Argentina told to clarify offer
A US appeals court in New York has told Argentina to spell out its offer to settle a suit by holders of defaulted bonds that Buenos Aires brands “vultures,” court documents showed on Friday. However, Argentine President Cristina Fernandez insisted that while the country was willing to repay its debts, it would not grant the funds better terms than those agreed upon in past restructurings. Argentina’s lawyer suggested in a hearing on Wednesday that the government was willing to repay the debt via an unstated formula different from what the bondholders were demanding. The court therefore ordered Argentina to submit in writing the “precise terms of any alternative payment formula and schedule to which [the country] is prepared to commit” by March 29. Argentina defaulted on some US$100 billion in debt in 2001, and has since restructured its debt twice, covering around 75 percent of the nominal value of the bonds.
Detroit faces takover
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder prepared for a state takeover of Detroit, an epitome of urban decay, by declaring the Motor City in a state of financial emergency on Friday. “Detroit can’t wait,” Snyder said at a televised town hall meeting. “We need to solve real issues here today because citizens are not getting the services they need and we have a financial crisis.” The move by a white, Republican governor to take control of a predominantly black and Democratic city has drawn intense criticism and charges of racism. Detroit needs a partner, not an “overseer,” Reverend Wendell Anthony, who heads the Detroit chapter of civil rights group NAACP, said this week. Several city council members have vowed to block the move, but supporters of the takeover say it is the only way to tackle Detroit’s seemingly intractable problems.
Dog’s death unexplained
The owner of a fluffy white contestant in New York’s prestigious Westminster Dog Show is claiming foul play in the poisoning death of her beloved pooch. The three-year-old Samoyed named Cruz died from possible rat poison four days after competing in his first Westminster show, the notoriously competitive canine beauty contest held each February in Manhattan. “We full-heartedly believe that he was intentionally poisoned,” handler Robert Chaffin said on ABC television on Friday. Owner Lynette Blue, a veteran of dog contests, told ABC that animal rights activists — who say the Westminster show encourages cruel beauty treatments for the animals — may have slipped him poison. Either that, or someone within the competition. “It’s always possible — he was a top-winning dog, so it’s always possible, those things have happened — that other people in the dog show world try to knock out top competition ... You just don’t know,” Blue told ABC.
Fat cat seeks home
At 16kg, Biscuit the cat is about the right weight for a four-year-old — human, that is. A US animal shelter is trying to find him a new home. Biscuit’s first owner was a disabled woman who fed him lots of treats. Now he is roughly three times the weight of a healthy adult cat and is restricted to about a cup of diet food per day. His owner brought him in about a year ago because she could no longer care for him, Teresa Gilley, the shelter’s lead animal control officer, told the St Louis Post-Dispatch newspaper. “She didn’t mean the cat any harm,” Gilley said. “I just think she didn’t know any better.”