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German Constitutional Court backs European rescue fund

German Constitutional Court backs European rescue fund

updated 8:19 AM EDT, Wed September 12, 2012

Protesters call for the end of the European Stability Mechanism in front of the Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe, Germany


German court dismisses complaint against European rescue fund

37,000 citizens had sought to stop the fund going ahead

Critics said the fund would expose German taxpayers to excessive demands

Supporters say the European Stability Mechanism is vital to saving the euro

The eurozone’s crisis plan passed another milestone Wednesday with the decision from Germany’s Constitutional Court to dismiss a complaint against Europe’s permanent bailout fund, known as the European Stability Mechanism.

The decision eases the pressure on two of the eurozone bloc’s largest economies, Italy and Spain, whose funding costs have been soaring amid a financial crisis that has dragged on for more than two years.

The two countries — the bloc’s third- and fourth-largest economies, respectively — are considered too big to fail, but Spain has already been forced to seek financial aid for its banks and is widely expected to seek further assistance.

Anatoli Annenkov, senior European economist at Societe Generale, said the verdict showed that on paper, “we now have some powerful tools available which combined looks sufficiently large to deal with financing pressures on Spain and Italy, if and when they arise.”

That may “be sufficient to calm markets,” Annenkov said, although he noted that the plans needed to be quickly translated into practice, with full details of conditions and enforcement made clear. “We expect the first real case to be Spain, which is currently studying the conditions for applying for aid,” he added.

The decision, which was months in the making, was expected but clears the way for the introduction of the European Stability Mechanism, which is due to become operational in October and will have a maximum lending capacity of 500 billion euros. The ruling included conditions to limit Germany’s liability to the fund to 190 billion euros.

In Germany’s biggest ever constitutional challenge, about 37,000 citizens had tried to block the fund, saying it violated the country’s right to retain control of its own budget.

The citizens, who backed a legal push from the More Democracy movement, said the mechanism could expose the country to unlimited demands for taxpayer money. They wanted a referendum to decide the issue.

Supporters of the rescue fund, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, said it was a vital part of measures to prop up ailing European economies and avert the collapse of the euro. Addressing German parliament Wednesday, Merkel said: “It is a good day for Germany, it is a good day for Europe.”

Markets rose on news of the ruling, as investors had been anxious about how it would affect the European Central Bank’s plans to preserve the euro.

It was feared that a negative ruling would throw global markets into chaos and force Europe’s politicians to return to the drawing board to tackle Europe’s debt crisis.

The bailout fund is set to provide financial help to European countries struggling to cope with their debt burdens.

It’s an integral part of a plan announced by European Central Bank President Mario Draghi last week to buy bonds with a duration of between one and three years.

The bond purchases, described as “outright monetary transactions,” would be available to countries that seek outside help and that agree to meet a number of budgetary conditions before approval. There would be no “ex ante limits on the size” of the purchases, Draghi said, repeating his pledge to do “whatever it takes” to save the euro.

The measure is designed to keep a lid on bond yields and borrowing costs.

more at German Constitutional Court backs European rescue fund –

US ambassador to Libya, 3 American staff members killed in attack

The U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other American staff members were killed Tuesday in an attack on the U.S. consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi, the White House confirmed. President Obama, in a written statement issued Wednesday morning, called the attack “outrageous” and “senseless.”

Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens was killed Tuesday night when he and a group of embassy employees went to the consulate to try to evacuate staff. The protesters, angry over a film that ridiculed Islam’s Prophet Muhammad, were firing gunshots and rocket-propelled grenades.

“I strongly condemn the outrageous attack on our diplomatic facility in Benghazi, which took the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens,” President Obama said in a statement Wednesday morning. “Right now, the American people have the families of those we lost in our thoughts and prayers. They exemplified America’s commitment to freedom, justice, and partnership with nations and people around the globe, and stand in stark contrast to those who callously took their lives.”

Obama said he’s directed the administration to provide “all necessary resources” to support security for U.S. personnel in Libya and to increase security at diplomatic offices around the world.

“While the United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, we must all unequivocally oppose the kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants,” he said.

Obama called Stevens “a courageous and exemplary representative of the United States” who “selflessly served our country and the Libyan people” throughout the Libyan revolution.

“His legacy will endure wherever human beings reach for liberty and justice,” the president said. A White House official said Obama was told Tuesday night that Stevens was unaccounted for, and informed early Wednesday of his death.

Libya’s interim president on Wednesday apologized to the United States for the attack. Mohammed el-Megarif described the attack as “cowardly” and offered his condolences. Speaking to reporters, he vowed to bring the culprits to justice and maintain his country’s close relations with the United States.

Stevens is the first U.S. ambassador killed in an attack since 1979.

The State Department identified one of the other three Americans killed as Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith, a husband and father of two who had worked for the State Department for 10 years. The U.S. government is still notifying the next of kin for the other two individuals killed, and has not identified them.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton described Stevens as a passionate and dedicated diplomat who had devoted himself to the transition in post-Qaddafi Libya.

“As the conflict in Libya unfolded, Chris was one of the first Americans on the ground in Benghazi.  He risked his own life to lend the Libyan people a helping hand to build the foundation for a new, free nation,” she said.

Stevens was appointed as ambassador to Libya in May 2012.

He served as a special representative to the Libyan Transitional National Council during the revolution in 2011, and as the deputy chief of mission from 2007 to 2009. Originally from California, Stevens was an international trade lawyer before joining the Foreign Service in the early 1990s. He also served as a volunteer in the Peace Corps from 1983 to 1985, teaching English in Morocco.

U.S. officials remain on alert for violence at other diplomatic posts.

Hours before the Benghazi attack, hundreds of mainly ultraconservative Islamist protesters in Egypt marched to the U.S. Embassy in downtown Cairo, gathering outside its walls and chanting against the movie and the U.S. Most of the embassy staff had left the compound earlier because of warnings of the upcoming demonstration.

Dozens of protesters then scaled the embassy walls, and several went into the courtyard and took down the American flag from a pole.

They brought it back to the crowd outside, which tried to burn it, but failing that tore it apart. The protesters on the wall then raised on the flagpole a black flag with a Muslim declaration of faith, “There is no god but God and Muhammad is his prophet.” The flag, similar to the banner used by Al Qaeda, is commonly used by ultraconservatives around the region.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Embassy in Algiers was warning Americans in the country to avoid non-essential travel amid calls for more protests after the Libya attack.

US ambassador to Libya, 3 American staff members killed in attack

via US ambassador to Libya, 3 American staff members killed in attack | Fox News.

Fashion Week Parties Swarm New York City

If you weren’t at a fashion party last night, well, you missed out on all the fun. With New York Fashion Week kicking off today, every stylish guy and gal in the city seemed to be toasting, speechifying, air-kissing and posing for pictures at a slew of fashion fetes last night to inaugurate the big week ahead.

Du Jour, the latest glossy magazine to hit newsstands, feted its debut issue with a party hosted by cover star Christy Turlington and photographer Bruce Weber. Held at Capitale, the party drew the likes of Russell Simmons, Amar’e Stoudemire, Hoda Kotb and model Hilary Rhoda.

New York’s revamped The Cut, which officially debuted August 13, also threw itself a launch party on the rooftop of the NoMad Hotel, attended by Nigel Barker, Coco Rocha, Lindsay Ellingson and Yigal Azrouel.

Farther uptown, shoe designer Brian Atwood — recently reprimanded for his overly sexy shoe ads — threw a party celebrating the opening of his new Madison Avenue store, attended by pals Rachel Zoe, Michelle Trachtenberg, Heidi Klum, Ryan Lochte and Candice Swanepoel (star of the aforementioned ads).

There were also ceremonies honoring some of fashion’s greatest: the Fashion Institute of Technology presented Oscar de la Renta with the 2012 Couture Council Award for Artistry at a luncheon earlier in the day (Sarah Jessica Parker and Anna Wintour were by his side) and the 9th Annual Style Awards crowned Carolina Herrera the Designer Of The Year that evening at Lincoln Center (Katie Holmes did the honors).

And that doesn’t even include SPIN and Refinery29’s party across the river in Brooklyn, the launch of the latest fashion tome, “Antonio Lopez: Fashion, Art, Sex and Disco” (Lopez was a friend of Karl Largerfeld) and the splashy red carpet premiere of “Boardwalk Empire” which drew the Hollywood crowd.

It was hard to be in multiple places at once, but the most seasoned partygoers managed to hit several events each: Iman and Rachel Roy, for example, showed their faces at both the Style Awards and Brian Atwood’s fete and Kim Kardashian wowed in a dramatic cutout dress at both the Brian Atwood store and Du Jour’s launch.

As for us? We headed to Williamsburg for Refinery29’s bash and stayed put.

Check out last night’s party snaps… and just envision the hangovers everyone’s nursing today. Happy first day of Fashion Week, y’all!

via Fashion Week Parties Swarm New York City (PHOTOS)

Kanye West raps about Kim Kardashian’s sex tape

How charming. Kanye West is proud of his “perfect bitch” Kim Kardashian and her sex tape.

TMZ has heard West’s new single “Clique,” in which he references his girlfriend’s infamous sex tape from 2007.

West raps: “Eat breakfast at Gucci. My girl a superstar all from a home movie.”

If there’s any doubt who Yeezy could be rapping about, consider the title of Kardashian’s sex tape: “Kim Kardashian Superstar.”

West is a “self-described porn connoisseur,” according to TMZ, which also notes that Kardashian credits her initial fame to the film.

What a perfect pair.

more at:  Kanye West raps about Kim Kardashian’s sex tape –

Alec Baldwin’s daughter Ireland discusses his infamous “little pig” voicemail

Alec Baldwin’s daughter Ireland has talked for the first time about his infamous 2007 voice mail in which he called her “a rude, thoughtless, little pig” — saying he often speaks like that “because he’s frustrated.”

Ireland, the 16-year-old daughter of Baldwin and Kim Basinger, thinks the incident — which created a viral scandal and prompted Baldwin to temporarily lose visitation rights — was blown wildly out of proportion.

“The only problem with that voice mail was that people made it out to be a way bigger deal than it was,” she tells Page Six Magazine, out today. “He’s said stuff like that before just because he’s frustrated.

more at Alec Baldwin’s daughter Ireland discusses his infamous “little pig” voicemail –

Multiple People Shot, At Least Two Dead, Outside Empire State Building

Several people have been shot, at least two fatally, in a police-involved shooting outside the Empire State Building this morning. Early police scanner reports indicated the shooting was related to a robbery but it now appears it may have been a workplace dispute. The gunman was fatally shot by the police. A innocent woman also appears to have been killed in the crossfire. According to the FDNY there are “several” people being taken to nearby hospitals while they mitigate the scene.

The shooting began just after 9 a.m. Exactly how many people were shot is still unclear but appears to be between 8 and 10. At 9:44 a.m. it came over the news scanners that the perp may be a recently fired worker who returned to the building where he had worked. According to one person who claims to be a witness the shooter had a specific target:I was about 50 feet away from the guy who was killed, and it was definitely a targeted shooting. Apparently he walked right up to the guy and shot him in the head. I was one of the first there, thinking I could take my jacket off to help the guy who was shot, but he was gone already.

Just FYI, this has nothing to do with the ESB. It just happens to be right across the street from where it occurred. Its not a shooting that took place in the building, or some kind of terrorist activity. Just stating this because some would assume its a guy who opened fire in a tourist attraction, and that was not the case.

ABC7 reports that at least one victim was shot in a nearby Duane Reade when a bullet went through a window. Reportedly, “Some shooting victims were found inside the lobby of the Empire State Building, others found outside.””The shot rang out, and everybody started running,” one witness told the News. “Oh man, there must have been 12 or 13 shots. It was amazing.”Meanwhile, the Empire State Buildings observatory is open to the public.Bloomberg is now on the scene and expected to speak at 11 a.m. Stay tuned for updates.

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more:Multiple People Shot, At Least Two Dead, Outside Empire State Building: Gothamist.

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Police fatally shoot man in Times Square

A man was shot and killed by police in New Yorks Times Square Saturday afternoon, after he refused to drop the knife he was wielding. Police saw the man, whom they observed smoking marijuana near West 44th Street and Seventh Avenue, NBC News reported. When approached by officers, he became belligerent, and threatened them with a large kitchen knife. The officers ordered the man to drop his weapon repeatedly at they pursued him a number of blocks south of the tourist-filled Times Square, according the the Associated Press.

According to the police, officers pepper-sprayed the man six times, but he did not let go of the 11-inch knife, the AP reported. More from GlobalPost: Son of Sam killer David Berkowitz: Recent shootings senselessBystanders who were in Times Square at the time stopped to watch the pursuit, many snapping photos and videos, the New York Times City Room blog reported.“He was swinging at people as he ran,” 17-year old Jobby Nogver, who was visiting from Boston, told the New York Times. Nogver watched as about a dozen police officers finally surrounded the man and shots were fired on Seventh Avenue between 37th and 38th Streets.“I can’t tell you how many shots,” he said. “It was a lot.”Karon Rakes, who was visiting New York from Cleveland, told the Times the man was taunting the police.“He just started saying, ‘Come on, come get me,’ ” Rakes said.

The man was pronounced dead at Bellevue Hospital, the AP reported. The he officers involved in the shooting will be on required administrative duty while the incident is reviewed, Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne told CNN.

more at: Police fatally shoot man in Times Square VIDEO | GlobalPost.

Man plunges 22 stories to his death from Manhattan hotel

Man plunges 22 stories to his death from Manhattan hotel, lands ON TOP of SUV with driver inside, who escapes from wreck unscathed.

The man, identified only as a 40-year-old from Florida, jumped from the sun deck of the 22nd-floor fitness center. The driver, Engel Nicasio, was having a cup of coffee as he waited for his passenger when he hard a “loud boom” that made him duck.

Scene at West 55th Street and Fifth Avenue, where an unidentified man jumped from the Peninsula Hotel landing across the street from the entrance on top of a SUV with Engel Nicasio,shown here its driver inside, who miraculously was uninjured.

A man jumped to his death from the roof of a midtown hotel Thursday morning, crushing a Cadillac Escalade that was parked across the street as the driver sat in the SUV drinking coffee, police said.

The apparent suicide occurred at 8:55 a.m. at the posh Peninsula Hotel on Fifth Ave., near 55th St.

The man, identified only as a 40-year-old from Florida, jumped from the sun deck of the 22nd-floor fitness center, landing on the Cadillac Escalade on 55th St. across from the hotel.

The driver of the luxury SUV said he was inside the SUV having a cup of coffee as he waited for his passenger when he hard a “loud boom” that made him duck.

“When I looked up, I saw my whole passenger side was crushed in from above,”

said the driver, Engel Nicasio, 37.

“I thought it was a construction accident or debris from a building.”He exited the vehicle and saw the real horror: the body.

“I was in shock,” he said.

“I had never seen a body like that, it was horrible. I just stood there staring at it until someone pulled me away.”

via Man plunges 22 stories to his death from Manhattan hotel, lands ON TOP of SUV with driver inside, who escapes from wreck unscathed – NY Daily News.

Colorado gunman planned on killing stars of Dark Knight Rises at NYC premiere

The Colorado gunman planned on traveling to New York City for the premiere of “The Dark Knight Rises”, so he could shoot dead the stars of the movie and any innocent bystanders who stood in his way, it was claimed today. James Holmes had more grandiose plans than gunning down moviegoers at his local theater according to police sources, and only changed his mind at the last minute due to paranoia that police would catch him with a car-load of weaponry.

The National Enquirer reported that actors Christian Bale, Morgan Freeman, Anne Hathaway and Gary Oldman were Holmes original targets, with their deaths being in the very city the movie was filmed in, according to an initial police investigation.

more at: James Holmes: Did Colorado gunman plan on killing stars of Dark Knight Rises at NYC premiere? | Mail Online.

Romney would back Israeli strike against Iran

Mitt Romney would support Israel’s decision to launch a military strike against Iran to keep that country from achieving nuclear capabilities, but hopes diplomatic and military measures will dissuade Tehran from pursuing its path toward nuclear acquisition, a top foreign policy adviser for the GOP presidential candidate said Sunday.“Gov. Romney believes we should employ any and all measures to dissuade the Iranian regime from its nuclear course, and it is his fervent hope that diplomatic and economic measures will do so,” said adviser Dan Senor, previewing a speech Romney is scheduled to make Sunday afternoon. ”In the final analysis, of course, no option should be excluded. Gov. Romney recognizes Israels right to defend itself, and that it is right for America to stand with it.” Romney is on a seven-day overseas trip that started Friday in England, will continue this weekend in Israel and conclude in Poland.  Senor said Romney thinks preventing nuclear “capability” – not just a nuclear weapon – is critical.

more at: Romney would back Israeli strike against Iran, senior adviser says | Fox News.

Katie Holmes went stealth to leave Tom Cruise and Scientology

On July 11 a new report about Katie Holmes showed that the soon-to-be ex-wife of Tom Cruise used stealth methods to leave him and his religion of Scientology.
According to “Extra” via several sources, Holmes took special measures to end her marriage by using disposable cell phones to orchestrate this move that apparently had been long in coming for the actress who had been wed to Cruise for five years.
 While Tom was filming his newest movie called “Oblivion” in Iceland, Katie went to some key players who became her confidants as she decided to pull the plug on her legal union with Cruise.
One such player was her dad, attorney Bert Fields, while the other was another former Mrs. Cruise, Nicole Kidman. Both helped Katie execute the complicated exit Holmes felt was necessary in order to leave her husband.Meanwhile, Tom Cruise is said to be in bad shape after this personal set-back as he continues to film “Oblivion” in June Lake, California.
People reports that the accomplished actor keeps asking, “Whats happening?” as if in a fog of some sort regarding the disillusion of his marriage. However, reports say that Cruise will be seeing his and Katies daughter Suri as soon as this weekend since custody arrangements have been made. Whether or not Katie Holmes will be on hand when Tom arrives in New York City is not known.
Meanwhile, Katie Holmes has left Tom Cruise and Scientology but she has joined a Catholic church in New York City as she starts her new life without the man who wooed her all over the world only five years ago. Stay tuned for more on this complicated matter. In the meantime take a look at L Ron Hubbard’s son speaking out about Scientology.

more at: Katie Holmes went stealth to leave Tom Cruise and Scientology – National Celebrity Headlines |


When the UN wants to negotiate a global arms control deal, it turns to … Iran | Fox News

UNITED NATIONS –  A little more than a week after accusing Iran of supplying arms for Syrias bloody crackdown on democracy-minded rebels, the UN has given Tehran a key seat at negotiations for a global arms treaty.

The stunning appointment by member states attending the UN Conference of the Arms Trade Treaty in New York came last week, and is just the latest example of the world body appointing rogue and repressive regimes to leadership roles. The 15-nation committee to which Iran was appointed hopes to guide what could eventually become the first legally binding global treaty aimed at regulating the international trade of conventional arms.

Critics say asking Iran to help craft a treaty aimed at stopping arms proliferation to terrorist groups and rogue states makes a mockery of the talks. Just two weeks ago, the UN Security Council accused Tehran of shipping arms to Syria, and Iran is also suspected of hiding illegal nuclear weapons facilities from international watchdogs.“It defies logic, morality and common sense for the UN to elect this same regime to a global post in the regulation of arms transfers.”- UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer

“Right after a UN Security Council report found Iran guilty of illegally transferring guns and bombs to Syria, which is now murdering thousands of its own people, it defies logic, morality and common sense for the UN to elect this same regime to a global post in the regulation of arms transfers,” UN Watch Executive Director Hillel Neuer told

For this and more current events go to

via When the UN wants to negotiate a global arms control deal, it turns to … Iran | Fox News.

Pastor Arrested for Holding Bible Study in Home

A Phoenix-area pastor is in jail after his home was raided because he was violating an occupancy law by conducting private Bible studies in his home, the Examiner reported.

Pastor Michael Salmon, an ordained minister who lives with his family in the Phoenix area, has led a Bible-study gathering of 15-20 people at his 4.5 acre property since 2005.

Police raided his home on July 6. In 2007, Salmon received a notice from the City of Phoenix that Bible studies are not permitted in a residence unless the property is converted to an A3 occupancy, which allows commercial and public use, according to the Examiner.”

It came down to zoning and proper permitting. Anytime you are holding a gathering of people continuously as he does, we have concerns about people being able to exit the facility properly in case there is a fire,” Phoenix City Prosecutor Vicki Hall said, according to the Examiner.

Salmon took some steps to meet the requirements, but did not want to become a commercial entity, calling the code unconstitutional. Now he is serving 60 days in jail for “creating an unsafe building environment,” the Examiner reported. The pastor has also received a $12,180 fine for his crime and could receive probation.

more at: Pastor Arrested for Holding Bible Study.