Morning Brief: The picture darkens
Top Story Investors around the world may not know where the bottom lies, but collectively, they sure are trying to get there. The Dow Jones Industrial Average sank below 8,000 points Wednesday for the first time since March 2003. Asian and European stocks followed in today’s trading. Globally, stocks are at 5-1/2 year lows, and ...
Investors around the world may not know where the bottom lies, but collectively, they sure are trying to get there.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average sank below 8,000 points Wednesday for the first time since March 2003. Asian and European stocks followed in today’s trading. Globally, stocks are at 5-1/2 year lows, and oil has sunk below $52 a barrel.
“The problem is there is absolutely no silver lining visible,” one Singapore-based analyst told the New York Times. “A serious recession now appears all but assured,” the Washington Post reports, citing a morass of depressing new data.
Meanwhile, it looks increasingly unlikely that U.S. automakers will get their $25 billion bailout this year. The heads of the “Big Three” manufacturers went to Capitol Hill Wednesday and received another verbal beating. It didn’t help that they had flown to Washington on corporate jets.
The next industry to feel the pain? Hedge funds. “An estimated 700 hedge funds may go out of business by the end of the year,” according to data cited by Bloomberg News.
U.S. Presidential Transition
Bill Clinton has reportedly agreed to reveal the names of his foundation’s donors, clearing a path for Hillary to become secretary of state — if she wants the job.
President-elect Barack Obama named a few more White House staffers: David Axelrod as senior advisor, Lisa Brown as staff secretary, and Chris Lu as cabinet secretary.
The next secretary of homeland security is said to be Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano.
The transition team announced the leaders of “policy working groups” in areas like economics, immigration, and national security. Tea-leaf readers will note that Jim Steinberg’s name is listed above that of Susan Rice.
In a bizarre, bigoted new tape, al Qaeda’s No. 2 accuses Obama of selling out his race and Muslim heritage.
Authorities in Panama are holding David Murcia, the alleged mastermind of a pyramid scheme whose collapse has roiled Colombian politics.
Bolivian President Evo Morales did not exactly receive a warm welcome in Washington this week.
South Korean activists are sending propaganda balloons into North Korea.
A serial killer may be stalking Japanese bureaucrats.
Middle East and Africa
Iraq’s Parliament turned into a free-for-all yesterday as lawmakers aligned with rogue cleric Moqtada al-Sadr denounced the troop agreement with the United States. Iraq’s foreign minister thinks there’s a “chance” the agreement will pass. The brawling continued today.
Somali pirates are demanding a $25 million ransom for the Saudi oil tanker.
Experts say Iran has enough enriched uranium to build one nuclear weapon.
The IAEA released a report suggesting that Syria was building a nuclear reactor.
French President Nicolas Sarkozy is calling his own financial summit, to the irritation of some.
Iceland is finally getting help: $2.1 billion from the IMF and $2.5 billion from Finland, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark.
EU agriculture ministers have reached a deal to reform farm subsidies.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson speaks at the Reagan Library.
The U.S. Department of Labor releases its weekly unemployment report.
Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Blake Hounshell is a former managing editor of Foreign Policy.
More from Foreign Policy
America Is a Heartbeat Away From a War It Could Lose
Global war is neither a theoretical contingency nor the fever dream of hawks and militarists.
The West’s Incoherent Critique of Israel’s Gaza Strategy
The reality of fighting Hamas in Gaza makes this war terrible one way or another.
Biden Owns the Israel-Palestine Conflict Now
In tying Washington to Israel’s war in Gaza, the U.S. president now shares responsibility for the broader conflict’s fate.
Taiwan’s Room to Maneuver Shrinks as Biden and Xi Meet
As the latest crisis in the straits wraps up, Taipei is on the back foot.