Archive for the ‘disaster’ Category

For U.S., Pragmatic Pair Chosen to Confront Terrorism Threat

December 2, 2008

Justice, Homeland Security picks have excellent credentials but not much direct experience.

By Carrie Johnson and Spencer S. Hsu
Washington Post Staff Writers
Tuesday, December 2, 2008; Page A11

In nominating former federal prosecutors to lead the departments of Justice and Homeland Security, President-elect Barack Obama yesterday selected two Democrats with sterling law-and-order credentials but less experience in detecting threats and gathering intelligence in the age of international terrorism.

Eric H. Holder Jr., the candidate to lead the Justice Department, served as the law enforcement agency’s second in command during the waning years of the Clinton administration, overseeing pursuits of violent crime, drug cartels and public corruption offenses. Janet Napolitano, who will run the sprawling Homeland Security bureaucracy, has served since 2003 as governor of Arizona, a border state at the forefront of the nation’s immigration debate.

U.S. Attorney General nominee Eric Holder listens as U.S. President-elect ... 
.S. Attorney General nominee Eric Holder listens as U.S. President-elect Barack Obama announces the nominees to staff his national security team, including Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) as his nominee for Secretary of State and Robert Gates to continue as Secretary of Defense during a news conference in Chicago December 1, 2008.REUTERS/John Gress (UNITED STATES)

Yet neither nominee boasts much direct experience with the most significant and pressing counterterrorism matters that will cross their desks if they are confirmed by the Senate and take office after the January inauguration.

Among them: how to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and assess the danger of detainees; how to reorient a domestic wiretapping program once branded as unlawful even by some Bush administration insiders; whether to expend scarce resources prosecuting the intelligence officers and lawyers who developed the framework for policies that Democrats have roundly criticized; and how to prioritize and allocate resources toward the top domestic threats.

At a news conference in Chicago yesterday, Holder played down the tension between protecting American citizens and respecting civil liberties, signaling that he would work to achieve bipartisan consensus in Congress for policies to attack national security threats.

Napolitano promised that the new Obama team will coordinate across all levels of government to ensure a “fast, sound, level-headed and effective” response to natural as well as terrorist-inflicted disasters.

President-elect Barack Obama (L) listens as Arizona Governor ... 
President-elect Barack Obama (L) listens as Arizona Governor Janet Napolitano, his choice for homeland security chief, speaks at a press conference in Chicago, Illinois. The Department of Homeland Security was born in the US government’s greatest reorganization since World War II after the September 11 attacks of 2001 made the threat of terrorism very real.(AFP/Getty Images/Scott Olson)

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http://www.washingtonpost.com/w
p-dyn/content/article/2008/12/01
/AR2008120102892.html?hpid=topnews

Failure of auto industry could set off catastrophe

November 13, 2008

Advocates for the nation’s automakers are warning that the collapse of the Big Three — or even just General Motors — could set off a catastrophic chain reaction in the economy, eliminating up to 3 million jobs and depriving governments of more than $150 billion in tax revenue.

Associated Press
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Industry supporters are offering such grim predictions as Congress weighs whether to bail out the nation’s largest automakers, which are struggling to survive the steepest economic slide in decades.

“We’ve got to do this because the cost of inaction is so high to communities, to workers, to companies,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat from Ohio. He was among many lawmakers worried that an industry collapse would be devastating for everything from school districts to small businesses.

Even if just GM collapsed, the failure could bring down the other two companies — and even the U.S. operations of foreign automakers — as parts suppliers run out of money and shut down.

Concern about the automakers hit new heights Friday when GM and Ford reported they spent a combined $14.6 billion more than they took in last quarter. GM said it could run out of money by the end of the year.

Ford said it could last through 2009, but only because it arranged a hefty credit line last year.

All this comes after tight credit and economic uncertainty in October reduced U.S. auto sales to their lowest level in 25 years — with no rebound in sight.

If the industry failed, among the hardest-hit communities would be Lordstown, Ohio, a village of 3,600 people about 50 miles east of Cleveland that has been home to a GM factory since 1966.

If the plant closed, Lordstown would lose up to 70 percent of its budget, a scary scenario that proponents of a multibillion dollar bailout say would be repeated across the industrial Midwest.

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http://finance.yahoo.com/news/Failure-of-auto-
industry-apf-13552316.html

Iraqi FM against quick US troop pullout

March 18, 2008
By KIM GAMEL, Associated Press Writer

BAGHDAD – Iraq’s foreign minister said Tuesday the risks of civil war have been averted after five years of “tears and blood.” But he warned an abrupt withdrawal of U.S. troops would wipe away the security gains and other achievements and have disastrous consequences.

Iraq's Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari gestures during an interview ...
Iraq’s Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari gestures during an interview with the Associated Press in Baghdad, Tuesday, March 18, 2008. Zebari said Tuesday he believes his country has averted a civil war after five years of ‘tears and blood’ but warned an abrupt withdrawal of U.S. troops would be ‘disastrous.’
(AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed )

With the war entering its sixth year, Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari acknowledged mistakes by all sides. But he insisted that Iraqis have made remarkable progress despite the violence that has killed tens of thousands of Iraqis and nearly 4,000 U.S. troops.

Zebari, a Kurd who spent years opposing Saddam Hussein in exile, said the Iraqis had cautioned that overthrowing the dictator would be “the easiest part” but “the day after would be far more difficult unless there was some planning, some preparation … and some real participation by the Iraqi leaders.”

“Mistakes were made by all, by the American military, by the British, by the coalition, by us, but this is water under the bridge now,” he told The Associated Press in an interview in an ornate reception room at the Foreign Ministry building in central Baghdad.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080318/ap_on_re_mi_
ea/iraq_foreign_minister;_ylt=A
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