Wikinews:Briefs/September 16, 2008
Wikinews News in Brief 2008-09-16 15:30 UTC
- Ogg Vorbis:
The time is 15:30 UTC, this is the Audio Wikinews Brief for Tuesday, September 16, 2008. I'm Kevin Fields, and here is today's current stories.
Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai today signed a power sharing deal in the county's capital of Harare. Speaking to crowds of people celebrating the deal, Tsvangirai said that the unity government would let businesses flourish so that people can work and provide for their families with pride He also said that he signed the agreement because he believe it represented the best opportunity for Zimbabweans to build a peaceful and prosperous democratic live. Mugabe also spoke after the deal, asking for everybody to be allies. He wants the people to be committed so that the world can see that they will follow through with their promises. Despite the agreement, there was some tension at the protest, with supporters of the two parties throwing stones at each other. The deal means that Tsvangirai is now the Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, acting as the head of the council of ministers. Mugabe remains the president of Zimbabwe, meaning that he is still the chair of the cabinet. The cabinet contains 16 seats from Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change, while Mugabe's Zanu-PF has fifteen seats. The MDC also controls the police and Zanu-PF control the armed forces.
Major American investment bankers Lehman Brothers. has filed paperwork for bankruptcy. It would be the largest collapse of an investment firm in 18 years. Lehman attempted to find a buyer over the weekend but it met with no success. The last remaining bidder, Barclays PLC bank pulled out Sunday afternoon. Based in the United Kingdom, Barclays had become the sole bidder after a consortium led by Bank of America pulled out early Sunday morning citing that it would need government support before considering a bid. The support would consist of backing bad debts owed by Lehman. Barclays cited a similar reason for withdrawing its bid. As of Monday morning, no buyer has come though to take control of the firm. As a result, the firm filed for bankruptcy protection. The main sticking point for potential buyers appears to be the unwillingness for the U.S. government to provide financial support. United States Treasury Secretary Hank Paulsen has repeatedly said that no government money will be given to Lehman or used in any takeover the firm. Government money was used in the takeover of Bear Stearns by JPMorgan Chase in March of this year. Bear Stearns suffered similar problems as Lehman. Paulson, along with other government officials, proposed a solution that Lehman would get split into two separate entities. However, this proposal has been discarded by many of Wall Street banks. Members of the G8 have reportedly been keep abreast of the situation by U.S. government. The firm, which has over 25,000 employees, has suffered bad results due to the subprime mortgage crisis.
The International Monetary Fund and the European Union approved aid packages to help Georgia recover from its conflict with Russia, which occurred in early August. The IMF approved a $750 million loan, which will allow Georgia to rebuild its currency reserves. The European Union also approved an aid package of €500 million in aid by 2010, which is expected to help internally displaced people (IDPs) and economic recovery in form of new infrastructure. Only €100 million of the EU aid will be given to Georgia this year. These loans are aimed to restore confidence in Georgia's economy and send a signal to international investors that Georgia's economy is sound. Georgia has requested $2 billion in international aid to help it recover from the conflict. So far, the United States has pledge $1 billion in aid. Further assistance and loans to Georgia are expected from other organizations. Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chairman of the IMF executive committee Takatoshi Kato noted that Georgia is expected to receive financial assistance from multilateral and bilateral donors and creditors in support of the reconstruction effort, and it is expected that an international donors' conference will take place next month to solicit more aid for the country. Georgia's government expects that growth will be more then cut in half as a result of the conflict. Last year, Georgia's GDP was 12.4% and its predicted by the IMF that growth will be less than 4 percent.
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