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May 19, 2011 News: Monthly Round-up of What's new on The FT:com

Dominique Strauss-Kahn
Dominique Strauss-Kahn, managing director of the IMF, has been arrested in New York following allegations of sexual assault.

Clive Crook: Fixing America's immigration mess
The FT's chief Washington commentator, Clive was formerly deputy editor of The Economist, and before that their Washington correspondent.

Latest FT Special Reports
The FT produces approximately 25 forensic reports a month. Here's a selection published on this month:

The world's best cities to live in
'Liveable vs loveable' - the best and worst world cities to live in, this prompted a fiery online debate.
Find out where they are

Dollar under pressure
The sharp fall in the US dollar is giving ammunition to Obama administration critics and fuelling broader concerns about the erosion of US reserve currency status.
Read the article

We will rue our failure to govern the social networks
With prices the of LinkedIn and Renren pitched at fancy multiples of revenue with no dividends payable for the foreseeable future, we are back to the heady days of the 1990s dotcom boom.
Find out more

Most Popular
French suspect smear campaign lies behind NY arrest
Android smartphones face data breach threat
Dollar in graver danger than the euro
Iran sets stage for tense Opec meeting
Oil rallies as US refineries crank up operating rates

In depth on
After bin Laden
Insider trading scandal
US budget
Middle East protests

Take our markets data survey and win $350
We would like to get your views on the Markets Data section. Take our short survey and you will be entered into a free prize draw to win $350.
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Chronicles of a Spa Junkie
Our undercover columnist pays her way at the world's top wellness destinations, and reports her experiences - without fear or favour.
Read her latest

The Washington Post | Post Politics Afternoon Edition: Obama Backs Israel Plan With Pre- 1967 Edition.

The Washington Post
Politics Afternoon Edition


  1. Obama backs Israel plan with pre-1967 border

    Speaking at the State Department, Obama made his first broad attempt to place the Middle East's wave of popular uprisings in the context of American interests and values.
    » Read full article
  2. GOP blocks Obama court pick Liu

    The vote to approve Goodwin Liu, Obama's appellate court nominee, fell eight short, setting a new precedent.
    » Read full article
  3. Pelosi: 'We have a plan. It's called Medicare.'

    House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) says she will not support any Medicare benefit cuts.
    » Read full article
  4. The Fix: Will 2012 be another wave election?

    New data from Gallup affirms the sense that voters are restless and that incumbents need to watch their collective backs.
    » Read full article
  5. Fact Checker: Does Newt still believe the GOP's Medicare plan is 'radical'?

    Gingrich says he's sorry for calling the Paul Ryan's Medicare plan “radical.” But, judging by his words, he still believes that.
    » Read full article


Sign up for daily e-mail updates on the federal budget showdown


President Obama discussing the Middle East at the State Deparment:
"Precisely because of our friendship, it is important that we tell the truth: the status quo is unsustainable, and Israel must act boldly to advance a lasting peace. The dream of a Jewish and democratic state cannot be fulfilled with permanent occupation."


gm2525, on Scott Wilson's "Obama: 'The status quo is not sustainable' " story:
Obama's speech sounds good on paper, but there seemed to be a few gaps. There was no mention of Saudi Arabia, whose repressive regime and its close alliance to the U.S. led to the birth of al-Qaeda. It will be interesting to hear their reaction.


Photo of President Obama speaking at the State Deparment on Thursday
Video: Obama calls for Israeli-Palestinian negotiations based on 1967 borders
Chiding both the Palestinians and Israelis for contributing to what he called an 'unsustainable' status quo, PResident Obama argues that the basis for new peace talks is clear: 'a viable Palestine, and a secure Israel.'

MarketWatch | Personal Finance Daily: 5 money moves a China basher is making now

Personal Finance Daily
MAY 19, 2011

You can survive a Social Security benefit cut

By MarketWatch

Don't miss these top stories:

Will Congress slash your Social Security benefit before you retire? Perhaps the better question might be: Will you even notice?

In all likelihood, lawmakers will shore up the system by making small trims to the future benefits of people who are a long way from retirement. Congress did that in 1983, when everyone born in 1938 or later saw their "full retirement age" increase. In other words, their benefits were cut.

For instance, when I was born, my "full retirement age" — the age at which I'm eligible for full benefits — was 65. That 1983 law changed it to age 67. I can't say that change has made a huge difference in my life.

With more people living longer, postponing benefits until age 70, even, makes sense to me — with the important caveat that disability benefits are available for people who are unable to work until that age.

And that's exactly the scenario some financial advisers suggest people should plan for. Read Robert Powell's story today for more on how to prepare for changes to Social Security and Medicare, and don't miss all our real-estate news, including a look at the latest foreclosure data, which represent perhaps the only good housing news of late. Sort of.

Andrea Coombes , Personal Finance editor

Get ready for Social Security, Medicare meltdowns

Given that Medicare is expected to be exhausted in 2024 and Social Security's reserves will be exhausted in 2036, what should current and future Social Security beneficiaries do to maximize or protect their benefits?
Read more: Get ready for Social Security, Medicare meltdowns.


Foreclosure data improve as mortgage market mends

Fewer mortgages were in foreclosure or delinquent in the first quarter, according to data released by the Mortgage Bankers Association on Thursday.
Read more: Foreclosure data improve as mortgage market mends.

Mortgage rates drop for fifth straight week

Mortgage rates continue their march downward, with the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaging 4.61% — its lowest average this year, according to Freddie Mac's weekly survey of conforming mortgage rates.
Read more: Mortgage rates drop for fifth straight week.

Mortgage-loan forms to get overhaul

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is testing a new application form to make it easier for home buyers to shop for a mortgage, and wants you to comment on it.
Read more: Mortgage-loan forms to get overhaul.

For foreign buyers, fire sale in U.S. real estate

The weaker dollar and falling prices are making U.S. real estate very attractive to foreigners, writes Kathleen Madigan.
Read more: For foreign buyers, fire sale in U.S. real estate.

Existing-home sales drop unexpectedly in April

A decline in sales of existing homes and condos comes as a surprise to economists, offering yet another sign of distress in the housing market.
Read more: Existing-home sales drop unexpectedly in April.


3 budget woes bigger than the debt ceiling

Forget about the debt ceiling: Here are three very real problems all investors and taxpayers should be worried about.
Read more: 3 budget woes bigger than the debt ceiling.

Leading indicators fall for first time since June

The pace of economic growth may be "choppy" in the summer and fall, the Conference Board says, as it reports that its leading economic index fell 0.3% in April, the first monthly decline since June.
Read more: Leading indicators fall for first time since June.

Weekly U.S. jobless claims drop to 409,000

Fewer Americans apply for unemployment benefits, but initial claims are still running above levels normally associated with strong hiring trends.
Read more: Weekly U.S. jobless claims drop to 409,000.

Not much interest in Obama's small-bank fund

Seven months after a $30 billion Obama administration fund to encourage community banks to lend to small businesses became law, no money has gone out and only about 20% of eligible firms have applied for funding, a top lawmaker says
Read more: Not much interest in Obama's small-bank fund.


5 money moves one China basher is making now

Wall Street veteran Richard Bernstein sees trouble for emerging markets, commodities and gold, particularly China.
Read more: 5 money moves one China basher is making now.

Sex scandals as investor lessons

Strauss-Kahn, Schwarzenegger falls from grace teach valuable lessons about power and corruption, but also hero worship — a major issue for investors.
Read more: Sex scandals as investor lessons.

How to cash in on LinkedIn

Cash in while you can. Or pick some goofy name out of a hat. But make sure to get out in time.
Read more: How to cash in on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn shares soar in IPO

Shares of LinkedIn jump more than 90% as they begin trading on the New York Stock Exchange in a strong sign of heightened investor interest in social-networking companies, with Facebook and Groupon likely looking on with heightened interest.
Read more: LinkedIn shares soar in IPO.

LinkedIn IPO doesn't mean it's 1999 again

The stock market is nowhere near as overheated today as it was in the latter stages of the Internet bubble in 1999 and early 2000 — notwithstanding LinkedIn's highly successful IPO.
Read more: LinkedIn IPO doesn't mean it's 1999 again.

Were you LinkedIn or left out?

Debating the future of these market babies may be a lot of fun, but here's the truth: Only time will tell. There are no sure bets when it comes to IPOs. Never has been. Never will be.
Read more: Were you LinkedIn or left out?

Top-performing bull edging for exit

A disciplined top-performing bull edges for the exit, but based on a pretty subtle reading of his system, reports Peter Brimelow.
Read more: Top-performing bull edging for exit.

Groupon halo boosts Chicago tech start-ups

Groupon's fast growth and rumored big valuation is having a halo effect on Chicago, not normally known as a tech hotbed, where things are changing.
Read more: Groupon halo boosts Chicago tech start-ups.

Financial & Forex Info | Reuters - Daily Investor Update: Wall Street Ends Up, But Hits Resistace

Wall Street ends up, but hits resistance
NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks closed higher on Thursday but ran into a technical resistance level that is likely to limit a further rise in the near-term. | Full Article

Data suggests second-quarter GDP may disappoint
May 19, 2011 02:01 PM ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Weak data on U.S. home sales and factory activity on Thursday showed the economy stuck in a slow-growth gear, although a drop in claims for jobless aid offered hope the labor market's recovery was on track. | Full Article
LinkedIn share price more than doubles in NYSE debut
May 19, 2011 04:34 PM ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) - LinkedIn Corp's shares more than doubled in their public trading debut on Thursday, evoking memories of the investor love affair with Internet stocks during the dot-com boom of the late 1990s. | Full Article
JD Power says May auto sales "dismal'
May 19, 2011 04:36 PM ET
DETROIT (Reuters) - U.S. May auto sales are off to a "dismal start" as lower sales incentives, thinner inventories and high gasoline prices are curbing consumer purchases, J.D. Power and Associates said on Thursday. | Full Article
Glencore's record IPO makes muted debut
May 19, 2011 12:36 PM ET
LONDON (Reuters) - Commodities trader Glencore made a lukewarm market debut on Thursday that handed it currency for future acquisitions, with its shares struggling to break much above its widely expected launch price of 530 pence. | Full Article
Obama presents Mideast peace vision to Arab world
May 19, 2011 04:11 PM ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Thursday threw his weight behind the tumultuous drive for democratic change in the Arab world and presented his most detailed vision yet on the path to elusive Israeli-Palestinian peace. | Full Article
Strauss-Kahn granted $1 million bail
May 19, 2011 04:32 PM ET
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Dominique Strauss-Kahn was granted bail by a New York judge on Thursday, and the former IMF chief has vowed to fight charges that he tried to rape a hotel maid in Manhattan. | Full Article
Special report: The two faces of DSK
May 19, 2011 03:06 PM ET
PARIS (Reuters) - They could be different men. To his colleagues in the world of global public finance, Dominique Strauss-Kahn is one of the most - perhaps the most - charismatic and impressive operators around. "When he walks into a room, people notice. When he speaks, people listen," one European official, who took part in various euro zone finance minister meetings, said of the former head of the International Monetary Fund. "They listen to him more than to some others even among themselves." | Full Article
Yemen leadership may yet sign transition deal
May 19, 2011 04:17 PM ET
SANAA (Reuters) - Yemen's ruling party held open the possibility that President Ali Abdullah Saleh would sign a deal on Sunday that would soon ease him out of office as Washington heaped pressure on the entrenched leader to transfer power. | Full Article
Obama says Gaddafi's departure from Libya inevitable
May 19, 2011 03:39 PM ET
TRIPOLI/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama said on Thursday it was inevitable Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi would have to leave power and only then could a democratic transition in the North African state proceed. | Full Article
McDonald's stockholders reject obesity proposal
How many teens have "Internet addiction?"
NYC offers discount card for prescription drugs
WHO slashes budget, jobs in new era of austerity
Army chief faults unfit recruits for injuries

NYT: Afternoon Business News: Double-Digit Insurance Rate Increases Get More Scrutiny


LinkedIn Soars in Market Debut

Shares of the professional social network rose well above $100, more than double its offering price.

Europe and Emerging Nations Vie to Fill I.M.F. Job

One scenario could see a European step in until late 2012, and then an emerging market leader would take over.

Denying Nazi Charges, Renault Family Members Seek Redress From France

Nearly 70 years after Louis Renault died in prison, his grandchildren are seeking to restore his reputation - and gain compensation for what they say was the illegal confiscation of his car company.
Prescriptions Blog

Double-Digit Insurance Rate Increases Get More Scrutiny

The Department of Health and Human Services wants insurers to give detailed explanations for raising premiums.

International Energy Agency Urges Oil Producers to Lift Output

In an unusual move, the agency cited "serious concern" about rising oil prices, rising demand and declining supply.

The Economist Business This Week | Highlights From New Coverage from 14th - 20th May 2011

The Economist

Business This Week

» Dominique Strauss-Khan stepped down as head of the IMF, following his arrest for an alleged sexual assault on a New York chambermaid. Lobbying began over who should succeed him at the helm of the fund. EU finance ministers restated their belief that any new managing director of the IMF should be a European, as tradition dictates. Mr Strauss-Kahn had been expected to quit the fund in June and return to France to compete for the Socialist nomination for the French presidency; polls had suggested that, if nominated, he would beat Nicolas Sarkozy in next year's election. See article
» The fund was also busy dealing with Greece's financial problems. Greece is unlikely to meet the terms of its bail-out, which requires it to cut its budget deficit to 7.6% of GDP this year. EU ministers must decide whether to approve a "soft restructuring" of its debt, by allowing it to reschedule some repayments. See article
» Takeda Pharmaceutical announced a deal to buy the Swiss firm Nycomed for €9.8 billion ($14 billion), the second-biggest foreign acquisition by a Japanese firm on record.
» BP failed to seal a share swap and Arctic-exploration deal with Rosneft before a deadline on May 16th. The deal, struck in January, was opposed by BP's current Russian joint-venture partners, AAR. Although most of the big issues had been resolved, including a buy-out of AAR by BP and Rosneft, the three firms couldn't agree on all the details. Despite reports that the deal had collapsed, talks are likely to continue and a tie-up between BP and Rosneft is still not out of the question. See article
» Nasdaq and ICE, two stock exchanges, withdrew an $11-billion hostile bid for NYSE Euronext, after American regulators suggested the takeover would throw up antitrust issues. The news leaves the path clear for Germany's Deutsche Börse to pursue its own $10-billion offer, which NYSE accepted in February. See article

London calling Click Here!
» The London Stock Exchange, meanwhile, is facing competition in its bid to merge with TMX, the group which operates the Toronto exchange, after Maple, a consortium of Canadian banks, topped LSE's offer. See article
» Britain's Office of Fair Trading has suggested that it might refer the country's "big four" auditors, PwC, KPMG, Deloitte and Ernst & Young, to the Competition Commission. See article
» Yahoo! and Alibaba, a Chinese e-commerce firm, tried to patch up their differences after a nasty public spat. Yahoo! had complained that Alibaba, in which it has a 43% stake, had secretly transferred ownership of its online payment portal to another company controlled by Alibaba's chairman, Jack Ma. Yahoo! claimed it had found out about the deal only in March, seven months after the event. Alibaba responded that the matter had been passed by its board, which includes a Yahoo! representative. It added that some compensation had been paid and there would be further discussions.

Play it again
» Sony began to restore its PlayStation Network after hackers breached its security, compromising the personal information of 100m users last month. Howard Stringer, Sony's president, who has been criticised for a lethargic response to the issue, predicted that cybercrime would become an increasing problem, and said he couldn't yet say how much the episode would cost the firm.
» Despite having a cash stockpile of $37 billion, Google became the latest firm to take advantage of the low cost of borrowing by launching a $3 billion bond offering. The company said it will use the money to pay off short-term loans. Analysts also believe it will go on an expansion drive. It has been a busy week for Google, which also previewed the first laptops to run its Chrome operating system and was on the end of a PR attack from Facebook, which tried to plant nasty stories about it in the press.
» Production can begin again at Saab after Pang Da, a Chinese distributor, bought 1,300 vehicles and a 24% stake in the carmaker's parent company, Spyker. The deal, worth up to €110m ($156m), will allow Saab to reopen its plant in Sweden, which has lain idle for six weeks as it has struggled to pay suppliers. The news came after a deal with another Chinese firm, Hawtai, collapsed last week.

Send out the clown
» A resolution at McDonald's annual shareholder meeting called on the fast-food chain to axe Ronald McDonald in an effort to stop the firm marketing to children. The company's bosses were unimpressed, though, calling the burger-wielding clown (which it has rebranded a "balanced, active lifestyles ambassador"), a "force for good". See article

MarketWatch | Sentiment on LinkedIn Corp: NYSE LNKD

Sentiment on LNKD

Where will LNKD close from its current price?
In a week
In a month
In 3 months

Other News on LNKD

  1. c3a212bb-2494-4909-9646-c129a42c2cc1:41 LinkedIn Rallying 126%
    3:07 p.m. Today
  2. c3a212bb-2494-4909-9646-c129a42c2cc1:45 LinkedIn, a Sign of the Apocalypse?
    3:02 p.m. Today
  3. c3a212bb-2494-4909-9646-c129a42c2cc1:43 3 Stocks Are Sparking Huge Trade Demand May 19th
    3:00 p.m. Today
    - Wall St. Cheat Sheet
  4. c3a212bb-2494-4909-9646-c129a42c2cc1:39 LinkedIn's IPO: Why You Weren't Invited
    2:45 p.m. Today
  5. c3a212bb-2494-4909-9646-c129a42c2cc1:38 Was LinkedIn Screwed by Its Underwriters?
    2:32 p.m. Today
    - Seeking Alpha
  6. c3a212bb-2494-4909-9646-c129a42c2cc1:42 Jim Cramer Calls LinkedIn IPO Action A Sham (LNKD, TST, MHP, SAP)
    2:30 p.m. Today
  7. c3a212bb-2494-4909-9646-c129a42c2cc1:44 LinkedIn ... To 1999?
    2:22 p.m. Today
    - FOXBusiness
  8. c3a212bb-2494-4909-9646-c129a42c2cc1:35 Putting Volatility on the Clock

CBS POLITICAL HOTSHEET TOP STORIES: President Obama's Middle East speech (full text)

The CBS News Political Hotsheet newsletter


In a speech today, Obama said the future of the U.S. is bound to the Middle East and North Africa by economics, security, history and fate
Read full story
President Obama's Middle East speech (full text)

Poll: Few think bin Laden was greeted by virgins Just 3 percent of Americans think the 9/11 mastermind is enjoying the company of virgins after his death, a Fox News poll shows

Senator says young people lack West Virginia Democrat tells Facebook representative that lack of social values speaks to company's lack of focus on privacy

Palin slams Former Alaska governor says candidates must be ready for "gotcha trip-up questions," calls for Tea Party candidate in 2012 election

Is Newt Gingrich too John Dickerson: The problem with an "ideas candidate" is that he has ideas

The Economist Politics This Week: Highlights of new Coverage From 14th - 20th May 2011

The Economist
Politics This Week

Highlights from The Economist online's Politics this week
» Israel and Palestine: Spring for Arabs, winter for Jews
» South Africa's local elections: The ruling party is challenged
» Elections in Italy: A blow to Berlusconi
» The queen in Ireland: Irish, and British, eyes are smiling
» North Korea: In a league of its own
» Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew: Not fade away
» The Republican nomination: The silence of the right
» Haiti's new president: Martelly takes over

» At least 14 protesters were shot when Palestinians sought to cross Israel's borders with Lebanon, Syria, the West Bank and Gaza. The demonstrators were marking the day of the naqba, or catastrophe, the term Palestinians use for Israel's birth in 1948. Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel's prime minister, said his country's sovereignty had to be defended. See article
» Libya's oil minister, Shokri Ghanem, was reported to have defected, the highest-ranking official to abandon Colonel Muammar Qaddafi since Moussa Koussa, his foreign minister, fled in March. The prosecutor for the International Criminal Court said he was seeking an arrest warrant for the colonel, his son Saif, and his chief of intelligence.
See article
» Yemen's government and an opposition coalition again came close to a deal to end the crisis that has gripped the country for three months. Under the plan, brokered by the Gulf Co-operation Council, President Ali Abdullah Saleh would stand down within 30 days and a unity government be formed. But he was holding out for last-minute concessions.
» Nabil el-Araby, Egypt's 76-year-old foreign minister, was elected secretary-general of the 22-country Arab League, replacing Amr Moussa, another former foreign minister of Egypt, who held the post for ten years. See article
» In local elections South Africa's ruling African National Congress won most seats but faced its strongest opposition since it came to power in 1994. The share of the vote for the opposition Democratic Alliance, led by a white woman, Helen Zille, was expected to rise from its previous 15%. See article
» At a special UN tribunal in Tanzania, the former head of Rwanda's army, Augustin Bizimungu, was sentenced to 30 years in prison for genocide and crimes against humanity. He had ordered Hutu militants to kill Tutsis during the genocide of 1994, when some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus died.

Suspect sentence
» Andrei Sannikov, who ran against Alyaksandr Lukashenka for the presidency of Belarus in December, was sentenced to five years in prison for what a court said was his role in organising post-election riots. Mr Sannikov called the charges "absurd". Britain and the United States condemned the verdict.

» Silvio Berlusconi's ruling People of Freedom party took a drubbing in local elections in some of Italy's cities. The biggest blow was the failure of Letizia Moratti, the mayor of Milan, Italy's financial capital and Mr Berlusconi's native city, to secure re-election. See article
» Queen Elizabeth II began a four-day visit to Ireland, the first visit by a British monarch since Irish independence in 1921. Her trip, which saw the Irish authorities mount their biggest ever security operation, took in a number of historically sensitive sites—and the Guinness Storehouse. See article

Going ballistic Click Here!
» A UN report claims that North Korea is violating international sanctions by exporting ballistic-missile technology to Iran via a third country, identified as China by diplomats. China blocked publication of the report, which was leaked anyway. See article
» The Chinese blogosphere was in uproar after officials running Beijing's Forbidden City admitted that they were letting out part of it for high-paying events.
» America's Senator John Kerry visited Pakistan to try to smooth ruffled feathers following the killing of Osama bin Laden earlier this month. He said relations between the two countries were now "back on track". As if to prove it, Pakistani authorities arrested an al-Qaeda operative in Karachi. India was embarrassed when it had to admit that a man on a most-wanted list of terrorist fugitives given to Pakistan was found living near Mumbai.
» China's most senior military commander, General Chen Bingde, visited the United States to meet his counterpart, Admiral Mike Mullen, in the first visit by a Chinese defence chief in seven years. But relations are still troubled. China resents American arms sales to Taiwan, while America wants more transparency over China's rapid military build-up.
» After four-and-a-half decades in Singapore's cabinet, Lee Kuan Yew, the city-state's 87-year-old founding father, announced he was bowing out. He may still sound off from the backbenches. See article

Debt dealings
» The American government reached the federal-debt ceiling of $14.3 trillion. For the government to issue bonds beyond this point will require approval by Congress, where a request for a raising of the ceiling is bogged down in arguments about spending and taxes. But because of various funds that can be raided, there is no danger of the government defaulting on any of its obligations—at least not for a couple of months.
» Strong tax payments, mainly from the rich, gave California $6.6 billion in revenues it had not expected. But most Californians were more interested in the scandal surrounding their former governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, who admitted fathering a son 14 years ago with his family's maid.
» The field for the Republican nomination narrowed, as both Donald Trump and Mike Huckabee ruled themselves out of contention. Newt Gingrich got himself into a row with the fiscal conservative brigade by pouring cold water on the party's plans for deep cuts to Medicare, the government health insurance scheme for the elderly, while Mitt Romney announced impressive fund-raising figures. Jon Huntsman, who has yet to declare formally, set off to tour New Hampshire. See article

Sweet Micky's new powers
» Michel Martelly, a singer-turned-politician, was inaugurated as Haiti's new president. It was the first peaceful transfer of power from one democratically elected president to another from a different party in the country's history. See article
» The Cuban government announced it would allow all small private businesses to hire employees. It had previously restricted that privilege to specific occupations.
» Ecuador's National Electoral Council finished counting the votes from a May 7th referendum on constitutional reform. It found that all ten of the amendments proposed by Rafael Correa, the country's president, were approved, giving him more control of the courts and media.