Money, A Boy, And Markets

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World finance protests, Elian Gonzalez, and the stock market shared the stage on CBS News' Face The Nation on Sunday.

On the protests, the streets of Washington, D.C. were relatively calm everywhere except in the area immediately around the International Monetary Fund, reported CBS News Correspondent Eric Engberg on Face The Nation.

Washington, D.C. Mayor Anthony Williams told CBS News Chief Washington Correspondent Bob Schieffer that the clashes between demonstrators and police have not been very serious so far - and attributes that to the police and federal agencies.

"They've tried to be very proactive but at the same time flexible in their response to balance the need of the protesters to have their protests...at the same time, respecting the rights of these officials - the IMF, World Bank - to conduct their meeting and go on about their affairs," Williams told Face The Nation.

"This city has hosted protests of hundreds of thousands of people in a peaceful way," added the mayor.

The protesters at the IMF and World Bank gatherings in the nation's capitol believe those two global financial organizations impose ill-suited economic policies on poor nations, forcing them deeper into misery.

And the activists contend that IMF and World Bank policies serve the interests of rich countries at the expense of the world's poorest people. The two lending agencies deny that, but economists and members of the U.S. Congress share similar criticisms.

On Elian Gonzalez, charges that the boy's father is abusive permeated this weekend in the custody dispute over the six-year-old Cuban child.

In an interview with CBS Evening News Anchor Dan Rather on 60 Minutes, the father - Juan Miguel Gonzalez - says of the allegations: "These are lies. This is an attempt to smear me."

"The boy himself has complained repeatedly about beatings by his father," Jose Garcia-Pedrosa, a lawyer for Elian's Miami relatives, told Face The Nation on Sunday.

And a friend of the father's, the Rev. Joan Brown Campbell of the National Council of Churches, told Face The Nation that she's seen no evidence of any abuse.

Rev. Campbell added one of Elian's grandmothers - who lives in Cuba - has "nothing but good things to say about Juan Miguel."

Sen. Robert Torricelli urged Elian's great-uncle in Miami, Lazaro Gonzalez, to accept a deal reached last week: a meeting between Juan Miguel and the Miami relatives under diplomatic auspices of the Vatican. The New Jersey Democrat told Face The Nation that once that deal was reached, then Lazaro backed away.

"If he (Lazaro) does not take it, then I think inevitably in the next few days, Elian is going to go back to Cuba with his father, something which I do not think is in the child's best interest."

Elian seemed reluctant to take a telephone call fro his father on Saturday and fidgeted during the conversation, but then blew kisses into the telephone at the end, The Miami Herald reported Sunday.

The boy's Florida relatives invited a Herald reporter into their home to observe Elian's reaction when his father called.

Finally, as the financial markets waited anxiously for Monday's opening bell on Wall Street, economist Ed Yardeni predicted last week's sell off will continue and that the market will continue to bottom out.

"Let's not forget the Nasdaq was trading at 2700 back in the fall of last year," Yardeni told Face The Nation on Sunday. "We got up to 5,000. We went up too far too fast and now we're paying the price for that."

Yardeni called last week's market drop a "tech wreck" because technology stocks dropped 50 percent, some more than that. He said the fact that many tech stocks burned up a lot of investor dollars without earning anything has prompted a loss in investor confidence.

But this does not signal that something is fundamentally wrong with the economy, Yardeni added.

"The economy is doing so well, some people are getting nervous that it might create inflation here. We've had what people have called this the 'Goldilocks economy' that's created lots of jobs [and] strong productivity."

Still, Yardeni added concerns about inflation exist and cautioned small investors not to do anything wild.

  • CBSNews.com staff CBSNews.com staff

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