Thursday, December 25, 2008

German President Horst Koehler Backs Finance Reforms

Berlin has been pushing for reforms which would require regulators in every nation to crack down on risky investment schemes.

Koehler, who is a former managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), said the worldwide financial and economic crisis could be overcome, but "we'll have to work hard at it."

Xmas speech excerpts

"An incredible amount of money has been lost. Many people are worried about their savings. Many worry whether their jobs are safe.”

"Our country, our citizens and our government responded wisely and with level heads."

"It's an opportunity for greater cooperation among nations, an opportunity for a better economic and financial order, where capital serves everybody and nobody has to feel oppressed by it.” Dec 24, 2008 - Deutsche Welle


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Sarkozy warned of industrial wasteland in Europe

French President Nicolas Sarkozy warned (Dec 16) that the European Union could turn into an industrial wasteland without government help for manufacturers hit hard by the global financial crisis.

"We cannot be the only continent in the world that does not support its builders and manu
facturers. We have to help our industrial infrastructure," Sarkozy told the European Parliament assembly. "Otherwise we are going to see an industrial wasteland."

European car makers deserve help, he said, especially if the United States gives subsidies to its struggling auto sector. France should consider a loan programme helping consumers buy environment-friendly new vehicles, he said. ... By Huw Jones, Reuters UK


Sunday, December 14, 2008

Climate Change Curb & Economic Stimulus Plan

European leaders adopted what they described as a historic pact to combat global warming, Dec 12, and challenged President-elect Barack Obama to join in their commitment to drastically reduce greenhouse gases despite the global economic crisis.

The 27
European Union nations also endorsed a €200 ($260) billion economic stimulus plan, equivalent to 1.5 percent of the bloc's gross domestic product, and urged the incoming Obama administration to prepare similarly ambitious measures and financial reforms for coordinated action at a summit of the world's 20 major economic powers scheduled for April 2 in London.

The appeals, at a two-day E.U. summit in Brussels, reflected widespread expectations among European leaders that Obama and his team will be easier to work with than the Bush administration and that, to a large extent, the president-elect shares their assessment of the need for bold steps to slow global warming and to revive economies that have been sapped by financial turmoil… By Edward Cody, Washington Post

Friday, December 5, 2008

Carmakers' bailout pleas hit Senate scepticism

Desperate U.S. automakers ran into fresh obstacles from sceptical lawmakers, December 4, as they appealed with rising urgency - and a new dose of humility - for a $34 billion bailout. Without help, said one senator, "we're looking at a death sentence."

With lawmakers in both parties pressing the automakers to consider a pre-negotiated bankruptcy - something they have consistently shunned - the Big Three were contemplating a government-run restructuring that could yield results similar to bankruptcy, including massive downsizing, in return for the bailout billions. But there was no assurance they could get even that.

And that wasn't all the unwelcome news. Congressional officials said one leading proposal - to tap an already approved fund set aside for making cars environmentally efficient - wouldn't give the carmakers nearly as much money as they say they need.

The auto executives pleaded with lawmakers at a contentious Capitol Hill hearing - their second round in less than a month - for emergency aid before year's end. But with time running out on the current Congress, skepticism about the bailout appeared to be as strong as ever… By Julie Hirschfeld Davis,
Associated Press

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Barrack Obama’s New National Security Team

Appearing at a Chicago press conference with secretary of State nominee Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and five others whom he plans to put on his team, Obama announced yesterday his administration would restore U.S. standing in the world through alliance-building and international institutions, as well as by maintaining American military might. […]

Obama said he would nominate Susan E. Rice, a former State Department official, to the U.N. post. The national security team will also include Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, who will continue in his position; retired Marine Gen. James L. Jones Jr., the new national security advisor; Gov. Janet Napolitano of Arizona, the nominee for secretary of Homeland Security; and former deputy attorney general Eric H. Holder Jr., the nominee for attorney general... Los Angeles Times