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Tuesday, February 5, 2002

  • Top Enron Executives Charge That Enron Corporation’s Collapse Was the Result of a "A Systemic and Pervasive Attempt" to Inflate Profits and Hide Losses

    In testimony before a Congressional panel yesterday, a member of Enron’s board of directors said that the companiescollapse was the result of a "a systemic and pervasive attempt" to inflate profits and hide losses, not of a fewrogue employees breaking company rules. The testimony from William C. Powers Jr., who is dean of the University ofTexas Law School and an author of a scathing report about the energy trading company released over the weekend, willmake it even more difficult for Enron’s former leaders to deflect blame for the company’s stunning collapse tolower-level employees or its auditor, Arthur Andersen. Powers testified before a House Financial Servicessubcommittee after Lay refused to appear before a Senate panel yesterday. Lay then resigned from Enron’s board,closing out his involvement in a company he helped to form in 1986.

  • Outraged Argentineans Take to the Streets and Occupy Banks . . . and An Independent Mediacenter Blossoms

    A defiant Argentine government yesterday launched a last-ditch attempt to stave off complete financial collapse.Banks and currency exchanges remained closed in Argentina, and the decision to partially unfreeze bank accounts didnot silence protests. In light of continuing protests, the embattled government instituted a six-month ban on furtherlegal challenges to its economic plans. Over the weekend, the Argentinean Economy minister admitted that LatinAmerica’s second largest economy was "broke" as he announced an austerity budget and eased the unpopular depositcontrols, which the supreme court ruled unconstitutional last week.

  • World Social Forum in Brazil Concludes: Noam Chomsky, a Dalit Activist, and a Youth Organizer Speak

    Today is the final day of the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Activists closed out the summit with amarch protesting the US-proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas. Thousands of protestors marched and danced throughthe streets of this southern Brazilian city in a carnival-style parade, waving red flags and banners against thetrade deal. The march was the climax of the five-day World Social Forum, held as a kind of "people’s" counterweightto the World Economic Forum in New York.