Slatest PM: Detroit Files For Bankruptcy

The Slatest
Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
July 18 2013 4:50 PM

Slatest PM: Detroit's Long Tumble Into Bankruptcy

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The General Motors (GM) world headquarters building stands tallest amidst the Renaissance Center in the skyline of city's downtown on November 21, 2008 in Detroit, Michigan

Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Detroit Files For Bankruptcy: Detroit Free Press: "The City of Detroit filed this afternoon for Chapter 9 bankruptcy protection in federal court, laying the groundwork for a historic effort to bail out a city that is sinking under billions of dollars in debt and decades of mismanagement, population flight and loss of tax revenue. The filing begins a 30- to 90-day period that will determine whether the city is eligible for Chapter 9 protection and define how many claimants might compete for the limited settlement resources that Detroit has to offer. The bankruptcy petition would seek protection from creditors and unions who are renegotiating $18.5 billion in debt and other liabilities. Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr, who in June released a plan to restructure the city's debt and obligations that would leave many creditors with much less than they are owed, had warned consistently that if negotiations hit an impasse, he would move quickly to seek bankruptcy protection."

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Largest U.S. Municipal Bankruptcy: New York Times: "The decision to turn to the federal courts, which required approval from both the emergency manager assigned to oversee the troubled city and from Gov. Rick Snyder, is also the largest municipal bankruptcy filing in American history in terms of debt. Not everyone agrees how much Detroit owes, but Kevyn D. Orr, the emergency manager who was appointed by Mr. Snyder to resolve the city’s financial problems, has said the debt is likely to be $18 billion and perhaps as much as $20 billion. For Detroit, the filing comes as a painful reminder of a city’s rise and fall."

A Long Tumble: Associated Press: "A number of factors—most notably steep population and tax base falls—have been blamed on Detroit's tumble toward insolvency. Detroit lost a quarter-million residents between 2000 and 2010. A population that in the 1950s reached 1.8 million is struggling to stay above 700,000. Much of the middle-class and scores of businesses also have fled Detroit, taking their tax dollars with them."

It’s Thursday. Welcome to the Slatest PM, where we’re rounding up the day’s top stories and anxiously awaiting this weekend – and the cold front it’s supposed to bring. Follow me, your afternoon news guide, on Twitter at @s_brodez and the whole team at @slatest.

Student Loan Deal, Round 2: Washington Post: “Under pressure from the White House, senators are quickly moving forward with a plan to change how the government sets federal student loan interest rates, tying them to market rates but imposing caps on how high those rates can go. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said on the floor Thursday morning that a vote could come this week. The deal was brokered by a bipartisan group of senators who have been negotiating for weeks, with the help of Department of Education staffers who have been camped out in their offices. On Tuesday, the senators ventured to the White House to meet with President Obama, who urged them to make a decision.”

Obama Defends Affordable Care Act: CBS News: “Acknowledging there will be ‘glitches’ in the ongoing rollout of the Affordable Care Act, President Obama on Thursday brought Obamacare supporters to the White House to stress that the law is already saving consumers money. Obamacare, the president said,  is ‘doing what it's designed to do -- deliver more choices, better benefits, a check on rising costs.’ Because of a provision of the health law already in effect, health insurance companies are required to spend at least 80 percent of what consumers pay in premiums on health care expenses, rather than profits or overhead.”

Texas Abortion Bill Signed Into Law: New York Times: “Six months after declaring his goal to make abortion at any stage ‘a thing of the past,’ Gov. Rick Perry signed a bill into law Thursday morning giving Texas some of the toughest restrictions on abortion in the country, even as Democratic lawmakers and women’s rights advocates vowed to challenge the law’s legality in court. Surrounded by Republican legislators and abortion opponents in an auditorium at the Texas Capitol in Austin, Mr. Perry said that he was cementing ‘the foundation on which the culture of life in Texas is built upon.’ Near the end of Mr. Perry’s opening remarks, the chants and shouts of the bill’s opponents, gathered outside the auditorium, could be heard, nearly drowning out his voice.”

No Mideast Peace Talks Yet: Washington Post: “As top Palestinian leaders discussed the possibility of new peace talks with Israel, Israeli and American officials suggested Thursday that no agreement has yet been reached to revive the stalled negotiations. ‘There are currently no plans for an announcement on the resumption of peace talks,’ State Department spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki told reporters traveling with Secretary of State John F. Kerry in Jordan. … This is Kerry’s sixth visit to the region this year, mostly in pursuit of peace talks to end a conflict that spans more than six decades.”

Kerry Criticized by Syrian Refugees: NBC News: “Angry Syrians demanding U.S. action over the civil war in their homeland met Secretary of State John Kerry as he visited a refugee camp in Jordan early Thursday. ‘What are you waiting for?’ asked a woman. ‘Where is the international community? We hope that you will not go back to the [United] States before you find a solution to the crisis. At least impose a no-fly zone or an embargo.’ She was among six refugees invited to meet Kerry in a room at the sprawling and increasingly lawless United Nations camp, which is located a few miles from the Syria/Jordan border.”

North Korean Crew Charged: New York Times: “Panama brushed aside North Korea’s demands that it release an impounded North Korean freighter and its 35-member crew, pressing criminal charges on Thursday against all aboard for endangering public security by attempting to transport a concealed cargo of Cuban weapons through the Panama Canal. The charges against the crew members, lodged by the office of the prosecutor, Javier Caraballo, heightened the Panamanian confrontation with North Korea over the ship, the 450-foot Chong Chon Gang, which had been awaiting permission to cross the canal for the voyage home after a visit to Cuba.”

Opposition Leader, Conveniently, Jailed: Reuters: “Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was sentenced to five years in jail for theft on Thursday, an unexpectedly tough punishment which supporters said proved President Vladimir Putin was a dictator ruling by repression. Navalny, an anti-corruption campaigner who led the biggest protests against Putin since he took power in 2000, hugged his wife Yulia and his mother, shook his father's hand and then passed them his watch before being led him away in handcuffs. State prosecutors had asked the court to jail Navalny for six years on charges of organizing a scheme to steal at least 16 million roubles ($494,000) from a timber firm when he was advising the Kirov region governor in 2009.”

Obama May Cancel Upcoming Moscow Trip: Bloomberg: “A planned summit between President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin in September may be an important U.S. bargaining chip in determining the fate of fugitive former security contractor Edward Snowden. The administration has repeatedly declined to affirm that Obama will keep a commitment to meet with Putin for one-on-one talks in Moscow before heading to the Group of 20 nations economic summit that the Russian leader is hosting Sept. 5-6 in St. Petersburg. For the past two days, White House press secretary Jay Carney has been clear and direct about the U.S. insistence that Russia expel Snowden, who is seeking asylum while holed up in Moscow airport, and that discussions with Putin’s government are continuing.”

Happy Birthday, Nelson Mandela!: BBC: “Nelson Mandela is spending his 95th birthday in hospital in Pretoria, as events take place around the world and in South Africa in his honour. The former president and anti-apartheid leader has been critically ill with a recurring lung infection since 8 June. South African President Jacob Zuma, who visited Mr Mandela in hospital, said he was ‘encouraged’ by his progress.”

A Few More Quick Hits from Slate:

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