Thursday, 5 February 2009

Earlybird, Feb. 5, 2008

The headlines are:

U.S. -- Foreign Companies Line Up for Piece of Stimulus Money (Click here for link to NYT story): It's hard to tell whether this will lead to higher investment into the U.S. But the way the stimulus bill is being approved and discussed is questionable. Fox News (yes, I know they are the most anti-stimulus bill, etc.) showed an interview with a bee caretaker who questioned the need for $180 million in aid to the honeybee industry, his sector, included in the stimulus bill. And many times they showed images and quotes of Democratic lawmakers saying that they didn't care about the way the bill was being passed, or who the recipient targets were ... anything. Not that I believe Fox News entirely, but I am not positive the stimulus bill and its recipient base followed a thorough analysis.

COLOMBIA -- Another Politician to Be Freed Today by the FARC (Click here for link to Espectador story): Following harsh criticism by former Governor Alan Jara to the role of President Alvaro Uribe in the hostages situation, Colombia prepares for the release of former Valle assembly lawmaker Sigifredo López. Hopefully López will tell us the truth not only about the FARC situation in the region (rumour has it that the guerrillas are very weakened in that region) but also whether the government helped in the process.

COLOMBIA -- 1.6 Million Cars Will Stay Home as part of No-Car Day Campaign (Click here for link to Espectador story): What used to be a reason to celebrate Bogotá's growing civismo is now reason for concern. With this mayor, this guy Samuel Moreno, a complete idiot, doing absolutely nothing to improve the city's chaotic traffic problem, we wonder how hard it will be for us to go to work today. Traffic congestion is costing hundreds of millions of dollars to Bogotá a year, and is preventing the city from becoming an investment hub for international companies (a plan drafted and pursued by the three former mayors.)

BRAZIL -- Lower House Passes Bill Allowing State Banks to Buy Their Private Rivals (Click here for link to Estado story): This is the atrocity of the day. Please read the comment on Brazil that was posted this morning.

U.S. -- Document Reveals Names of Madoff Clients. Are We Friends or Familiy With Any of Them? (Click here for WSJ story link): Who's Who: Sandy Koufax, Kevin Bacon, John Malkovich ... Many of those names sound familiar.

MARKETS -- I Need No Money, Therefore I Can Borrow (Click on the link for the FT story): Companies looking to secure financing for large mergers and acquisitions must be able to demonstrate their ability to refinance debt quickly in the bond markets.

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