November 28th, 2008
02:02 PM ET

The FBI – ready for Mumbai

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/11/28/india.attacks/art.taj.1835.gi.jpg
caption="Security forces outside the Taj Mahal Hotel."]
Kelli Arena
CNN Washington Correspondent

The FBI has a team ready to fly to Mumbai and join the investigation. Officials are working with Indian diplomats to get them there. They need an invitation from the Indian government. And the State Department is still discussing Indian officials how the FBI would operate once it hits the ground.

That can be a delicate negotiation with any country. But U.S. ties to Pakistan, India's longtime enemy, make it more complicated.

Whenever Americans are injured or killed anywhere in the world by a terrorist attack, the FBI opens a case. But it can only operate in another country with that government's permission.

After the U.S. embassy Bombings in Nairobi, there was full and total cooperation. After the attack on the USS Cole in Yemen, there were more guarded dealings with the host government.

In India's case, you have a strong, sovereign, and fairly well organized government that has investigators from Canada, Great Britain, Australia and other countries all asking for access because their citizens were victims here.

The Indian government will have to arrange whatever access they will grant for each country's agencies. For the FBI, the State Department will have to negotiate that carefully.

Filed under: India • India Attacked • Kelli Arena • Terrorism
November 28th, 2008
12:17 PM ET

Reasons for irrational Obama exuberance

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/11/27/art.bothx1127.yt.jpg
caption="President-elect Obama notes in his latest weekly address that the Thanksgiving holiday was established by President Abraham Lincoln during a time of great division and turmoil in the country."] 
John Avlon
AC360 Contributor

Editor's Note: John P. Avlon is the author of Independent Nation: How Centrists Can Change American Politics.

It's bizarro world in America post-election-we feel hopeful about our politics and fearful about the markets.

It's the opposite of what we've come accustomed to in recent years, times when if the economy's grooving than all other factors fade away-even war itself-or as it was ten years ago, when the internet bubble happily distracted us from the Monica-mess.

But right now we're enjoying a bit of bliss after a 22-month build-up, and President-elect Obama is basking in approval ratings well ahead of his final vote-total...


Filed under: Barack Obama • John P. Avlon • Raw Politics
November 28th, 2008
10:49 AM ET

A win-win bankruptcy reform

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Rich Leonard
The Washington Post

I watched a middle-aged widow lose her home recently.

Her story was familiar. She owned her simple brick residence outright until four years ago, when a mortgage broker stopped by and offered her a loan too good to be true. In exchange for taking on a modest monthly payment, she could make some needed repairs and consolidate other debts.

More sophisticated than many borrowers, she realized she was getting an adjustable-rate mortgage. What she didn't realize was that, in the biggest "bait-and-switch" ever pulled by an entire industry, her ARM was not tied to the prime rate or any other index, as adjustable-rate mortgages have traditionally been. Her rate simply adjusted periodically, ever upward. When it hit 14 percent, her social worker's salary could no longer cover the payments.

I watched this story unfold in court, from my seat in a bankruptcy judge's chair. While a Chapter 13 filing temporarily stopped the foreclosure on this woman's home, it did little more than buy a few months' time.


Filed under: Economy
November 28th, 2008
10:42 AM ET

Stimulus for skeptics

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/POLITICS/11/26/transition.wrap/art.paulson.geithner.jpg
caption="Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, right, sits down with his likely successor, Timothy Geithner, on Tuesday."]
David Brooks
The New York Times

Over the past year, the federal government has poured money into the economy hundreds of billions of dollars at a time. It has also guaranteed investments, loans and deposits worth about $8 trillion. Barry Ritholtz, the author of “Bailout Nation,” points out that this project constitutes the largest infusion in American history.

If you add up just the funds that have already been committed, you get a figure, according to Jim Bianco of Bianco Research, that is larger in today’s dollars than the costs of the Marshall Plan, the Louisiana Purchase, the New Deal, the Korean War, Vietnam and the S.&L. crisis combined.

Is all this money doing any good?

The financial system seems to have stabilized, but bank lending is minimal, home prices keep falling, consumer spending is plummeting, and the economy continues to dive.


Filed under: David Brooks • Economy
November 28th, 2008
10:34 AM ET

India's antiterror blunders

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/11/28/india.attacks/art.bus.guest.ap.jpg
caption="An unidentified guest gives a thumb's up sign Friday inside a bus after being rescued from the Oberoi Hotel."]
Sadanand Dhume
The Wall Street Journal

As the story of the carnage in Mumbai unfolds, it is tempting to dismiss it as merely another sorry episode in India's flailing effort to combat terrorism. Over the past four years, Islamist groups have struck in New Delhi, Jaipur, Bangalore and Ahmedabad, among other places. The death toll from terrorism - not counting at least 119 killed in Mumbai on Wednesday and Thursday - stands at over 4,000, which gives India the dubious distinction of suffering more casualties since 2004 than any country except Iraq.

The attacks highlight India's particular vulnerability to terrorist violence. But they are also a warning to any country that values what Mumbai symbolizes for Indians: pluralism, enterprise and an open society. Put simply, India's failure to protect its premier city offers a textbook example for fellow democracies on how not to deal with militant Islam.


Filed under: India • India Attacked
November 28th, 2008
10:26 AM ET

Behind the Mumbai attack

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/WORLD/asiapcf/11/28/india.attacks/art.nariman.afp.jpg
caption="Indian army commandos are shown on the rooftop of the Jewish center in Mumbai."]
Savi Hensman

The carnage in Bombay (officially known as Mumbai), in which gunmen have killed over a hundred people, injured many more and taken hostages, has shocked the world. It has thrown a spotlight on religious extremism of various kinds.

While a group calling itself the Deccan Mujahideen has claimed responsibility, the most high-profile victim was anti-terrorist unit head Hemant Karkare, who just two days before had received a death threat for his investigation of violent Hindu supremacists. His death, along with two other senior police officers, Ashok Kamte and Vijay Salaskar, is a blow to efforts to make Bombay safe for residents and visitors from all creeds and communities.


Filed under: India • India Attacked
November 28th, 2008
08:30 AM ET

Just when you thought it was safe, subprime lenders are back...

Chad Terhune and Robert Berner
Business Week

As if they haven't done enough damage. Thousands of subprime mortgage lenders and brokers-many of them the very sorts of firms that helped create the current financial crisis-are going strong. Their new strategy: taking advantage of a long-standing federal program designed to encourage homeownership by insuring mortgages for buyers of modest means.

You read that correctly. Some of the same people who propelled us toward the housing market calamity are now seeking to profit by exploiting billions in federally insured mortgages...

Click here to read more

Filed under: 360° Radar • Finance
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