APTOPIX Pakistan Clinton

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton chats with Pakistani tribal people during her meeting with them in Islamabad, Pakistan on Friday, Oct. 30, 2009. Clinton came face-to-face Friday with Pakistani anger over U.S. aerial drone attacks in tribal areas along the Afghan border, a strategy that U.S. officials say has succeeded in killing key terrorist leaders. (AP Photo/Irfan Mahmood)

Finally, European leaders passed an agreement in Brussels making it possible for Czech leaders to sign the Lisbon Treaty, which aims to widen the power bloc’s presence on the world stage. They passed a measure that would allow the Czech Republic to opt out of the EUs Charter of Fundamental Rights. The Czechs, along with the Irish and Poles, were some of the final holdouts in terms of ratifying the Lisbon Treaty. Now that the EU will officially expand, the debate on who will lead it is intensifying. Tony Blair was considered a shoo-in for president, but as time passes that no longer seems so clear. French and German leaders believe the EU President should be from a center-right coalition, which would reflect most of the governments in the EU. Others are concerned he’s too close to the past.

“Now in the United States, Obama is the president, it is no more Mr Bush. We have a new treaty, we have to reset Europe and we need to start with some new ideas. There is and will remain a link for the next generation between Iraq, Bush and Tony Blair.”  — Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn [Bloomberg]

Also at the Brussels summit, EU leaders set a target for funding climate change, agreeing it would cost 100 billion euros a year to fight global warming. The deal has drawn some criticism, but leaders seem hopeful. The U.K’s Gordon Brown said “We were aware that if the European Union did not come together to solve some of the impasses, the possibility of a deal at the Copenhagen summit would be a lot less likely…The EU is leading the way with bold proposals – do not allow years to go by without action.” Poorer countries, especially East Europe’s former communist bloc, insist that the financial burden be proportional with what each country can bear, while environmental groups insist the deal does not do enough. “[The EU] failed to use this opportunity to put its money where its mouth is,” said Joris den Blanken of Greenpeace.  There were also few specifics attached to the agreement, other than the 5-7 billion euros richer countries have pledged to begin taking action. Other details are to be worked out in an EU committee.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said that the U.S. economy has the capacity to weather the storm blowing in the commercial real estate market: “You can say now with confidence that the financial system is stable, the economy is stabilized,” Geithner said. “You can see the first signs of growth here and around the world.” The numbers, however, are daunting. In the third quarter the cost of leasing space dropped 8.5% last year, which is the most dramatic drop since the 90s. Companies have also let go of 20 million square feet of space in the third quarter.

Wednesday’s bombings in a Peshawar Pakistan marketplace left more than 100 dead. While the U.S. and Paskistani governments looked to the usual suspects to take the blame, Hakimullah Mehsud, the leader of the Pakistani Taliban, has fingered private security firm Blackwater as the culprit. In an interview with BBC Urdu, Mehsud and his spokesman claimed the U.S. was attempting to “defame” the Taliban, who he says is successfully defeating the Paskistani army in South Waziristan.

A recent poll showed that former French Prime Minister Jacque Chirac is the most famous politician in the country, but that may not stop him from facing prosecution for corruption during his tenure as Mayor of Paris. Specifically, Chirac is alleged to have paid over 20 employees in his administration for doing jobs that did not exist. Xaviere Simeoni, the investigating magistrate, also dropped charges that Chirac had forged government documents. There are nine other individuals charged in this suit, including Jean de Gaulle, grandson of former president Charles de Gaulle.  (Al Jazeera ENG)

The Hondurans have a deal. Ousted President Manuel Zalaya and interim President Roberto Micheletti have signed an agreement to share power until November 29th when Presidential elections will take place. The election date included in the deal, as well as the forming of a “Truth Commission” to investigate this ordeal, were suggested in the first round of peace talks headed by Nobel Peace Prize winner and Costa Rican President Oscar Arias and the Organization of American States. However, those talks fell through, and on October 23rd Zelaya still opposed elections.

“To have an electoral process under these circumstances is almost the same as elections in Afghanistan under blood and fire…

The Hondurans, the Central American people and Americas do not want a democracy with violence.”

Blood, fire, mañana. Conditions changed because Micheletti agreed to allow Zelaya to return to power, pending a decision by the Honduran Supreme Court, in the interim between now and the Presidential election.

Don’t get too comfortable. After yesterday’s impressive rally on the news of the U.S.’s expanding GDP, the stock market has taken a tumble in response to a drop in consumer spending and confidence. Continued job losses and idle incomes kept Americans away from the mall as spending decreased 0.5% in September after a 1.4% jump in August.

“The stock market got a little tired after a rally of that magnitude yesterday,” said Malcolm Polley, chief investment officer at Stewart Capital Advisors in Indiana, Pennsylvania, which manages $1 billion. “Third-quarter GDP numbers were good, the worst is behind us, but consumer spending is not sustainable yet. Valuations are probably ahead of where they should be.”

Meanwhile, the dollar and yen have risen. Analysts fear this may be because other countries are beginning to scale back on recession efforts to stimulate their economies.

ICANN — the org that coordinates the world’s internet traffic — approved plans to let web domains be written in non-Latin characters, the “biggest technical change” to the web since its invention four decades ago. The change would further globalize the ever-expanding internet landscape, allowing regions around the globe to use their own local alphabet characters to surf more… fairly?


use this opportunity to put its money where its mouth is

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