March 17 - Former left-wing president Mohammed Khatami dropped out of the Iranian presidential race and endorsed fellow reformist candidate and former prime minister Mir-Hossein Moussavi in an attempt to unite the left-wing faction in Iran. Khatami served as president of Iran from 1997-2005 before transferring power to current president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, a staunch conservative. Ahmadinejad is widely regarded as the front-runner in the election, backed with support from Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. The election will be held on June 12, 2009.
President Barack Obama announced the nomination of Governor Kathleen Sebelius (D-Kan.) as Secretary of Health and Human Services and Nancy-Ann DeParle as head of the White House Office for Health Reform. Obama had earlier nominated former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) for both positions but Daschle withdrew over concerns regarding his failure to fully pay his taxes. If confirmed, Sebelius and DeParle will oversee a gigantic overhaul of the United States health care system and make many changes to government programs and agencies such as Medicare and the Food and Drug Administration. Obama has estimated that the cost of overhauling the system will exceed $1 billion.
Protesters around the world rallied on the 50th anniversary of the Dalai Lama's exile. On March 9, 1959, the Dalai Lama fled Tibet when the Chinese government began to enforce its laws on religious organization. Currently, legislation in Washington is on the table that would put pressure on China to work towards a resolution with the Dalai Lama, who is now 74. On March 10, the United States State Department issued a statement that called for cooperation between the Chinese and the Tibetan exiles.
Italy Feb. 17 - An Italian court sentenced British lawyer David Mills to four-and-a-half years in prison for accepting a bribe from Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi during Berlusconi's corruption trials in 1997 and 1998. Mills, one of Berlusconi's consultants on tax havens, allegedly accepted £400,000 from Berlusconi to lie on the witness stand.
Feb. 16 - President Barack Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 into law after pushing it through both houses in Congress. The law will spend $787 billion in various areas including healthcare, education, infrastructure, energy, housing and research. About $288 billion will be allocated to tax relief. Many Republicans in both houses criticized the bill for not giving enough tax cuts. Some economists that favor the idea of a large stimulus to increase spending believe that the stimulus amount is too low. Obama has promised governmental oversight into the stimulus plan to ensure that no money is wasted on corporate bonuses and earmarks.
Feb. 3 - Former Senate Majority Leader Thomas Daschle (D-S.D.) withdrew his nomination as Secretary of Health and Human Services in the Obama cabinet after it was revealed that he failed to pay more than $100,000 in taxes from 2005 - 2007. He had paid back the amount he owed and an additional $11,964 in interest last month during the vetting process. In addition, questions regarding a potential conflict of interest were cited by political analysts as reasons that he withdrew his nomination. Since he left the Senate, Daschle had earned income from advising heath insurers and hospitals and speaking for health care interests.
Feb. 12 - Pakistan has officially acknowledged that the November Mumbai attacks were at least partially planned in Pakistan. Interior Ministry Chief Rehman Malik stated that Pakistan has already apprehended most of the suspects, including "the main operator." The Indian Foreign Ministry has responded that Pakistan's official acknowledgment is a move in the positive direction, but urged the Pakistani government to take more action to dismantle terrorist groups organized in Pakistan. The Pakistani government had previously denied any involvement in the Mumbai events. The terrorist attacks, synchronized over several locations in downtown Mumbai, resulted in at least 173 dead and over 308 wounded. Military intelligence in other countries, such as the United States and India, had deemed that the attacks originated in Pakistan.
Jan. 28 - The International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicted that the world economy will only grow by 0.5 percent this year - the lowest percentage in 60 years - in the midst of the financial crisis. The IMF forecasted that Japan and the United Kingdom will experience the worst declines with both economies shrinking 2.6 percent.
Jan. 20 - President Barack Obama's inauguration officially made him the first black president and the 44th overall President of the United States. Over a million people attended the inauguration in D.C., and millions more watched the event on television or on the Internet around the world. The inauguration marked the official "peaceful transition" of power between Republican and Democratic control in the executive branch.
Jan. 7 - The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) announced in a report that the government will face a $1.2 trillion deficit for the fiscal year ending in September. In the same report, the CBO also announced that government spending this year will exceed government revenue by eight percent - the highest deficit since World War II. Experts predict the deficit will shrink as the economy improves, but also said that the decrease in the spending and revenue gap will be offset soon after by the sky-rocketing costs of providing Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security to baby boomers when they retire. President-elect Barack Obama addressed the report in a conference soon after it was released and said that he would offer a specific plan to deal with the deficit when he submits his first budget proposal to Congress next month.
Intense fighting continues as Israel continues to march towards Gaza. The death toll has increased rapidly since the fighting has begun, with over 1,000 Palestinians dead. The international media have been barred from entering the area by Israeli troops. Humanitarian aid to injured Palestinians is limited as Israel continues to control the flow of goods into the area. The United Nations passed a unanimous resolution on Jan. 13 urging for the immediate ceasefire between these two warring bodies, although the U.S. abstained from voting. Both parties are still fighting but have been conducting diplomatic negotiations in neighboring Egypt. Osama Bin Laden allegedly released an audio message on Jan. 14, calling for a jihad against Israel because of the Gaza conflicts. Thousands around the world have protested the Gaza conflict, calling for its end. On Jan. 17, Israel announced that it would cease fighting.
India Dec. 23 - Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh rejected the possibility of going to war with Pakistan over the attacks on the Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai last month. Instead, Singh stressed the importance of putting international pressure on Islamabad to cooperate in the fight against terrorism. On Dec. 22, India released a letter to Pakistan composed by the only surviving perpetrator of the attacks in Indian custody, Ajmal Kasav, stating that he and the other planners of the attack were Pakistani. Pakistan's Interior Ministry chief Rehman Malik denied Kasav's claims and said there were no documents that established the attackers' Pakistani nationality.
Washington, D.C. The government is continuing to work on an automobile bailout package after Republican senators blocked the passage of the $15 billion bailout, reasoning that the bill would give the industry too much freedom without sufficient financial responsibilities. The bailout money will most likely come from the existing $700 billion plan or from the Federal Reserve's emergency fund, as the auto industry is expected to receive up to $15 billion. Current public opinion of the auto bailout is divided - 47 percent of Americans are for and 46 percent are against it, according to a Gallup poll. General Motors and Chrysler have said that their money will dry up within weeks while Ford has stated that they can still stay afloat. Chrysler halted production for a month starting Friday.
Dec. 6 - Riots broke out in the streets of Athens and other Greek cities after policeman shot and killed 15-year-old Alexandros Grigopoulos during a confrontation between policemen and a group of teenagers in a neighborhood known as a leftist hangout. Hours later, youth in other regions of Greece protested the shootings at demonstrations, which led to rioting in many places. Many political analysts have hypothesized that rising unemployment, anger at the Greek government and overall frustration were catalysts for the riots. The policeman who shot Grigopoulos has been charged with premeditated manslaughter.
Nov. 29 - Indian commandos regained control of all attack sites in Mumbai after more than three days of terrorism. Ten terrorists, nine of whom are now dead, attacked several densely populated areas in Mumbai with heavy assault weapons and targeted mostly American and British nationals. As of Dec. 3, an estimated 188 people were killed, including six Americans. The only captured terrorist has claimed that the group Lashkar-e-Taiba, an extremist Muslim terrorist group based in Pakistan, is responsible for the series of coordinated attacks.
Nov. 23 - The United States Government agreed to provide $25 billion of cash and $20 billion worth of capital to Citigroup, a banking and financial conglomerate, in its largest financial bailout to a single entity ever. The government also promised to protect Citigroup against up to $306 billion worth of loses. In return, Citigroup agreed to give $27 billion of preferred stocks to the government and allow more government oversight. Two days before the bailout was announced, Citigroup's stock plunged to $3.77 from above $50 last summer.
Nov. 7 - A school collapse in Haiti killed at least 94 students and adults and injured at least 150 more. About 500 students were in the La Promesse School for a party when the three-story concrete block building fell. After charges of involuntary manslaughter were pressed against him, Fortin Augustin, the school's owner and builder and a Protestant preacher, turned himself into authorities on Nov. 8. If charged, Augustin could face life in prison.
Congress has been working on a $25 billion bailout for the failing U.S. auto industry. The Detroit's "Big Three" automakers (General Motors, Ford and Chrysler) have been adversely affected by the failing economy, as their share prices have dropped due to reduced profits from a low number of car sales. Automakers are likely to lose even more sales due to the frozen credit crisis. Democrats have been pushing for the $25 billion to be carved out of the existing $700 billion bailout for the housing crisis, whereas Republicans have asked that the money come from funds currently allocated to alternative energy research.
Nov. 4 – People around the world congratulated Barack Obama on winning the U.S. presidency. Political leaders from Britain, Germany, China, France, Indonesia, Japan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel and Russia have spoken with optimism in reaction to Obama's win. Iran's Deputy Parliament Speaker Mohammad Hossein Abutorabifard spoke with slight optimism, saying, "If the United States takes into consideration the realities of the world and chooses suitable policies, America can play its (proper) role in the relations between the United States and the countries of the region and the world of Islam."
Nov. 4 - Senator Barack Obama (D-Ill.) was elected the 44th President of the United States. Obama won 53 percent of the popular vote and 364 electoral votes to become the first African-American president. His opponent, Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.), won 46 percent of the popular vote and 163 electoral votes. Results in Missouri still have not been finalized. Senator Joe Biden (D-Del.) will become the 47th Vice President of the United States. In Congressional Elections, Democrats retained control of the House of Representatives and the Senate with a majority of 56 seats in the Senate and 254 seats in the House, including Independents who caucus with the Democrats. Three Senate seats are still undecided as results are too close to call and results may be recounted. Democrats are hoping to win all three seats so they can have a filibuster-proof Senate, as 60 votes are needed to end a filibuster.
Oct. 13: After days of losses, the Dow Jones Industrial average gained 936 points (11.1 percent), the largest one-day gain in history. After more fluctuations, the Dow Jones lost 733 points (7.87 percent) - the second largest one-day loss ever - on Oct. 15.
The $700 billion bailout plan was passed to calm financial nerves. The money will go to banks that need to pay off bad debts. The plan is intended to restore confidence in the loan industry, which suffered as a result of the mortgage crisis. Insurance giant American International Group, which has suffered extreme losses and is a large recipient of bailout money, has allegedly spent $400,000 recently on a lavish vacation for its executives, according to Democratic Presidential Candidate and Senator Barack Obama (D-Ill).
The financial markets experienced extreme price volatility after the recent failures of the financial industry. The fundamental problem was caused by constant declines in housing prices. Banking institutions suffered major losses on home mortgages, as homebuyers are unwilling to pay the banks more than the property is currently worth. The mortgage problem has snowballed into other equity investments because the total capital losses of these major institutions result in reduced investor confidence; investors are not as willing to put money into major institutions that give bad loans.
Sept. 7: In an attempt to stabilize the volatile financial and housing markets, the federal government seized control of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the two largest financial mortgaging companies in the United States. Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson announced the move to restore confidence in the two mortgage giants who together control a majority of the housing loans in the country. The International Monetary Fund estimated that losses from the current financial crisis, partly caused by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, could be over $1 trillion.
May 25 – The Mars Craft Phoenix successfully landed on Mars, and is ready to begin looking for signs of life on the planet. Using a parachute and thrusters in place of the typical protective air bags, Phoenix was the first such successful landing using this technology since the Viking Missions in 1976. Designed to stay in place, Phoenix will use a robotic arm to dig into the soil and ice and search for organic material and other signs that life exists, existed or could exist on Mars. Because Phoenix landed further north than any previous missions, scientists think the lender's accessibility to frozen water on or near Mars's surface will tell if the minerals and organic compound needed for life are or were present on Mars.
We found 144 results.