Army mulls rescinding invitation to evangelist
DENVER — The Army is considering whether to rescind an invitation to evangelist Franklin Graham to appear at the Pentagon amid complaints about his description of Islam as evil, a military spokesman said Wednesday.
Mr. Graham, son of famed evangelist Billy Graham, was to appear at the Pentagon May 6 on what is the National Day of Prayer. He said he would be a guest of the Pentagon and would speak only if he’s still invited.
The Military Religious Freedom Foundation raised the objection to the appearance, citing Mr. Graham’s past remarks about Islam.
Mikey Weinstein, president of the foundation, said the invitation offended Muslim employees at the Pentagon. He said it would endanger American troops by stirring up Muslim extremists.
GM pays back government loans
DETROIT — General Motors Co. has repaid $8.1 billion in loans it got from the U.S. and Canadian governments, a move its top officer says is a sign the automaker is on the road to recovery.
Chief Executive Ed Whitacre announced the repayments Wednesday at GM’s Fairfax Assembly Plant in Kansas City, Kan., where he said GM is investing $257 million in that factory and the Detroit-Hamtramck plant.
The White House pointed to GM’s repayment of the loan and Chrysler LLC’s posting of an operating profit in the first quarter of 2010 as concrete signs that the bailout of the U.S. automakers was working.
In a report, the Obama administration noted that the American auto industry lost more than 400,000 jobs in 2008 and analysts estimated another 1 million would have been lost had GM and Chrysler been liquidated. In the past nine months, the White House said, automakers have added 45,000 jobs, the industry’s strongest job growth in nearly a decade.
“This turnaround wasn’t an accident of history,” White House economic adviser Lawrence H. Summers said in a blog posting.