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United States car sales continued to struggle in April as cash-conscious consumers remained reluctant to buy new vehicles, and the industry faced turmoil. Chrysler saw a 48% drop in April sales from the same month a year ago, a day after seeking bankruptcy protection.
New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly deployed on Thursday 40 marked and unmarked Nissan Altima hybrid patrol cars. The cars are part of the mayor's plan to slash city emissions by 30% by 2017.
Cuba reacted strongly on Thursday calling the US government an “international criminal” after Washington said it was keeping Cuba on a list of countries that allegedly support terrorism. The US State Department released a report lumping Cuba with Iran, Syria and Sudan on a blacklist as sponsors of terrorism.
President Barack Obama said Thursday that Chrysler will file a historic bankruptcy shortly, backed by up to 3.5 billion US dollars in new government aid designed to allow a Chrysler-Fiat partnership to emerge from court in 30 to 60 days.
Cuban President Raul Castro said Wednesday his country does not need to make any symbolic gestures as it pursues better relations with the United States. Addressing the Non Aligned Movement meeting in Havana Castro said he is still willing to talk about all issues and that it was up to the US to make the next move.
The United States Treasury Department revealed on Wednesday that over 100 applications have been received from firms seeking to manage the government program to help purchase toxic securities from banks. The US government is relying on private investors to purchase poorly performing real estate investments currently weighing on bank balance sheets.
The US economy continued to contract in the first quarter of 2009, led by the biggest fall in exports for 40 years. US GDP contracted at an annualised rate of 6.1% during the quarter, little improvement on the 6.3% fall in the last three months of 2008.
The US Federal Reserve has kept interest rates on hold at its current range of between zero and 0.25% and has suggested the recession may be easing. It also said it would continue with its “quantitative” current approach of purchasing long-term government debt to expand money supply.
United States diplomats are holding talks with officials of Cuba's diplomatic mission in Washington on possible follow-up measures to steps President Barack Obama took earlier this month to ease restrictions on the island nation.
The Economist under the heading “The charming neighbour” says President Barack Obama’s incursion into Latinamerica at the recent summit in Trinidad Tobago was “overall a success”. But is also asks whether the new mood will survive the worsening recession in Latin America is unclear. And is spite all the discussion about Cuba, The Economist believes that in practice, “drugs and security are likely to overshadow all other issues in the Obama administration relation with Latinamerica. Furthermore “trade and immigration”, particularly with Mexico, have become dividing issues.