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US: Congress will raise debt limit: Geithner

Timothy Geithner
© Reuters/Larry Downing
U.S. Secretary of Treasury Timothy Geithner addresses an Access to Capital Conference entitled ''Fostering Growth and Innovation for Small Companies'' in the Cash Room at the Treasury Department in Washington, March 22, 2011.
Congressional Republicans have assured President Barack Obama that they would not hold the economy hostage over raising the debt ceiling, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said on Sunday.

But Republicans appearing on television news shows insisted they would not support an increase of the $14.3 trillion borrowing limit without an accompanying deal to rein in future deficits.

"I want to make it perfectly clear that Congress will raise the debt ceiling," Geithner told ABC's This Week with Christiane Amanpour.

"They recognize it and they told the president that on Wednesday in the White House and I sat there with them and they said, 'We recognize we have to do this and we're not going to play around with it, because we know the risk would catastrophic.'"

After Congress approved a deal last week to fund the government through September, U.S. lawmakers are now focusing on the looming debt limit battle and a July 8 final deadline that could halt Treasury borrowing. As of Thursday, the Treasury was just $76 billion below the limit.

Bad Guys

Chris Hedges - Bank of America Protest Speech

On Fri, April 15, 2011, the great Chris Hedges gave this stirring speech at New York City's Union Square, during a Protest of Bank of America.


BRICS to replace dollar credits with local currencies

 Bric Leaders
© Unknown
The BRICS nations, Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa are taking shots at the dollar again. At the end of recently concluding meeting in China, their development banks agreed to open credit lines denominated in their own currencies rather than the world's reserve currency, the US dollar.

The plan was announced in the backdrop of a weak dollar something the BRIC nations fear will erode the value of their foreign exchange reserves held mostly in the US currency. This isn't the first time these countries have called for an alternative monetary regime.

And while this is a hint that the US will have to work hard to defend the credibility of its currency, experts say it is unlikely to end the dollar's dominance any time soon.

War Whore

'War lobby won $700 billion budget boost, wants MORE as collapse looms'

The U.S. budget may include $38 billion of spending cuts, but there will be a financial boost for the military.


Britain mulling changes to royal succession rule so first-born girl could take throne

© The Associated Press/Tim Hales
This is a Monday April 11, 2011, file photo of Britain's Prince William accompanied by his fiancee Kate Middleton, arrive at Witton Country Park, Darwen, England. Prince William and Kate Middleton will marry on April 29. Britain's government says it is considering changing the rules of royal succession so that if Prince William and Kate Middleton's first child is a girl she would eventually become queen.
Britain's government has begun the process of reviewing the ancient, discriminatory rules of royal succession, so that if Prince William and Kate Middleton's first child is a girl she would eventually become queen.

The current rule that puts boys ahead of their sisters "would strike most people as a little old-fashioned," Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said Saturday.

It is just two weeks until the prince and Middleton get married at London's Westminster Abbey, and Clegg said many people may agree that the rules should be changed so that if the couple's first child were a girl, she would eventually inherit the throne - even if she had a younger brother.

"I think most people in this day and age would think it's worth considering whether we change the rules so that baby girl could become the future monarch," he told reporters. "I think that would be in keeping with the changes that are happening with society as a whole."

The Cabinet Office said the government accepts that some aspects of the succession rule "could be discriminatory." It said the government has started discussions with British Commonwealth nations that would be directly affected by any change because they recognize the British monarch as their head of state, but declined to release details of those talks.


Afghanistan and Pakistan upgrade peace efforts

© Reuters
Afghanistan's President Karzai shakes hand with Pakistan's PM Gilani in Kabul
Afghanistan and Pakistan agreed on Saturday to add top military and intelligence officials to a joint commission seeking peace with the Taliban, a measure they said would improve cooperation and bring peace closer.

Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani said he and former Afghan president Burhanuddin Rabbani, who heads Afghanistan's efforts to reach out to the Taliban, would bring security chiefs into the joint commission.

The commission was originally set up in January to include foreign ministers from the two countries.

"Today's visit, I believe has been one of the most historical and unprecedented meetings, because all the stakeholders were with us," Gilani said at a news conference with Afghan President Hamid Karzai at Karzai's garden palace in Kabul after a fleeting one-day visit.

Pakistan, which backed the Taliban government that ruled Afghanistan during the 1990s, will be crucial to any attempts to stabilise its western neighbour, although the two countries have had an uneasy relationship.

Islamabad's intelligence services are still believed to have close links with many of the insurgent groups they funded and supported during and after the war against the Soviet Union, including the Taliban leadership which is based in Quetta.


Governor Scott Walker Reportedly Planning Financial Martial Law In Wisconsin

© Unknown
Scott Walker
Reports are surfacing that Scott Walker is now preparing his next assault on the democratic political process in the State of Wisconsin.

Following the lead of Michigan GOP Governor Rick Snyder, Walker is said to be preparing a plan that would allow him to force local governments to submit to a financial stress test with an eye towards permitting the governor to take over municipalities that fail to meet with Walker's approval.

According to the reports, should a locality's financial position come up short, the Walker legislation would empower the governor to insert a financial manager of his choosing into local government with the ability to cancel union contracts, push aside duly elected local government officials and school board members and take control of Wisconsin cities and towns whenever he sees fit to do so.

Black Cat

"The Cat Is Out Of The Bag" - Murdoch Faces Flood Of Hacking Claims

Rupert Murdoch
© Reuters: Mike Segar
Rupert Murdoch's News International says it will pay compensation in eight cases
Rupert Murdoch's UK news arm faces a flood of fresh compensation claims and could be exposed to criminal prosecution after admitting its role in a long-running phone hacking scandal, lawyers say.

News International, parent company of Britain's top-selling News of the World tabloid, said it would admit liability and pay compensation in eight cases - although many more believe they were targeted.

The admission was an about-turn from the media group's previous denial that it knew journalists were hacking the phones of the royal family, politicians, celebrities and sports stars, blaming a handful of "rogue reporters" for the scandal.

Those who will receive an "unreserved apology" from the group, part of Murdoch's global media empire News Corp, include actress Sienna Miller and politician Tessa Jowell.

"There will be a massive flood of people contacting lawyers," said lawyer Charlotte Harris of law firm Mishcon de Reya.

Heart - Black

Egyptian Junta Steps Up Violence as Protests and Strikes Continue

© Unknown
Troops advance on Tahrir Square
On Tuesday, the Egyptian military once again stormed Tahrir Square and violently dispersed a peaceful sit-in by demonstrators. At 17:00, the military drove onto the square with armoured vehicles, forcing protesters from the centre, and then occupied the area with heavily armed soldiers.

The military then proceeded to hunt down demonstrators and activists who had fled into downtown Cairo, carrying out numerous arrests. Among the special forces used in the attack was the notorious Unit 777, an "anti-terrorist" unit that regularly exercises with US units such as the Delta Force. The special forces stormed houses in downtown Cairo and combed cafes for protesters and activists.

The military had already begun to brutally clear demonstrators from Tahrir Square on Saturday morning, employing stun guns, batons and also live ammunition. Eye witnesses told the World Socialist Web Site that soldiers had fired directly at protesters and seven people had been killed. One of the victims was a young officer who had sided with protesters during mass protests on Friday.

Bad Guys

Phil Angelides: No Rule of Law on Wall Street