1 | Detroit More $$$, Please General Motors and Chrysler submitted restructuring reports to the Treasury on Feb. 17, asking the Federal Government for $14 billion in further emergency loans, bringing the total amount that the Detroit automakers have requested to $39 billion. GM says it needs $12 billion more to avoid bankruptcy and announced plans to lay off 47,000 employees and sell or phase out three of its marques--Saturn, Hummer and Saab--and reduce Pontiac to a "highly focused niche brand." Chrysler has asked for $5 billion and plans to cut 3,000 jobs.
Vehicles Sold Annually, 1999-2008
[This article contains a complex diagram. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]
HUMMER 2000 875 2008 27,485
PONTIAC 1999 616,413 246,659
SAAB 39,541 21,368
SATURN 232,570 188,004
*HUMMER INTRODUCED IN 2000
(SOURCE: WARD'S AUTOINFOBANK)
2 | Rome Berlusconi Bribe Verdict On Feb. 17 an Italian court found British lawyer David Mills guilty of taking a bribe in exchange for lying in court on behalf of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi during corruption trials in the 1990s. Berlusconi, originally a defendant in Mills' trial, pushed through a law effectively granting himself immunity from prosecution while in office. Both men say they are innocent, and Berlusconi maintains that the trial was politically motivated. Mills, who received a sentence of 4 1/2 years in prison, was not in court for the trial or the verdict and will probably remain free during the appeals process, which can last years.
3 | Illinois A New Burris-Blago Brouhaha The U.S. Senate Ethics Committee and a local Illinois prosecutor have launched investigations into Senator Roland Burris' inconsistent descriptions of his contact with Rod Blagojevich before being tapped by the then governor to fill Barack Obama's Senate seat. Burris recently admitted attempting to raise money for Blagojevich months earlier--a fact he neglected to mention while testifying in Blago's January impeachment hearing. Though Burris has denied any wrongdoing, lawmakers of both parties have called for his resignation.
4 | Houston The Next Madoff? The Securities and Exchange Commission has charged billionaire R. Allen Stanford--head of the Antigua-based Stanford International Bank--with orchestrating an alleged $8 billion investment fraud, fabricating data and luring investors with dubiously high returns. Two other bank executives have also been accused of wrongdoing.
5 | Washington Obama's Diplomatic Globetrotters When it comes to foreign policy, the new Administration hasn't wasted much time. On her first trip outside the U.S. as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton is hitting four Asian countries in an eight-day sprint--the latest high-profile figure to be the face of America abroad. (The President's first foreign destination: Canada.)
HILLARY CLINTON Japan Indonesia South Korea China
JOE BIDEN Germany (45th annual Munich Security Conference)
TIM GEITHNER Italy (meeting of G-7 finance ministers)
RICHARD HOLBROOKE Germany (with Biden) Pakistan Afghanistan India
GEORGE MITCHELL Egypt Israel West Bank Jordan Saudi Arabia France