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Vocapedia > Economy > Bailout




Dave Brown

Comment cartoon

The Independent

9 October 2008



L to R:

Chancellor Alistair Darling,

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown,

three 'fat cats'.


















Jerry Holbert


Boston, MA, The Boston Herald


1 December 2008


R: Uncle Sam = USA















bail out


governments-to-buy-bank-stakes-stocks-soar-idUSTRE49A36O20081013 - October 13, 2008








Covid-19 outbreak / pandemic > bailout        USA


the-bailout-is-working-for-the-rich - May 10, 2020



with-little-accountability - April 7, 2020
















seek (a) $4 billion federal bailout        USA










Ireland bailout        November 2010 - April  2011        UK















bailout / recapitalisation        UK        October 2008














2008-2009 financial crisis > USA > bank bailout










bailout / bail-out        USA        November 2008











bailout / bail-out        USA        September / October 2008

















keep N afloat





American International Group Inc.        AIG        USA


American International Group

was the largest insurance company

in the United States

before it suddenly collapsed

in September 2008

under the weight of bad bets it made

insuring mortgage-backed securities.


The company was bailed out

by the Federal Reserve,

but even after

an initial infusion of $85 billion,

losses continued to grow.


The later rescue packages

brought the total to $182 billion,

making it the biggest federal bailout

in United States history.













Ireland bailout

fails to calm nervy markets

• FTSE 100 down 2%; Dow loses 1%
• Euro slides to two-month low against US dollar
• Cost of insuring Spanish and Portuguese debt
hits record high


Monday 29 November 2010
19.35 GMT
Jill Treanor and Julia Kollewe
This article was published
on guardian.co.uk at 19.35 GMT
on Monday 29 November 2010.
A version appeared on p28
of the Main section section of the Guardian
on Tuesday 30 November 2010.
It was last modified at 01.30 GMT
on Tuesday 30 November 2010.
It was first published at 10.40 GMT
on Monday 29 November 2010.

Stocks fell on both sides of the Atlantic, the euro tumbled, and the cost of borrowing for Ireland, Spain and Portugal jumped today, as details of the republic's €85bn (£72bn) bailout failed to quell anxiety that the crisis in the eurozone was deepening.

Amid speculation that the European authorities may be left with little option but to embark on large-scale quantitative easing to try to bolster sentiment, Ireland's borrowing costs shot as high as 9.6% as the terms of its bailout by the International Monetary Fund and European Union were digested by investors.

"The bottom line is that the financial markets are unimpressed, and that's the most generous description," Neil MacKinnon, global macro strategist at VTB Capital told Associated Press. "The crisis rumbles on."

Only two shares in the FTSE 100, Barclays and HSBC, ended the day in positive territory as the blue-chip index closed below 5600 for the first time since 1 October, down 2% at 5550.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 39.51 points to 11,052.49, and the euro slid to a new two-month low against the dollar of $1.3065 amid concerns about the long-term future of the decade-old single currency.

The cost of borrowing for the peripheral eurozone countries stayed stubbornly high, with Portugual above 7% and Spain above 5%, as speculation focused on the next indebted country which might need financial help. Italy endured its biggest one day rise in borrowing costs for a decade.

The cost of insuring Portuguese debt against default rose to a record high after Nouriel Roubini, economics professor and chairman of Roubini Global Economics, urged Lisbon to take international assistance. "Like it or not, Portugal is reaching the critical point," Roubini told the Portuguese newspaper Diário Económico. "Perhaps it could be a good idea to ask for a bailout in a preventative manner."

Ireland's bailout failed to dent fears of contagion across the eurozone despite rallying cries by France's economy minister Christine Lagarde and Germany's finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble, who both insisted Portugal would not need help. Andrew Lim, head of financials research at Matrix investment bank, said: "The Irish bailout doesn't solve the euro problem … We are looking at Portugal, then Spain next."

The fragility in the markets led to speculation that the European Central Bank will delay attempts to begin withdrawing funds for banks at its meeting on Thursday, even though the €35bn earmarked for Ireland's banks was intended to wean them off the ECB's life support.

Analysts said although the Ireland bailout had been accompanied by plans for new ways to rescue troubled eurozone countries after 2013, when the current emergency schemes run out, investors had been left confused. It was still not clear in what circumstances bondholders would be expected to share the losses of countries that were allowed to reschedule their debt after 2013 – in effect defaulting.

"Given the lack of clarity about what constitutes the appearance of insolvency, and what type of restructuring might occur in such a case, markets are likely to remain wary of holding government debt issued by other troubled eurozone countries like Portugal and Spain," said Ben May, European economist at Capital Economics.

"With huge political frictions still clearly in place within the region, fears of a future break-up of the region look set to remain, placing further downward pressure on the euro."

The bailout for Ireland is intended to ensure that neither the country nor its banks will default on their debt. The decision by the authorities to ensure that the possibility of default was reduced was initially welcomed. Gary Jenkins, head of fixed income research at Evolution Securities, said: "This is not the time to inject panic into the banking sector."

Greece, the first eurozone country to be bailed out, was today given until 2021 to repay its €110bn loan from the IMF and EU, rather than 2015.

Greece's finance minister George Papaconstantinou said: "We have a grace period of four years and a repayment period of seven years.

"The decision is very important, it opens the way to return to markets earlier than expected."

Ireland bailout fails to calm nervy markets,
G, 29.12.2010,





Op-Ed Columnist

Bailout to Nowhere


November 14, 2008
The New York Times


Not so long ago, corporate giants with names like PanAm, ITT and Montgomery Ward roamed the earth. They faded and were replaced by new companies with names like Microsoft, Southwest Airlines and Target. The U.S. became famous for this pattern of decay and new growth. Over time, American government built a bigger safety net so workers could survive the vicissitudes of this creative destruction — with unemployment insurance and soon, one hopes, health care security. But the government has generally not interfered in the dynamic process itself, which is the source of the country’s prosperity.

But this, apparently, is about to change. Democrats from Barack Obama to Nancy Pelosi want to grant immortality to General Motors, Chrysler and Ford. They have decided to follow an earlier $25 billion loan with a $50 billion bailout, which would inevitably be followed by more billions later, because if these companies are not permitted to go bankrupt now, they never will be.

This is a different sort of endeavor than the $750 billion bailout of Wall Street. That money was used to save the financial system itself. It was used to save the capital markets on which the process of creative destruction depends.

Granting immortality to Detroit’s Big Three does not enhance creative destruction. It retards it. It crosses a line, a bright line. It is not about saving a system; there will still be cars made and sold in America. It is about saving politically powerful corporations. A Detroit bailout would set a precedent for every single politically connected corporation in America. There already is a long line of lobbyists bidding for federal money. If Detroit gets money, then everyone would have a case. After all, are the employees of Circuit City or the newspaper industry inferior to the employees of Chrysler?

It is all a reminder that the biggest threat to a healthy economy is not the socialists of campaign lore. It’s C.E.O.’s. It’s politically powerful crony capitalists who use their influence to create a stagnant corporate welfare state.

If ever the market has rendered a just verdict, it is the one rendered on G.M. and Chrysler. These companies are not innocent victims of this crisis. To read the expert literature on these companies is to read a long litany of miscalculation. Some experts mention the management blunders, some the union contracts and the legacy costs, some the years of poor car design and some the entrenched corporate cultures.

There seems to be no one who believes the companies are viable without radical change. A federal cash infusion will not infuse wisdom into management. It will not reduce labor costs. It will not attract talented new employees. As Megan McArdle of The Atlantic wittily put it, “Working for the Big Three magically combines vast corporate bureaucracy and job insecurity in one completely unattractive package.”

In short, a bailout will not solve anything — just postpone things. If this goes through, Big Three executives will make decisions knowing that whatever happens, Uncle Sam will bail them out — just like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. In the meantime, capital that could have gone to successful companies and programs will be directed toward companies with a history of using it badly.

The second part of Obama’s plan is the creation of an auto czar with vague duties. Other smart people have called for such a czar to reorganize the companies and force the companies to fully embrace green technology and other good things.

That would be great, but if Obama was such a fervent believer in the Chinese model of all-powerful technocrats, he should have mentioned it during the campaign. Are we really to believe there exists a czar omniscient, omnipotent and beneficent enough to know how to fix the Big Three? Who is this deity? Are we to believe that political influence will miraculously disappear, that the czar would have absolute power over unions, management, Congress and the White House? Please.

This is an excruciatingly hard call. A case could be made for keeping the Big Three afloat as a jobs program until the economy gets better and then letting them go bankrupt. But the most persuasive experts argue that bankruptcy is the least horrible option. Airline, steel and retail companies have gone through bankruptcy proceedings and adjusted. It would be a less politically tainted process. Government could use that $50 billion — and more — to help the workers who are going to be displaced no matter what.

But the larger principle is over the nature of America’s political system. Is this country going to slide into progressive corporatism, a merger of corporate and federal power that will inevitably stifle competition, empower corporate and federal bureaucrats and protect entrenched interests? Or is the U.S. going to stick with its historic model: Helping workers weather the storms of a dynamic economy, but preserving the dynamism that is the core of the country’s success.

    Bailout to Nowhere, NYT, 15.11.2008,







Bailout Plan Wins Approval;

Democrats Vow Tighter Rules


October 4, 2008
The New York Times


WASHINGTON — After the House reversed course and gave final approval to the $700 billion economic bailout package, President Bush quickly signed it into law on Friday, authorizing the Treasury to undertake what could become the most expensive government intervention in history.

But even as Mr. Bush declared that the measure would “help prevent the crisis on Wall Street from becoming a crisis in communities across our country,” Congressional Democrats said that it was only a first step and pledged to carry out a sweeping overhaul of the nation’s financial regulatory system.

The final tally in the House was 263 to 171, with 91 Republicans joining 172 Democrats in favor. That was a wider bipartisan majority than vote-counters in both parties had expected, completing a remarkable turnabout from Monday, when the House defeated an earlier version of the bill by 228 to 205.

The financial markets, however, were not enthusiastic. Already weighed down by another round of bleak economic data, including a report showing that 159,000 jobs were lost in September, the Dow fell 157 points to close at 10,325, or nearly 818 points lower than when the week began, before the House’s initial rejection of the bailout.

Some measures of the credit markets improved after the bill was approved, but only modestly. Analysts said it was too soon to tell whether borrowing rates — the interest rates banks charge each other for loans, and a key indicator of the flow of credit — would fall.

The change in course by the House was prompted by fears of a global economic meltdown, and by old-fashioned political inducements added by the Senate: a portfolio of $150 billion in popular tax provisions, including credits for the production of solar, wind and other renewable energy, and an adjustment to spare middle-class families from paying the alternative minimum tax.

In the end, 33 Democrats and 24 Republicans who had voted no on Monday switched sides on Friday to support the plan. Both Mr. Obama and his Republican rival, Senator John McCain, voted for the measure when the Senate approved it on Wednesday, and both hailed Friday’s outcome.

Mr. McCain said that lawmakers had acted “in the best interests of the nation,” while Mr. Obama warned that “a long and difficult road to recovery” might still lie ahead.

In a sign of the urgency surrounding the economic rescue effort, Congressional staff rushed the newly printed legislation into a news conference where Democratic leaders gathered after the vote. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, of California, signed it at 2 p.m., and it was sent to the White House for Mr. Bush’s signature.

Appearing in the Rose Garden, Mr. Bush praised Congress for acting just two weeks after the Treasury secretary, Henry M. Paulson Jr., requested the emergency bailout legislation with a warning that the American economy was at risk of the worst economic collapse since the Depression.

“We have shown the world that the United States will stabilize our financial markets and maintain a leading role in the global economy,” Mr. Bush said.

But it was a hollow victory for the administration, which after long favoring a hands-off approach toward the financial industry has found itself interceding repeatedly this year to avert one calamity after another.

Ms. Pelosi and other Democrats, who expect to widen their majority in Congress in the November elections, said they intended to tighten controls.

“High-fliers on Wall Street will no longer be able to jeopardize that personal economic security of Americans,” Ms. Pelosi said, “because of the bright light of scrutiny, accountability and the attention given under regulatory reform.”

Representative Barney Frank, Democrat of Massachusetts and chairman of the Financial Services Committee, said: “We will be back next year to do some serious surgery on the financial structure.”

The Republican leader, Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, had urged his colleagues to vote yes. “We know if we do nothing this crisis is likely to worsen and put us in an economic slump the likes of which we have never seen,” he said. “I am going to vote for this bill because I think it’s in the best interests of the American people.”

Opponents of the bailout called it a costly Band-Aid that did not address the core problems in the financial system. “Some things have changed in this bill but taxpayers will still be picking up the tab for Wall Street’s party,” said Representative Marilyn Musgrave, Republican of Colorado. “I am voting against this today because it’s not the best bill. It’s the quickest bill. Taxpayers for generations will pay for our haste and there is no guarantee that they will ever see the benefits.”

Among House Democrats as well as Republicans, many lawmakers facing the toughest challenges for re-election remained in the no column. Those with easier races were more likely to switch.

Many said they agonized over the decision amid a torrent of calls from constituents. Several who switched to yes cited a provision added by the Senate increasing the amount of savings insured by the Federal government to $250,000 per account, from $100,000.

Fears about the economy also motivated support. “Nobody in East Tennessee hates the fact more than me that I am going to vote yes today after voting no on Monday,” Representative Zach Wamp, a Republican, said.

“Monday I cast a blue-collar vote for the American people,” he continued. “Today I am going to cast a red, white and blue-collar vote with my hand over my heart for this country, because things are really bad and we don’t have any choice.”

Several Democrats in the Congressional Black Caucus said they were persuaded to support the bill by Mr. Obama.

Representatives Elijah E. Cummings and Donna F. Edwards, both of Maryland, said they had each spoken to Mr. Obama who helped persuade them to support the bill, in part by assuring them that he would work to achieve a goal that Democrats gave up during negotiations: a change in bankruptcy laws to let judges modify first mortgages.

Mr. Obama, speaking in Abington, Pa., said he had urged lawmakers from both parties to “not make the same mistake twice.” But he warned that passage of the measure should be just “the beginning of a long-term rescue plan for our middle class.”

Mr. McCain, speaking in Flagstaff, Ariz., warned that the bill was not perfect and there was more to be done. “It is an outrage that it’s even necessary,” Mr. McCain said. “But we must stop the damage to our economy done by corrupt and incompetent practices on Wall Street and in Washington.” Mr. McCain said he spoke to House Republicans before Friday’s vote and urged them to approve the bill.

Friday’s vote capped an extraordinary two-week final stretch for the 110th Congress. Lawmakers, eager to get home for the fall campaign season, had intended to wrap up by adopting a budget bill to finance government operations through early March.

Instead, after dealing with the budget, they found themselves still in Washington, just five weeks before Election Day, facing the most important vote of the year — the most important vote of their lives, many lawmakers said — and under extreme pressure by the White House, the presidential nominees, and Congressional leaders of both parties to make a quick decision.

Supporters said the bailout was needed to prevent economic collapse; opponents said it was hasty, ill conceived and risked too much taxpayer money to help Wall Street tycoons, while providing no guarantees of success. The rescue plan allows the Treasury to buy troubled securities from financial firms in an effort to ease a deepening credit crisis that is choking off business and consumer loans, the lifeblood of the economy, and contributing to a string of bank failures.

Officials say the final cost of the bailout will be far less than $700 billion because the government will resell the assets that it buys.

The final agreement disburses the money in parts, with Congress able to block the second $350 billion. It also provides for tighter oversight of the program by two boards, and requires the government to do more to prevent home foreclosures. Lawmakers also included efforts to restrict so-called golden parachute retirement plans for some executives whose firms seek help, and a provision allowing the government to recoup any losses after five years by assessing the financial industry.

Reporting was contributed by Robert Pear

and Carl Hulse in Washington;

Steven Lee Myers in Abington, Pa.;

and Michael Cooper in Flagstaff, Ariz.

    Bailout Plan Wins Approval; Democrats Vow Tighter Rules, NYT, 4.10.2008,






$700 Billion Is Sought for Wall Street

in Vast Bailout


September 21, 2008

The New York Times



WASHINGTON — The Bush administration on Saturday formally proposed a vast bailout of financial institutions in the United States, requesting unfettered authority for the Treasury Department to buy up to $700 billion in distressed mortgage-related assets from the private firms.

The proposal, not quite three pages long, was stunning for its stark simplicity. It would raise the national debt ceiling to $11.3 trillion. And it would place no restrictions on the administration other than requiring semiannual reports to Congress, granting the Treasury secretary unprecedented power to buy and resell mortgage debt.

“This is a big package, because it was a big problem,” President Bush said Saturday at a White House news conference, after meeting with President Álvaro Uribe of Colombia. “I will tell our citizens and continue to remind them that the risk of doing nothing far outweighs the risk of the package, and that, over time, we’re going to get a lot of the money back.”

After a week of stomach-flipping turmoil in the financial system, and with officials still on edge about how global markets will respond, the delivery of the administration’s plan set the stage for a four-day brawl in Congress. Democratic leaders have pledged to approve a bill but say it must also include tangible help for ordinary Americans in the form of an economic stimulus package.

Staff members from Treasury and the House Financial Services and Senate banking committees immediately began meeting on Capitol Hill and were expected to work through the weekend. Congressional leaders are hoping to recess at the end of the week for the fall elections, after approving the bailout and a budget measure to keep the government running.

With Congressional Republicans warning that the bailout could be slowed by efforts to tack on additional provisions, Democratic leaders said they would insist on a requirement that the administration use its new role, as the owner of large amounts of mortgage debt, to help hundreds of thousands of troubled borrowers at risk of losing their homes to foreclosure.

“It’s clear that the administration has requested that Congress authorize, in very short order, sweeping and unprecedented powers for the Treasury secretary,” the House speaker, Nancy Pelosi of California, said in a statement. “Democrats will work with the administration to ensure that our response to events in the financial markets is swift, but we must insulate Main Street from Wall Street and keep people in their homes.”

Ms. Pelosi said Democrats would also insist on “enacting an economic recovery package that creates jobs and returns growth to our economy.”

Even as talks got under way, there were signs of how very much in flux the plan remained. The administration suggested that it might adjust its proposal, initially restricted to purchasing assets from financial institutions based in the United States, to enable foreign firms with United States affiliates to make use of it as well.

The ambitious effort to transfer the bad debts of Wall Street, at least temporarily, into the obligations of American taxpayers was first put forward by the administration late last week after a series of bold interventions on behalf of ailing private firms seemed unlikely to prevent a crash of world financial markets.

A $700 billion expenditure on distressed mortgage-related assets would roughly be what the country has spent so far in direct costs on the Iraq war and more than the Pentagon’s total yearly budget appropriation. Divided across the population, it would amount to more than $2,000 for every man, woman and child in the United States.

Whatever is spent will add to a budget deficit already projected at more than $500 billion next year. And it comes on top of the $85 billion government rescue of the insurance giant American International Group and a plan to spend up to $200 billion to shore up the mortgage finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

At his news conference, Mr. Bush also sought to portray the plan as helping every American. “The government,” he said, “needed to send a clear signal that we understood the instability could ripple throughout and affect the working people and the average family, and we weren’t going to let that happen.”

A program to help troubled borrowers refinance mortgages — along with an $800 billion increase in the national debt limit — was approved in July. But financing for it depended largely on fees paid by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which have been placed into a government conservatorship.

Representative Barney Frank, Democrat of Massachusetts and chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, said in an interview that his staff had already begun working with the Senate banking committee to draft additions to the administration’s proposal.

Mr. Frank said Democrats were particularly intent on limiting the huge pay packages for corporate executives whose firms seek aid under the new plan, raising the prospect of a contentious battle with the White House.

“There are going to be federal tax dollars buying up some of the bad paper,” Mr. Frank said. “They should accept some compensation guidelines, particularly to get rid of the perverse incentives where it’s ‘heads I win, tails I break even.’ ”

Mr. Frank said Democrats were also thinking about tightening the language on the debt limit to make clear that the additional borrowing authority could be used only for the bailout plan. And he said they might seek to revive a proposal that would give bankruptcy judges the authority to modify the terms of primary mortgages, a proposal strongly opposed by the financial industry.

Senator Charles E. Schumer, Democrat of New York, who attended emergency meetings with the Treasury secretary, Henry M. Paulson Jr., and the Federal Reserve chairman, Ben S. Bernanke, on Capitol Hill last week, described the proposal as a good start but said it did little for regular Americans.

“This is a good foundation of a plan that can stabilize markets quickly,” Mr. Schumer said in a statement. “But it includes no visible protection for taxpayers or homeowners. We look forward to talking to Treasury to see what, if anything, they have in mind in these two areas.”

Ms. Pelosi’s statement made clear that she would push for an economic stimulus initiative either as part of the bailout legislation or, more likely, as part of the budget resolution Congress must adopt before adjourning for the fall elections. Such a plan could include an increase in unemployment benefits and spending on infrastructure projects to help create jobs.

Some Congressional Republicans warned Democrats not to overreach.

“The administration has put forward a plan to help the American people, and it is now incumbent on Congress to work together to solve this crisis,” said Representative John A. Boehner of Ohio, the Republican leader.

Mr. Boehner added, “Efforts to exploit this crisis for political leverage or partisan quid pro quo will only delay the economic stability that families, seniors and small businesses deserve.”

Aides to Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, the Democratic presidential nominee, said he was reviewing the proposal. In Florida, Mr. Obama told voters he would press for a broader economic stimulus.

“We have to make sure that whatever plan our government comes up with works not just for Wall Street, but for Main Street,” Mr. Obama said. “We have to make sure it helps folks cope with rising prices, and sparks job creation, and helps homeowners stay in their homes.”

Senator John McCain of Arizona, the Republican nominee, issued a statement saying he, too, was reviewing the plan.

“This financial crisis,” Mr. McCain said, “requires leadership and action in order to restore a sound foundation to financial markets, get our economy on its feet, and eliminate this burden on hardworking middle-class Americans.”

If adopted, the bailout plan would sharply raise the stakes for the new administration on the appointment of a new Treasury secretary.

The administration’s plan would allow the Treasury to hire staff members and engage outside firms to help manage its purchases. And officials said that the administration envisioned enlisting several outside firms to help run the effort to buy up mortgage-related assets.

Officials said that details were still being worked out but that one idea was for the Treasury to hold reverse auctions, in which the government would offer to buy certain classes of distressed assets at a particular price and firms would then decide if they were willing to sell at that price, or could bid the price lower.

Mindful of a potential political fight, Mr. Paulson and Mr. Bernanke held a series of conference calls with members of Congress on Friday to begin convincing them that action was needed not just to help Wall Street but everyday Americans as well.

Republicans typically supportive of the administration said they were in favor of approving the plan as swiftly as possible.

Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, said in a statement, “This proposal is, and should be kept, simple and clear.” The majority leader, Senator Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, said that the bailout was needed but that Mr. Bush owed the public a fuller explanation.

Some lawmakers were more critical or even adamantly opposed to the plan. “The free market for all intents and purposes is dead in America,” Senator Jim Bunning, Republican of Kentucky, declared on Friday.

It is far from clear how much distressed debt the government will end up purchasing, though it seemed likely that the $700 billion figure was large enough to send a reassuring message to the jittery markets. There are estimates that firms are carrying $1 trillion or more in bad mortgage-related assets.

The ultimate price tag of the bailout is virtually impossible to know, in part because of the possibility that taxpayers could profit from the effort, especially if the market stabilizes and real estate prices rise.


Lehman Can Sell to Barclays

A federal bankruptcy judge decided early Saturday that Lehman Brothers could sell its investment banking and trading businesses to Barclays, the big British bank, the first major step to wind down the nation’s fourth-largest investment bank.

The judge, James Peck, gave his decision at the end of an eight-hour hearing, which capped a week of financial turmoil.

The deal was said to be worth $1.75 billion earlier in the week but the value was in flux after lawyers announced changes to the terms on Friday. It may now be worth closer to $1.35 billion, which includes the $960 million price tag on Lehman’s office tower in Midtown Manhattan.

Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc. on Monday filed the biggest bankruptcy in United States history, after Barclays PLC declined to buy the investment bank in its entirety.

Reporting was contributed

by Jeff Zeleny from Daytona Beach, Fla.,

and Michael Cooper, Carl Hulse,

Stephen Labaton and David Stout from Washington.

$700 Billion Is Sought for Wall Street in Vast Bailout,










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Related > Anglonautes > History / News


2008 > USA




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