WaMu: The biggest bank failure in U.S. history.

JPMorgan Buys WaMu Bank Business as Thrift Seized

Sept. 25 (Bloomberg) — JPMorgan Chase & Co., the third- biggest U.S. bank by assets, agreed to acquire Washington Mutual Inc.’s deposits and branches for $1.9 billion after regulators seized the thrift in the biggest bank failure in U.S. history.

Customers withdrew $16.7 billion from WaMu accounts since Sept. 16, leaving the Seattle-based bank “unsound,” the Office of Thrift Supervision said today. WaMu’s branches will open tomorrow and customers will have full access to all their accounts, Sheila Bair, chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., said on a conference call.

WaMu’s fate played out as Congress debated an accord to end the global credit crunch that drove Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. and IndyMac Bancorp out of business and led to the hastily arranged rescues of Merrill Lynch & Co. and Bear Stearns Cos., which was itself absorbed by JPMorgan. WaMu in March rebuffed a takeover offer from JPMorgan Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon that WaMu valued at $4 a share.

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Hundreds of Economists Urge Congress Not to Rush on Rescue Plan

Sept. 25 (Bloomberg) — More than 150 prominent U.S. economists, including three Nobel Prize winners, urged Congress to hold off on passing a $700 billion financial market rescue plan until it can be studied more closely.

In a letter yesterday to congressional leaders, 166 academic economists said they oppose Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson’s plan because it’s a “subsidy” for business, it’s ambiguous and it may have adverse market consequences in the long term. They also expressed alarm at the haste of lawmakers and the Bush administration to pass legislation.

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Lawmakers: Financial bailout agreement reached


Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sen. Chris Dodd., D-Conn., center, speaks during a news conference with, from left, Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., Sen. Robert Bennett, R-Utah, Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., and Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., following a meeting on the market turmoil on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 25, 2008. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

WASHINGTON (AP) – Key Republicans and Democrats reported agreement Thursday on an outline for a historic $700 billion bailout of the financial industry, but there was still resistance from rank-and-file House Republicans despite warnings of an impending panic.

“I now expect we will, indeed, have a plan that can pass the House, pass the Senate, be signed by the president and bring a sense of certainty to this crisis that is sill roiling in the market,” Sen. Bob Bennett, R-Utah, said as members of both parties emerged from a two-hour negotiating session.

Negotiators planned to present the outline at a White House meeting later Thursday with President Bush and the rivals to replace him, Republican John McCain and Democrat Barrack Obama.

“We’re very confident that we can act expeditiously,” said Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., the Banking Committee chairman.

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Feds give customs agents free hand to seize travelers’ documents

SAN FRANCISCO — The Bush administration has overturned a 22-year-old policy and now allows customs agents to seize, read and copy documents from travelers at airports and borders without suspicion of wrongdoing, civil rights lawyers in San Francisco said Tuesday in releasing records obtained in a lawsuit.

The records also indicate that the government gives customs agents unlimited authority to question travelers about their religious beliefs and political opinions, said lawyers from the Asian Law Caucus and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. They said they had asked the Department of Homeland Security for details of any policy that would guide or limit such questioning and received no reply.

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Bailout Could Deepen Crisis, CBO Chief Says

Asset Sales May Lead to Write-Downs, Insolvencies, Orszag Tells Congress


Peter R. Orszag, director of the Congressional Budget Office, testifies on Capitol Hill yesterday. (By Brendan Hoffman — Getty Images)

The director of the Congressional Budget Office said yesterday that the proposed Wall Street bailout could actually worsen the current financial crisis.

During testimony before the House Budget Committee, Peter R. Orszag — Congress’s top bookkeeper — said the bailout could expose the way companies are stowing toxic assets on their books, leading to greater problems.

“Ironically, the intervention could even trigger additional failures of large institutions, because some institutions may be carrying troubled assets on their books at inflated values,” Orszag said in his testimony. “Establishing clearer prices might reveal those institutions to be insolvent.”

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FDIC May Need $150 Billion Bailout as Local Bank Failures Mount

Sept. 25 (Bloomberg) — Deborah Horn tugs on the handle of the glass-paned entrance of the IndyMac Bancorp Inc. branch in Manhattan Beach, California. The door won’t budge. The weekend is approaching, and Horn, 44, the sole breadwinner in a family of three, needs cash.

A small notice taped to the window on this Friday afternoon in mid-July tells her why she’s been locked out. IndyMac has failed, the single-spaced, letter-sized paper says; the bank is now in the hands of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

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U.S. says Pakistan shot at U.S. helicopters in Afghanistan


The observer of a helicopter of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) sits on the back door during a flight from Feyzabad to Kunduz, north of Kabul, September 24, 2008.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two NATO helicopters fired upon by Pakistani forces on Thursday were U.S. military aircraft operating inside Afghanistan, the Pentagon said.

“They were U.S. helicopters,” Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told reporters at a briefing. “The flight path of the helicopters at no point took them over Pakistan.”

A Pakistani military spokesman said the helicopters had crossed the border into Pakistani territory, while Pakistan’s president, Asif Ali Zardari, denied troops had shot at the helicopters, insisting that only warning flares had been fired.

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Homeland Security Detects Terrorist Threats by Reading Your Mind

Baggage searches are SOOOOOO early-21st century. Homeland Security is now testing the next generation of security screening – a body scanner that can read your mind.

Most preventive screening looks for explosives or metals that pose a threat. But a new system called MALINTENT turns the old school approach on its head. This Orwellian-sounding machine detects the person – not the device – set to wreak havoc and terror.

MALINTENT, the brainchild of the cutting-edge Human Factors division in Homeland Security’s directorate for Science and Technology, searches your body for non-verbal cues that predict whether you mean harm to your fellow passengers.

It has a series of sensors and imagers that read your body temperature, heart rate and respiration for unconscious tells invisible to the naked eye – signals terrorists and criminals may display in advance of an attack.

But this is no polygraph test. Subjects do not get hooked up or strapped down for a careful reading; those sensors do all the work without any actual physical contact. It’s like an X-ray for bad intentions.

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House approves $25 billion loan program for automakers

Those carmakers do not deserve a single cent and here is why:
Who Killed The Electric Car? (Documentary)
Documentary about GM killing of the electric car. It has been here since ‘96 but they killed it off. The “gasoline” for operating this car only costs 16 cents per gallon!
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DETROIT – The auto industry moved a step closer to winning the first of two battles it’s been waging in Washington for the past few weeks: A $25 billion direct loan program for automakers and suppliers was attached to a broad government spending bill approved Wednesday by the House of Representatives.

The bill, a “continuing resolution” that would continue to fund the federal government past the start of its new fiscal year on Oct. 1, includes the $7.5 needed to cover costs required to start the loans flowing. Approval by the Senate and the President’s signature are expected in the next few days.

The second battle, however, over rules governing how the loans will be doled out now won’t be decided until after the Presidential elections. That’s a setback for the industry.

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UK: COST OF BREAD AND BUTTER UP 43%


INCREASE: Bread price has soared

THE cost of basic foods has soared by nearly 10 times the official inflation rate.

A loaf of sliced white bread and a packet of butter now add up to £2.33 – a 43 per cent rise from £1.62 last year.

Eggs are up 27 per cent at £2.90 a dozen, cheddar cheese is 25 per cent dearer at £7.04 a kilo and best mince is up 20 per cent to £5.80 a kilo.

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