Outside the Fence
By HEATHER BRADY
Top Congressional budget analysts said on Oct. 7 that about $2 trillion of Americans’ retirement savings have been wiped out in the past 15 months due to the stock market’s prolonged tumble. This blow could force workers to stay on the job longer than planned, rein in spending, and possibly further stall an economy reliant on consumer dollars. Pensions and 401(k) plans are the only form of savings for many Americans. The approximately 20 percent decline of these assets is another setback, as many people continue to grapple with higher gas and food prices, more credit card debt, declining home loans, and less access to loans in general.
Stafford County sheriffs arrested three male suspects, ages 17, 20,and 22, on Monday for a slew of theft-related incidents. The three were sighted near a 7-Eleven near Olde Forge subdivision by the victim of the first car they broke into that morning. They also broke into the victim’s wife’s car, and the car of another resident in the subdivision, stealing several dollar bills, some credit cards, and damaging the first victim’s stereo. First Sgt. Ray Davis was in the area of the 7-Eleven when he confronted the suspects. The youngest said that their car had been towed, and that they were calling to try to get it back. Their ‘getaway’ car was parked illegally in England Run, and had in fact been towed. The suspects were carrying a car stereo, GPS units, other electronics, and guns in their bags upon the time of arrest. (The Free Lance-Star, Oct. 8; www.fredericksburg.com)
On Oct. 7, U.S. District Judge Ricardo M. Urbina ordered 17 Uighurs, or Chinese Muslims, being held at the Guantanamo Bay military prison in Cuba to be released into the United States, rejecting the Bush administration’s assertion that it could detain them indefinitely without cause. The judge claims that the government provided no proof that the prisoners were enemy combatants or security risks. This marks the first time a U.S. judge has ordered the release of a Guantanamo Bay detainee. It is also the first time a foreign national held at the facility in Cuba has been ordered to be transferred to the U.S. (The Washington Post, Oct. 8; www.washingtonpost.com)