Truthout | News in Brief (10)

The Washington Post reports that after Chrysler emerged from bankruptcy last June, the company reported today that it lost $3.8 billion through the end of the year, but it expects its operations to break even in 2010. The announcement came in the report of Chrysler’s financial standing since the US automaker exited bankruptcy, helped by taxpayer-funded aid from the United States and Canadian governments. As part of the bankruptcy proceedings in June, the Italian automaker Fiat took over management of Chrysler.


The New York Times reports that the United States Coast Guard said that 11 people are unaccounted for after an explosion Tuesday night on an oil drilling rig off the coast of southeast Louisiana. Ina statement, the Coast Guard said that “the estimated 126 people on board have gotten off the rig,” which was still burning this morning, but that “there are approximately 11-12 people who remain missing.” Seven were critically injured and were taken to hospitals in the region, from New Orleans to Mobile, Alabama.


The Hill reports that the FBI and IRS have launched a criminal investigation into the Republican Party of Florida’s issuing of credit cards to elected officials and staff, according to media reports.

“The probe could affect the tumultuous Florida Republican Senate primary,” The Hill reports. “An IRS inquiry is probing the tax returns of campaign front-runner Marco Rubio, former state party Chairman Jim Greer, a close ally of Rubio’s opponent Gov. Charlie Crist and another state GOP official.” The statements are being examined to see if the men used party credit cards improperly for personal use.


Talking Points Memo reports that General Motors Co. has repaid the $8.1 billion in loans it got from the US and Canadian governments, a move its CEO says is a sign that the automaker is on the road to recovery. GM CEO Whitacre announced the loan paybacks today at the company’s Fairfax Assembly Plant in Kansas City, Kansas, where he said GM is investing $257 million in that factory and the Detroit-Hamtramck plant, both of which will build the next generation of the mid-size Chevrolet Malibu.

GM got a total of $52 billion from the US government and $9.5 billion from the Canadian and Ontario governments as it went through bankruptcy protection last year.


The Los Angeles Times reports that air traffic over Europe was on track to return to about 75 percent of normal capacity today, aviation officials said, but they warned that clearing the backlog of flights could take days.

Europe’s biggest airports were expected to be open and running flights by the end of the day. That included London’s Heathrow Airport, one of the world’s busiest hubs, which the British aviation authority allowed to reopen late Tuesday.

Problems posed by the volcanic ash spewed by a volcano in Iceland had not entirely disappeared, however. A corner of Scottish airspace remained sealed off, with potential that the closure could spread further south. The restoration of air service came as welcome news to thousands of passengers who have been stranded far from home since last Thursday.


The Chicago Sun-Times reportsthat Poland’s Parliament speaker today set June 20 as the date for an early presidential election after the death of President Lech Kaczynski in a plane crash, kicking off an election season overshadowed by the tragedy.

The April 10 plane crash killed not only Kaczynski of the nationalist conservative Law and Justice Party, but also Jerzy Szmajdzinski, the candidate for the Democratic Left Alliance. Both parties have been deep in mourning and have not yet chosen new candidates. The date of June 20, announced by speaker Bronislaw Komorowski, was widely expected. Komorowski is the acting president and will be the candidate for his moderate, pro-EU Party Civic Platform.