BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Monday, 10 December 2007, 14:09 GMT
Phone confusion after Bush error
President Bush, flanked by Alphonse Jackson ( left) and Henry Paulson (right)
And the number is... Bush announces the mortgage aid plan
US homeowners searching for help with their mortgages struggled to get through on a telephone number that President Bush gave them on Thursday.

"I have a message for every homeowner worried about rising mortgage payments: the best you can do for your family is to call 1-800-995-HOPE," he said.

But those who went in search of hope got a busy signal - the president had given them the wrong number.

The number Bush gave was for the Freedom Christian Academy in Texas.

The school phone rang non-stop when Bush gave out the number.

"I've tried my best to give the correct number to these people when they called," the academy's Ms Karen Pulaski told the Dallas Morning News, having spoken to more than 50 people in an hour.

"But it got a little overwhelming because I couldn't do anything except answer these calls."

Ms Pulaski later disconnected the phone.

The correct number, White House aides later told reporters, was 1-888-995-HOPE.

Help at hand

For those that did get the right number, the help on offer could ease the pain of rising rates.

As part of the plan announced last week, rates will be frozen for hundreds of thousands of American homeowners for the next five years.

Banks' willingness to lend money to people with poor credit histories is behind the current credit crisis in the US.

The crisis has not only hit US homeowners but has also had a knock-on effect on the global financial sector.

However, some aid groups have attacked Mr Bush's plans, saying that not enough people will be helped by the voluntary agreement between banks and bondholders.

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific