HUGE US UNEMPLOYMENT RISE – as Obama meets his advisors


US president-elect Barack Obama discussed the financial crisis and other big problems with world leaders yesterday.

He spoke by telephone with the leaders of Australia, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Israel, Japan, Mexico and South Korea.

The financial crisis, the Afghanistan war, climate change and the North Korean and Iranian nuclear crises dominated the talks, according to accounts from the various government’s spokesmen.

Obama has plenty of problems to worry about at home.

Carmakers Ford, GM and Chrysler bosses had discussions about an industry bail-out with House of Representatives’ Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on Thursday.

And Ford announced yesterday that it lost $129 million in the third quarter, and that it will be cutting 10% of its workforce.

The automaker, which saw sales slide more than 30% in September and October in the United States, said its job cuts would aim to retool production toward vehicles that use less gas while cutting production of larger vehicles.

Meanwhile in Afghanistan and Pakistan, up to 14 militants were killed yesterday when a US missile strike destroyed an Al-Qaeda training camp in a tribal area of northwest Pakistan near the Afghan border, officials said.

Four missiles were fired at the camp, in Kumsham village, some 35 kilometres south of Miranshah in North Waziristan province.

The village is dominated by Wazir tribes and is near the border with South Waziristan, another hub of Taleban and Al-Qaeda operatives.

Up to 20 local residents were killed in the attack said the village chiefs.

Obama is in favour of the Bush policy of taking the Afghan war deep into Pakistan against alleged Taleban supporters.

Yesterday Obama had a telephone discussion with UK prime minister Brown which included the need for the UK to send thousands more troops to Afghanistan, in return for Obama supporting Brown’s international financial policies.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said that he and Obama discussed ‘our resolve to act together on dealing on the global financial crisis and also working closely together on the great challenge of climate change.’

Berlin said Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed to work ‘closely’ on Iran’s disputed nuclear programme, Afghanistan, climate change and the financial crisis.

Reforming the financial system also featured strongly in Obama’s talks with French President Sarkozy and in a 10-minute telephone conversation with Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso.

South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak’s spokesman said Lee and Obama had agreed to work together to tackle North Korea’s nuclear disarmament and the financial turmoil.

In his conversation with Obama, Mexican President Felipe Calderon discussed immigration and drug smuggling on the southern US border, the Mexican foreign ministry said.

Most of the world leaders will attend the emergency summit on the economic crisis in Washington, next Saturday, November 15th.