Times Square Attempted Bomber Given Life Sentence; Japan Slashes Key Rate

BY Tom LeGro  October 5, 2010 at 10:14 AM EDT

Updated 12:30 p.m. ET | Faisal Shahzad, the Pakistani-born man who confessed to trying to blow up a car bomb in Times Square in May, was sentenced Tuesday to a mandatory life term in prison.

Shahzad, 31, defended his attempt to kill Americans and sparred with U.S. District Judge Miriam Goldman Cedarbaum, who said her sentence was very important “to protect the public from further crimes of this defendant and others who would seek to follow him,” The Associated Press reported.

The AP describes the videotape of the FBI-staged test blast in June that has become a key piece of evidence against Shahzad:

“An improvised car bomb — a 1993 Pathfinder fitted with 250 pounds of ammonium nitrate and diesel fuel, three 25-pound propane tanks and two five-gallon gasoline canisters — blew up with a force that ripped the sport utility vehicle in half.”

Here’s the FBI handout video in full:

Back in June, the New York Times’ Andrea Elliott charted Shahzad’s path to militancy, “from Pakistan to Times Square.”

Japan Slashes Key Interest Rate

In a surprise move Tuesday, Japan’s central bank cut its key interest rate to virtually zero and is looking to set up a $60 billion fund to buy government bonds and other assets as it tries to inject life into a faltering economy.

“As the U.S. economy also flirts with deflation, some economists have warned of a Japan-style deflationary trap that could delay an economic recovery for years….Indeed, the Japanese experience shows that deflation can creep up on an economy and can be difficult to shake,” writes the New York Times’ Hiroko Tabuchi.

The Wall Street Journal’s Allen Mattich:

“The Bank of Japan has always pulled its punches when aiming at beating deflation. It has been unconvincing in its commitment to generating inflation. But the move to buying private-sector assets might just be a baby step in that direction. This is a problem. Because the Bank of Japan is already monetizing government debt. And what a lot of debt there is.”

French Police Arrest 9 in Anti-Terrorism Raid

Police in France have arrested nine people and seized guns and ammunition in anti-terrorism raids in the south of the country, the BBC reports. Police have not said if there is a link between the latest arrests and the warnings to travelers about a plot to attack public targets in Europe.