The People’s Bank of China, the country’s central bank, in Beijing. The central bank cut its benchmark interest rate amid concerns of “persisting downward pressures on the country’s economic growth.”
HONG KONG — China’s central bank on Tuesday cut its benchmark interest rate and freed banks to lend more, the latest signs of the government’s growing distress over slumping stocks and slowing economic growth.
The central bank’s action followed a global stock market rout in which China led the declines. The main Shanghai share index plunged another 7.6 percent on Tuesday, to its lowest level this year. That brought its three-day decline to 22 percent, signaling that two months’ worth of attempts by the government to prop up stock prices had limited effects
On Tuesday, China’s prime minister, Li Keqiang, acknowledged that the country was feeling the effects of market turbulence, but insisted that the economy remained sound.
“Currently, global economic trends are opaque and confusing, and market volatility is quite large, and this has had some impact on the Chinese economy,” Mr. Li said, according to a report on Chinese television news. “But fundamentally the overall stability of the Chinese economy has not changed, and positive factors sustaining a turn for the better in the real economy are accumulating.”
China, he added, would be able to fulfill its economic goals for the year. Mr. Li also noted that there would be no continued depreciation of the renminbi currency after a sharp devaluation earlier this month. The currency “can maintain fundamental stability at a reasonable and balanced level,” he said.
Even so, the tumult has prompted further action by the leadership.
In an aggressive two-part move on Tuesday, the central bank lowered the benchmark lending and deposit rates by 0.25 of a percentage point. It also cut the so-called reserve requirement ratio for the amount of cash that banks are required to hold in reserve by 0.5 of a percentage point.
It was China’s fifth interest rate cut since November, and the fourth reduction of the reserve ratio since February. The central bank made a similar tandem cut to both rates in June, when the stock market first began to fall from its peak, but that reduction of the reserve ratio did not apply to the biggest banks.
Cutting interest rates may help lift the economy, as signs have proliferated in recent weeks that growth is slowing faster than some official data suggest. A survey released on Friday showed that output in China’s manufacturing industry had contracted in the first three weeks of August at the fastest pace since the depths of the financial crisis.
“Currently, there are persisting downward pressures on the country’s economic growth,” the central bank, the People’s Bank of China, said in an explanation that accompanied the announcement Tuesday evening. “There has also been quite large volatility in global capital markets recently, and monetary policy tools need to be applied more flexibly.”
The central bank also made a step toward interest rate liberalization by removing the upper limit on interest rates for fixed-term deposits of more than one year. With inflation in China generally low, the bank said the time was ripe for such steps. “This marks another important step forward in interest rate marketization reforms for our country,” it said.
While the moves may bolster markets, the central bank most likely had another focus in cutting the reserve ratio. Like many emerging economies across the world, China in recent months has been fighting capital outflows, which rose to a record $70 billion in July. And they probably increased this month after China’s surprise devaluation of the renminbi. Investors are moving their money out of the country because they are worried that the currency could fall further, and they are seeking better returns elsewhere.
At the same time, China has been struggling with deflation, or falling prices, in its industrial sector for more than three years. Injecting more funds by freeing banks to lend more should help soften the blow of deflation and stem capital outflows.
Li-Gang Liu, the chief China economist at the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group, estimated the reserve ratio cut would immediately insert around 650 billion renminbi, or around $100 billion, into the banking system.
The cut “will spur bank lending and lower firms’ funding costs,” he wrote in a research note on Tuesday after the central bank’s announcement. But Mr. Liu doubted these latest measures alone would be enough to meet the government’s economic growth target of about 7 percent this year. He continued: “Further monetary policy easing by the People’s Bank of China is still in the cards.”
Pedestrians in Tokyo looking at closing information for Tokyo’s Nikkei Stock Average, after stocks there ended down more than 4 percent, a six-month low.
Last week, global financial markets were churning, but it really only mattered if you were an oil trader, Chinese bureaucrat or hedge fund manager.
Now it’s starting to get scary for everyone.
An 8.5 percent drop in the Shanghai Composite index in Monday’s trading session spread to financial markets across the world. In the United States, the broad Standard & Poor’s 500 index was down 2.5 percent in Monday morning trading, after steeper declines in Asian and European stock markets, falling prices for oil and other commodities, and a rush of money into the safety of United States Treasury bonds.
What’s fascinating is that there is no clear, simple story about what is different about the outlook for United States and European corporate profits; interest rates; or economic growth compared with one week ago, when the S.&P. 500 index was 8 percent higher.
Traders confronted a volatile morning at the New York Stock Exchange on Monday.Stocks Pare Losses but Market Upheaval ContinuesAUG. 23, 2015
Mike Pistillo, a specialist trader, at his post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange on Friday.Economic Trends: This Week’s Market Sell-Off May Not Be Such a Bad ThingAUG. 21, 2015
Here’s how to make sense of what is a truly global story, stretching from the streets of Shanghai, where stock investing has become a middle-class sport in recent years, to the oil fields of both the Middle East and Middle America, to the hallways of power in the Federal Reserve in Washington.
This Started in China, but Is a Lot Bigger Than China
The immediate trigger to the outburst of global volatility was China, where the sharp drop in stocks Monday continued a rout that has been underway — with periodic pauses thanks to government interventions — all summer.
The Chinese economy is slowing, and the 38 percent drop in the Shanghai Composite Index since June 12 is indeed a huge number. There is no question that this giant economy is struggling with a transition from the investment-and-export-led boom of the last generation toward something more sustainable.
But a few facts make China’s problems less satisfying as an explanation for the turmoil across world markets. The Chinese stock market has risen sharply over the past year as millions of middle-class Chinese citizens took to making investments. Even after its steep drop this summer, the Shanghai index is down less than 1 percent for the year and still up 43 percent from one year ago.
Chinese Stocks Boom and Bust
The volatile Chinese stock market took an especially sharp decline in recent weeks.
Shanghai Composite Index, percent change from Aug. 22, 2014
There may be a more complex story for why a sharp drop in the Chinese market should cause bigger ripples in the global economy than the sharp gain over the six months that preceded it. The fact that the Chinese government has pulled out unprecedented steps to try to contain the stock market sell-off, to little avail, may suggest limitations on the power of even the mighty Chinese state.
In other words, the sell-off in Chinese stocks may not matter much in isolation. But it tells us much about the inability of Chinese leaders to bring its economy in for a soft landing. And that is something scarier.
Other Emerging Markets Are Getting Hammered
Some of the key evidence for the “this is about more than China” story come from other emerging markets, stretching from Malaysia to Mexico, that are also taking it on the chin. Their currencies and stock and bond prices have fallen sharply over the last week. Some of that most likely reflects exposure to the Chinese economy. But some of it reflects something bigger.
The original taper tantrum happened in June 2013. It is a cute name for what happened when global financial markets collectively went berserk over the realization that the Fed was serious about tapering its program of quantitative easing — or put more plainly, that the Fed would wind down its injections of money into the financial system over time.
In effect, the Fed’s easy money policies led global investors to search for higher-yielding securities, which they found in many faster-growing emerging markets. Money gushed into these countries in search of better returns from 2010 until 2013, driving up prices of assets.
But as the end of the era of cheap dollars has approached, that hot money has pulled out — and created volatile spikes in interest rates and damage to those emerging economies. (Look at this presentation by Hyun Sung Shin of the Bank for International Settlements for a more detailed argument around how and why this happens).
Falling Oil Prices Are a Cause and Effect
The carnage in financial markets has had a particularly big impact of the price of commodities, including oil, the most economically significant commodity of them all.
The price of a barrel of oil fell from around $60 in late June to under $40 on Monday. Over time, that will be good news for American and European energy consumers, but there are complex feedback loops that probably make the commodity sell-off both a cause and a result of the broader emerging markets panic.
When oil prices first plummeted in the second half of last year, there were widespread forecasts that the price drop would cause oil exploration to shutter around the world, helping keep the market in balance. Instead, American producers have kept up production, keeping supplies high despite lower prices.
Here’s the feedback loop: The slowdown in China and other emerging markets lowers demand. High supplies and weak demand equals lower prices — which feeds back into weaker economic conditions for energy-producing countries like those in the Middle East, Latin America and Russia.
Then the Fed Makes Its Move
In the background of all of this is a crucial decision looming for the United States Federal Reserve. Fed officials have expressed confidence that the domestic economy is on track and that the time is right to raise interest rates after nearly seven years of keeping them near zero. It could make that move at its policy meeting Sept. 16 and 17.
Fed officials have indicated a determination to base interest rates on what is most appropriate given the state of the American economy and not to overreact to fluctuations in markets. The latest volatility will test that resolve.
Futures markets are increasingly betting that the Fed will indeed hold off to assess the damage to the economy, if any, from the latest global financial strains. On Monday, the market priced in a 24 percent chance of a rate increase in September, compared with a 48 percent chance just a week ago.
And the value of the dollar on currency markets fell 1.6 percent Monday (as measured by the dollar index) as investors priced in greater likelihood of the Fed’s keeping rates lower for longer.
Commentators have long accused that the Fed of overreacting to the latest financial market moves, a complaint that makes Fed officials bristle; they argue they are making their decisions based on measures of the real economy like inflation and employment data. If markets remain volatile heading into the next meeting but economic data remains consistent with recent solid readings, that will make for a tough decision.
Of course, it is the Fed’s job to set policy based on where the economy is going, not where it has been. If markets keep falling, that could endanger American growth prospects. On the other hand, the Fed’s job isn’t to try to protect investors from the risks of a downturn.
And if the last few days have taught anything, it is that global markets will be poised for a big reaction, no matter what the central bank does.
Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond announces Briton ‘safe and well’ and ‘receiving support’ from British government officials after release in Yemen
The British hostage held in Yemen was extracted by UAE forces in a military intelligence operation.
By Louisa Loveluck
A British hostage has been freed in Yemen after spending 18 months in captivity.
The man, understood to be Douglas Robert Semple, 64, was snatched in February 2014 by an armed group that threatened to kill him.
In a video released six months into his captivity, he appeared blindfolded and pleading for his life. “I think these kidnappers will kill me soon, please try to have me released,” he said.
The film was carried the name of the Alziadi tribe from Yemen’s northern Marib province, an area where Yemen’s al-Qaeda affiliate has maintained an active presence.
On Sunday, though, it was disclosed that Mr Semple had been freed unharmed after a military operation in the southern city of Aden by troops from the United Arab Emirates.
The exact circumstances of his release were unclear, but Aden has been at the centre of fierce inter-factional fighting in recent months as a result of the collapse of the Yemeni government.
News that Mr Semple had been freed was confirmed by the Foreign Secretary, Philip Hammond, during a visit to Iran.
“I’m pleased to confirm that a British hostage held in Yemen has been extracted by UAE forces in a military intelligence operation,” Mr Hammond said.
“The British national is safe and well, and is receiving support from British government officials. We are very grateful for the assistance of the UAE.”
Mr Semple is believed to have worked for the petroleum services company Intracs Middle East Ltd until his abduction from the capital, Sana’a, where he lived and worked. He is understood to have children and grandchildren living in the UK.
Several Britons have been recently kidnapped in impoverished Yemen, where abductions are frequent as armed tribesmen and al-Qaeda-linked militants take hostages in an effort to swap them for prisoners or cash.
British-born American Luke Somers, 33, was shot dead by his al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) captors in December as they fought US special forces attempting to extract him and South African teacher Pierre Korkie.
He was kidnapped in September 2013 in the capital Sanaa while working as a photojournalist.
In April 2010, the then British ambassador to Yemen, Tim Torlet, escaped unharmed when a suicide bomber wearing a school uniform detonated an explosives belt as he made his way to work in Sana’a. The following October his deputy, Fionna Gibb, escaped a rocket attack in the city.
The UAE is involved alongside Saudi Arabian forces in combating the Iran-supported Shia Houthi rebels and allied units of Yemen’s fractured military as the country collapses into chaos.
News of Mr Semple’s release came amid reports on Sunday that al-Qaeda had seized territory inside a western district of Aden.
Saudi Arabia began bombing military installations in Yemen in March after receiving a request for help from president Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi, who left the country by sea as the Houthis pushed towards the port city of Aden.
The air strikes had the support of several other countries in the region, but were condemned by Iran, which described the operation as an “invasion” and a “dangerous step” that will worsen the crisis.
Saudi Arabia and its allies believe the Houthis are tools for Iran to seize control of Yemen, though the Houthis deny they are backed by Tehran.
South Korean soldiers sit on a military vehicle, just south of the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas, in Yeoncheon, South Korea, August 22, 2015.
BY JU-MIN PARK AND SOHEE KIM
Top aides to the leaders of North and South Korea held talks at the Panmunjom truce village straddling their border late on Saturday, raising hopes for an end to a standoff that put the rivals on the brink of armed conflict.
The meeting at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) village, known for its sky-blue huts and grim-faced soldiers, began soon after the deadline for North Korea’s previously set ultimatum demanding that the South halt its loudspeaker propaganda broadcasts along the border or face military action.
That deadline passed without any reported incidents.
The negotiations continued after roughly three hours, according to the South’s Unification Ministry.
An exchange of artillery fire on Thursday prompted calls for calm from the United Nations, the United States and the North’s lone major ally, China. South Korea’s military remained on high alert despite the announced talks, a defense official said.
South Korean President Park Geun-hye’s national security adviser and her unification minister met with Hwang Pyong So, the top military aide to the North’s leader Kim Jong Un, and Kim Yang Gon, a veteran official in inter-Korean affairs.
“The South and the North agreed to hold contact related to the ongoing situation in South-North relations,” Kim Kyou-hyun, the presidential Blue House’s deputy national security adviser, said earlier in a televised briefing.
Pyongyang made an initial proposal on Friday for a meeting, and Seoul made a revised proposal on Saturday seeking Hwang’s attendance, Kim said.
The North’s KCNA news agency also announced the meeting, referring to the South as the Republic of Korea, a rare formal recognition of its rival state, in sharp contrast to the bellicose rhetoric in recent days.
“They need to come up with some sort of an agreement where both sides have saved face. That would be the trick,” said James Kim, a research fellow at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies in Seoul.
“North Korea will probably demand that the broadcasts be cut, and they may even come to an impasse on that issue.”
BRINK OF WAR?
North Korea, technically still at war with the South after their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty, declared a “quasi-state of war” in front-line areas and on Thursday set the deadline for Seoul to halt its broadcasts.
South Korea began blasting anti-North propaganda, news reports and even entertainment over the DMZ on Aug. 10, days after landmine explosions in the DMZ wounded two South Korean soldiers. Pyongyang denies it planted the mines.
Seoul said it would continue the broadcasts unless the North accepted responsibility for the blasts.
“The situation on the Korean peninsula is now inching close to the brink of a war due to the reckless provocations made by the south Korean military war hawks,” the North’s KCNA news agency said earlier.
South Korean Vice Defense Minister Baek Seung-joo said on Friday Seoul expected North Korea to fire at some of the 11 sites where it has set up loudspeakers.
The United States, which has 28,500 soldiers based in South Korea, said on Friday it had resumed its annual joint military exercises there after a temporary halt to coordinate with Seoul over the shelling from North Korea.
The drills, code-named Ulchi Freedom Guardian, began on Monday and run until next Friday. North Korea regularly condemns the maneuvers as a preparation for war.
Four South Korean and four U.S. fighter jets flew in a joint sortie over the South on Saturday, a South Korean official said, as thousands of South Korean villagers living near the border were evacuated into shelters.
Pyongyang’s two negotiators had made an unexpected visit to the South last October to attend the closing ceremony of the Asian Games, where they met Kim Kwan-jin, Park’s national security adviser, who led the South’s delegation on Saturday.
North and South Korea have often exchanged threats over the years, and dozens of soldiers have been killed in clashes, yet the two sides have always pulled back from a return to all-out war. Analysts had expected the current crisis eventually to wind down.
“The fact that these powerful officials who represent South and North Korea’s leaders are meeting means this is a great time to turn the crisis into opportunity,” Yang Moo-jin, a professor at the University of North Korean Studies in Seoul. “It is a breakthrough.”
North-South ties have been virtually frozen since the 2010 sinking of a South Korean warship. Pyongyang denies any involvement.
North Korea resumed its own broadcasts on Monday. On Thursday, it launched four shells into South Korea. The South fired 29 artillery rounds back. Neither side reported casualties or damage.
North Korea has been hit with UN and U.S. sanctions because of nuclear and missile tests, moves that Pyongyang sees as an attack on its sovereign right to defend itself.
Shaye Haver and Kristen Griest
BY SUSAN KEATING
The first women to graduate from the Army’s rigorous Ranger School on Friday received the coveted Ranger Tab uniform patch, signaling their membership in the elite corps of soldiers.
In a ceremony at Fort Benning in Georgia, the two women – Captain Kristen Griest and First Lieutenant Shaye Haver – graduated alongside 94 male classmates who endured months of grueling physical and mental tasks while operating on minimal sleep and food.
Both women are happy to have completed the course, they told reporters in a press conference on Thursday.
And the two soldiers appeared to be proud at the Friday ceremony, where they and their classmates watched demonstrations of Rangers in motion – dropping from a helicopter into a pond, detonating explosives, and other actions – before being awarded their tabs.
“I thought we were going to be dropped after we failed Darby [obstacle course] the second time,” Griest said at the press conference. “We were offered a day one recycle.”
In retrospect, Griest said, “I’m glad I did it.”
Addressing a crowd of well-wishers in attendance at the ceremony, Major General Austin S. Miller, the Fort Benning commanding officer, noted that the graduating class began with 364 students, with 40 remaining and 56 recycled in from other classes.
All the graduates, he indicated, have shown the mettle required of the storied Rangers, whose predecessors took part in the D-Day landings and other momentous engagements.
The school opened in 1952 and has not previously been open to women. Griest and Haver are among a trial group of women who attended the first coed course, which began in April.
The course is normally 62 days. Both Griest and Haver were recycled a number of times and completed the school in about four months.
Griest is an Apache helicopter pilot from Copperas Cove, Texas. Haver is a military police officer from Orange, Connecticut. Neither will be eligible to try out for the Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment because the assignment is currently closed to females.
Kristen Griest (left) and Shaye Haver
The women are now proud owners of an elite tab.
“They leave with a small piece of cloth attached to their shoulder,” Miller said.
Miller indicated that the insignia – the black and gold Ranger tab – speaks volumes despite its size.
Jared Fogle pleads guilty to child porn charges.
INDIANAPOLIS – Longtime Subway pitchman Jared Fogle capitalized on his business trips to New York City to arrange sexual encounters with minors in luxury hotels, federal prosecutors said in charging the Indiana man in a case that also documented his acceptance of child pornography from a close associate.
Fogle agreed Wednesday to plead guilty to allegations that he paid for sex with girls as young as 16 and received child pornography. The case already has destroyed his career with the sandwich-shop chain and could send him to prison for more than a decade.
Prosecutors allege Fogle knew the pornography he received had been secretly produced by the former director of his charitable foundation, which sought to raise awareness about childhood obesity and arranged for Fogle to visit schools and urge children to adopt healthy eating and exercise habits.
“We’re dealing with a celebrity who had the access, power and resources to do anything he wanted to do in the world but he chose to utilize that to cajole, convince and even take advantage of children”
Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven DeBrota said Fogle used his trips to New York on behalf of both Subway and his Jared Foundation to seek out child prostitutes for sex.
“We’re dealing with a celebrity who had the access, power and resources to do anything he wanted to do in the world but he chose to utilize that to cajole, convince and even take advantage of children,” said Indianapolis Police Chief Rick Hite, whose department helped analyze evidence seized July 7 from Fogle’s suburban Indianapolis home.
DeBrota stressed that “at no event was he using the foundation to get at the child prostitutes.”
The court document detailing the charges against Fogle states that he paid for sex at New York City hotels with two girls under age 18, one of whom was 17. The plea agreement refers to the two as being 16 and says that one of them also had sex with Fogle after she turned 17. Federal prosecutors could not explain the discrepancy between the two documents.
Authorities also said Fogle offered to pay adult prostitutes a finder’s fee if they could connect him with minors for sex acts, including some as young as 14 or 15 years old.
A tight-lipped Fogle sat in federal court during his initial hearing with his hands clasped and quietly answered “no” when the judge asked whether he had any questions about his rights. He is expected to enter the formal plea at a later date to one count each of travelling to engage in illicit sexual conduct with a minor and distribution and receipt of child pornography.
The agreement released by prosecutors said Fogle will pay $1.4 million in restitution to 14 minor victims, who will each receive $100,000. He will also be required to register as a sex offender and undergo treatment for sexual disorders.
The government agreed not to seek a sentence of more than 12½ years in prison, and Fogle agreed not to ask for less than five years, according to court documents.
Federal judges have wide discretion in sentencing, and Fogle could get a longer sentence. The child-porn charge carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison. The count involving sex with a minor is punishable by up to 30 years.
Fogle “knows that restitution can’t undo the damage that he’s done, but he will do all in his power to try to make it right,” defense attorney Jeremy Margolis told reporters.
The married father of two, he added, has a “medical problem” and “expects to get well,” but he did not elaborate.
Fogle, 37, whose wife filed for divorce Wednesday, became Subway’s pitchman after shedding more than 200 pounds as a college student, in part by eating the chain’s sandwiches. He was the public face of the company for more than 15 years — a period in which its number of locations tripled, making Subway the world’s largest restaurant chain.
Subway suspended the partnership in July after agents raided his home in the affluent Indianapolis suburb of Zionsville, and the chain said this week that it had ended its relationship with Fogle.
Federal prosecutors allege in the documents that Fogle traveled to pay for sex acts, including with minors, from 2007 until as recently as June and that he repeatedly planned business trips to coincide with his sexual pursuits.
Fogle is accused of having sex with two 16-year-old girls at hotels in New York City. One of the girls told investigators she had sex with Fogle three times in November 2012, when she was 16, and again two months later, when she was 17.
The girl told Fogle her age when they first met, according to the court documents.
After that meeting, Fogle allegedly texted the girl and offered to pay her a fee if she could find him another underage girl to pay for sex acts.
During these discussions, Fogle “stated that he would accept a 16-year-old girl, while stating that the younger the girl, the better,” the documents said.
Posts to social media place Fogle in New York around the dates of the alleged sex acts.
The documents also alleged that Fogle on multiple occasions received sexually explicit images and videos produced by Russell Taylor, 43, who ran the charitable Jared Foundation.
Two months before Fogle’s home was raided, authorities arrested Taylor on charges that he produced and possessed child pornography. Investigators said they discovered a cache of sexually explicit photos and videos Taylor allegedly produced by secretly filming minor children at his home.
Prosecutors also allege that Fogle received from Taylor multiple images and videos, some of which were taken by a video camera hidden in a clock radio that filmed children changing clothes or bathing. Some were taken in buildings were Taylor lived.
The documents said Fogle knew those depicted were minors, some as young as 13 or 14 years old, and in some cases knew the minors involved by name and had met them “during social events in Indiana.”
Jared Fogle signs a copy of his book ”Jared, The Subway Guy” in New York, August 21, 2006.
BY SUSAN GUYETT
Former Subway sandwich chain pitchman Jared Fogle asked a federal judge on Wednesday to accept his plea of guilty to charges of child pornography and traveling for illicit paid sex with minors.
Federal Judge Mark Dinsmore must now review the plea deal Fogle’s attorneys reached with prosecutors and decide whether to accept it. In the meantime the court entered a technical plea of not guilty on Fogle’s behalf.
Fogle, who became famous after losing a lot of weight on a diet that included Subway sandwiches, was placed on home detention and must wear an electronic monitoring device. No date has been set for his next appearance.
Under the deal, Fogle would serve between five and 12 years in prison, pay $1.4 million in restitution to 14 minor victims, register as a sex offender and meet other conditions.
Subway fired Fogle on Tuesday when reports of the plea agreement emerged.
According to the charges, Rusell Taylor, head of the Jared Foundation set up to combat child obesity, secretly taped 12 minors while they changed clothes and showered at his home, including two who were as young as 13 or 14. He shared the images with Fogle, who knew they showed minors, prosecutors said.
Prosecutors said Fogle also received commercial child pornography from Taylor, viewed it and failed to report it. He stored explicit images of children as young as six, prosecutors said.
Fogle traveled to New York City at least twice between 2010 and 2013 seeking sex with minors, and paid for sex acts with a girl he knew to be 17 years old and another girl younger than 18. He told the first girl he would “make it worth her while” if she could find him another minor to have sex with, “the younger the girl, the better,” according to the indictment.
Prosecutors said he repeatedly asked prostitutes and others to find him 14- and 15-year-olds for sex.
Police and prosecutors said in a news conference on Wednesday that the investigation of Taylor and Fogle started after a tip from a private citizen.
Fogle became a Subway spokesman after losing a reported 245 pounds in part by eating regularly at the sandwich chain. He made his first Subway commercial in 2000, and appeared in a new one last year, according to Subway.
Immediately after the hearing Fogle’s wife, Katie, said in a statement that she would seek an end to the marriage.
“Obviously, I am extremely shocked and disappointed by the recent developments involving Jared. I am in the process of seeking a dissolution of the marriage,” she said in the statement released by her lawyer.
Fogle’s attorney Jeremy Margolis told reporters in a statement on the courthouse steps: “He expects to go to prison, he will do his time… He will continue to make amends to people whose lives he has affected, and at some point hopes to become again a productive member of society.”
Authorities searched Fogle’s home in the Zionsville suburb northwest of Indianapolis in July, two months after Taylor was arrested on federal child pornography charges.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven DeBrota said at a news conference that Fogle continued to seek paid sex with minors even after Taylor’s arrest, but was not successful.
DeBrota said prosecutors were not concerned that Fogle would try to flee.
“I don’t think he’s going anywhere. If he does, we’ll catch him, we’ll arrest him and I’ll prosecute him some more,” he said. “I don’t think Jared is going to flee very far without getting
This class of would-be Rangers training at Fort Benning, Ga., was the first to include women.
The pair earned an elite warrior designation, but have no place to use it…yet
“What if you gave a war and nobody came?” was the adage uttered amid dwindling public support for the Vietnam War.
This weekend it’ll be replaced with “What if you’re an Army Ranger, but can’t fight?”
That’s because a pair of Army women will graduate Friday from the service’s grueling 62-day Ranger course and earn the prized Ranger tab. That storied black-and-gold patch places them among the nation’s top soldiers (only 3% of their male counterparts have earned it throughout Ranger history). But despite the accomplishment, they’re still barred from combat, which is the Rangers’ raison d’être.
Earning the tab isn’t a key into the 75th Ranger Regiment, the Army’s top light-infantry outfit, often deployed on the service’s riskiest missions. It simply means they’re eligible for an assignment into that exclusive unit. Pentagon policy currently bans women from serving in direct ground combat slots, which include infantry—like the Rangers—as well as armor, most artillery, and special-operations units.
But the pair’s graduation is a significant crack in the wall keeping women formally off the battlefield. “This is an historic, path-breaking achievement by two exceedingly fit, determined, and professionally competent women who literally `rucked up’ and `walked point’ for their gender,” says one-time Ranger David Petraeus, who went on to wear four stars.
Soldiers who earn the Ranger tab wear it high on their uniforms’ left shoulders for the rest of their careers, though in the past not all male graduates went on to serve as Rangers. Many troops specializing in aviation, intelligence or other career fields will never be able to serve in a Ranger unit, but that tab places them among the Army’s finest warrior-leaders and is seen as a first-class ticket to future promotions.
Ranger School is the Army’s top combat leadership course, and teaches Rangers how to overcome fatigue, hunger, and stress to lead troops during small-unit operations, the very heart of warfare. It’s no Boy Scout camp, according to General David Perkins, the Army’s top trainer. “Most people in the Army don’t go to Ranger School. Most of the males don’t want to go to Ranger School,” he said recently. “Most of the males that do go to Ranger School fail.”
The pair of female Rangers—the Army has declined to identify them for now, beyond privately acknowledging both are West Point graduates—find themselves in a limbo created by the Pentagon as it grapples with integrating women ever more deeply into the military’s combat units. It’s basically trying to amass a stockpile of Ranger-tabbed women believing the Pentagon will lift that ban early next year.
Responding to a 2013 order from then-defense secretary Leon Panetta that all military jobs should be open to women in 2016, the services have been conducting tests over the past two years to see if women can handle the dirtiest, most demanding ground combat assignments. While the services may, in the coming months, seek to keep some jobs male-only, the final decision will be made by Defense Secretary Ashton Carter in January.
Skeptics of the move to open up combat slots to women say that while there is no doubt some women can serve in front-line units, there won’t be enough to achieve a “critical mass” to make them a true part of combat units. They fear unit cohesion—the glue that binds soldiers together in battle—will weaken amid sexual dynamics in co-ed front-line units. Male troops can be ordered into combat—will women face that same requirement? And will they have to register for the draft?
The pending female Rangers has generated polarized debates across many military-related websites. Proponents say women have been in combat for decades, and that their ability to attend Ranger School simply recognizes the changing combat realities that have blurred the front lines in warfare. The growing role of women in combat, they maintain, isn’t that much different from the racial integration of the ranks that took place after World War II, or the recent change that allows openly gay troops to serve. Critics insist standards have been eased, often on the sly, to let more women serve in combat roles.
The Ranger course, spread over Army posts in Florida and Georgia, includes arduous assignments in woods, mountains and swamps. It includes many physical requirements, including 49 push-ups, 59 sit-ups, a five mile run in 40 minutes, and six chin-ups; a swim test; a land navigation test; a 12-mile foot march in three hours; several obstacle courses; four days of military mountaineering; three parachute jumps; four air assaults on helicopters; multiple rubber boat movements; and 27 days of mock combat patrols.
“This course has proven that every soldier, regardless of gender, can achieve his or her full potential,” Army Secretary John McHugh said. “We owe soldiers the opportunity to serve successfully in any position where they are qualified and capable.”
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei departs after casting his ballot in the parliamentary election in Tehran March 2, 2012.
BY BOZORGMEHR SHARAFEDIN AND SAM WILKIN
Iran will remain closed to U.S. influence and continue to oppose U.S. policies in the Middle East after its nuclear deal with big powers, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Monday, noting either country can still block the accord.
The 76-year-old cleric, Iran’s highest authority, has refrained from making decisive statements on the July 14 nuclear agreement, but gave President Hassan Rouhani crucial political cover to pursue talks with the six powers..
Tehran agreed to verifiable limits on its atomic energy program to create confidence that it will not be put to developing nuclear weapons, in exchange for lifting international sanctions crippling its oil-based economy.
“They thought this deal – and it is not clear if it will be passed in Iran or in America – will open up Iran to their influence,” Khamenei was quoted on his website as saying at a meeting with members of the Islamic Radio and Television Union.
“We blocked this path and will definitely block it in the future. We won’t allow American political, economic or cultural influence in Iran.”
Most analysts see the chance of Khamenei rejecting the deal as small so long as it passes through the U.S. Congress, where opposition Republicans aim to block it. But Khamenei has always dismissed the notion that the agreement could reconcile the Islamic Republic with the United States, its arch-adversary since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
“Khamenei wants to keep the deal with the U.S. purely nuclear. He is worried about economic, political and cultural intrusion after the deal,” said Hossein Rassam, former Iran adviser to Britain’s Foreign Office.
“He fears integration into the international economy could make the Islamic Republic vulnerable and potentially lead to its collapse.”
If the deal is fully implemented, Iran’s market of nearly 80 million people would be opened up to foreign investment — after protracted isolation.
But unlike European competitors, U.S. firms will struggle to gain any toehold in Iran due to fear among Iranian officials of being seen to be coming under any American influence, and because U.S. economic sanctions not related to the nuclear program will remain in place.
“It will be a long time, regardless of whether the deal goes through, before U.S. businesses will fully operate in Iran,” said Sarah Dayan, an analyst at consultancy The Risk Advisory Group in London.
Even if the nuclear issue is successfully resolved, Iran and the United States are likely to remain locked in a struggle for influence in the Middle East. They support opposite sides in Syria’s civil war and the Saudi-led intervention in Yemen.
“The Americans want to gain influence in the region and reach their goals. We will not let them,” said Khamenei, who has previously said U.S. regional policies are “180 degrees” opposed to those of the Islamic Republic.
More than its competitors, AT&T said to be an eager participant in government spying.
By James R. Hood
AT&T outshone its competitor Verizon in at least one area in recent years — it bent over backwards to help the National Security Agency (NSA) spy on Americans’ Internet usage, according to The New York Times, which based its report on classified documents released by Edward Snowden.,
One document cited AT&T for its “extreme willingness to help” the NSA get access to billions of emails. The company also provided technical assistance in carrying out a secret court order allowing the wiretapping of all Internet communications at the United Nations, the report in Sunday’s editions said.
The Snowden documents have given added credence to earlier allegations that AT&T was an active partner in NSA’s spying efforts. In 2006, a class action lawsuit,charged that AT&T had granted the NSA access to its vast database of customer information.
The NSA’s secret budget for its AT&T program was more than twice as large as similar programs with its nearest competitor and included the installation of surveillance equipment at 17 of its Internet hubs, far more than Verizon.
Whether the surveillance programs are still operating isn’t known. After Snowden’s revelations two years ago, a public outcry supposedly led to the suspension of at least some of the NSA’s domestic spying activities.
But while saying it has cut back on some of its spying activities, the federal government continues to fight efforts to make details of the programs public. Federal law makes it a crime to reveal the existence of classified programs but no law makes it a crime to lie to the public about the existence or non-existence of such programs.
The Obama Administration recently argued in a court case that public discussion of telecom surveillance would make any such programs ineffective and pose a threat to national security.
Federal officials, long accustomed to what some might call the lap-dog behavior of the old-line telecom companies, have been perplexed by the attempts of Internet newcomers to thwart government efforts to spy on their customers.
In May, a coalition of privacy groups and tech companies urged President Obama to veto any legislation expanding federal surveillance after FBI Director James Comey suggested that Congress make it illegal for tech companies to encrypt customer communications. Comey said he found it “depressing” that companies would try to protect their customers against rampant surveillance.
Last September, Apple CEO Tim Cook obliquely criticized the government’s efforts to enlist private companies in its surveillance activities.
“I don’t think that the country or the government’s found the right balance. I think they erred too much on the collect everything side. And I think the [U.S.] president and the [Obama] administration is committed to kind of moving that pendulum back,” Cook said in a televised interview.
Cook also said that Apple,had “never worked with any government agency from any country to create a backdoor in any of our products or services.” Observers noted at the time the Cook did not deny that Apple may have provided information to the government, merely that it had not allowed the feds to reach in and grab it.