In a mixed political message, a newly released UK poll showed that a plurality of Britons (43%) thought Brown was the best leader to nurse the nation through the current financial sickness compared with only 35% who thought Conservative Party chief, David Cameron, was the best person for that job. Nevertheless, 43% of British respondents claimed they would vote for Conservative Party candidates while only 34% said they intended on voting for Brown's Labour Party in parliamentary elections.
In other European and world power centers, governments were likewise responding to the spreading financial virus. Belgium and Luxembourg were moving to staunch the market bleeding caused by the nationalization of Fortis, the Belgian-Dutch bank after the failure of its Netherlands business.
Kevin Rudd, the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Australia, decried the era of "extreme capitalism" and denounced the laissez-faire philosophy of "greed is good." Rudd is imploring international leaders to construct what Samantha Maiden, The Australian online political editor has described as "a new world order of global financial regulation."
In the United States, the US Congress passed, and President George W. Bush signed into law, a $700 billion bailout bill aimed at keeping Wall Street on life support. Even with the bailout bill's passage, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA), NASDAQ, S&P 500, and the 10 Year Bond all ended the trading week lower on Friday.
The $700 billion bailout comes after a $200 billion nationalization of mortgagers, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and atop an $85 billion bailout of the American insurance giant, AIG.
The US state of California, the world's tenth largest economy, announced it would seek $7 billion from the federal government to bridge budget deficits and lack of state treasury funds to pay for state and local government services. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) told the US Treasury on Thursday that California's cash flow to cover routine operations was crimped by an inability to acquire short-term loans. Expect other US states, such as New York, to follow.
Despite the historic and massive infusion of money, the financial crisis in the states is spreading. AT&T Chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson told the AP that his company was unable to trade any commercial paper last week for terms longer than overnight. Automobile manufacturers General Motors and Ford announced steep declines in the purchase of new cars. And the US unemployment rate shot up to a five year high.
Stock indices across the Asia Pacific region from Hong Kong to Sydney and Tokyo were trading down early Monday at the start of the business week.
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