Daily News Summary 08/19/2010

Thursday, August 19, 2010

BLOOMBERG

The Securities and Exchange Commission’s fraud case against New Jersey may presage a wave of lawsuits seeking to crack down on misdeeds by public officials who raise money in the $2.8 trillion municipal bond market.

South Africa’s government said an indefinite strike by state workers that began yesterday will have a “huge” impact on Africa’s largest economy, yet it is unable to afford their wage demands.

Initial jobless claims rose by 12,000 to 500,000 in the week ended Aug. 14, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington. Claims exceeded all estimates of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News and compared with the median forecast of 478,000. The number of people receiving unemployment insurance fell, while those getting extended benefits increased.

Greece is ahead of schedule in meeting its deficit-cutting commitments and making structural reforms, putting the country on track to secure the next loan installment.

Florida may send BP a claim for more than $1 billion to close a budget gap after the largest U.S. oil spill as neighboring Gulf Coast states weigh their options.

Credit Suisse Group AG was appointed as a market-making member of the London Bullion Market Association after about a three-month probation.

The Obama administration is increasing its emergency aid to Pakistan as U.S. Secretary of State Clinton calls upon other nations to step up humanitarian assistance to the flood-ravaged country.

AP Top Stories

A line of heavily armored American military vehicles, their headlights twinkling in the pre-dawn desert, lumbered past the barbed wire and metal gates marking the border between Iraq and Kuwait and rolled into history.

Americans increasingly are convinced — incorrectly — that President Obama is a Muslim, and a growing number are thoroughly confused about his religion.

As vulnerable congressional Democrats weigh how to respond to President Barack Obama’s statements on Muslims’ right to build a mosque near ground zero, those in New York and closest to the controversy are staying silent or scrambling away.

More than four million Pakistanis have been made homeless by nearly three weeks of floods, the UN said, making the critical task of securing greater amounts of aid more urgent.

Congressional analysts are set to release an authoritative outlook on budget deficits on Thursday as President Barack Obama tries to ease voter anxiety about the spending gaps that some fear may thwart efforts to revive the economy.

The U.S. government proposed major changes to the way it works with companies to fight new disease threats such as flu, including reform at the FDA and centers to make vaccines quickly.

A nationwide recall of eggs linked to an outbreak of salmonella that has sickened hundreds of people in three U.S. states has been expanded and now covers 380 million eggs.

The budget deficit will hit $1.342 trillion this year, the Congressional Budget Office forecast, down slightly from its March projection of $1.368 trillion, according to a government source.

BBC    

US National Guard troops have been deployed along the country’s southern border between the state of California and Mexico. They are the first of more than 1,000 troops President Obama has authorised to beef up border security.

Security forces in Mexico have found the body of the kidnapped mayor of the northern city of Santiago, reports say.

South African police have fired rubber bullets and water cannon at crowds of striking civil servants protesting outside a hospital in Soweto.

About 1,000 long-serving prisoners in Bangladesh have been released in a bid to ease overcrowding in jails. Officials say it is the first time that so many prisoners serving life terms have been freed. Normally, prisoners sentenced to life for violent crimes have to serve at least 30 years in jail.

Two more tribal women have been stripped and forced to parade naked in front of large crowds in the Indian state of West Bengal, police say. The incidents were in the same area – the Birbhum district – where a similar case took place four months ago. Locals say that the women were being punished for “having close relations” with men from other communities.

WorldNetDaily

Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., has a long and friendly history with a U.S.-based socialist organization that seeks to create socialist-style health care.  Schakowsky has been one of the most vocal congressional cheerleaders of Obama’s health-care plan. Her husband, Robert Creamer, a convicted felon and political consultant with close ties to the Obama administration, was credited with helping to provide a blueprint for the president’s health-care legislation, WND has learned.  Creamer later wrote his health-care platform and declared strategies are not about “policies” – “they are about the distribution of wealth and power.”

Fidel Castro is showcasing a theory long popular both among the far left and far right: that the shadowy Bilderberg Group has become a kind of global government, controlling not only international politics and economics, but even culture. The 84-year-old former Cuban president published an article Wednesday that used three of the only eight pages in the Communist Party newspaper Granma to quote – largely verbatim – from a 2006 book by Lithuanian-born writer Daniel Estulin.

A city shaped like a giraffe? A rhino-shaped town? Even one that looks from above like a pineapple? Southern Sudan has unveiled ambitious plans to remake its capital cities in the shapes found on their state flags, and an official says the government is talking with investors to raise the $10 billion the fanciful communities would cost.

Biometrics R&D firm Global Rainmakers Inc. (GRI) announced today that it is rolling out its iris scanning technology to create what it calls “the most secure city in the world.” In a partnership with Leon — one of the largest cities in Mexico, with a population of more than a million — GRI will fill the city with eye-scanners. That will help law enforcement revolutionize the way we live — not to mention marketers.

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