April 1, 2023

Memoir of Amanda Knox to Be Released

Those assertions are among the many in “Waiting to Be Heard,” the long-awaited memoir that is Ms. Knox’s most extensive public testimony since she was convicted, and then acquitted, of killing her 21-year-old British roommate, Meredith Kercher.

“Until now I have personally never contributed to any public discussion of the case or of what happened to me,” Ms. Knox, 25, wrote in an author’s note at the end of the book. “Now that I am free, I’ve finally found myself in a position to respond to everyone’s questions. This memoir is about setting the record straight.”

On the morning of Nov. 2, 2007, Ms. Kercher was found seminaked, her throat slit, wrapped in a duvet and left in her bedroom in their villa in the picturesque town of Perugia. Ms. Knox, a college student from Seattle who was spending her junior year abroad, and her boyfriend at the time, Raffaele Sollecito, were accused by Italian prosecutors of killing Ms. Kercher in a sexual escapade gone wrong, along with Rudy Guede, an Ivory Coast native who was eventually convicted of Ms. Kercher’s sexual assault and murder.

An appeals court acquitted Ms. Knox and Mr. Sollecito two years after their original conviction, and they were released. But in March, Italy’s highest court overturned that decision, ordering a new trial sometime in the next year.

A copy of Ms. Knox’s book, which is scheduled for release on April 30, was obtained by The New York Times. The memoir prompted a highly competitive auction early last year, with seven publishers bidding on it and Ms. Knox receiving a reported $4 million advance from HarperCollins. Publishers were convinced that the intense publicity the case received, with its lurid details and the courtroom spectacle of two Italian trials, would make the book a big seller.

While saying she was the victim of bias and mistreatment by Italian authorities, Ms. Knox also writes that her own mistakes contributed to her conviction. She admits to being naïve, sometimes inappropriate and odd, too proud to admit when her halting knowledge of Italian failed her. During the investigation, she followed the directions of the Italian police “like a lost, pathetic child,” she recalled.

In 463 pages, Ms. Knox recounts her darkest moments in prison — at one point, she writes, she imagined committing suicide by suffocating herself with a garbage bag — as well as her routines there. She says she practiced Italian, wrote letters to family and friends, and read books by Dostoyevsky and Umberto Eco.

Ms. Knox exhaustively lays out her defense, describing her whereabouts on the night that her roommate was killed. She says that she and Mr. Sollecito were smoking marijuana, reading a Harry Potter book aloud in German and watching the film “Amélie” at his apartment. (“Around our house, marijuana was as common as pasta,” Ms. Knox wrote, recalling that one of her roommates taught her how to roll a joint properly.)

She pointed to the Italian prosecutors who she said willfully ignored and manipulated evidence while they clung to the theory that she and Mr. Sollecito were responsible for Ms. Kercher’s death. A conversation with her mother from prison was distorted to help place her at the scene of the crime and promptly leaked to a British newspaper, she writes.

According to Ms. Knox’s account, the police interrogated her for hours and sporadically slapped her on the back of her head. Eventually they goaded her into signing a statement that implicated her and an innocent man, Patrick Lumumba, her boss at a bar where she worked.

Confused and panicking after being taken to prison, Ms. Knox asked to make a phone call. “The guard looked at me like I’d asked for caviar and prosecco,” she wrote.

Article source: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/19/books/in-memoir-amanda-knox-testifies-in-public-court-of-approval.html?partner=rss&emc=rss

India Ink: Reserve Bank Holds Interest Rates Steady to Fight Inflation

A policeman walks past the logo of the Reserve Bank of India outside its head office in Mumbai, Maharashtra in this Nov. 2, 2010 file photo.Danish Siddiqui/ReutersA policeman walks past the logo of the Reserve Bank of India outside its head office in Mumbai, Maharashtra in this Nov. 2, 2010 file photo.

In spite of growing calls for it to support India’s slowing economy, the Reserve Bank of India said on Monday it would not cut interest rates or lower banking reserve requirements because inflation was still too high for it to act.

Rather, the central bank called on the government to reduce its fiscal deficit and do more to ease supply bottlenecks that restrict farmers, factories and others from producing enough to meet the rising demand for food, manufactured goods and other products.

Many analysts and bankers had hoped the central bank would cut its benchmark interest rate, at which it lends money to banks, by 0.25 of a percentage point and lower its cash reserve ratio by as much as 1 percentage point, which would free banks to lend more money to businesses and consumers.

In April, the central bank cut the benchmark rate by 0.50 of a percentage point, which was more than had been expected, to 8 percent. It has also lowered the reserve ratio several times in recent months to 4.75 percent from a high of 6 percent.

In explaining its decision, the central bank said cutting interest rates further would have done little to support investment and growth, and would have pushed prices even higher instead. In recent months, India’s wholesale price index has been rising by more than 7 percent from a year earlier, even as the economy slowed to a 5.3 percent year-on-year growth rate in the first three months of the year, down from 9.2 percent in the comparable period a year earlier.

“Our assessment of the current growth-inflation dynamic is that there are several factors responsible for the slowdown in activity, particularly in investment, with the role of interest rates being relatively small,” the Reserve Bank of India said in a statement. “Consequently, further reduction in the policy interest rate at this juncture, rather than supporting growth, could exacerbate inflationary pressures.”

The statement appeared to surprise investors and analysts, many of whom have grown increasingly pessimistic about the Indian economy and expected that the central bank would have felt compelled to cut rates. The benchmark Nifty 50 stock index was down 1.5 percent at the end of the day.

But the central bank stuck to a strong anti-inflationary stand and, as it has done several times in recent months, blamed the Indian government for not doing enough to help the economy. On Monday, the central bank said the government’s high fiscal deficit, particularly its spending on fuel subsidies, was “crowding out public investment at a time when reviving investment, both public and private, is a critical imperative.”

“A lot depends on the government taking credible, concrete steps to revive investments in the economy,” said Shubhada Rao, the chief economist at Yes Bank in Mumbai. “Interest rates will play a limited role in spurring investments.”

India’s government is in the midst of a major transition in economic policy making. The finance minister, Pranab Mukherjee, is running for president, a largely ceremonial post that has some important constitutional powers. It is unclear who would succeed him as finance minister, but many analysts and Indian journalists have speculated that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, a former finance minister, would take on that position as well, at least for a few months.

Still, regardless of who becomes finance minister, analysts say Mr. Singh’s government will have difficulty following the central bank’s prescription of reducing subsidies, the fiscal deficit and supply constraints, changes this government has struggled to make since being re-elected three years ago.

Article source: http://india.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/18/reserve-bank-holds-interest-rates-steady-to-fight-inflation/?partner=rss&emc=rss

Geithner Sees ‘Progress’ in Efforts to Shore Up Euro

European leaders are to gather Thursday night in Brussels to begin seeking agreement on the latest series of measures to support euro-zone governments that are facing a crisis of confidence in their finances.

After meetings in Germany on Tuesday, Mr. Geithner arrived in Paris for talks with French officials including Prime Minister François Fillon and President Nicolas Sarkozy.

Mr. Geithner said he had confidence in what French officials “are doing with Germany to try to build a stronger Europe,” adding that he was “encouraged by the progress they’re making.”

“I want to emphasize again how important it is to the United States and to countries around the world that Europe succeeds in this effort to build a stronger Europe, and I’m confident they will succeed,” he added.

He spoke as the German Finance Agency sold €4.1 billion, or $5.5 billion, of 5-year debt securities at an average yield of 1.11 percent, up slightly from the 1.0 percent it paid to sell similar debt on Nov. 2. Investors had been watching the auction carefully, after a November offering of 10-year bonds flopped, sending markets reeling.

This time, there were a healthy 2.1 bids for each of the 5-year bonds sold, up from 1.5 on Nov. 2. Stock markets in Europe were generally flat Wednesday, after early gains.

“Today’s tender reflects volatile and uncertain market conditions,” Reuters quoted the agency as saying in a statement. “Investors are looking for, and trust, the quality of the paper from the euro zone’s benchmark issuer.”

The European Union’s main bailout fund, known as the European Financial Stability Facility, will provide another test of investor confidence later this month, when the German debt management office begins auctioning the fund’s 3-, 6- and 12-month bills.

“The launch of a short-term funding program is in line with the enlarged scope of activity of E.F.S.F. to use its new instruments efficiently,” Klaus Regling, the fund’s chief executive, said Wednesday in a statement.

The fund currently enjoys the highest short-term credit ratings from all three of the major agencies, Standard Poor’s, Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Ratings.

But analysts are skeptical that it can maintain that rating if the top-rated European governments cannot maintain their own ratings.

S.P. warned Monday that the ratings of 15 euro-zone countries, including Germany and France, faced a possible downgrade, and it said Tuesday that the bailout fund also faced a downgrade if top governments’ ratings were cut.

The fund said the auctions would be held “before year end.”

Annie Lowrey contributed reporting.

Article source: http://feeds.nytimes.com/click.phdo?i=f6be44c9d1b0eef108eb12dcebecad66