Home > News > News in Brief: 29 April 2009

News in Brief: 29 April 2009

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A brief list of news clips for the day:

Union poised to own 55% of Chrysler. The United Auto Workers’ union will own 55 per cent of Chrysler and Italy’s Fiat will eventually own 35 per cent of the carmaker after a balance sheet restructuring, with remaining stock split between Chrysler’s secured lenders and the US federal government, according to a UAW document sent to members on Tuesday. (FT)

Rethinking the Lessons for the US and the World of Japan’s 1990s Economic Collapse: Finance Capital and the State. After the Japanese bubble ended in the early 1990s, discussion of the country almost disappeared into the shadows cast by China’s rise and the resurgence of the American economy. But with the bursting of the US housing bubble and the implosion of American finance, Japan has again become an object of attention. Not so much because of what Japan is or is not doing today (although the scary numbers coming out of Tokyo are, to be sure, being noted worldwide) but because of the eerie similarities between what seems to have happened in Japan 19 years ago and what is going on now in the United States. (Japan Focus)

Palestinian Rivals to Try Once More for an Accord. The rival Palestinian groups Fatah and Hamas ended a fourth round of reconciliation talks here on Tuesday without success, but agreed to convene one more time to try to reach an accord. Egypt, which has been mediating the talks, set May 15 as the new deadline for reaching an agreement, according to Moussa Abu Marzouk, a senior Hamas leader based in Damascus who participated in the meetings. (New York Times)

US military admits mistake over Kut incident. The US Military issued a statement over Kut incident expressing its deep sorrow for killing two civilians of an Iraqi officer family in Kut on Monday at dawn… he official clarified that the US report asserted that US military targeted upon secret intelligence an Iranian suspect thought to be funding militias. US Forces have arrested six people including four brothers and sent them to Baghdad in helicopters for investigation. However, they released them on Sunday as it turned out they were not the targeted suspects. (Alsumaria)

IRAQ: Death knell for agriculture? Water shortages, high levels of salinity, and desertification appear to have badly affected agricultural production this last winter, according to officials from the Iraqi agriculture and water resources ministries. (IRIN)

Iraqi government says it captured al Qaida leader. The Iraqi government said Tuesday that it’s certain that its forces captured Abu Omar al Baghdadi, the head of al Qaida in Iraq and one of the highest profile terror suspects in the country. (McClatchy)

US move for emergency Pakistan aid package. US lawmakers — both in the Senate and the House of Representatives — said on Tuesday that they would support the Obama administration’s move to seek $200-400 million in emergency aid for Pakistan. (Dawn)

Pakistan Claims to Retake Town From Taliban. After a week of strong criticism here and abroad over its inaction, the Pakistani military claimed on Wednesday to have reasserted control of a key town just 60 miles from the capital in the strategic district of Buner which was overrun by hundreds of Taliban militants last week. (New York Times)

Russia Launches Purge Of Army Officers. Fifty senior Russian officers have been declared unfit for their posts and will be discharged from the Russian Army, RFE/RL’s Russian Service reported. Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov initiated a campaign this month to assess qualifications for service among the country’s top brass. (RFE/RL)

Russia Nuclear Arms Talks With U.S. In Mid-May. A successor treaty to the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START-1), which expires in December, is seen by both sides as a way to show that the former Cold War foes can work together despite a range of differences on other issues. (RFE/RL)

Kazakhstan Expands Its Uranium Industry. A new uranium mine has opened near Kyzylorda. When fully functional, it is expected to supply about 750 tons of uranium per year to China’s nascent nuclear power industry. (Registan)

Putin Strikes South Stream Deal With Sofia. Russia and Bulgaria bridged their differences over the planned South Stream pipeline after two days of intensive high-level diplomacy, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his Bulgarian counterpart Sergei Stanishev said Tuesday. (Moscow Times)

A helping Chinese hand. China’s US$25 billion aid and credit package for the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations is part of its strategy to strengthen already booming economic ties with the region through soft power. By wooing developing nations such as Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia with strings-free aid, China can also secure valuable infrastructure and natural resource deals – and usurp American influence in the region. (Asia Times)

China deal helps out Kazakhs. The Kazakhstan government has been spending heavily to brake a reverse in economic fortunes as oil prices have tumbled. A US$10 billion deal to hand over the country’s fourth-biggest oil company to China National Petroleum Corporation will ease the strain. As will a $5 billion loan, also from neighbor China. (Asia Times)

US sets the pace in race for cyber weapons. An international race has begun to develop cyber weapons and systems for attack and defence… Thousands of daily attacks on federal and private computer systems in the United States have prompted the Obama Administration to review US strategy. President Barack Obama is expected to propose in coming days an expansion of the $US17 billion, five-year program that Congress approved last year, the appointment of a White House official to co-ordinate the effort, and an end to bureaucratic conflict over cyber turf. (The Age)

Pentagon: Talks with Kyrgyzstan over Manas air base make progress. The United States has made progress in talks with Kyrgyzstan on retaining the Manas air base as a key logistic center for U.S.-led operations in Afghanistan, the Pentagon said on Tuesday. (Xinhua)

US Congress Moves to Tighten Sanctions on Iran. The U.S. Congress took steps on Tuesday to tighten sanctions against Iran in what many lawmakers call an effort to provide President Barack Obama the authority he needs to increase pressure on Tehran over its nuclear program. One week after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told Congress that the Obama administration will work with lawmakers to impose “crippling” sanctions against Iran, Senate lawmakers introduced legislation designed to help accomplish just that. (Voice of America)

North Korea Says It Will Start Second Nuclear Project. North Korea said on Wednesday that it will start an uranium-enrichment program, declaring for the first time that it intends to pursue a second project in addition to facilities that have provided it with plutonium for weapons. (New York Times)

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