Photo courtesy of the Wall Street Journal.
On this Tuesday, March 24, 2009, the DOW closed down 125 points, the NASDAQ down 40, and the S&P down 10.
Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke were grilled before the House Financial Services Committee this morning over the continuing brouhaha surrounding AIG. Both suggested that the government needed regulatory authority to unwind the the wide scope of like financial institutions through protectorship and conservatorship, and the ability to protect policy holders.
In other economic news, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood is proposing a plan for Mexican trucks to traverse U.S. freeways in order to rescind tariffs on $2.4 billion of U.S. projects that resulted from a part of the omnibus spending bill that came into conflict with the NAFTA treaty.
In the highest profile trial since the murder of Richard Speck, accused sleeper agent Ali Saleh Kahlah al-Marri was in a Peoria, Illinois court today to plead not guilty to providing financial aid to al-Qaeda. al-Marri has been held in a Navy brig in Charleston, South Carolina before the Obama administration transferred him to a civilian court. al-Marri allegedly met with Osama bin-Laden, and arrived in the United States on September 10, 2001 to plan followup attacks after 9/11.
In Israel, Labor Party leader Ehud Barak is moving closer to a coalition deal with Prime Minister-designate Benjamin Netanyahu to become part of the Likud lead coalition government. According to Barak, the strategy is to prevent Netanyahu from forming a narrow right-wing government: “We will act as an opposing force that will prevent the creation of a narrow right-wing government, but rather a proper government that cares for the state of Israel.”
In Iraq, Turkish President Abdullah Gul visited Iraq yesterday, marking the first time a Turkish head of state has visited the fledgling nation in 30 years, and a sign that Iraq is becoming normalized in the international community. The country, however, still is plagued with the some residual insurgent violence with a commitment to de-legitimatize democratic governance, as a suicide bomber killed 25 and wounded 44 in the Kurdish northeast Diyala province.
In Afghanistan, al-Qaeda top leader Maulawi Hassan was killed by NATO forces in the southern Helman province. Such military efforts come on the heels of an Obama administration decision to surge civilian foreign service assignments to assist on political and reconstruction efforts. The administration also plans to send more than $1.5 billion in civilian aid to Pakistan in hope they can influence the military to cooperate in the fight against al-Qaeda strongholds in the Afpak border region.
Russian Prime Minister Vladamir is bitter about a $3.4 billion dollar gas deal reached between the E.U. and the Ukraine in Brussels, claiming that it excludes Russia from a deal of which it would be the main supplier. Russia supplies 80% of all gas through Ukrainian pipelines.
In Hungary, home of one of Central Europe’s worst hit countries by the global economic crisis, Premier Ferenc Gyurcsány has decided to step down stressing that he “was unable to address the pending structural issues of the budget.”
In France, concerns over the effects of nuclear testing has prompted the government to compensate victims affected in the South Pacific and the Sahara. Ending in 1996, tests have allegedly inflicted a portion of the 150,000 military and civilian staff at the testing sites.
China has proposed a new currency to replace the dollar as the new international standard, a move that signifies their dissatisfaction with America’s role in the global economy. The move comes on the heels of the G-20 summit, but is expected to encounter enormous hurdles as central banks around the world hold more U.S. dollars than any other foreign denomination.
The South African Peace Conference has been put on hold after the Dalai Lama’s visa requests have been rejected by the South African government. Authorities tell news sources that they don’t want the Tibet issues to overshadow the 2010 World Cup, but Chinese Embassy officials told local newspapers that they asked their host country refuse the visa. South African trade with China compromises 20% of total trade.
In Peru, former President Alberto Fujimori’s human rights trial is near its end. He is accused of state-sponsored killing and kidnapping. If convicted he could face up to 30 years in prison.