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Monday, July 14, 2008

Free Internet Press Newsletter - Monday July 14 2008 - (813)

Monday July 14 2008 edition
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Analysts Say More U.S. Banks Will Fail
2008-07-14 02:53:59

As home prices continue to decline and loan defaults mount, federal regulators are bracing for dozens of American banks to fail over the next year.

After a large mortgage lender in California collapsed late Friday, Wall Street analysts began posing two crucial questions: Just how many banks might falter? And, more urgently, which one could be next?

The nation’s banks are in far less danger than they were in the late 1980s and early 1990s, when more than 1,000 federally insured institutions went under during the savings-and-loan crisis. The debacle, the greatest collapse of American financial institutions since the Depression, prompted a government bailout that cost taxpayers about $125 billion.

The troubles are growing so rapidly at some small and midsize banks that as many as 150 out of the 7,500 banks nationwide could fail over the next 12 to 18 months, say analysts. Other lenders are likely to shut branches or seek mergers.

“Everybody is drawing up lists, trying to figure out who the next bank is, No. 1, and No. 2, how many of them are there,” said Richard X. Bove, the banking analyst with Ladenburg Thalmann, who released a list of troubled banks over the weekend. “And No. 3, from the standpoint of Washington, how badly is it going to affect the economy?”

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InBev Reportedly Buys Anheuser-Busch For $52 Billion
2008-07-14 02:53:16
Anheuser-Busch agreed to be acquired by Belgian brewer InBev for about $52 billion in a deal that would shift ownership of the nation's largest brewer overseas, The Wall Street Journal reported Sunday.

The deal, which is subject to shareholders' and regulators' approval, would create the world's largest brewer and create the fourth-largest consumer product company worldwide. The newspaper cited anonymous sources who said Anheuser-Busch-InBev would be the new company's name and Anheuser would have two seats on the board.

Anheuser-Busch Cos. Inc. did not return messages seeking comment Sunday evening.

The newspaper said the deal was for $70 a share, a $5 increase over the offer Anheuser-Busch rejected in June.

InBev, the maker of Stella Artois and Becks, is the world's second-largest beer-maker behind SABMiller. Anheuser-Busch is by far the largest brewer in the U.S. with more than 48 percent of the market share.

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Who Killed Chandra Levy? A Host Of Questions For Congressman, Aide
2008-07-14 02:52:40

Chandra Levy came to Washington, D.C., in the fall of 2000, a fresh-faced intern awestruck by her surroundings. She was one of many ambitious young people who arrive in the nation's capital excited by their proximity to power.

Chandra's ticket to Washington was an internship for the Federal Bureau of Prisons during her final semester of graduate school. She was a smart California girl, fit and petite at 108 pounds, who liked to work out at the gym. At 23, she exuded a blend of innocence and sensuality, but she was not a party girl. At heart, Chandra was a bit of a nerd.

In high school, she liked to wear her Modesto police explorer uniform as she strode down the hallways, ignoring the ridicule from the cool kids. She was fiercely independent, stubborn to a fault. She was free-spirited but could be cautious. Once, when her family went camping in Yosemite National Park, Chandra slept in the car, fearing a bear attack.

Chandra, whose name meant "moon" in Sanskrit, was raised in a spacious ranch home with horses out back in the almond groves of small-town Modesto, a 90-minute drive east from San Francisco. Its motto: "Water, Wealth, Contentment, Health."

Chandra had big-city dreams of leaving the flat, dusty town in the middle of nowhere and seeing the world as an FBI agent. She was driven. She had liked older men as far back as high school, when she swooned for everything Harrison Ford. She dated a police officer in Modesto.

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U.S. Unveils Plan To Aid Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac
2008-07-14 02:53:44

The federal government unveiled a broad program yesterday evening to bolster troubled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac,extending unprecedented support to the companies and proposing new authority to lend them money and even buy their stock.

Scrambling to announce the initiative before the trading week began, federal officials said they would allow the firms for the first time to borrow money from the Federal Reserve. Officials are also seeking permission from Congress to temporarily increase the amount the companies can borrow from the Treasury and enable the government to invest directly in the firms if conditions worsen.

The two firms, which dominate the market for U.S. mortgages, have been reeling amid investor concern that the companies might not have enough capital to handle their losses due to the rising number of bad home loans. Both firms' stocks plummeted by almost half last week.

Treasury officials said last night that they were confident Congress will be able to pass the new laws they seek by the end of the week as part of a broad housing bill under consideration on Capitol Hill.

The Federal Reserve announced that it would allow Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to borrow money on an emergency basis. The firms, should they experience a cash crunch, will be able to exchange certain assets for cash at the Fed's discount window, a privilege long enjoyed by commercial banks and extended in March to struggling investment banks.

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9 Americans Die In Afghanistan Attack
2008-07-14 02:53:00
Taliban insurgents carried out a bold assault on a remote base near the border with Pakistan on Sunday, NATO  reported, and a senior American military official said nine American soldiers were killed.

The attack, the worst against Americans in Afghanistan in three years, illustrated the growing threat of Taliban militants and their associates, who in recent months have made Afghanistan a far deadlier war zone for American-led forces than Iraq.

The assault on the American base in Kunar Province was one of the fiercest by insurgents since the American-led invasion of Afghanistan routed the Taliban and al-Qaeda militants in late 2001.

The militants have since regained strength in the tribal areas of Pakistan, which they have often used as a base for raids into Afghanistan, an increasingly sore point for the American and Afghan governments.

The new American commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan emphasized that issue on Sunday in an interview that took place before details of the Kunar attack were disclosed, asserting that the militants were not only entering Afghan territory but also firing at targets from the Pakistan side.

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