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USA UK and Malta News
10/12/2007 - 22:39

USA today, Editoweb 10 dec 2007


Huckabee pardons under scrutiny - Obama and the 'Oprah Effect': can she sway voters? - Wall Street rises ahead of Fed meeting - Subprimes force UBS to write down $10B - Ice storm causes blackouts, deaths.



Huckabee pardons under scrutiny
As governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee had a hand in twice as many pardons and commutations as his three predecessors combined.
The case he's asked about most concerns the parole of a castrated rapist who later killed a woman.
Although the Republican presidential contender and Southern Baptist preacher plays down any personal involvement in that release, Huckabee granted 1,033 pardons and commutations in his 10 1/2 years as governor of Arkansas.

Obama and the 'Oprah Effect': can she sway voters?
Melanie White wasn't paying much attention to the presidential campaign. But when she heard Oprah Winfrey was coming to Des Moines to campaign for Barack Obama, politics suddenly mattered. She wanted to see Oprah.
Her friend Kim Smith, a committed Obama supporter, told her she could get tickets, but there was a price. "She has to sign her life away to volunteer and caucus for Barack," said Ms. Smith.
Ms. White readily agreed. And so the two 30-something friends sat near the front of a line of more than 18,000 waiting to get into the Hy-Vee Hall in downtown Des Moines, a copy of "O's Guide to Life" and an "Obama '08" bumper sticker between them.

Wall Street rises ahead of Fed meeting
Wall Street advanced Monday as expectations for an interest rate cut from the Federal Reserve and an uptick in pending home sales helped offset concerns about another round of subprime mortgage-related losses. The Dow Jones industrials gained more than 100 points.
Investors remained upbeat ahead of the Fed's rate-setting meeting on Tuesday. Policymakers are broadly expected to lower rates, though economists are still split over whether there will be a quarter-point cut or a half-point cut.

Subprimes force UBS to write down $10B
UBS AG will write off a further $10 billion in losses from the U.S. subprime lending market, the Swiss bank said Monday, and raise billions in capital through share sales to Singapore and an unidentified investor in the Middle East.
UBS said it will post a loss for the fourth quarter and may now record a loss for the full year as well. That comes on top of the 4.2 billion francs written off in its third quarter, making 14.2 billion francs ($12.6 billion) in writedowns from the subprime crisis by UBS this year.

Ice storm causes blackouts, deaths
A wintry storm caked the center of the nation with a thick layer of ice Monday, blacking out more than half a million homes and businesses, and more icy weather was on the way. At least 13 people were killed on icy highways.
A state of emergency was declared for the entire state of Oklahoma. In Oklahoma City, the sound of branches snapping echoed through many neighborhoods.
"You can hear them falling everywhere," Lonnie Compton said Monday as he shoveled ice off his driveway.

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