Ex-Lehman Brothers boss says, 'The seeds of the next financial crisis are probably being ordered right now'

This weekend marks 10 years since the financial services company Lehman Brothers, a titan of Wall Street, surrendered to bankruptcy. Source: Associated Press



Woman accusing US Supreme Court nominee of a decades-old sexual assault to testify

The woman accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of a decades-old sexual assault has accepted a Senate committee's request to tell her side next week but Christine Blasey Ford wants to resume negotiations over the exact terms of her appearance, her lawyers said Saturday (local time).

It was not immediately clear whether the Republican-run Senate Judiciary Committee would agree to more talks with Ford's team.

Also unclear was when she might come to Capitol Hill and she was offering to speak in a public session or a private one.

The committee wanted her to appear Wednesday, but she prefers her earlier request for Thursday, according to a person familiar with the negotiations who was not authorised to discuss the matter publicly.

Her lawyers' letter to the committee's GOP majority was released just at the 2:30 p.m. deadline set by the chairman, Sen. Chuck Grassley, to respond to the panel's latest offer.

Grassley, R-Iowa, had set a possible Monday vote to decide whether to recommend Kavanaugh's nomination to the full Senate.

As Republicans were considering their next move in private talks Saturday, they also made it clear they viewed Ford's offer as a way to delay voting on President Donald Trump's pick for the court.

A senior official at the White House said the letter amounted to "an ask to continue 'negotiations' without committing to anything.

It's a clever way to push off the vote Monday without committing to appear Wednesday."The official was not authorised to publicly discuss the Senate negotiations and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The White House views Ford's potential testimony with trepidation, nervous that an emotional performance might not just damage Kavanaugh's chances but could further energize female voters to turn out against Republicans in November against the backdrop of the #MeToo movement.

Moreover, the West Wing aides who had urged Trump to remain muted in his response to the accusations worried about how the president might react if she ended up partaking in an hourslong, televised hearing.

In a single tweet Friday, Trump broke his silence to cast doubt on Ford's story in ways Republicans had been carefully trying to avoid.

Trump mused to confidants that the "fake" attacks against his nominee were meant to undermine his presidency, according to a White House official and a Republican close to the White House.

Both spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to discuss private conversations.

Other Republicans scoffed at Ford's willingness to accept the committee's request to tell her story.

"When?" tweeted the No. 2 GOP Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, a member of the committee.

The lawyers for Ford wrote that she "accepts the Committee's request to provide her first-hand knowledge of Brett Kavanaugh's sexual misconduct next week."

Attorneys Debra Katz and Lisa Banks said many aspects of Grassley's latest offer were "fundamentally inconsistent" with the committee's promise of a "fair, impartial investigation."

They said they remained disappointed by the "bullying" that "tainted the process." Yet they remained "hopeful that we can reach agreement on details."

It was unclear whether Grassley would permit more negotiations Saturday, with patience among Republicans is running thin.

The GOP is facing enormous pressure from its base of conservative leaders and voters to swiftly approve Kavanaugh, who would become the second of President Donald Trump's nominees to sit on the nation's highest court, before the Nov. 6 election.

A spokesman for GOP Sen. Mike Lee of Utah, a committee member, tweeted that Ford "agreed to nothing. She rejected the committee's offer to testify Wednesday."

Earlier Saturday amid the latest deadline standoff Vice President Mike Pence called Kavanaugh "a man of integrity with impeccable credentials." He expressed confidence that Republicans "will manage this confirmation properly with the utmost respect for all concerned" and said he expected Kavanaugh to join the high court soon.

Grassley had set a Friday night deadline for the 51-year-old California psychology professor to agree to the committee's latest offer setting terms for her appearance.

Grassley said that if she missed that deadline, he would scrap the hearing and his committee would vote on sending Kavanaugh's nomination to the full Senate.

Ford's lawyers asked for another day. In a tweet aimed at Kavanaugh shortly before midnight, Grassley said he was giving them additional time.

"She should decide so we can move on. I want to hear her. I hope u understand. It's not my normal approach to b indecisive," Grassley wrote.

Ford's accusations and the standoff over the terms of her appearance have left the appeals court judge's confirmation in jeopardy.  And just seven weeks from an election in which Democrats are hoping to capture control of the House and maybe the Senate, her emergence also has drawn intensified attention to the #MeToo movement's focus on sexual abuse.

Ford says an inebriated Kavanaugh pinned her on a bed, muffled her cries and tried removing her clothes when both were teenagers in the 1980s.

Kavanaugh has denied doing this and said he wants to appear before the committee as soon as possible to clear his name.

In backing away from his deadline, Grassley underscored the sensitivity with which Senate Republicans have tried handling Ford.

Moderate female voters will be pivotal in many races in the elections and the #MeToo movement has elevated the political potency of how women alleging abuse are treated.

In requesting another day to decide, Katz called Grassley's original deadline "arbitrary" and said its "sole purpose is to bully Dr. Ford and deprive her of the ability to make a considered decision that has life-altering implications for her and her family."

Earlier Friday, Grassley rejected concessions Ford wanted if she is tell her story publicly before the committee.

Grassley turned down Ford's request that only senators, not attorneys, be allowed to ask questions.

The committee's 11 Republicans - all men - have been seeking an outside female attorney to interrogate Ford, mindful of the election-season impression that could be left by men trying to pick apart a woman's assertion of a sexual attack.

He also rejected her proposal that she testify after Kavanaugh, a position lawyers consider advantageous because it gives them a chance to rebut accusations.

Grassley's stance reflected a desire by Trump and GOP leaders to usher the 53-year-old Kavanaugh onto the high court by the Oct. 1 start of its new session and before the November elections, when Democrats are mounting a robust drive to grab congressional control.

Friday was the latest in a string of tumultuous days for Kavanaugh, whose ascension to the Supreme Court seemed a sure bet until Ford emerged last weekend and provided details of the alleged assault.

Earlier, Trump ended a week of constraint and sarcastically assailed Ford, tweeting that if the episode was "as bad as she says," she or "her loving parents" surely would have reported it to law enforcement.

Trump's searing reproach defied the Senate Republican strategy, and the advice of White House aides, of not disparaging Ford while firmly defending his nominee and the tight timetable for confirming him.

The president's tweet brought blistering rejoinders from Democrats and a mix of silence and sighs of regret from his own party.

Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, who hasn't declared support for Kavanaugh, called the remark "appalling."

Grassley rebuffed other Ford requests, including calling additional witnesses.

Ford wants an appearance by Mark Judge, a Kavanaugh friend who Ford asserts was at the high school party and in the room where the incident occurred.

Grassley consented to other Ford demands, including that she be provided security and that Kavanaugh not be in the hearing room when she testifies.

Ford's request for security comes after her lawyers said she has relocated her family due to death threats.

President Donald Trump's Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh is sworn-in before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, September 4, 2018, to begin his testimony in his confirmation hearing to replace retired Justice Anthony Kennedy. Source: Associated Press


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Three tiger sharks now caught, killed in bay where girl, 12, woman were attacked

Three tiger sharks have been killed by the Queensland government after life- threatening attacks on a woman and a girl, but officials say it is impossible to know if they caused the bites.

The girl is Hannah Papps, who lives in Melbourne with her New Zealand parents. Source: 1 NEWS

Hannah Papps, who lives in Melbourne with Kiwi parents, was bitten on her right leg while swimming in Cid Harbour with her father and sister on Thursday, less than 24 hours after Tasmanian Justine Barwick, 46, was bitten on her left thigh while snorkeling in the same area.

Baited hooks dropped into Sawmill Bay by Fisheries Queensland officials on Friday have since caught a two-metre tiger shark, a 2.6-metre tiger shark and a 3.3-metre tiger shark.

The state government insists killing the sharks is in the interest of public safety, even though it unclear whether they were behind the attacks.

The sharks were to be cut open and measured before being dumped at sea.

Both victims remain in hospitals in Brisbane.

Ms Barwick was last known to be in intensive care after 18 hours of reconstructive surgery to her injured right leg.

Meanwhile, the family of Hannah Papps have expressed gratitude for the quick actions of those involved in her rescue.

"We would like to thank everyone who has helped and cared for Hannah, including the police, emergency services and the hospital teams," the girl's family said in a statement on Friday.

"We ask that everyone, including the media, please respect our family's privacy during this very difficult time so we can focus our energies on Hannah's recovery."


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Tanzania ferry disaster toll tops 200 with bodies still floating on surface

Divers have rescued a man from the wreck of an overcrowded Tanzanian ferry that capsized on Lake Victoria, killing at least 207 people.

More than 300 people were on board the ferry on Lake Victoria in Tanzania when disaster struck just metres from shore. Source: 1 NEWS

Bodies continue to float to the surface around the vessel, which initial estimates suggested was carrying more than 300 people.

State broadcaster TBC said the death toll from Thursday's disaster had reached 207.

Four navy divers resumed their search inside the sunken MV Nyerere early on Saturday after hearing sounds that suggested signs of life.

They pulled one man out of the overturned ship and he was rushed to hospital, a witness said.

His condition was not immediately known.

The ferry sank on Thursday evening just a few metres from the dock on Ukerewe, the lake's biggest island.

President John Magufuli ordered the arrest of those responsible for the sinking on Friday.

Dozens of relatives stood crying by the shoreline as they waited for information on their loved ones.

Coffins were lined up near awaiting bodies being pulled from the vessel, which lay belly up in the water just metres from the shoreline.

Survivor Charles Ngarima said the ferry overturned quickly and covered passengers.

"I was lucky that I was able to swim under water not knowing where I was swimming to...while trying to swim to safety, I found a number of metal bars that cut my face and the back of my head," he said.

Works, Transport and Communication Minister Isack Kamwelwe said the government was sending special equipment to aid the rescue effort.


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Most watched: Hundreds of metres of Greek coastline blanketed by spider webs

This story was first published on Saturday September 23. 

A recent increase in the mosquito population has resulted in perfect conditions for spiders to thrive and multiply. Source: Associated Press

It's not quite the World Wide Web - but the spiders of Aitoliko in Greece have made a good start.

Spurred into overdrive by an explosion in the populations of insects they eat, thousands of little spiders in the western Greek town have shrouded coastal trees, bushes and low vegetation in thick webs.

The sticky white lines extend for a few hundred meters along the shoreline of Aitoliko, built on an artificial island in a salt lagoon near Missolonghi, 250 kilometres west of Athens.

Experts told local media that the numbers of lake flies, a non-biting midge, have rocketed amid humid late summer conditions. Spiders, which fancy the flies, reproduced fast to take full advantage of the feast.

Residents say the extensive spider webs have another benefit: keeping down mosquitoes.