WikiЊуз ЗидStreet

Top executives from a bankrupt California solar energy company (Solyndra) pleaded the Fifth Amendment more than a dozen times Friday in a congressional hearing that went nowhere but gave members the opportunity to pose dozens of questions about the loss of a half billion dollars in government loans.

Silence from the two executives will not stop committee leaders from pursuing their investigation into the $528 million loan Solyndra received from the Energy Department in 2009. Committee leaders said the Obama administration may have violated the law when it restructured Solyndra‘s loan in February in such a way that private investors moved ahead of taxpayers for repayment in case of default.

President Barack Obama will raise money in early October with a Missouri businessman whose company benefited from a $107 million federal tax credit to develop a wind power facility in his state.

Missouri Republican Party executive director Lloyd Smith compared the situation to the Solyndra affair, in which the Obama administration reportedly rushed federal support to a green-energy firm that subsequently collapsed.

“At a time when Barack Obama is under fire for steering hundreds of millions of dollars in stimulus funds to a failed company linked to a major campaign donor, it is stunning that he would come to Missouri and raise money with another recipient of stimulus cash,” Smith said in a statement to POLITICO. “Sadly, Missourians have come to expect this kind of pay-to-play from the Obama administration. November 2012 can’t come soon enough.”

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Local media in New York reports that a large number of Occupy Wall Street protesters were arrested this afternoon near Union Square in Lower Manhattan.

Protesters wielding signs that demanded ‘End the Fed’ and other anti-Wall St slogans marched up Fifth Avenue near Union Square on Saturday, drawing a significant police presence and snarling traffic in the neighborhood”

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Kosovo: independent, but a basket case

The economy is dead, corruption is rampant, and Serbia remains hostile

by Richard Warnica
on Wednesday, September 21, 2011

(…) Dobbins, an expert on Western intervention, counts Kosovo as a success. Despite occasional flare-ups, the area is mostly peaceful. But in other ways—most ways, really—Kosovo remains a basket case. The local economy produces “nothing,” says Engjellushe Morina, the executive director of the Kosovar Stability Initiative. The agricultural sector remains stillborn; the nation’s only real export is scrap metal. Official unemployment sits above 40 per cent and most families rely on remittances sent from family abroad to stay afloat. Kosovo also has Europe’s youngest population and the education system has neither the capacity nor the personnel to adequately train them. Those who do go to university rarely find decent work when they finish.

Politically, the situation is, if anything, worse. Kosovars consistently rank their country among the most corrupt in Europe. The political class is dominated by holdovers from the pre-war period, many with alleged ties to criminal groups. The prime minister, Hashim Thaci, was accused late last year of being involved in organ theft during the war in 1999. (He denies the charge.) Other senior officials have been indicted for alleged war crimes committed during the conflict. Just this month a former cabinet minister in Thaci’s government was charged with executing two Serbs during the war. “I’m so cynical about the whole thing,” says Robert Austin, a professor at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and a long-time Kosovo watcher. The nation-building process in Kosovo, he believes, “has been totally botched. We’ve never come up with a method, in any of these places, to actually get the people in power that should be in power.”

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