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U.S. mortgage crisis spreads past subprime loans As U.S. home prices fall and banks tighten lending standards, people with good, or prime, credit histories are falling behind on their payments for home loans, auto loans and credit cards at a quickening pace, according to industry data and economists (New York Times)
SANDY BERGER MARC GROSSMAN UPDATE: FBI denies file exposing nuclear secrets theft THE FBI has been accused of covering up a key case file detailing evidence against corrupt government officials and their dealings with a network stealing nuclear secrets.
The assertion follows allegations made in The Sunday Times two weeks ago by Sibel Edmonds, an FBI whistleblower, who worked on the agency's investigation of the network.
Edmonds, a 37-year-old former Turkish language translator, listened into hundreds of sensitive intercepted conversations while based at the agency's Washington field office.
She says the FBI was investigating a Turkish and Israeli-run network that paid high-ranking American officials to steal nuclear weapons secrets. These were then sold on the international black market to countries such as Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. (The Sunday Times)
Rate of Home Foreclosures Hits Record The rate of home loans in foreclosure rose to a record level in the second quarter of 2007 as more homeowners in California, Florida and other states could not refinance their adjustable-rate mortgages (Reuters)
Dangers Of MMR Jab 'Covered Up' According to a secret dossier, five cases were reported of potentially deadly brain inflammation following the use of MMR in Canada before it became part of standard childhood vaccinations in Britain (UK Daily Express)
GM Salmon Muscle In on Wild Fish When Food Is Scarce The advance of genetically modified crops and farm animals has opened up fears of ecological disaster if the engineered, or transgenic, organisms were to escape the confines of the farm. Assessing the environmental risk posed by transgenic populations requires an understanding of how they would compete with their wild counterparts under such circumstances. To that end, new laboratory research has found that wild salmon tend to experience reduced growth in the company of salmon engineered to attain a large body size. The presence of transgenic fish also increases the likelihood of population collapse when food is in short supply.
The study, published online today by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, involved growth hormone (GH) transgenic coho salmon, which have greater appetites and can grow up to seven times bigger than wild cohos. (Scientific American)
World gets together for peace Several million demonstrators took to the streets of Europe and the rest of the world on Saturday in a vast wave of protest against the prospect of a US-led war against Iraq (Indian Express)
Con Ed and Insurers Sue Port Authority Over 7 World Trade Consolidated Edison and five of its insurers have filed a $314.5 million lawsuit against the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, asserting that huge diesel tanks in 7 World Trade Center, an office building that collapsed late in the day last Sept. 11, were improperly designed and maintained (New York Times)
Told to Trim Costs, New York Libraries Reduce Their Hours Most public libraries in Manhattan, Staten Island and the Bronx, including the majestic central library at West 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, will be cutting back to a five-day week over the coming months in response to recent citywide budget cuts, library officials said yesterday (New York Times)
House to Question Executives of WorldCom The House Financial Services Committee is expected to hear testimony on Monday from several executives, accountants and analysts involved in WorldCom's disclosure last month that it improperly disguised more than $3.8 billion of expenses as profits. (New York Times)
Parties Jousting Over Wrongdoing By U.S. Businesses But with the political pressure mounting, Mr. Bush has been considering a variety of options, including stepping up enforcement actions by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the Justice Department and making it easier to jail executives for corporate fraud (New York Times)
Former Tyco Chief Faces New Charges L. Dennis Kozlowski, the former chairman and chief executive of Tyco International, was indicted yesterday on two new charges of tampering with evidence in the case that accuses him of evading more than $1 million of sales taxes on six paintings that he bought last fall (New York Times)
Two Stations, One Tabloid, One Owner Federal regulators yesterday approved the News Corporation's acquisition of Chris-Craft Industries, paving the way for the company to gain unprecedented control over two of the main broadcast television stations in the New York market (New York Times)
F.C.C. to Waive Rules for Acquisition by Murdoch The Federal Communications Commission has decided to approve the News Corporation 's purchase of Chris-Craft Industries and waive rules that would have forced the combined company to sell either The New York Post, WNYW-TV or WWOR-TV, according to senior government officials (New York Times)
Reinventing Collectivism: The New Social Democracy On every front, collectivism is in retreat. With the fall of the Berlin Wall, the idea of state socialism is dead. For many people, the triumph of the market economy has legitimised the ideals of economic self-interest. Throughout the Western world, the traditional role of government is under question: the large, centralised bureaucracies of the welfare state appear to be out-of-step with an increasingly self-reliant electorate. The public’s faith in the public sector is at an all-time low.
So too, we have entered an era of political disengagement. The hierarchies of organised politics have generated enormous public distrust and dissatisfaction. Indeed, it is difficult to think of a government policy that still fosters a strong sense of collective interest and collective responsibility. We are losing the battle for public mutuality.
Not surprisingly, the foundations of community life are also weak. Society is experiencing exclusion at the top as well as the bottom. The trend towards walled housing estates and gated communities erodes social capital, no less than the exclusion of poor neighbourhoods. There is a thing called society but unhappily, we are losing it.
This is the crisis of Left-of-Centre politics: the widespread decline in collective institutions and collective ideals. Unless this crisis is addressed, our hopes for social democracy will hollow out. We will become a cause for power, rather than a cause for a good society. While from time to time we will still win elections, we will not know what to do with our electoral success. - One of the characteristics of Information Age politics is a growing sense of self-reliance. With the spread of mass information and education, the public wants to make more of its own judgements, to take greater control of the decision making process. Across society, institutions that tell people what to do are losing support. This is true of all forms of hierarchy, whether expressed through government agencies, political parties, trade unions or churches. We have entered an era of institutional rebellion.
Left-wing politics is the most prominent victim of this process. Each of our major institutions is in crisis. Trade union membership in Australia , for instance, has fallen to below 25 per cent of the workforce. The union movement has been crippled by an organisational contradiction: while economic activity has become more decentralised, it has gone down the path of amalgamations and centralised super-unions. This is one of the most ill-advised strategies in the history of Australian labour.
Likewise, the old politics of statism is in decline. Contrary to the promise of the welfare state, there is not a government program for every social problem. Indeed, it is difficult to find a section of society that remains enthusiastic about the work of government. At one level, these shortcomings are entirely predictable. The state has adopted the organisational principles of the Industrial Age: hierarchies, mass production and standardisation. It is out of step with the demands of an increasingly diverse and self-reliant electorate. (University of New South Wales)
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