US President Obama has called on Wall Street to accept the overhaul of the American financial system, which would impose new regulations on financial institutions. Speaking in New York to an audience of bankers and industry insiders, he asked them to stop fighting reforms, and recognize that his proposals will benefit Wall Street as well as Main Street. Read his remarks here.
Our correspondent Nathan King attended the speech - click here listen to his summary of the President's message, and how the audience responded.
Republican opposition to the reforms appears to be softening, as ongoing anger at Wall Street and recent fraud charges against Goldman Sachs buoy the chances of bipartisan support. The Senate is expected to take up the issue next week, and key lawmakers from both parties say they are close to agreement on a number of key proposals.
Pictures of the Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin have appeared in the Moscow metro, leading to further controversy about Russia’s relationship with the former Soviet leader.The images, which appeared on Wednesday to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the metro, depict an early metro train being met by members of the Moscow public. At the head of the train is a large photo of Stalin.
Photo from bfm.ru
Metro spokesman Pavel Sukharnikov has staunchly defended the photo, claiming that workers had searched the archives for a long time and that the photo itself is a good one: “there is a moving train, which was launched on the site and built during the war.Would we have needed to paint [the picture of Stalin] over to avoid such questions cropping up?”Similar posters will be used in advertising campaigns, he said.
The poster appears amidst an ongoing debate prompted by posters of the former Russian leader.Activists and politicians have protested against Moscow Mayer Yuri Luzhkov’s proposal to display posters of Stalin as part of the celebrations commemorating the 65th anniversary of the Sovet victory over Nazi Germany in the Great Patriotic War, the Russian term for WW2, on May 9th. Ten out of two thousand planned posters would portray Stalin.
Despite the strong opposition Luzhkov insists that the posters will still be displayed, arguing against what he calls the “deletion” of Stalin from history.Meanwhile, human rights’ association “Memorial” is planning a poster campaign to depict Joseph Stalin’s “real role” and commemorate his victims. It’s still not clear how many people died in Stalin’s purges, but some historians say the number could be hundreds of thousands.
Russian president Dmitry Medvedev has begun his first state visit to Ukraine for talks with his new Ukrainian counterpart Viktor Yanukovich, with promising signs for a gas deal between the two countries.
Under the previous Ukrainian president Viktor Yushchenko, tense relations between the countries twice led to gas supplies being cut following price disputes. Since most Russian gas supplied to Europe is piped through Ukraine, the cuts resulted in gas shortages in Central and Eastern Europe, which lasted for weeks and left thousands without heating in sub-zero temperatures.
Yanukovich came to power in elections early this year with strong support from the Russian-speaking population in eastern Ukraine. He is widely seen as closer to Moscow than his predecessor.
Ukranian deputy prime minister Sergey Tigipko said on Wednesday that he was confident a “conclusive agreement” on gas prices would be reached. He indicated that Ukraine would seek a price of US$240 per 1,000 cubic metres, which would represent a cut of over 35 percent on the rate under the formula agreed last year.
Putin fulfilled expectations by focussing on the economy while presenting a governmental report for 2009 to the Russian parliament on Tuesday.According to the Russian prime minister, the Russian economy began to show signs of improvement in July and preliminary figures for the first quarter of 2010 give cause for optimism.Industrial production has grown by 5.8 percent within this period, while the real earnings of Russian citizens grew by 7.4 percent.It was announced that it was very probable that GDP would exceed official expectations of 3.1 percent growth.
In other parts of the report Putin also announced the aim to increase the average life expectancy for Russian citizens to 71 years by 2015.
Putin insisted that the Russian economy has recovered from “the global trial” and, more than this, is leaving the crisis in a strong and “vigorous” position. Meanwhile, Russia ranks 120th in a World Bank list of attractive business climates due to low transparency and impenetrable bureaucracy, lagging behind many countries of Africa and Eastern Europe.
Five people were killed in Kyrgyzstan clashes on Tuesday and there are new claims of ethnic violence.
Violence continues in Kyrgyzstan almost two weeks after protests swept President Kurmanbek Bakiyev from power, with land seizures and claims of ethnic clashes posing further difficulties for the provisional government.
Reports in the Russian media claim that crowds demanding land on the outskirts of the capital, Bishkek, have detained the city’s acting mayor Isa Omurkulov. Also, five people have been killed in clashes in the village of Mayevka, where local media reports suggested looters targeted property belonging to ethnic Russians and Meskhetian Turks. The Russian Foreign Ministry, meanwhile, reacted to the reports saying the violence was not “directed at Russians” but caused by “hooligan elements, looters and young people without any kind of employment”.
While the provisional government has been able to mass forces to face down the looters, crowds of policemen have been picketing the interior ministry demanding the resignation of the acting minister.
Meanwhile, Belorussian president Alexander Lukashenko has revealed that Mr Bakiyev has found refuge in Belorussia after leaving Kazakhstan yesterday, ending speculation about the ousted leader’s whereabouts. "He is with us under the protection of our state and president," said Mr Lukashenko.
April 15th is the dreaded tax filing deadline in the US; the day when you are meant to stop digging through mounds of receipts and shoe boxes full of paperwork and get your completed forms in the mail.
For the non-procrastinators with time on their hands, there's also the chance to pick over Barack and Michelle Obama's 2009 tax return, which has just been released by the White House.
They report an adjusted gross income of over $5.5 million, paid $1,792,414 in federal income tax and gave $329,100 to charity.
The income does not include the award from Mr Obama's Nobel Peace Prize, which was transferred straight to charities picked by the president.