Farai Chideya

Political Contributor

Farai Chideya appears in the following:

Parsing the Obama housing plan with Alvin Hall, Part one

Thursday, March 05, 2009

The Obama administration has released the details of its housing plan, which is meant to be a finger in the dam for the tidal wave of homes facing foreclosure throughout the U.S. Yesterday the administration launched their website, that will help struggling homeowners determine their eligibility for assistance. We can do one better than that. Joining us is Takeaway contributor and financial adviser Alvin Hall who is here to help homeowner Pamela Zombeck in Salem, Massachusetts sort through it all.

Click here for part two

"Buy the best property you can and no longer feel the need to buy that McMansion so you are over-extended."
— Takeaway contributor Alvin Hall on responsible housing choices

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The verdict is in for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Just this morning, the International Criminal Court in The Hague has issued a warrant for the arrest of the Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir. This is the first warrant ever issued against a sitting head of state and nations neighboring Sudan are nervous about the repercussions. The ICC's warrant could bring al Bashir to trial for his government's actions in Darfur, including seven counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The court did not find enough evidence to bring an indictment on genocide. For more we turn to the BBC's Africa editor Martin Plaut.

For more on the trial of Omar al-Bashir, listen to our earlier interview with the BBC's Karen Allen.

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U.S. guns go south, Mexico's drug war comes north

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

This this week, we’ve been taking a look at Mexico’s drug war and the ripple effect being felt throughout the Southwest United States. Perhaps nowhere has this been felt more keenly than in Arizona where drug-related kidnappings have soared over the past year. Adding to the turmoil is the flow of guns from the U.S. to Mexican gangs. As jury selection continues in the trial of a Phoenix gun-dealer who allegedly sold hundreds of weapons to Mexican cartel members, the debate rages about how to keep American guns out of Mexico. We are joined by someone who is in the front-line of trying to make that happen, Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard.

Here is Terry Goddard on CNN discussing gun smuggling:

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A crowded race to fill Rahm Emanuel's seat in Congress

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

When Barack Obama selected Rahm Emanuel as his chief of staff, he left an opening in the U.S. Congress. Voters in Illinois just voted in the primary to choose the Democratic candidate for the seat and there were 23 candidates. While it looks like Cook County Commissioner Mike Quigley won, for some local insight on the crowded race we turn to Tony Arnold, a reporter for Chicago Public Radio.

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Court may issue arrest warrant for Omar al-Bashir

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Later today the International Criminal Court will announce whether it is issuing an arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in the western province of Darfur. The warrant is issued, it will be the first time the ICC has sought the arrest of a sitting head of state. While some may think this is a good first step towards justice in Darfur, neighboring nations are urging the court not to act over fears it will worsen tensions in the region. For more we turn to Karen Allen, the BBC's East Africa Correspondent, who is just back from Khartoum, Sudan.

UPDATE: The BBC's Martin Plaut brings us the verdict.

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Your food may be organic, but that doesn't mean it's safe

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Over the past few years a rash of food-related illnesses caused by everything from tomatoes to spinach to peanut butter has sparked nationwide concern over food safety. Conventional wisdom has always said you can assure your food is safe by buying organic. But New York Times reporter Kim Severson did some digging and she found that organic certification has nothing to do with food safety.

For more, read Kim Severson's and Andrew Walker's article, It’s Organic, but Does That Mean It’s Safer?, in today's New York Times.

"Just be careful and if all else fails, have a cheeseburger."
— New York Times reporter Kim Severson on food safety and the meaning of the organic label

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There are no residents here: Cleveland as the center of the housing crisis

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

The effects of the housing collapse are being felt acutely, daily, powerfully in Cleveland, Ohio. For a time, it led the nation in foreclosures, and now it’s a city that lives with one out every 13 homes vacant. Alex Kotlowitz is a contributor to the New York Times magazine and author of the book There are No Children Here: The Story of Two Boys Growing Up in The Other America. He has a story in this weekend’s magazine titled “All Boarded Up,” describing how the next stage of the national foreclosure crisis has already come to Cleveland.

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How low will the market go?

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Let's talk about your bottom. When do you think the market can go no lower? Is that when you bail out of the Dow and stick your money under the mattress? There's no sure way to predict the bottom of the market, of course, but history does give some hints. Ben Steverman, a reporter with BusinessWeek.com's investing channel, takes a look at bear markets of the past and what they say about the current market meltdown.

Tell us your version of "the bottom" here or call us at 1-877-8-MY-TAKE.

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Rim shot: Free throws are still hard

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Professional athletes in just about every sport imaginable are sprinting to new records: passing more accurately, throwing faster, jumping higher, swimming further. But there's one thing in sports that just hasn't changed: the free throw. Basketball players are simply no better at hitting that shot from the line than they ever were. John Branch from our partner The New York Times has been looking into why.

For more, read John Branch's article, For Free Throws, 50 Years of Practice Is No Help, in today's New York Times.

Maybe the NBA can take pointers from Michael J. Fox in Teen Wolf. Check out his stats!

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Clinton announces two new envoys to Syria

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

During her first trip to the Middle East as Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton announced yesterday that the U.S. will be sending two high-level envoys to Syria. This is the latest sign that the Obama administration is willing to engage Damascus on issues of regional and international concern. The two envoys are Jeffrey Feltman (acting assistant secretary of state) and Daniel Shapiro (a senior White House official). They may visit Syria today for "preliminary conversations". To learn what these new envoys will face, we are joined by Richard Murphy, former U.S. ambassador to Syria and former assistant secretary of state for the Near East.

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Your food may be organic, but that doesn't mean it's safe

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Trouble viewing this video? Check out the YouTube version (click "watch in high quality" for best quality).

Over the past few years a rash of food-related illnesses caused by everything from tomatoes to spinach to peanut butter has sparked nationwide concern over food safety. Conventional wisdom has always said you can assure your food is safe by buying organic. But New York Times reporter Kim Severson did some digging and she found that organic certification has nothing to do with food safety.

Listen to the full Takeaway segment with Kim Severson here
Read More

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When election contributions taint justice

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

When judges have received campaign contributions from interested parties in a case, should they recuse themselves? Caperton v. A.T. Massey Coal Co. goes before the U.S. Supreme Court today to answer that question. Adam Liptak, Supreme Court correspondent for The New York Times, joins Farai and John with a look at the case and how the system of electing judges influences the justice system.

For more on the implications of this case, read Adam Liptak's article, Case May Alter Judge Elections Across Country, in the New York Times.

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Continued turmoil in Guinea-Bissau after assassinations

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

The President of the West African Nation of Guinea-Bissau was shot and killed yesterday by renegade soldiers. The soldiers blamed the President for the bomb blast that killed his main rival, the army chief of staff, the day before. To unravel the twisted tale, we are joined by Will Ross, the BBC's West Africa correspondent in Accra, Ghana.

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Asylum cases skyrocket amid Mexico drug war violence

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

A rising tide of violence stemming from Mexico’s drug war has sent thousands of Mexican nationals fleeing across the border to the United States. Some of them go home, but thousands more say they cannot without fear of reprisal. Understandably, the number of Mexicans seeking asylum in the United States has skyrocketed in the past year. We’re joined by Carlos Spector an immigration attorney in El Paso, Texas, who has been helping people flee the violence.

Here is raw footage of Mexican troops being deployed to the border city of Ciudad Juarez, the country's most dangerous drug city.

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In a secret letter Obama sought help from Russia on Iran

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Last month, President Obama sent a secret hand-delivered letter to Russia's President Dmitri Medvedev. It was an offer: the U.S. would back off from deploying a new missile defense system in Eastern Europe, if Moscow would help deter Iran from developing long-range weapons. Moscow has not responded to the letter, but many people see this as an effort to reset the relationship between the U.S. and Russia. New York Times reporter Peter Baker wrote a front page story on this and he joins us now.

For more, read Peter Baker's article, Obama Offered Deal to Russia in Secret Letter in today's New York Times.

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It's a shake up in Castro's Cuba, hold the rum

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Cuban President Raul Castro replaced eight cabinet ministers yesterday in a shake-up that ousted politicians linked to Fidel Castro. This move could signal a new era for Cuba. To talk about Cuba's future we are joined by James Painter, Latin American analyst for our partners, the BBC.

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Bad sports as Pakistani gunmen open fire on Sri Lankan cricket team

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Bad sportsmanship took an ugly turn as Pakistani gunmen attacked a bus carrying the Sri Lankan cricket team on its way to play in the Pakistani city of Lahore. At least five Pakistani policemen protecting the team's bus were killed, while seven cricketers and their assistant coach were injured. For more we turn to Schwaib Hassan, the BBC's Pakistan correspondent, who joins us from Karachi.

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Global markets hit bottom, start digging

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

The global markets took a trip down memory lane yesterday, unfortunately not in a good way. The S&P dropped to its lowest level since November of 1996. The Dow fell below 7,000 for the first time since 1997. The FTSE 100 to a it lowest level in 14 years in dollar terms. Japan's Nikkei slid near its lowest point in 26 years. Michael Hunter, markets reporter for the Financial Times joins us with his take on the gloom-and-doom economy.

"We will in many ways, I suspect, start looking back to early March and late February of 2009 as, perhaps, the beginning of the end.
— Michael Hunter of the Financial Times on the state of the economy

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British Prime Minister Gordon Brown heads to his Obama photo op

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown begins an official visit to the United States today. He’ll be the first European leader to meet President Obama in the White House. And on the agenda — you guessed it —the global financial crisis. Joining The Takeaway to tell us what Britain’s embattled Prime Minister will be saying to our new President is Philip Stephens, Associate Editor of the Financial Times.

For more from Philip Stephen's, read his article on Gordon Brown's U.S. visit, The way to reset a once-special relationship in today's Financial Times.

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