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Debt-ceiling crisis, talks but no breakthrough, Murdoch reeling, an assassination in Afghanistan. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.
Dangerous territory this week, for the United States.
An historic American default on its financial obligations is now, we’re told, just days away. And the parties in Washington cannot make a deal to stop what Fed chair Ben Bernanke warns will be “calamity.”
Congress, described as “confused, even panicky.” It’s a massive, very real cliff-hanger.
We’ve got global media lord Rupert Murdoch in big trouble. An assassination in Afghanistan. Mistrial for Roger Clemons.
And American women in the World Cup final.
This hour On Point: Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.
Zanny Minton Beddoes, the Economist’s Economics Editor.
Christina Bellantoni, associate politics editor at CQ Roll Call.
Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst.
From Tom's Reading List:
- The New York Times: "WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, warned on Wednesday of a “huge financial calamity” if President Obama and the Republicans cannot agree on a budget deal that allows the federal debt ceiling to be increased. Moody’s, the ratings agency, threatened a credit downgrade, citing a “rising possibility” that no deal would be reached before the government’s borrowing authority hits its limit on Aug. 2."
- Wall Street Journal: "Credit rating agencies moved closer to an unprecedented downgrade of the U.S. government's debt amid deteriorating talks in Washington, with President Barack Obama abruptly walking out of a key meeting Wednesday with Republicans seeking a deal to raise the federal borrowing limit."
- Wall Street Journal: "Despite many belt-tightening measures imposed on Italians over the past few years, the paychecks and benefits of Parliament members have been left largely untouched. Rome's lawmakers are among Europe's highest-paid: In 2010, members of the lower house earned an average gross salary of more than €140,000 ($196,000), nearly double U.K. lawmakers' annual salary. Fringe benefits include free offices in Rome, flights and taxpayer-subsidized haircuts."
- Associated Press:"ATHENS, Greece — Greece suffered another sovereign downgrade on Wednesday, when the Fitch agency slashed its credit worthiness by three notches further into junk status and only one grade above default."
- The Economist: "FOR THE first time since the start of the Greek debt crisis more than a year ago, the finance ministers of the euro area are ready to consider a default by Greece. They did not say so explicitly, of course, but the omissions from their statement tonight were eloquent. "
- The New York Times: "SENIOR American and NATO officers in Afghanistan have wanted Ahmed Wali Karzai gone — set aside, retired, out of the country or worse — for many years now. His killing by a close family associate yesterday may have granted their wishes. But what now follows the death of the most powerful political broker in southern Afghanistan may be much worse than Mr. Karzai ever was."
This program aired on July 15, 2011.
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