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The Tories and Lib Dems have said they broadly support the government's banking rescue package, but they also say there must be some conditions.
The Conservatives say the package must be used to boost lending and help the economy, not to pay bankers' bonuses.

Eight banks and building societies are to be given up to Ј50bn of public money in return for preferential shares, in an attempt to increase lending

The government was under pressure to act after banking share prices plunged

Chancellor Alistair Darling says the package is necessary to stop the situation becoming "worse and worse

Kick-start lending

Share prices fell as banks, unwilling to lend to each other, have struggled to access funding.

Initially Ј25bn of taxpayers' money will be used to kick-start lending ... Read more »

Views: 1157 | Added by: usa | Date: 08.10.2008 | Comments (37)

In November 2008, Esquire's Sexiest Woman Alive, Halle Berry, recreated a classic Esquire cover from December 2000, featuring Bill Clinton. An inside breakdown of how this image came together.

So here it is, our final re-creation of a classic Esquire cover in celebration of our seventy-fifth anniversary. After the first three -- Victoria's Secret models in Angie Dickinson sweaters (February), Jessica Simpson in shaving cream (May), and Stephen Colbert in martyrdom (August) -- we knew we needed a worthy finale. So we ... Read more »

Views: 662 | Added by: usa | Date: 08.10.2008 | Comments (0)

When Kim Kardashian was voted off Dancing With The Stars last week, the message was clear - Kim, your sex tapes are OK, but your dancing is bum.

However, there’s a sliver of a chance that we haven’t seen the last of Kim Kardashian on Dancing With The Stars yet, and it’s all down to Misty May-Treanor’s knackered Achilles tendon. Now that May-Treanor’s out of Dancing With The Stars, Kim Kardashian is said to be awaiting her callback.

And quite right - Kim’s already been voted off Dancing With The Stars once, so her inevitably swift second elimination will just reaffirm how little America cares for her. But if she got a third call-up after that w ... Read more »

Views: 707 | Added by: usa | Date: 07.10.2008 | Comments (0)

Actors always say that filming love scenes is unavoidably awkward. Just imagine trying to replicate intimacy with a virtual stranger while cameras roll, lights shine down and the director shouts out instructions. Now imagine the same situation, except it's not a stranger but your best friend, and your own spouse is directing you both.

That's the situation Kate Winslet found herself in while shooting her upcoming film Revolutionary Road. It's the first time she has worked with Leonardo DiCaprio since Tita ... Read more »

Views: 785 | Added by: usa | Date: 07.10.2008 | Comments (1)

French President Nicolas Sarkozy says he wants to clean up the way France sells its weapons abroad. A trial opening in Paris on Monday about alleged arms trafficking to Angola shows why, by exposing corrupt dealings long associated with the arms trade.

It's a high-profile case — but not an isolated one.

In May, a court in Bourges in central France convicted the son of former French Defense Minister Yvon Bourges and a Belgian national of trafficking Iranian arms to Qatar and African countries between 1993 and 2000.

Both cases involved arms that weren't made in France but were sold through deals on French territory.

Deals involving French-made defense equipment have come under question, too.

On Wednesday, after seven years of investigation, a French judge dismissed a corruption case that probed alleged kickbacks in the sal ... Read more »

Views: 608 | Added by: usa | Date: 06.10.2008 | Comments (0)

The trial of tycoon Arcadi Gaydamak starts today in Paris on charges of illegal arms trafficking, fraud, money laundering, fraudulent receipt and tax evasion. The indictment also states that Gaydamak and his former partner Pierre Falcone gave perks to senior members of the French government to promote their business deals.

As far as is known, Gaydamak will not appear in court, although in the past he has said he would. Gaydamak claims that he is a victim of French political power struggles.
The charges allege that mainly from 1993 to 1995, Falcone and Gaydamak used various intermediaries and sold weapons and ammunition worth $790 million from Russia and Slovakia to Angola, during that country's civil war. They also allegedly established a branch of the Slovak arms company ZTS OSOS without the ... Read more »
Views: 598 | Added by: usa | Date: 06.10.2008 | Comments (0)

Paris - Forty-two people including the son of late French president Francois Mitterrand and dozens of businessman, politicians and public figures go on trial on Monday over a vast "arms-to-Angola" scandal.

Dubbed "Angolagate" by the French press, the long-running affair has cast a shadow about a raft of senior government officials, including many who served during Mitterrand's two-term Socialist presidency from 1981 to 1995.

It revolves around the trafficking of $790-million (about R573-million) in arms to the southern African country from 1993 to 1998, at the height of a bloody civil war that left half a million civilians dead.

Two businessman, Frenchman Pierre Falcone, 54, and the Russian-born Israeli billionaire Arcady Gaydamak, 56, are at the heart of the case, accused of acting as go-betweens for illegal arms deliveries from easter ... Read more »
Views: 573 | Added by: usa | Date: 06.10.2008 | Comments (0)

 Skype's president said that the company was largely unaware of a major security breach affecting Skype users in China.

In a blog published Thursday, Josh Silverman, Skype's president, explained he did not realize that TOM-Skype, Skype's partner in China, was logging and storing users' instant messages that were deemed offensive by the Chinese government.

He said the company knew that instant-messaging chats were monitored by the government, as all communications in China are. And he explained that Skype disclosed this to users in 2006, explaining that a text filter was being used to block certain words i ... Read more »
Views: 578 | Added by: usa | Date: 06.10.2008 | Comments (0)

The discovery this week of adventurer Steve Fossett's airplane wreck isn't just some yarn about a multimillionaire who took off for a pleasure flight one day, crashed in the mountains and died.
It's a rare tale of mystery, bravery, tenacity and the very essence of the American West. It's about the pitiless ferocity of nature - and about how, whether you are Joe Normal or phenomenally rich and talented, the worst can happen to you with no warning.

Fossett was 63 when he took off in a single-engine acrobatic plane on Sept. 3, 2007, from the Flying M in Nevada, a ranch owned by his pal Barron Hilton, the hotel mogul. Fossett had already set 115 world records in aviation and sailing, including being the first to fly alone around the globe without refueling, and at his age, many might at least have considered slowing down a tad.

But no ... Read more »

Views: 567 | Added by: usa | Date: 05.10.2008 | Comments (0)

For years, advertisements in the Paris Métro have bluntly posed the question dreaded by so many Parisians: "Do you speak English?"

And unlike some harried commuters on the city's subway system, the cheerful young people on the posters respond with an upbeat, "Yes! I speak Wall Street English."

The ads promote the Wall Street Institute, a chain of English-language schools. As Wall Street has teetered and the world financial system has hung in the balance, the ads have remained prominently on display.

While the image of America has taken a beating overseas in recent years, to the frustration of some U.S. marketers, until recently that was largely because of an unpopular foreign policy. Wall Street, on the oth ... Read more »

Views: 579 | Added by: usa | Date: 05.10.2008 | Comments (0)

There is nothing romantic about the pirates who have been hijacking ships off the coast of Somalia. Theirs is a vicious business that endangers maritime workers of many nations, threatens ecological calamities, and pumps millions of dollars into local Islamist militias with links to Al Qaeda.

Somali pirates may have made a serious mistake, however, when they seized a Ukrainian freighter last week that was carrying 33 heavy Russian tanks, grenade launchers, and large quantities of ammunition. Their mistake was to initiate a simultaneous confrontation with the United States Navy and a Russian frigate that is steaming toward the region from the Baltic Sea.

U.S. warships faced off against the hijacked cargo ship not only because of America's interest in protecting oil transport in the Gulf of Aden - through which 30 percent of the worl ... Read more »

Views: 542 | Added by: usa | Date: 02.10.2008 | Comments (0)

Even though he has previously said he has "never been in love" and "does not believe in marriage," Leonardo DiCaprio has apparently changed his mind.

"I want to get married and have children," the star of the upcoming "Body of Lies" told Parade magazine. "In saying that, I realize I am contradicting everything I've said before. I absolutely believe in marriage."

Linked for the past two years with 23-year-old Israeli model Bar Refaeli - in a relationship that has run hot and cold - DiCaprio says, "What I definitely feel a need for is to make my life about more than just my career. Just last night I was thinking to myself how little of my life ... Read more »
Views: 559 | Added by: usa | Date: 02.10.2008 | Comments (0)

Plan to buy $700B in troubled assets wins OK. Backers hope add-ons will yield more yes-votes in House.
The Senate on Wednesday night passed a sweeping and controversial financial bailout similar in key ways to one rejected by the House just two days earlier.

The measure was passed by a vote of 74 to 25 after more than three hours of floor debate in the Senate. Presidential candidates Sens. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, and John McCain, R-Arizona, voted in favor.

Like the bill the House rejected, the core of the Senate bill is the Bush administration's plan to buy up to $700 billion of troubled assets from financial institutions.

Those assets, mostly mortgage-related, have caused a crisis of confidence in the credit markets. A major aim of the plan is to free up banks to start lending again once their balance sheets are cleared of toxic ... Read more »

Views: 678 | Added by: usa | Date: 02.10.2008 | Comments (1)

MAMMOTH LAKES, Calif. -- A hiker in a rugged part of eastern California found a pilot's license and other items that appear to belong to Steve Fossett, the adventurer who vanished on a solo flight in a borrowed plane more than a year ago, authorities said Wednesday.

The information on the pilot license _ including Fossett's name, address, date of birth and certificate number _ was sent in a photograph to the Federal Aviation Administration, and all matched the agency's records, spokesman Ian Gregor said.

"We're trying to determine the authenticity of the document," Gregor said.

The hiker, Preston Morrow, said he found an FAA identity card, a pilot's license, a third ID and $1,005 in cash tangled in a bush off a trail just west of the town of Mammoth Lakes on Monday. He said he turned the items over to local police Wednesday after u ... Read more »

Views: 550 | Added by: usa | Date: 02.10.2008 | Comments (0)

WASHINGTON - Congressional leaders and the White House agreed Sunday to a $700 billion rescue of the ailing financial industry after lawmakers insisted on sharing spending controls with the Bush administration. The biggest U.S. bailout in history won the tentative support of both presidential candidates and goes to the House for a vote Monday.
Key U.S. legislators released the compromise draft of the $700 billion bailout proposal early Sunday evening ahead of the opening of markets in Asia, and now have one final hurdle to clear: convincing the rank-and-file of their parties to support the legislation when it comes to a vote, likely on Monday.

In a press conference before meeting with House Democrats, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said the bill was a bipartisan piece of legislation. "If we don't pass it we shouldn't be a Co ... Read more »
Views: 642 | Added by: usa | Date: 29.09.2008 | Comments (0)

Leonid Rozhetskin's model wife is now fearing for her life and is receiving round-the-clock protection.

But despite hiring a team of £1,000-a-day bodyguards to protect her London home, last week the MoS was able to walk right past them and up to her front door.

Natalya Belova is holed up in the couple's £3million London penthouse with their three-year-old son.

She has told friends she fears she will be next to "vanish" and has hired a team of bodyguards from Kroll Associates, the close-protection agency of choice among wealthy Russians who have to deal with kidnapping and extortion threats.

Roman Abramovich, the billionaire owner of Chelsea FC, paid the agency millions to protect him before poaching their head of security to work exclusively for him.

Last week a team of at least five well-built bodyguar ... Read more »

Views: 1544 | Added by: usa | Date: 28.09.2008 | Comments (1)

The City was in shock last night after the apparent suicide of a millionaire financier haunted by the pressures of dealing with the credit crunch.

Kirk Stephenson, who was married with an eight-year-old son, died in the path of a 100mph express train at Taplow railway station, Berkshire.

Mr Stephenson is believed to have taken his own life after succumbing to mounting personal pressures as the world’s financial markets went into meltdown.

The death of the respected 47-year-old City figure evokes memories of the 1929 Wall Street crash in America and comes as:

• Bradford & Bingley teeters on the brink of nationalisation after a dramatic share price slump.

• David Cameron faced embarrassment on the eve of the Tory conference after members of a secretive club of Conservative donors were linked to the ‘short-selling’ of Bradford &am ... Read more »

Views: 536 | Added by: usa | Date: 28.09.2008 | Comments (0)

THE Treasury was poised last night to nationalise Bradford & Bingley (B&B), the troubled mortgage bank.

In an attempt to try to avoid a rerun of the Northern Rock debacle the government plans to hold an immediate fire sale to sell off B&B’s assets to one or more banks.

The Spanish banking giant Santander was in talks last night about its potential role in the rescue. Another buyer could be HSBC.

Although the Financial Services Authority had been trying to find a single white-knight bidder to take over B&B’s loans in their entirety, Britain’s big banks refused to get involved.

Alistair Darling, the chancellor, had been keen to try to avoid an expensive takeover that would cost the taxpayer billions. The Treasury is expected to announce today that B&B will be nationalised under special legislation used when it ... Read more »

Views: 526 | Added by: usa | Date: 28.09.2008 | Comments (0)

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Washington Mutual Inc was closed by the U.S. government in by far the largest failure of a U.S. bank, and its banking assets were sold to JPMorgan Chase & Co for $1.9 billion.

Thursday's seizure and sale is the latest historic step in U.S. government attempts to clean up a banking industry littered with toxic mortgage debt. Negotiations over a $700 billion bailout of the entire financial system stalled in Washington on Thursday.

... Read more »

Views: 576 | Added by: usa | Date: 26.09.2008 | Comments (0)

WASHINGTON - A Republican revolt stalled urgent efforts to lash together a national economic rescue plan Thursday, a chaotic turnaround on a day that had seemed headed for a success that President Bush, both political parties and their presidential candidates could celebrate at an extraordinary White House meeting.

Weary congressional negotiators worked into the night, joined by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson in an effort to revive or rework the $700 billion proposal that President Bush said must be quickly approved by Congress to stave off potentially "a long and deep recession."

They gave up after 10 p.m. EDT, more than an hour after the lone House Republican involved, ... Read more »

Views: 563 | Added by: usa | Date: 26.09.2008 | Comments (0)

US Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson and Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke warned that the US economy faces “serious consequences” if Congress fails to approve quickly a proposed $700bn (£377m) mortgage bail-out fund.
The pair are fighting to implement the plan in light of continued volatility in world markets and tightening in the credit markets.

“Action by the Congress is urgently required to stabilise the situation and avert what otherwise could be very serious consequences for our financial markets and for our economy,” said Mr Bernanke.

Meanwhile, the UK came under pressure to set up its own scheme, after Mr Paulson confirmed for the first time that he talked with central banks around the world, believ ... Read more »

Views: 490 | Added by: usa | Date: 24.09.2008 | Comments (0)

Warren Buffett, one of the richest men in the world, is to invest up to $10bn (£5.4bn) in Goldman Sachs as the investment bank attempts to bolster its financial position amid continued fallout on Wall Street as a result of the sustained credit crisis.
Mr Buffett, known as the "Sage of Omaha" for his legendary investment skills, will buy an initial $5bn holding through his Berkshire Hathaway investment vehicle, and will receive warrants to buy up to another $5bn at a later date.

Goldman is also raising a further $2.5bn through a public offering of its shares, which soared by 8.4pc to $135.56 in extended after-hours trading.

The investment is a major vote of confidence in the bank, which has largely avoided the worst of the sub-prime crisis, but also highlights just how precarious the market has become that an institution such as ... Read more »

Views: 511 | Added by: usa | Date: 24.09.2008 | Comments (0)

Radiation from experiments carried out by a prizewinning nuclear scientist more than 100 years ago may be responsible for four cancer deaths at a university.
Three academics and a computer assistant have died after working in the same building.

The one-time laboratory at Manchester University was used by Ernest Rutherford at the turn of the last century.

He is known to have begun a series of experiments using radioactive material in 1906.

Officials from the Health and Safety Executive have now ordered a review to determine whether former lecturers, students and ancillary staff were contaminated by traces of radon and polonium left in the building.

All four of those whose deaths are under review worked in ... Read more »

Views: 528 | Added by: usa | Date: 24.09.2008 | Comments (0)

Thousands of anxious Chinese parents queued at hospitals for health checks on their babies as a spreading scandal involving contaminated milk powder claimed a fourth victim.
Police arrested 12 more people involved in bulking out the milk with the chemical melamine, bringing the total to 18.

More than 1,000 parents crowded into the waiting room at the Beijing Children's Hospital carrying their sleeping babies and toddlers. They said their children had been drinking three major brands of baby milk powder, Yashili, Mengniu and Sanlu, all of which have been recalled after government tests found melamine.

Fang Sunyi, 28, who was holding her three-month-old son, said he had been fed the milk since birt ... Read more »
Views: 525 | Added by: usa | Date: 19.09.2008 | Comments (0)

An ultra-Orthodox Jewish party run by an octogenarian rabbi who has said Hurricane Katrina was divine punishment is emerging as the kingmaker in forming the next Israeli government.
After narrowly winning the Kadima Party leadership, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni is likely to need Shas as a partner to become prime minister.

But Shas opposes any compromise on Jerusalem, and including it in a coalition could tie Ms Livni's hands in peace talks with the Palestinians.

Ms Livni wrested a narrow victory in the election to replace the corruption-tainted Prime Minister Ehud Olmert as chairman of the governing Kadima Party.

Under Israel's political system, she can become prime minister if she can p ... Read more »
Views: 515 | Added by: usa | Date: 19.09.2008 | Comments (0)

Democrat Barack Obama lashed out at rival John McCain's campaign, accusing it of lying and trying to undermine his White House bid with the same tactics used to torpedo John Kerry's presidential bid four years ago.

Obama's words, among his sharpest in the presidential campaign, were in response to Republican accusations that he had made a sexist comment likening McCain's vice presidential running mate, Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, to a pig.

The comments came as Obama looks to regain the upper hand in the presidential race after McCain received a boost from last week's Republican National Convention and his selection of Palin. Opinion polls now show McCain tied or with a narrow lead over Obama.

Obama on Tuesday mocked McCain's claim to represent a change from the unpopular presidency of fellow Republican George W. Bush. "You can put lipstick on a ... Read more »

Views: 542 | Added by: usa | Date: 11.09.2008 | Comments (0)

WASHINGTON — The Republican National Convention has given John McCain and his party a significant boost, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll taken over the weekend shows, as running mate Sarah Palin helps close an "enthusiasm gap" that has dogged the GOP all year.

McCain leads Democrat Barack Obama by 50%-46% among registered voters, the Republican's biggest advantage since January and a turnaround from the USA TODAY poll taken just before the convention opened in St. Paul. Then, he lagged by 7 percentage points.

CONVENTION: GOP rejuvenated

The convention bounce has h ... Read more »

Views: 575 | Added by: usa | Date: 09.09.2008 | Comments (0)

The Washington Times must be congratulated for its continued support of and space allotment to Arnaud de Borchgrave ("Israel of the Caucasus?" Commentary, Thursday). Mr. de Borchgrave does not shrink from reporting facts that other leading media giants consider untouchable subjects.

The description of Israeli-American involvement in Georgia's military affairs was alluded to marginally in single-sentence references on inside pages of Washington and New York newspapers. Mr. de Borchgrave provides a compelling picture of Israel's part in the Russia-Georgia conflict. Israel supplied weapons and military training. The Bush administration supplied the money for Georgia to buy the weapons along with ... Read more »

Views: 539 | Added by: usa | Date: 08.09.2008 | Comments (0)

Russia is considering increasing its assistance to Iran’s nuclear programme in response to America’s calls for Nato expansion eastwards and the presence of US Navy vessels in the Black Sea delivering aid to Georgia.

The Kremlin is discussing sending teams of Russian nuclear experts to Tehran and inviting Iranian nuclear scientists to Moscow for training, according to sources close to the Russian military.

Moscow has been angered by Washington’s promise to give Georgia £564m in aid following the Russian invasion of parts of the country last month after Tbilisi’s military offensive. Kremlin officials suspect the US is planning to rearm the former Soviet republic and is furious at renewed support for attempts by Georgia and Ukraine to join Nato.

Last week a third US Navy ship entered the Black Sea with aid bound for Georgia. Moscow ... Read more »
Views: 563 | Added by: usa | Date: 07.09.2008 | Comments (0)

Sarah Palin, a former runner-up in the Miss Alaska beauty contest, burst on to the political scene in 2006 by becoming both the first female and youngest governor in Alaskan history at the age of 42.

She had previously gained statewide attention as a gutsy maverick unafraid to speak truth after whistleblowing on ethical violations by state Republican Party leaders during her time on the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission.

A "soccer-mom" type with telegenic appeal, Mrs Palin is a real life Miss Congeniality — she won the title in the Wasilla beauty pageant back in 1984.

But the mother-of-five combines her homely air with a keen grasp of the issues and a formidable campaigning style.

A strong social conservative and a staunch supporter of gun rights, she is hugely popular in Alaska — a poll published last mo ... Read more »

Views: 531 | Added by: usa | Date: 07.09.2008 | Comments (0)

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