The death toll may be as high as 500,000 in the biggest earthquake to hit Haiti in 200 years. President Obama is mobilizing US rescue efforts focused on Port au Prince, a city of 3 million people. Meantime, the heads of Wall Street’s four biggest banks are being grilled by a commission investigating what caused the near financial collapse that brought on the recession. What do the bankers have to say? Is the commission asking the right questions? Will the investigation help prevent the same thing from happening all over again?
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The biggest earthquake to strike the nation of Haiti in 200 years has devastated the poorest country in the western hemisphere. The State Department says the human toll from the magnitude 7.0 quake is too great to measure. The Prime Minister of Haiti, Jean-Max Bellerive, estimated the death toll at hundreds of thousands. Other estimates put the death toll at a half million. President Obama has mobilized rescue efforts by the United States. Rachel Wolff is a spokeswoman for World Vision, an aid organization with workers in Haiti.
Rachel Wolff, Spokeswoman, World Vision
Phil Angelides said today the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission is probably the last hope for uncovering the causes of what's now called the Great Recession. A former Treasurer of the State of California and a Democrat, Angelides chairs the bipartisan commission established by Congress. In its first public meeting today, the commission got tough with the heads of America's four biggest banks, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs. At one point, Goldman Sachs' Lloyd Blankfein compared the financial crisis to "earthquakes" and other "acts of God," to which Agnelides responded, "These were acts of men and women." Are the right questions being asked? Can the commission help prevent another financial disaster?
Andrew Ross Sorkin, Mergers and Acquisitions Reporter, New York Times
Brad Sherman, US House of Representatives (D-CA) (@BradSherman)
William Black, former federal financial regulator
John Gapper, Associate Editor and Business Columnist, Financial Times
Andrew Ross Sorkin
The death toll from the magnitude 7.0 earthquake in Haiti is impossible to measure accurately, but local officials are estimating it in the hundreds of thousands. President Obama calls it "heartbreaking," and he's mobilized relief efforts. The State Department, the Pentagon and other federal agencies are sending supplies and people to help with relieve in what is a major humanitarian disaster. Mark Leon Goldberg is a veteran reporter who writes the UN and global affairs blog, UN Dispatch.