- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Plans released for Citigroup sale

The Treasury Department said Monday that it plans to sell up to 1.5 billion shares of Citigroup stock, its latest move to unwind the support it provided big banks during the financial crisis.

The sales, which amount to about 20 percent of the government’s ownership stake, could begin as soon as Monday, according to a person familiar with the transaction. The person wasn’t authorized to speak on the record about the deal.

The government received about 7.7 billion shares, or a 27 percent ownership stake, as compensation for the massive support it extended to the bank during the height of the financial crisis in late 2008. Treasury said last month that it would soon begin selling its Citigroup stock and planned to complete the sales this year.

The sales should earn a tidy profit for the government, which purchased the common stock in the summer of 2009 at a share price of $3.25. Citigroup shares fell 19 cents, or 3.9 percent, to $4.67 in midday trading Monday.


Armed man detained after airport request

ASHEVILLE | An Ohio man who showed up at an airport armed with a gun hoping to see President Obama, as he flew out on Air Force One, was freed Monday on a $100,000 bond, police said.

Joseph McVey was released after a court appearance and could face up to 120 days in jail if found guilty of going “armed to the terror of the public,” a misdemeanor. He is due back in court June 10.

Police and Secret Service agents confronted Mr. McVey, 23, of Coshocton, Ohio, on Sunday after he got out of a car fitted with police-style sirens and lights, a statement from Asheville Regional Airport said.

Mr. McVey was carrying a loaded handgun at the time, the newspaper reported, citing airport police.

Officers asked Mr. McVey what he was doing and he “stated that he heard the president was in town. He stated that he wanted to see the president,” the airport statement said.


Obama, Israeli defense chief meet

President Obama assured a top Israeli official Monday that the U.S. has an unshakable commitment to Israel’s security despite recent tension over Jewish settlement construction in East Jerusalem.

Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs said Mr. Obama spoke with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who was at the White House for a meeting with U.S. National Security Adviser James L. Jones. Mr. Gibbs says Mr. Obama told Mr. Barak he is determined to achieve comprehensive peace in the Middle East.

Mr. Obama’s comments come as municipal officials in Israel said the government had effectively frozen construction of settlements in disputed East Jerusalem. U.S. officials had no immediate comment on that announcement.

Settlement building has been a major sticking point since Israel infuriated Washington last month by announcing a major new housing development in East Jerusalem during a visit by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.


Lieberman: Help save climate bill

Sen. Joe Lieberman, Connecticut independent, Monday urged the White House to help salvage climate-change legislation by reaching out to a key Republican who withdrew support for a compromise bill.

A bipartisan group of senators, including Mr. Lieberman, had aimed to unveil on Monday a climate-change bill, a cornerstone of the Obama administration, but the plan was called off when Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, raised eleventh-hour objections.

Mr. Graham, seen as a bridge to win over other Republicans, said he could not support the deal if Democrats pushed ahead with a debate on an overhaul of U.S. immigration policy before voting on the huge environmental and energy legislation.

“We’re working really hard to get this back together,” Mr. Lieberman said in an interview on MSNBC. “I think the White House could really help us on that,” he said, referring to a move to win back Mr. Graham’s support for the bill.

The Senate climate legislation, under close international scrutiny, would have reduced U.S. emissions of carbon dioxide pollution, which is said to cause global warming and results from burning fossil fuels, such as coal and oil, to generate electricity, power factories and operate cars and trucks.


Video shows bombing suspect training

A video has surfaced showing Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, accused in the attempted Christmas Day plane bombing, training with al Qaeda in Yemen.

The video, obtained and broadcast Monday by “ABC World News,” shows a man thought to be the 23-year-old Nigerian firing weapons and speaking in Arabic about an impending attack. He is shown reading from the Koran and saying, “God said those who punish you must be punished.”

A U.S. intelligence official said Monday that the preliminary judgment is that it is Mr. Abdulmutallab in the video and the footage is consistent with the understanding that he was in training. It is not clear where and when the video was made. The official spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive matters.

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