Saddam Hussein kicked the big western oil companies out of Iraq in 1972. Now they're back, with no-bid service contracts that will put them inside Iraq's redeveloping industry. Will increased Iraqi production help postpone an energy crisis? Will US troops remain for security? Is that what the war in Iraq is really about? Also, another bad round of news on the economy, and
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Home prices in twenty major cities are now back where they were in 2004, according to Standard & Poor's. Last month's Consumer Confidence Index dropped like a stone. The Conference Board Consumer Research Center says the "silver lining" may be that it's nearing rock bottom. Kelly Evans covers the economy for the Wall Street Journal.
Kelly Evans, Reporter, Wall Street Journal
Iraq has the fourth largest known oil reserves in the world. Big western oil companies were in charge of development until 1972, when Saddam Hussein seized their assets and threw them out of the country. Now, 36 years later, the big Western oil companies are coming back. The Maliki government has agreed to sign no-bid service contracts with ExxonMobile, Chevron, British Petroleum, Dutch Shell and the French company, Total, providing a long-term advantage when production increases. Companies from Russia, China and India are not in on the deal. Can the Kurds, Sunnis and Shiites agree on sharing the proceeds? Will US troops be required to maintain security?
David Kirsch, former Energy Analyst, US State Department
Naomi Klein, Journalist and writer (@NaomiAKlein)
Fadhil Chalabi, former Iraqi Under Secretary of Oil
Kevin Phillips, former political strategist, Republican Party
According to Homer, it took the Odysseus ten years to get home to Greece after the Trojan War some 3000 years ago. Upon arriving, he had to kill off a crowd of rowdy suitors vying for the hand of his wife, all presuming him dead. Though The Odyssey was composed 400 years after the alleged events, there's now astronomical evidence he knew what he was talking about. Homer says the death of Penelope's suitors was prophesied by a seer who said, "The Sun has been obliterated from the sky and an unlucky darkness invades the world." Was that a poetic metaphor or was it a solar eclipse? Scientists think they have the answer, as Thomas Maugh explains in today's Los Angeles Times.
Tom Maugh, Science and Medical Writer, Los Angeles Times
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Sifting through the ashes: Cleanup and questions after the fires Wildfire is all too familiar in the Golden State, but last week's record-setting blazes in Northern California left behind something new — more property damage over a wider area with more human casualties than ever before. We hear about likely causes, the struggle to clean up and the possibility of prevention.
Political dueling and the future of the ACA Uncertainty about the fate of Obamacare grows by the day, with key factors including bipartisanship in the Senate, opposition deeper than ever in Congress -- and a president who veers from one side to the other. We talk with Maryland's attorney general and others about what's at stake from the state house to the doctor's office.
Will the NFL find common ground on national anthem protests? National Football League team owners are meeting today to craft a unified message about political protest. Men and women athletes in other sports are protesting too. We hear how one man's refusal to stand for the flag has demonstrated the inseparable relationship between sports and politics.
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