September 25, 2009 in Nation/World

In brief: G-20 leaders near deal on limiting bankers’ pay

From Wire Reports
 
The Spokesman-Review photo

Ginsburg
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PITTSBURGH – As police clashed with protesters in the streets, world leaders Thursday closed ranks on pay limits for bankers whose risky behavior contributed to the global financial meltdown. With economies on the mend, a summit mood of cautious optimism replaced last year’s fear and uncertainty.

In a historic shift recognizing the rising influence of China, Brazil and India, the leaders of the world’s top 20 wealthy and developing nations decided that the G-20 will take over the role of pre-eminent council on global economic cooperation, a function that for more than three decades had been performed by a smaller club of leading industrial countries known as the G-8. The G-8 will continue to meet on matters of common importance such as national security.

A mile from the convention center where talks will be held today, police fired canisters of pepper spray and smoke at marchers protesting the summit after the protesters responded to calls to disperse by rolling trash bins and throwing rocks. Officials said 17 to 19 protesters were arrested. There were no reports of injuries.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said the G-20 countries had reached a consensus on the “basic outline” of a proposal to limit bankers’ compensation by the end of this year. He said it would involve setting separate standards in each of the countries and would be overseen by an international group of central bankers and regulators.

Ginsburg hospitalized for ‘lightheadeness’

WASHINGTON – Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was hospitalized Thursday after becoming ill in her office at the court following treatment for an iron deficiency.

The 76-year-old justice, who underwent surgery for pancreatic cancer in February, was taken to Washington Hospital Center at as a precaution, a statement from the court said. The court said Ginsburg would remain the hospital overnight, again as a precaution.

Earlier in the day, Ginsburg had received an iron sucrose infusion to treat an iron deficiency anemia that had been discovered in July.

About an hour later, she “developed lightheadedness and fatigue,” the statement said. She was found to have a slightly low blood pressure, which the court said can occur after the type of treatment she received.

Dugard lawyer says she’d testify at kidnapping trial

SAN FRANCISCO – The lawyer for a Northern California woman found alive 18 years after she was kidnapped said Thursday his client initially had mixed emotions surrounding the arrest of her alleged captors but now “fully understands that some terrible things were done to her.”

Jaycee Dugard was 11 when police say Phillip and Nancy Garrido kidnapped her and held her captive. Police allege the couple raped Dugard, now 29, and Phillip Garrido fathered her two daughters. The Garridos have pleaded not guilty.

Attorney McGregor Scott, a former U.S. attorney in Northern California who is representing Dugard and her family for free, said Dugard will testify against the Garridos if the time comes.

For now, Dugard and her daughters, 11 and 15, are getting psychological help, receiving medical and dental care and working on basic things such as getting birth certificates for the girls.

Mars orbiter discovers more water than suspected

There is much more water on Mars than anyone had thought – possibly twice as much as in Greenland’s ice sheet, scientists said Thursday.

NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter spotted ice in five recently formed meteorite craters situated midway between the northern pole and the equator, researchers said in a report published in the journal Science. That’s the farthest south the underground ice sheet has been found.

The ice in the largest crater lasted long enough before evaporating in the thin Martian atmosphere that the spacecraft’s instruments were able to confirm that the bluish material inside the crater was, indeed, ice.

“Buried ice on Mars is much more extensive than we had thought,” Shane Byrne, an astronomer from the University of Arizona, said Thursday. “It’s also a lot purer than we had thought.”

Scientists had expected that the ice on Mars would be heavily mixed with dirt, but the spacecraft’s instruments showed the ice is 99 percent uncontaminated, according to the scientific team.

The findings, announced Thursday, reveal Mars to be wetter and possessed of a more complex climate history than scientists expected.

Scientists also said this week they’ve found the strongest evidence yet that water exists on the moon, a discovery that helps complete a picture of a water-rich solar system and could make colonizing Earth’s nearest neighbor much easier than previously thought.

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