March 18th, 2009
05:07 PM ET

GM's China success

Program Note: Tune in to hear more from John Vause about how GM is doing in China tonight on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.

The president of GM China Group tells John Vause that General Motors is doing well in China.

While General Motors is facing bankruptcy, and asking for government help in the US and parts of Europe, in China the company is making a profit, and has been described as one of the last jewels in the GM crown. It has also sent a clear message to policy makers in the US that this is a company than can compete globally, it's a company worth saving.

Filed under: auto bailout • John Vause • Road to Rescue
March 18th, 2009
04:30 PM ET

Markets rally

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Ali Velshi
CNN Chief Business Correspondent

Markets were up on news that the Fed will inject more than $1 TRILLION of money into the economy.

The idea that this extra money will reduce the cost of borrowing, and help home buyers and consumers generally, lifted the Dow up 14 percent higher than the low that it hit during this recession.

Filed under: Ali Velshi • Wall St.
March 18th, 2009
03:14 PM ET

Fed buying $300B in treasurys

Chris Isidore

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The Federal Reserve announced Wednesday it would buy $300 billion of long-term Treasurys over the next six months in order to try and get credit flowing more freely again.

The Fed also announced plans to buy an additional $750 billion in mortgage-backed securities, a move designed to lower mortgage rates.

The Fed suggested it was planning to buy Treasurys in statements issued after the two previous meetings of the Federal Open Market Committee, the policymaking committee of the Fed that sets interest rates. So Wednesday's announcement, which came at the conclusion of the FOMC's latest meeting, was not a major surprise.

Filed under: Economy
March 18th, 2009
12:15 PM ET

Financial Dispatch: Most Americans delaying big purchases

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Andrew Torgan
CNN Financial News Producer

A new national poll indicates that six in 10 Americans have postponed a major purchase such as appliances or furniture over the past six months.

Sixty-two percent of people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. survey released today say they've postponed a major purchase. That's up 10 points from December, during the height of the holiday shopping season.

The poll also suggests just how hard times are for many households. One in three respondents said they've cut back on necessities such as food or medicine over the past six months because of changes in the economy.


Filed under: AIG • Andrew Torgan • Economy • Finance • Gas Prices • Oil • Wall St.
March 18th, 2009
11:26 AM ET

A year after race speech, silence

Nia-Malika Henderson and Carrie Budoff Brown

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It was a year ago today that Barack Obama, then a candidate for president fearing a divisive racial backlash over his pastor, took to the stage in Philadelphia and said it was time to have a new conversation about race.

“We have a choice in this country,” Obama said that day. “We can tackle race only as spectacle — as we did in the O.J. trial — or in the wake of tragedy — as we did in the aftermath of Katrina — or as fodder for the nightly news. ... That is one option. Or, at this moment, in this election, we can come together and say, ‘Not this time.’"

But in the year since that speech — through campaign and convention, election and Inauguration — Barack Obama hasn’t taken part in the discussion of race in America in any sustained way, the way he did that day in Philadelphia to get out of a campaign jam.


Filed under: Race in America • Raw Politics
March 18th, 2009
11:20 AM ET

What would you do with a $100 house?

Program Note: Tune in for Anderson's full report on how people in Detroit are coping with the economy tonight on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/18/art.people.detroit.jpg caption="A group of artists is buying and moving into a Detroit neighborhood."]

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/03/18/art.house.detroit.jpg caption="A house the group plans to convert into a "green energy home."]

Ismael Estrada
AC360° Producer

We drove into the Detroit neighborhood where local artists Mitch Cope and his wife Gina Reichert were meeting us for an interview. As we approached we passed abandoned buildings, burned out houses and foreclosure signs — examples of how hard this already struggling neighborhood has been hit by the current economic crisis.

But despite the blight, Cope and Reichert are excited about the future of their neighborhood. They had grown tired of watching vandals strip abandoned homes so they so they decided to buy one, secure it and make it a self-sustaining green energy home. And they’re inviting friends to move to the neighborhood to do the same.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Economy • Road to Rescue
March 18th, 2009
10:53 AM ET

Morning Buzz: Anderson hits Detroit

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Penny Manis
AC360° Senior Producer

Anderson continues his zigzag across the country, and tonight he lands in Detroit. This city has been hit hard by the recession given the heavy reliance on work within the automobile manufacturing industry, which has had a meltdown.

Anderson isn’t the only one making a road trip today: President Obama heads to California where there’s double-digit unemployment and a housing meltdown. He’ll be trying to sell his 3.6 trillion dollar budget in some scheduled town hall meetings. He’ll also be dodging the tough PR regarding the AIG bailout.

His peeps back home are trying to defuse the latest AIG fire. AIG has become Public Enemy #1 after sucking up $170 billion worth of taxpayer money and then doling out millions in bonuses to some of the employees who ran the company into the ground, and there are questions over how much the administration knew about these bonuses before they gave them big bailout bucks.


Filed under: Penny Manis • The Buzz
March 18th, 2009
10:27 AM ET

Dear President Obama #58: The grasping hand of greed

Reporter's Note: The President once again this week solicited advice from anyone who thinks he or she might have a better idea on how to run the government. And once again, I am pushing on in my quest to write a letter a day to the White House.

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Tom Foreman | Bio
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

Do you remember the story of the monkey trap? A man hollows out a coconut, and cuts two holes in the side. Through one hole he threads a piece of rope to secure the coconut to a tree. Through the other hole, he slips a piece of hard candy, just small enough to fit.

“But how will this catch the monkey?” a little boy asks. “Just watch,” says the man. Along comes a monkey, which pokes its hand into the coconut. With a tight grip on the candy, the monkey’s fist is too large to be pulled free. And yet the animal is so intent on keeping its prize, it stays there struggling while the man and boy simply walk up and grab it by the scruff of the neck.


March 18th, 2009
09:38 AM ET

A.I.G.’s bonus blackmail

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Lawrence A. Cunningham
For The New York Times

President Obama on Monday instructed the Treasury Department to “pursue every single legal avenue” to recover $165 million in bonus payments the insurance giant A.I.G. recently made to nearly 400 employees in its financial products unit. A.I.G. has, of course, received $170 billion in bailout funds and yet continues to incur extraordinary losses — some $62 billion last quarter alone.

A.I.G. insisted it was legally obligated to make the bonus payments and that failure to pay would breach its contracts with employees and expose it to penalties under state employee protection laws. The company also warned that breaching the agreements would amount to defaulting on numerous other business contracts, at staggering cost.


March 18th, 2009
09:34 AM ET

Three charged in Anna Nicole Smith drug case

Lisa Bloom
AC360° Contributor
In Session Anchor

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Editor’s Note: You can read more Lisa Bloom blogs on “In Session”.

Dr. Khristine Eroshevich, Anna Nicole Smith’s psychiatrist, has just turned herself in to authorities in Los Angeles on charges that she conspired to over-prescribe medications to Smith, knowing that she was an addict. Dr. Sandeep Kapoor, who allegedly prescribed thousands of pills to Anna Nicole in the final years of her life, and Howard K. Stern, Anna Nicole’s boyfriend and lawyer, have also turned themselves in.

Relentless cable coverage of this story followed her death, but this time, in my view, it’s a story worth covering. Prescription drug abuse is a growing and real problem in this country. Many people feel, as apparently Smith did, that they are safe taking drugs as long as they have a doctor’s note and the drugs come from a pharmacy. Wrong. Forty-three percent of drug overdoses in America are from prescription meds. Far too many medicines are prescribed in this country, in my opinion, with little oversight as to their safety.

The complaint alleges that some good pharmacists refused to fill these doctors’ prescriptions to Anna, saying that they were dangerous. The state says the three conspirators then simply went to another pharmacy until they got the drugs they wanted to dispense to Smith.

Six hundred pills are missing from bottles prescribed to Anna Nicole in the five weeks before her death. Yes, she was an adult, responsible for her own actions, but those around her are responsible for their conduct too. Smith had said publicly years before that she was addicted to painkillers. After the sudden death of her son Daniel, in the hospital room where she had just given birth to her new daughter, Anna, understandably, was emotionally devastated. Her doctors had a responsibility not to hand out pills to her like Chiclets at such a delicate time.

Anna was cartoonish in life, but her accidental drug overdose death raises important questions, and I salute California’s attorney general for vigorously pursuing this case.

Filed under: Crime & Punishment • Lisa Bloom
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