[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/03/art.heads.afp.gi.jpg caption="Cai Mingchao says the sculptures should be returned to the country for free."]
Many Chinese seem to support the Chinese antiques collector who made a successful bid for two 18th century bronze sculptures — and then refused to pay for them.
Cai Mingchao last week made the $40 million bid on the two fountainheads that were part of Christie’s auction of Yves Saint Laurent’s collection — but has since said he will not pay up, claiming the sculptures were looted from China and should be returned to the country for free.
In a poll on Sina.com, more than 74 percent of the 327,444 respondents supported Cai. Asked if it was worthwhile for Chinese to bid for the sculptures, more than 84 percent answered: “no, they should be returned gratis.”
Cai’s move prompted many comments in cyberspace. Many hailed him as a “patriotic Chinese bidder,” while others considered him crafty.
CNN New York
You hear people talk about it wherever you go – deep concerns about retirement savings. The Dow Industrials are stuck below 7000 for the first time in almost 12-years after a 299 point plunge Monday. The Dow is down 23% so far this year and down 52% from its record high only 16 months ago. The slow-motion crash has everyone is asking – where is the bottom? The market reversed an earlier gain and is now lower.
In a particularly sensitive stock market, any comment or clue on the future from key players in government could have a big influence. We’ll be listening for that today when three of them testify about the President’s budget on Capitol Hill. At 10a Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke appears before the Senate Budget Committee, while Budget Director Peter Orszag simultaneously testifies before the House Budget Committee. At 1230p Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will appear before the House Ways and Means Committee.
Reporter's Note: I am writing a letter a day to the White House. President Obama said he wanted advice on how to run the country, and everyone likes getting something in the mail!
Tom Foreman | Bio
Dear Mr. President,
So now the Dow has plunged below 7000, to its lowest level in twelve years, and another round of teeth gnashing has ensued. Once again I am hearing choruses of the “D” word (as in Depression) being thrown around. And as much as I think fear and panic are wasted emotions that often lead to more problems than solutions, I can certainly understand why so many people are feeling them now. The problem is not just that the economy is down. The trouble is that there does not even seem to be any kind of actual cause and effect at work anymore.
When I step on the gas, the car goes. When I step on the brake, it stops. Usually. During the snowstorm this morning I had an exhilarating moment when I stepped on the brake and the car briefly considered going into the neighbor’s kitchen. But that’s beside the point. In life, people need to know there is at least some vague relationship between what we do and the attendant rewards or punishments.
AC360° Senior Producer
Is there anyone out there proficient in the art of performing miracles? The world could use one- like right about now. Markets tanked yesterday, hitting levels not seen since 1997. Stocks tumbled after American International Group’s quarterly loss added to worries about the economy. Is there a bottom in sight?
Investors are jittery over plans to revive the economy- bailouts & stimulus’s inclusively. The Economic Trifecta (Fed Chair Ben Bernanke, OMB Director Peter Orszag & Treasury Sec. Tim Geithner) will hit Capitol Hill to answer questions about the economy and defend the Obama Administration's solutions. Will their testimony move markets?
Jill Dougherty and Suzanne Malveaux
President Obama has told Russia that the United States might not proceed with a missile defense system in eastern Europe if Iran drops plans for producing nuclear weapons, senior administration officials said Tuesday.
Obama raised the possibility in a letter to Russia seeking help in trying to end Iran's nuclear program, a senior administration official said. Contrary to news reports, it was not a secret letter, the official said.
Obama told Russian President Dmitry Medvedev in the letter that the U.S. missile defense system in Russia's backyard would not be necessary if Iran stopped it own ambitions to build nuclear warheads and long-range ballistic missiles, the officials said.
The letter suggested Russia could have a role in reducing Iran's nuclear threat, and therefore could dissuade the United States from going forward with its plans to establish a missile base in Poland and a radar facility in the Czech Republic.
The administration laid out several key approaches to whittling down U.S. debt. Whether they pan out as the president hopes is a question mark.
President Obama won't submit a formal 2010 budget request to Congress until next month. But the head-knocking on the Hill over fiscal priorities begins in earnest this week.
Starting on Tuesday, White House budget director Peter Orszag, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke will all be testifying before Congressional committees about the budget.
A main question will be whether Obama's proposals can reduce the deficit as much as the administration estimates they will: $2 trillion over 10 years.
Orszag bases that deficit-reduction estimate on four main factors: economic recovery, collecting more revenue from high-income taxpayers, curbing corporate tax breaks and winding down the war in Iraq.
Who the heck would ever plunk good money down to read a book titled "The Governor" by Rod Blagojevich?
That's the working title of Blagojevich's planned book, but it's a terrible title. That's why you readers are being enlisted to come up with a juicy, compelling title for our former Gov. Dead Meat's tell-all book, which was announced Monday.
If your title wins, you'll get a prize, and I mean a real prize this time, something tangible.
Because I'm writing the column, I get to go first. So how about this one:
"Et Tu, DeLeo?"
That's a reference to Blagojevich's former close friend, the former shadow governor of Illinois, state Sen. James DeLeo (D-How You Doin?), who abandoned Dead Meat and voted to remove him from office after all the good times they had.
Can Obama’s makeover of Bush’s faith initiatives speed the economic recovery?
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/03/art.vert.ireport.nye.phil1.jpg width=292 height=320]
The first month of Barack Obama’s presidency brought change to all parts to Washington—none more sweeping than the passage of his American Recovery Act, designed to shock the U.S. economy out of its slump. A notable portion of the $787 billion should be coming to communities of color that have been particularly hard hit by the downturn. And one of the key vehicles for getting the money to needy citizens will be Obama’s brand-new Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.
The president “wants one of the functions of that office to be the implementation of the Recovery Act,” said Melody Barnes, director of Obama’s Domestic Policy Council, where the faith office will be housed. “He’s outlined a few different ways in which he hopes the office will initially be quite helpful, one of them being the connection between the bill and the reality.”
Though the specifics of the distribution have yet to be filled in, lawmakers in heavily black districts are already expressing hope about the boost to religious-based organizations. "There are huge numbers of faith-based organizations that have nonprofit groups that are serving communities, especially in this time of crisis,” said Democratic Rep. Donna Edwards of Maryland following the Congressional Black Caucus’ first White House meeting with the president. “I think the administration has taken recognition of that.”
[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/02/art.crime.split.suspects.jpg caption="Composite sketches of two suspects wanted in the fatal shooting of a man at 6724 Avenue V on Dec. 19, 2008."]
Jose Alvarenga was a husband and father. He was also a pastor. And he was gunned down in front of his children.
The case haunts Sgt. Eli Cisneros. A 17-year veteran of the Houston Police Department, Cisneros has been with the Homicide Division for the last two years. Cisneros is determined to find the monsters who terrorized and destroyed the Alvarenga family on December 19, 2008.
It was around 4:55am. The house at 6724 Avenue V was quiet, and crowded. Mr. Alvarenga was upstairs with his wife in the master bedroom. Their 5 and 7-year-old sons were in the adjoining room. Downstairs, the couple's 17 and 15-year-old daughters were in their beds. Mr. Alvarenga's sister-in-law was sleeping with her 5-year-old daughter on a couch.