Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev
chance to improve the world
Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, who played
a key role in ending the Cold War, said the United
States had squandered an opportunity to improve
global politics after the Cold War, a paper said
In comments that were among the harshest he has
made about the United States, Gorbachev compared
U.S. foreign policy to one of the deadliest diseases
on the planet -- AIDS.
Today our American friends are suffering from
an illness worse than AIDS. And I would say this
is the victor's complex," Gorbachev was
quoted as saying in an interview with the Netzzeitung.
Unable to extricate itself from its Cold War
mentality, the United States was playing a
dwindling role in world politics, while Russia,
Brazil, Europe, India and Japan were becoming
stronger, Gorbachev said.
North Korea, which said on Monday it had successfully
completed a nuclear test, was an example. Only
China and Russia were in a position to handle
Pyongyang, he said.
Washington will in future have to act less
on its own and get used to a position of diminished
importance, he said.
The Americans will have to understand that in
future they will have to cooperate and make decisions
jointly, instead of just always wanting to give
orders," Gorbachev said.
He said the United States and other Western
countries had missed an opportunity to make
the world a
better place after the fall of the Berlin
Wall in November 1989 ushered in the end
At that point, the West focused more on its geopolitical
interests," Gorbachev said, adding that
Western countries had been more interested in
cashing in on the "unbridled burst of globalization" that
followed the end of the Cold War than in improving
the international political climate.
gasoline lifts consumer enthusiasm
energy costs spurred U.S. shoppers last month
and consumers' enthusiasm continued to build
in October as the drop in gasoline prices left
them free to spend elsewhere, reports showed
The University of Michigan said its consumer
sentiment index for October rose to 92.3, higher
than expectations for 86.5 and up from September.
Meanwhile, retail sales fell 0.4 percent overall
in September, the Commerce Department said.
But when a record 9.3 percent drop in gasoline
sales was stripped out,
they rose 0.6 percent on strong clothing and department store purchases.
"Happy days are here again," Patrick Fearon, senior economist at A.G.
Edwards and Sons in St. Louis, Missouri.
"Consumers' improved mood was largely tied to falling gasoline prices."
Analysts polled by Reuters were expecting a 0.2
percent rise in overall retail sales.
U.S. stocks weakened slightly on concerns the
underlying strength of the data would postpone
interest rate cuts many in the market had expected
thereby crimping company profits by keeping credit conditions tight.
U.S. Treasury debt prices slipped and yields rose, as traders read through
the sales report, and then they extended losses after the University of Michigan
The strength of Friday's figures was consistent
with earlier reports from the retail sector showing
growth in consumer spending after a difficult
when gasoline prices were hovering near record highs.
Average gasoline prices slid from a peak of $2.92
a gallon in mid-August to $2.38 a gallon in
late September, according to the Energy Department.
SpendingPulse, a retail data service of MasterCard
Advisors, an arm of MasterCard Worldwide, said
on Monday that Americans felt freer to splurge
with the help
of lower gasoline prices and a soaring stock market.
In dollar terms, it said September seasonally
adjusted sales, excluding autos, reached $287.7
billion, up 5.3 percent from a year ago.
This followed reports last week from U.S. department
stores and clothing retailers, who posted surprisingly
strong September sales.
Shoppers flocked to stores run by Limited Brands
Inc. <LTD.N>, J.C. Penney
Co. Inc. <JCP.N>, Target Corp. <TGT.N> and Nordstrom Inc. <JWN.N> in
a key transition month as retailers wrapped up back-to-school sales and prepared
for the vital holiday shopping season.
"If September's sales are any indication, shoppers appear confident heading
into the holiday season," the National Retail Federation said in a statement
after the retail sales report.
"As gas prices dipped last month, consumers had more disposable income to
spend on other items, especially back-to-school necessities like clothing and
The University of Michigan data also showed
inflation expectations for the next year
fell, though they were slightly higher for
the next five
A report from the Labor Department showed U.S.
import prices dropped by a more-than-expected
2.1 percent in September, the largest decline
3-1/2 years, due largely
to the big fall in petroleum prices.
It was the first fall in overall import prices
since March and was led by a 10.3 percent
fall in petroleum prices while the cost of
up 0.1 percent.