Breakfast Buffet, Monday, March 30

Newsweek's daily serving of news and views around the world.

Nice Knowing You: The Obama Administration has forced the ouster of Rick Wagoner, chairman and CEO of General Motors. The ailing automakers had already run through $17.4 billion in federal aid, and GM said it needed $16.6 billion more to survive. Chrysler is liable to win another $6 billion in government money if the company can finalize a proposed alliance with Italian automaker Fiat within 30 days. Stock markets worldwide tumbled under fears that Detroit might go bust.

Help Me Help You: President Obama grants an interview to the Financial Times, in which he spotlights one side effect of the crisis: "Now [reading the FT is] trendy and everybody carries around a Financial Times." More substantively, he urges bankers to show self-restraint in crafting compensation packages -- "That will put me in a stronger position to help them" -- and denies the onset of a new era of protectionism, despite the "Buy American" clause. "I think in a democracy there are always going to be some loose ends out there [but] I think we are going to be able to hold the line on any significant slippage."

Dubai Battles Corruption, In Its Own Way: The indebted emirate is trying to clean house, and authorities are cracking down on the shady executives of the boom years. But some suspects have been held for months without charged, and some allege they've been victims of torture. The government, furiously trying to keep the collapsing bubble intact, may pass a law banning any negative press that "could harm the national economy."

America the Tarnished: Paul Krugman, target of this week's cover profile, says what we all already know, but says it in such an engaging way that we just have to link to it: "These days America is looking like the Bernie Madoff of economies: for many years it was held in respect, even awe, but it turns out to have been a fraud all along."

A Second Opinion on the World Economy: A top executive at General Electric says that the world economy is starting to show signs of a turnaround. "The first glimmers of hope are there," says Nani Beccalli, chief executive of GE International. "This is the inversion of trends, which for a long period have been going down. The glimmers weren't there two months ago." In particular, Beccalli looks favorably on the recent rise of a shipping index, which many view as a proxy for global trade.

One Nation, One Vote: Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner wants an extra $500 billion for the International Monetary Fund, and reform of the international institution is on the agenda at this week's G20 summit. But China and other developing nations want a bigger say in the Fund's management -- which has traditionally been dominated by the U.S. and Europe -- if they're going to chip in.