- The Washington Times - Monday, March 23, 2009

The top business news from The Associated Press for the morning of Monday, March 23, 2009:

Asian stocks surge ahead of US bank asset plan

HONG KONG (AP) _ Asian stock markets soared Monday ahead of a U.S. announcement to purge as much as $1 trillion in toxic bank assets and as Japan signaled more stimulus measures to resuscitate the world’s second-largest economy. Tokyo shares helped lead the region’s gains, with the country’s benchmark hitting a six-week high, after Japan’s finance minister said aggressive public spending to the tune 20 trillion yen ($208 billion) might be needed to end the country’s painful recession.

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Geithner to unveil plan to combat banking crisis

WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Obama administration is hoping it has finally come up with the right formula to resolve the nation’s worst banking crisis in 70 years. The program Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner will unveil Monday seeks to tap the resources of the government’s $700 billion bailout fund, the Federal Reserve and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., as well as private investors.

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Oil climbs above $52 in Asia on stock market rally

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) _ Oil prices rose above $52 a barrel Monday in Asia, boosted by stronger Asian stock markets amid plans by the U.S. government to buy bad assets from banks to contain the financial crisis. Benchmark crude for May delivery rose 45 cents to $52.52 a barrel by midday in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract edged up 3 cents on Friday to settle at $52.07, the first time crude ended the week above $50 since last year.

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Obama: Anger isn’t governing strategy

WASHINGTON (AP) _ President Barack Obama is no fan of bonuses paid at a financial institutions being kept afloat by taxpayer dollars but also says he would not “govern out of anger” despite Americans’ frustration with such perks. Obama’s declaration came as he pushed for a $3.6 trillion federal budget proposal that already is opposed from within his own party. As he seeks lawmakers’ support for his first budget, he took a political risk in signaling discomfort with a separate plan that slaps a punitive, 90 percent tax on bonuses paid to American International Group employees.

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GM bondholders want response on restructuring plan

Bondholders of General Motors Corp. warned the U.S. government on Sunday that the struggling automaker will likely be forced to file for bankruptcy if the debt restructuring proposal they have suggested _ or one like it _ is not accepted. In a letter to the Treasury and members of President Obama’s auto task force, financial advisers to GM’s bondholders said the current debt swap plan on the table won’t draw enough support from lenders.

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Obama’s toxic assets plan greeted with skepticism

The Obama administration’s latest plan to help banks get credit flowing again is drawing a tepid reaction from investors and academics, who say the proposal comes with too many strings attached and is unlikely to stimulate lending industrywide. And even if banks are willing to start lending more money, they wonder if many people will be able to take on more credit until the economy gets going again.

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Daimler to sell near $2.7B in shares to Abu Dhabi

BERLIN (AP) _ Abu Dhabi is poised to become the biggest shareholder in Daimler AG after the German maker of luxury cars, buses and trucks said it would sell nearly €2 billion ($2.72 billion) in shares to the country’s Aabar Investments PJSC. In a statement released Sunday by the Stuttgart-based company, Daimler said Aabar will buy 96.4 million new Daimler shares at a price of €20.27 ($27.87) each, which is slightly below the €21.34 shares fetched at the close of trading Friday in Frankfurt.

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More women needing cash go from jobless to topless

CHICAGO (AP) _ As a bartender and trainer at a national restaurant chain, Rebecca Brown earned a couple thousand dollars in a really good week. Now, as a dancer at Chicago’s Pink Monkey gentleman’s club, she makes almost that much in one good night. The tough job market is prompting a growing number of women across the country to dance in strip clubs, appear in adult movies or pose for magazines like Hustler.

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Drug industry advocates join chorus to split FDA

WASHINGTON (AP) _ As momentum builds to rework the nation’s food-safety system after a salmonella outbreak linked to peanuts, the drug industry is hoping for a happy side effect: faster approvals for new medicines. Drug industry advocates are quietly allying with some of their longtime critics pushing to split the Food and Drug Administration into two agencies, one for food safety and one for medical products.

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Recession casts shadow over video game conference

The video game industry is holding up, but the gloom of the recession will be on the minds of thousands of people at this week’s Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, a key event for video game insiders looking to learn new skills, showcase innovations and if they’re lucky enough, find work. Bolstered by an ever-expanding audience that is turning to games for cheaper entertainment, video games are benefiting in some ways from the economic turmoil. Yet the industry is not completely immune, with layoffs and closings of studios that produce games.type:italic; Electronic Arts Inc., the game publisher behind the “Madden” football series, is cutting 1,000 jobs, most by the end of this month.

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Japan Markets

TOKYO (AP) _ Japanese stocks rose sharply to a two-month high Monday ahead of a U.S. announcement to buy up as much as $1 trillion in toxic bank assets.

The benchmark Nikkei 225 stock average rose 269.57 points, or 3.4 percent, to 8,215.53 _ its highest closing level since late January. The broader Topix index added 3.5 percent to 791.56.

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Dollar-Yen

TOKYO (AP) _ In currencies, the dollar rose to 96.20 yen from 95.95 yen late Friday. The euro stood at $1.3695 from $1.3582.

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A service of The Associated Press. Copyright 2009 All rights reserved.

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