Foe’s gold


And then the country’s pay czar descended from the mountaintop, or at least from his Washington law office, and handed down his rulings. And for his 175 subjects — er, I mean the 25 most highly paid executives at the seven big companies that still hold billions of dollars in government assistance — his rulings were painful.

Now that the U.S. has thrown out the Palestinian request to freeze Israeli settlement expansion as a condition to revive Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu is willing to resume negotiations. The Palestinians, however, consider this a serious blow to the peace process. To make matters worse, yesterday, Israeli police arrested American born Israeli settler Yakov Teitel, who is accused of killing two Palestinians and bombing the home of Israeli intellectual, Zeev Sternhell. He was detained while passing out leaflets condemning homosexuality.

No foe. One day after Hamid Karzai’s sole challenger in Afghanistan’s presidential race, Abdullah Abdullah, pulled out of the running, incumbent Karzai has been declared winner in the incredibly controversial election. Only some of the tangled web: the runoff’s cancellation followed a meeting on Monday between UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Karzai and Abdullah. Karzai asked his opponent afterward to reconsider his decision, but to no avail.

Republican Congressional candidate in NY’s 23rd District Dede Scozzafava has thrown her endorsement to the Democrat in the race, Bill Owens. The GOP deserted Scozzafava last week as they realized her poll numbers were dragging, and instead started to support Conservative candidate Doug Hoffman. The party split is drawing criticism from some who feel the party should  stay towards the middle of the road. Check out Scozzafava, Hoffman and Owens’ views here.

North Korea calls for direct talks with the U.S., in the most overt signal so far that it is ready to restart nuclear disarmament talks it’s boycotted for almost a year. North Korea’s foreign ministry essentially said that, unless America agrees to bilateral dialogue with the country, it will “go its own way.”

Ford Motor Co — the only U.S. automaker to avoid a government bailout — postsnearly $1 billion in profits for Q3 . Though the car manufacturer beat street expectations, it may only be winning a battle, and not the war.

The Supreme Court will decide today whether Wall Street investment firms are overcharging mutual fund investors. The firm in question — Harris and Associates — has been accused of allowing third party investors such as teacher pension funds to pay lower service fees than individual shareholders do. The bank argues that those fees make up for the customer service it must provide to fund investors, but shareholders are arguing the practice breaks a 1970s law that protects them from price gouging. The Court is divided on the ruling, which might force reductions in the $90 billion in annual fees that fund advisers collect.

Small business lender CIT Group filed for bankruptcy — as expected — late last night. The 101-year-old firm has received $2.3 billion in TARP bailout funds, or, taxpayer money, that the government says probably cannot be recovered. Just in time for Obama’s proposal to start redirecting TARP funds to small businesses, from big bad banks.



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