being willing to talk” to the Iranians, while making it clear “that we also have certain expectations.”

The remarks suggested a clear departure from the often pointed and deprecatory speech that has prevailed between Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and President Bush.

Last year, President Bush deflected a secret request by Israel for specialized bombs it wanted for an attack on Iran’s main nuclear complex, The New York Times reported on Sunday. Quoting senior American and foreign officials, the article said that the president told the Israelis that he had authorized new covert action intended to sabotage Iran’s suspected effort to develop nuclear weapons.

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Gaza campaign exposes Middle East policy vacuum

January 3, 2009

Israel’s week-old offensive in the Gaza Strip is a violent sequel to a drive led by the United States, with much European and Arab support, to punish Hamas for resisting a largely discredited Middle East “peace process.”

The campaign is unlikely to eradicate Hamas or make it any easier for the next U.S. president, Barack Obama, to break the cycle of conflict and rescue swiftly receding prospects for a solution based on creating a Palestinian state alongside Israel.

By Alistair Lyon, Special Correspondent

Israel is consolidating its grip on the West Bank, while keeping Gazans bottled up. Splits between Palestinian factions have made sporadic U.S.-sponsored talks between the Israelis and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas notional at best.

Outgoing President George W. Bush had set a goal of reaching a peace deal by the end of 2008 after belatedly relaunching Israeli-Palestinian negotiations at Annapolis in November 2007.

Faced instead with a new spasm of violence, the White House has effectively encouraged the Israelis to pursue what they portray as an attempt to quell rocket attacks on their civilians and “change the reality” in Hamas-controlled Gaza.

The European Union, lacking the energy and unity to act in the diplomatic vacuum left by Washington, has merely appealed for a ceasefire — and promised a bit more humanitarian relief to the 1.5 million people locked into the coastal strip by a punitive Israeli blockade and a sealed Egyptian border.

The Arab League, caught between public dismay at the Gaza bloodshed and the hostility of many member states to Hamas and other Islamist groups allied to Iran, has agreed only to ask the U.N. Security Council to compel Israel to halt its onslaught.

But the council is toothless without the United States and other veto powers in accord. It has yet to adopt a resolution.

 Gaza, Israel Could Highlight Stark Obama, Bush Differences

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Iran Diplomat Says Gaza Violence is US Plot Against Islamic World

December 29, 2008

Iran’s Ambassador to Azerbaijan Republic Nasser Hamidi-Zare said Monday that Gaza tragedy is a sequel to the US plots in the Middle East.

Speaking to IRNA Monday, he added that Islamic Ummah should be vigilant about overt and covert plots of the US and the Zionist regime which have taken aim at Islamic world, and support Palestinians by maintaining their union.

Stating that the Zionist regime was founded on terror and it will continue its life with terror acts, he noted that the regime is a big threat to the region’s security and world, Islamic Ummah in particular.

Referring to the recent crimes in Gaza, Hamidi went on to say that today, all the Muslims and freedom-seekers shoulder the responsibility to condemn Zionist regime’s crimes in Gaza and sympathize with the Palestinians.


 Iran Behind Hamas, Hezbollah, Key Israelis, Others Say

Russian Professor Predicts Fall of U.S. in 2010

December 29, 2008

For a decade, Russian academic Igor Panarin has been predicting the U.S. will fall apart in 2010. Now he’s found an eager audience: Russian state media, who are interviewing him twice a day.

A polite and cheerful man with a buzz cut, Professor Panarin insists he does not dislike Americans. But he warns that the outlook for them is dire.

[Prof. Panarin]

Igor Panarin

“There’s a 55-45 percent chance right now that disintegration will occur,” says Panarin. “One could rejoice in that process,” he adds, poker-faced. “But if we’re talking reasonably, it’s not the best scenario — for Russia.”

Prof. Panarin, 50 years old, is not a fringe figure. A former KGB analyst, he is dean of the Russian Foreign Ministry’s academy for future diplomats. He is invited to Kremlin receptions, lectures students, publishes books, and appears in the media as an expert on U.S.-Russia relations.

Mr. Panarin posits, in brief, that mass immigration, economic decline, and moral degradation will trigger a civil war next fall and the collapse of the dollar. Around the end of June 2010, or early July, he says, the U.S. will break into six pieces — with Alaska reverting to Russian control.

Read the rest from The Wall Street Journal: