Around the Nation

Around the Nation

Monday, October 20, 2008

Bush Adviser Says Parts Of U.S. Are in Recession

LAS VEGAS -- One of President Bush's top economic advisers said yesterday that parts of the country are experiencing a recession and that it could be "a few months" before the $700 billion financial rescue plan really takes hold. "We are seeing what I think anyone would characterize as a recession in certain parts of the country," Edward P. Lazear, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said on CNN's "Late Edition." The White House has been loath to discuss whether the U.S. economy is in recession, in part because the word carries such a negative connotation. Bush administration officials also argue that the technical definition of a recession -- two consecutive quarters of economic contraction -- has not been met. The White House and Congress hope the rescue plan will inject cash and confidence into the lending industry and recharge the economy. Bush has told the nation repeatedly that it will take awhile for credit lines to thaw. Lazear gave a slightly more specific time frame, saying it would take "a few months before we really see a significant impact." "But we've seen impacts already," he said. "What we're seeing is that banks are now willing to lend to one another. That's a huge plus for the economy because the big problem has been that banks have been unwilling to trust one another." Kidnapped Boy, 6, Found Safe

A 6-year-old kidnapping victim was safe in his father's custody as police tried to untangle his family's ties to the Mexican drug dealers suspected in his abduction.

Cole Puffinburger was found alone on a quiet street outside a Methodist church in Las Vegas on Saturday night. He was in "extremely good condition" but was taken to a hospital as a precaution, Las Vegas police Capt. Vincent Cannito said.

Cole was abducted Wednesday from his mother's home by two men posing as police officers. Police have said they think the kidnapping was an attempt by drug dealers to send a message to the boy's grandfather.

Fort Dix Terror Trial Set to Begin

A jury will hear opening arguments Monday in the trial of five men accused of plotting to kill soldiers on Fort Dix, a case the government has presented as one of the most frightening examples of homegrown terrorism since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

The five -- all foreign-born Muslim men in their 20s who have spent much of their lives in the southern New Jersey suburbs of Philadelphia -- were arrested in May 2007 and accused of plotting to sneak onto Fort Dix to attack soldiers.

No attack was carried out, and attorneys for the men say there was no plot.

-- From News Services

© 2008 The Washington Post Company