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Sep 27, 2012

NYT Global Update -September 27, 2012-: Netanyahu Warns Iran Is Close to Making a Bomb

The New York Times International Herald Tribune
September 27, 2012

Global Update


Netanyahu Warns Iran Is Close to Making a Bomb

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel told the United Nations on Thursday that he believes Iran's ability to make an atomic weapon will be irreversible by next spring or summer.

Israeli Foreign Ministry Calls for More Sanctions on Iran

A leaked report appears to be a rare Israeli acknowledgment that there might be time to halt the Iranian nuclear program without military action.

Rebels Make Gains in Blunting Syrian Air Attacks

For the rebels, managing to deny the use of an important airfield has undermined the government's ability to exert its full authority in some parts of the country.

Video: Fighting for Idlib

Facing a foe with superior weapons and firepower, the Syrian rebels wage an impassioned and complex fight.

Op-Ed Contributor

The Best Defense Is Dialogue

In times of tension, the United States and China must not allow military defense efforts to undercut diplomacy.

Myanmar Leader Praises Aung San Suu Kyi at U.N.

President Thein Sein of Myanmar said his country has taken irreversible steps toward democracy and paid unprecedented public tribute to opposition leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

At U.N., Egypt and Yemen Urge Curbs on Free Speech

Two new Middle Eastern leaders, despite being swept to power by popular uprisings, issued rebuttals to President Obama's defense of Western values at the United Nations.

Sudan and South Sudan Sign Cooperation Deal

The agreement signed by the two countries' leaders should permit oil exports to resume, which its economies desperately need, but leaves important issues unresolved.

Last Quarter's Growth Is Revised Down Sharply

The United States government said the gross domestic product grew at an annual rate of 1.3 percent in the spring, down from its previous estimate of 1.7 percent.

Spain Unveils Sweeping Budget Cuts

The budget involves an average cut of almost 9 percent in the spending of each government ministry next year. Civil servants, meanwhile, will have their salaries frozen for a third consecutive year.

Greece Seeks Taxes From Investors in London Property

Greece, heavily in debt and desperate to track down money wherever it can, is leaving no stone unturned, including asking British authorities about investments by Greeks in expensive real estate.

Beyond Wall St., Curbs on High-Speed Trades Proceed

Several nations have adopted or proposed a range of limits on high-speed trading, saying they have learned from problems in United States markets.

BlackBerry Maker Posts a Loss

Research in Motion said its net loss for the latest quarter was $235 million, a comedown from a year ago but an improvement on the previous quarter.

Cyberwarfare Emerges From Shadows for Public Discussion by U.S. Officials

The federal government's announcement of a program to enlist contractors to develop technology is seen as a turning point in a long-secret program.

John Terry Given Ban for 4 Games

The Chelsea captain was banned for four matches for racially abusing an opponent in English soccer's most high-profile racism case.
On Golf

The Evolution of Tiger as a Teammate

Tiger Woods, who is making his seventh Ryder Cup appearance this week at Medinah Country Club, has been on one victorious team in the biennial event, in 1999.

In Illinois, a European Is at Home

Luke Donald, an Englishman, went to Northwestern University and has a home near Medinah Country Club, the site of the Ryder Cup.

In Texas Conviction, an Immigrant Rallying Cry

Rosa Jimenez, an illegal Mexican immigrant in a Texas prison for a crime she says she did not commit, has become a cause célèbre for critics of the American criminal justice system.

Resort's Snow Won't Be Pure This Year; It'll Be Sewage

Arizona Snowbowl will become the first ski resort in the world to use 100 percent sewage effluent to make artificial snow. Members of the Navajo tribe say the snow will ruin sacred ground.
The Agenda

Election May Decide When Interrogation Amounts to Torture

The future of American government practices when interrogating high-level terrorism suspects appears likely to turn on the outcome of the presidential race.
Op-Ed Columnist

Return of the Organic Fable

Elitist freakouts are not the answer to the world's food problems.
Op-Ed Columnist

In Obama's Speech, Their Voices

These former sex slaves said the president gave the voiceless a voice in his landmark speech against human trafficking. Let's hope this is a turning point.
Op-Ed Contributors

5 Reasons to Intervene in Syria Now

President Obama needs to apply his own doctrine on foreign conflict spots where it would benefit the United States most: Syria.

Dealbook Afternoon Edition -September 27, 2012-: Goldman to Pay $12 Million to Settle S.E.C. 'Pay to Play' Case

Thursday, September 27, 2012
Goldman to Pay $12 Million to Settle S.E.C. 'Pay to Play' Case Goldman Sachs has settled federal allegations that one of its investment bankers curried favor with a public official to win lucrative government contracts in Massachusetts. The firm struck a roughly $12 million settlement with the Securities and Exchange Commission to resolve the "pay to play" accusations without admitting or denying guilt. The banker, Neil M.M. Morrison, who was a vice president at the firm, did not settle. The Securities and Exchange Commission said Mr. Morrison won government business for Goldman after touting his strong ties to the State treasurer at the time, Timothy P. Cahill, who in April was indicted on public corruption charges. Mr. Morrison, the S.E.C. said, in essence ran a campaign office for Mr. Cahill out of Goldman, acting as a fund-raiser and speechwriter. He also made cash donations to Mr. Cahill's campaign.
    Standard Chartered's Next Worry: A $1 Billion Indonesian Loan The British bank, which agreed last month to pay the New York state's top banking regulator $340 million to settle money-laundering allegations, may be at risk of losing money on a $1 billion loan to an Indonesian mining company.
    Lawyer for Ex-Goldman Programmer Criticizes Prosecutors and Firm More than three years after appearing in Federal District Court in Manhattan on corporate theft charges, the former programmer, Sergey Aleynikov, was in a New York State court to plead not guilty to similar charges.
    After Lehman, Callan Bids New York Farewell Erin Callan, the former chief financial officer of Lehman Brothers, is looking to sell her house in East Hampton, Long Island, for $3.95 million.
    Judge Dismisses Forgery Lawsuit Against Herb Allen A federal judge has dismissed a fraud lawsuit filed this year against Herbert A. Allen Jr., the billionaire chief executive of the investment bank Allen & Company.
    Cerberus to Sell $2.5 Billion Stake in Japanese Bank The private equity firm will start selling its $2.5 billion stake in Japan's struggling Aozora Bank this year in a much-anticipated exit for Cerberus more than a decade after its initial investment.
    Tempur-Pedic to Buy Sealy The mattress maker Tempur-Pedic announced on Thursday that it was buying rival Sealy in a transaction valued at $1.3 billion including debt. Under the deal, Sealy will finally cut ties with Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, which owns about 46 percent of the publicly traded company.
    Martin Wheatley, the director of Britain's Financial Service Authority, releases his report on overhauling the Libor benchmark interest rate. Fraser & Neave shareholders are scheduled to vote on Heineken's bid to buy the company's stake in Asia Pacific Breweries. August personal income and spending data lead today's economic calendar in the United States. 

The Economist | Politics This Week Highlights of News Coverage from September 22nd - 28th 2012

The EconomistPolitics this week

» An anti-austerity rally outside the Spanish parliament building in Madrid turned violent, ahead of a budget presented by Mariano Rajoy, the prime minister. Meanwhile Artur Mas, the Catalan president, announced a snap election for November 25th, which could turn into an unofficial vote on Catalonia's independence and cause a whole new set of headaches for Mr Rajoy. After a period of relative calm, Spain's borrowing costs jumped sharply in the markets, and the stockmarket tumbled. See article»
» Antonis Samaras, the Greek prime minister, approved a package of €11.5 billion ($14.8 billion) in budget cuts. The following day a general strike was held, the first in Greece since February. Flights and trains were suspended, ferries stayed in ports and the public sector closed down.
» The Portuguese government was criticised for caving in to pressure from unions and business groups when it reversed a decision to finance a cut in corporate taxes by increasing workers' pension contributions. It is now to make up the shortfall by raising taxes and cutting wages. Portugal, too, braced itself for anti-austerity protests.
» The British economy shrank by 0.4% in the second quarter, according to a final estimate, an improvement on the 0.7% fall in GDP recorded in a first estimate. See article»
» Mario Monti, Italy's prime minister, declared that he "will not run for the election" next year. Mr Monti was installed as the head of a government of technocrats to sort out the country's fiscal mess less than a year ago. Meanwhile Silvio Berlusconi, Mr Monti's predecessor, accused him of being "too servile" to Germany.
» To no one's surprise all the seats in the new Belarusian parliament were won by loyalists of Alyaksandr Lukashenka, the authoritarian president. See article»
» A British judge suspended the extradition to America of Abu Hamza, a radical Islamic cleric, in order to hear (yet another) last-minute appeal. The European Court of Human Rights had just rejected a "final" appeal against his transfer.

Out of the shadows
» Uruguay looked set to become the second Latin American country (after Cuba) to allow abortion. The lower house of the country's Congress narrowly approved a bill to that effect; the Senate is expected to do the same.
» A state electoral court in Brazil ordered the arrest of Google's top manager in the country after the company ignored a ruling to remove a YouTube video that allegedly libelled a mayoral candidate. Police said they would bail the manager after arresting him. Google claims it is not responsible for content posted on its websites.
» Argentina's president, Cristina Fernández, said she would not submit to "pressure" or "threats" from the IMF, which has given the country a deadline of December 17th to produce credible growth and inflation statistics, or else face unspecified sanctions.
» In Honduras a lawyer who represented peasants in land disputes and who had criticised a plan to build privately run cities, was murdered while attending a wedding.
» Venezuela's government signed an agreement with CITIC, a Chinese company, to develop Las Cristinas, a big gold mine. A Canadian company is seeking $3.8 billion in compensation after Venezuela rescinded its contract to develop Las Cristinas.

Resembling order
» Several of Libya's Islamist militias, including the one widely thought to have killed the American ambassador in Benghazi on September 11th, were disbanded or brought under the command of the armed forces answerable to the central government. At least a dozen people were killed in the process. See article»
» Four soldiers were killed in an attack by rebels who set off car bombs beside Syria's military headquarters in Damascus, the capital.
» The Nigerian army killed at least 35 people in the north-east of the country in what it said was a crackdown on an Islamist group, Boko Haram. This followed a suicide attack on a church, thought to have been carried out by the group, which killed two people. See article»
» Sudan and South Sudan reached a partial agreement that should see oil flow again from south to north. But the territorial dispute over the border state of Abyei remains unresolved.
» Julius Malema, a former leader of the Youth League of the African National Congress, South Africa's ruling party, was charged in court with money laundering. He says the charge is politically motivated.

Positioning for the election
» To widespread surprise, Japan's opposition Liberal Democratic Party chose Shinzo Abe, a nationalist former prime minister, as its next leader. Meanwhile, Yoshihiko Noda, the beleaguered current prime minister, sought a new finance minister after appointing Jun Azumi to a senior leadership role within the ruling Democratic Party of Japan. See article»
» Wang Lijun, a former police chief in the Chinese city of Chongqing, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for abuses of power. Mr Wang, who fled to an American consulate in February, had been instrumental in bringing to light a murder in what became China's biggest political scandal for decades. The wife of Bo Xilai, a now deposed Politburo member, was eventually found guilty of the crime.
» A fleet of Taiwanese fishing boats and patrol ships entered the disputed waters around the uninhabited islands claimed by Japan (which calls them the Senkakus) and China (which calls them the Diaoyus). A skirmish involving water-cannons broke out between Japanese and Taiwanese vessels before the Taiwanese left the area. See article»

Presidential material
» Addressing the UN General Assembly Barack Obama condemned the recent violent backlash in Libya and in other Muslim nations against an amateur video that denigrates Muhammad. But he also defended the right to free expression as a "universal value". See article»
» Mitt Romney, in a speech at the annual Clinton Initiative, said if he were to be elected president he would tie American aid to developing countries to their progress in creating entrepreneurial societies that promote free markets.

The Economist | Business This Week: Highlights of News Coverage from September 22nd - 28th 2012.

The EconomistBusiness this week

» Regulators in Britain readied a shake-up in the way the LIBOR inter-bank interest rate is managed, as more than a dozen investigations continue into banks that allegedly colluded to set the rate in their favour. LIBOR determines rates in $300 trillion-worth of derivatives contracts and other financial products. Barclays was fined a record sum in June and Bob Diamond resigned as its chief executive after an inquiry found its bankers had manipulated LIBOR. The British Bankers Association, a private trade body, has conceded an end to its role in calculating the rate. See article»
» Lloyd's, the world's biggest insurance market, reported a profit of £1.5 billion ($2.4 billion) for the first half of the year; during the same period in 2011 it lost £697m. Last year was the second-costliest on record for the industry, because of big natural catastrophes such as the earthquake in Japan. By comparison this year has been "benign", so far.

The mighty Amazon
» The NASDAQ stockmarket launched its FinQloud cloud-based service that allows companies to store their regulatory documents on servers operated by Amazon. The service is being offered to listed companies to help reduce the burden of new costly regulations for filing papers. It is Amazon's biggest move yet into financial services.
» Santander's stockmarket flotation in New York and Mexico City of its Mexican division went well, valuing the subsidiary at $16.5 billion and raising around $4 billion for the Spanish bank. It was Mexico's biggest-ever IPO.
» TNT Express, a Dutch logistics company that is trying to seal its takeover by UPS, announced that its chief executive would step down at the end of September. Marie-Christine Lombard is one of the few women to head a big European company. TNT said her farewell has nothing to do with the UPS takeover deal.
» Home prices in America were up 1.2% in the May-July quarter and by 5.9% for the first seven months of the year, according to the S&P Case-Shiller index. Prices are still 30% below their peak in 2006, but the data provide more evidence of a recovery in the housing market, albeit a patchy one. House prices in Phoenix surged by 16.6%, whereas in Atlanta they fell by 9.9%.
» China's stockmarkets had another bad week, falling to their lowest level since early 2009. The slowing economy and tension with Japan are worrying investors. The markets didn't even get a lift from the People's Bank of China's largest-ever one-day injection of cash through reverse repos to boost liquidity.
» Toyota, Japan's biggest carmaker, reduced its production of vehicles for the Chinese market in anticipation of falling sales, because of the anti-Japanese violence that has swept the country over some disputed islands.

Trouble at t'mill
» There was more difficulty for Foxconn in China, which had to close a factory temporarily when a brawl among employees turned into a full-scale riot. The Taiwanese company assembles many consumer-electronic products, including the iPhone, at its huge campus-like facilities in China, where workers are increasingly vocal with their grievances.
» The tablet wars continued. This time Toys "R" Us found itself in the crosshairs for its Tabeo computer tablet for children, which it has just launched for the Christmas season. Fuhu, which makes the rival Nabi tablet for kids, is suing the company, claiming it stole trade secrets and copied its butterfly-shaped design.
» Eric Schmidt, Google's boss, left open the possibility of providing mapping services to Apple's devices in the future. His comments came a few days after Apple was flooded with complaints about its switch from Google Maps to its own location-mapping software. Bloggers were unrelenting in their criticism of displaced restaurants, coffee shops and offices. It was an unusual misstep for Apple; it said its maps would improve. See article»
» Google's stock continued on an upward trajectory, closing above $750 a share for the first time. It has risen 30% since July.
» Vijay Mallya, an Indian business tycoon, wasted no time in taking advantage of India's recent loosening of restrictions on foreign investment. Mr Mallya announced that he was in talks to sell a stake in his debt-laden Kingfisher Airlines. And Diageo, a British drinks company, confirmed that it was looking to buy into Mr Mallya's United Spirits. See article»

Bittersweet symphony
» The European Commission agreed that Universal Music's purchase of EMI could proceed, but only if EMI divests some assets to alleviate antitrust concerns. These include its prized Parlophone label which houses artists such as Coldplay and The Verve. See article»

NYT Opinion Today -September 27, 2012-.

The New York Times

September 27, 2012

Opinion Today

Campaign Stops

Knowns, Unknowns and Unknowables

The Donald Rumsfeld-inspired guide to what might happen over the 40 days leading up to Election Day.
The Human Cost of the Second Amendment
Opinionator | Bedside

The Human Cost of the Second Amendment

Gun advocates say that guns don't kill people, people kill people. The truth is that people with guns kill people, often very efficiently - just ask an E.R. nurse.
Op-Ed Contributors

Fighting Over God's Image

Unlike in Muslim culture, religious images abound in America. But it wasn't always so.
Let Them Eat Crow
Opinionator | The Conversation

Let Them Eat Crow

Brooks and Collins talk about Medicare, Social Security, the N.F.L. and Marie Antoinette.
Op-Ed Contributors

5 Reasons to Intervene in Syria Now

President Obama needs to apply his own doctrine on foreign conflict spots where it would benefit the United States most: Syria.
Colleges, by the Numbers
Room for Debate

Colleges, by the Numbers

Are the annual rankings in U.S. News a useful guide or too simplistic? How could they be improved?

The Challenger

Two weeks out, polls show Henrique Capriles is in a dead-heat with President Hugo Chávez of Venezuela. Can Capriles pull off an upset?
How Rachel Carson Spurred Chemical Concerns by Highlighting Uncertainty
Dot Earth Blog

How Rachel Carson Spurred Chemical Concerns by Highlighting Uncertainty

A detailed study of drafts of "Silent Spring" reveals something rare: a writer unafraid to embrace uncertainty as a means of engaging her audience.
Opinionator | Things I Saw

Things I Saw - No. 33

The artist draws things he saw in New York.

Losing Faith in Stop-and-Frisk

The Bronx district attorney should be applauded for refusing to prosecute bad arrests.

Mr. Romney Addresses Foreign Aid

A speech on the value of foreign aid and its purpose was encouraging, but there were also gaps and unanswered questions.

Visas for Scientists, With a Catch

A Republican bill that supported one visa program by killing off another thankfully didn't pass. Immigrants need more than one legal path into the country.

Surviving Where Slaves Held Fast

The Gullah and Geechee people could be forced out of an island off Georgia because of exorbitant real estate taxes from local government.

The Opinion Pages

Read the full opinion report, including editorials, columns, op-eds and Opinionator. Go to the Section »
Taking Note

Gov. Brown Should Sign the Trust Act

Governor Jerry Brown of California should sign the Trust Act and help fix America's flawed immigration system.
Same As It Ever Was
The Conscience of a Liberal

Same As It Ever Was

Good news, bad news, from old newspapers.
The Wealth of Washington

The Wealth of Washington

Seeking explanations for D.C.'s influence-peddling arms race.