October 16, 2011 |
Silvio Berlusconi, Italy's impossible prime minister, has committed almost every sin that modern politics affords. He entertains barely-of-age girls as overnight guests and brags about it. He appoints business cronies and television starlets to government jobs. He's under perpetual investigation for corruption. But voters in Berlusconi's conservative base have always seemed willing to forgive him — until now. The prime minister survived a close vote in Parliament last week, but the talk in Italy is increasingly of how soon he will fall.
September 30, 2011 |
Federal regulators bent the rules to allow Bank of America Corp., Wells Fargo & Co. and PNC Financial Services Group Inc. to repay their bailout money early, missing a chance to force them into further bolstering their finances. The banks pushed for the repayment requirements to be eased in part because they wanted to avoid tough executive compensation restrictions attached to the Troubled Asset Relief Program, according to an audit released Thursday by the special inspector general monitoring the bailout fund.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
September 9, 2011 |
For much of the summer, the towering creation stood hidden behind a draping of blue and black tarps, looking like nothing more than a big home construction project. On Thursday, workers stripped away the shrouds to reveal a startling, four-story-high art installation. Surrounded by homes in a quiet pocket of Santa Monica, the display consists of a series of 150 square panels spray-painted yellow-orange, magenta, purple, sky blue and sea foam green. Each panel also bears a series of unidentifiable, white-painted characters that seem like a message scrawled by extraterrestrials.
July 28, 2011 |
"Tea party" icon Sharron Angle lashed back at John McCain Thursday, ridiculing him as a creature of the political establishment and highlighting the deep fissures within the GOP that the debt-ceiling debate have again laid bare. Angle, who failed in her bid to unseat Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in Nevada last year, wasted little time in responding to McCain, who, quoting a Wall Street Journal editorial, derided tea party politicians as “hobbits” a day earlier. Angle referenced McCain's support of the Wall Street bailouts in a statement.
March 30, 2011 |
The chairman of the utility that runs the crippled Fukushima power plant on Wednesday said the facility's four tsunami-battered reactors would have to be scrapped, and he apologized to the Japanese public for the nuclear disaster. Tsunehisa Katsumata, chairman of the Tokyo Electric Power Co., expressed his deep remorse for the accident at Fukushima in northern Japan, including explosions, the release of radiation and contamination of crops and tap water. Although Katsumata referred only to scrapping reactors No. 1 through 4, government officials and other experts have been saying for more than a week that the entire complex, including the less problematic reactors 5 and 6, eventually would have to be decommissioned.
March 9, 2011 |
The Treasury Department has recovered 70% of the money distributed under the $700-billion bailout fund after insurance giant American International Group Inc. paid back $6.9 billion of the taxpayer bailout it received. The once financially ailing AIG made the repayment Tuesday after selling its holdings in MetLife last week. About $59 billion from the Troubled Asset Relief Program still is invested in AIG. Altogether, AIG received about $125 billion in a complex, multistep bailout from the Treasury and the Federal Reserve starting in the fall of 2008.
March 2, 2011 |
Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill agree that the Obama administration's foreclosure prevention efforts have been ineffective, but the parties are at odds on whether Congress should kill the programs. Rep. Patrick McHenry (R-N.C.) said at a House hearing Wednesday that the Treasury Department's Home Affordable Modification Program should be ended because it was doing "active harm" to at-risk borrowers by allowing banks to string them along. Under the program, a struggling homeowner can make temporarily reduced mortgage payments as part of a trial loan modification while the lender determines whether the modification can be made permanent.
February 28, 2011 |
Almost three years after a series of government bailouts began, what many feared would be a deep black hole for taxpayer money isn't looking nearly so dark. The brighter picture is highlighted by the outlook for the bailouts' centerpiece ? the $700-billion Troubled Asset Relief Program. "It's turning out to cost one heck of a lot less than what we all thought at the beginning," said Ted Kaufman, a former U.S. senator from Delaware who heads the congressionally appointed panel overseeing TARP.
February 15, 2011 |
Saying the work was largely done, Neil M. Barofsky, the outspoken special inspector general and top watchdog of the $700-billion financial bailout fund, has submitted his resignation to President Obama. In his letter Monday, Barofsky said that he had accomplished his top goals and that it was time for him to leave government service. The goals included ensuring transparency in how the Troubled Asset Relief Program was run and cracking down on people trying to fraudulently profit from the program.
February 13, 2011 |
The Egyptian army moved into Tahrir Square on Sunday, tearing down tents and opening the artery to traffic nearly three weeks after the start of the protests that brought an end to the 30-year reign of Hosni Mubarak. The dozens of soldiers in olive fatigues and red berets surrounded the one remaining stage for protesters, while cars honked and drove around the city hub for the first time since Jan. 25, when people erupted in rage against Mubarak. It was a sign of the military's determination to restore normalcy to the nation's capital.