“Brazil's oil market regulator may have jumped the gun by providing a huge new oil reserve estimate with little data to back it up, but analysts have little doubt about the country's oil potential measured in billions of barrels,” reports Reuters.
The tax bill that passed Congress with heavy bipartisan support two weeks ago affords major tax breaks for businesses in addition to protecting homeowners from foreclosure. The New York Times writes, “The nation’s biggest home builders ... won a provision that would let them claim millions in tax refunds by charging their current losses against the huge profits they made three or four years ago.”
Under new measures announced today by the Department of Transportation, airlines will have to double the compensation paid to passengers who are bumped from their scheduled flights. The new rules are set to take effect next month.
Yahoo is trying search advertisements from main competitor Google. Rumor in the tech world has it that Yahoo is considering taking over AOL in exchange for a heavy payout from Time Warner, and that Microsoft may partner with Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp in a bid for Yahoo.
The same week as Delta and Northwest Airlines announced their merger, Continental Airlines said it is considering its own merger, most likely with United. Analysts say the move would be so that the Houston-based carrier could compete with Delta/Northwest.
An excessively chatty crowd at the Philadelphia County Democratic Party’s Jefferson-Jackson dinner only allowed New York Senator Hillary Clinton to talk for five minutes. A Clinton aide told her to give a brief speech, given the format of the event, which had guests “milling around” rather than at a sit-down dinner.
Ariz. Sen. John McCain fielded questions from students at Pennsylvania’s Villanova University last night on a stop on MSNBC’s “Hardball College Tour.” In reference to Clinton’s stop at an Indiana bar, asking McCain if he would like to take a shot. “Whatever makes Senator Clinton happy is ... is certainly, uh, certainly,” he responded, laughing.
Clinton and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama are set to debate for the first time in six weeks tonight in Philadelphia. Clinton is ahead in polls prior to Pennsylvania’s state primary on April 22, though projections show it is unlikely she will surpass Obama in pledged delegates.
Al Franken, comedian and Minnesota Democratic contender for U.S. Senate, will only be successful in unseating GOP incumbent Norm Coleman if he can “keep a (mostly) straight face between now and November,” writes Atlantic Monthly’s Joshua Green.
Women from the polygamist community at the Yearn for Zion ranch in Eldorado, Texas are questioning whether or not “Sarah,” the 16-year-old girl whose call to Texas state authorities sparked a raid on the compound, actually exists. Says Annette, one woman from the ranch whose children are in state custody, “It’s all a farce.”
A cougar shot and killed on Chicago’s North Side yesterday may have wandered 1,000 miles from the Black Hills in South Dakota. Veterinarians at the Cook County Animal Control and Rabies facility in suburban Bridgeview confirmed that the cougar was wild and not an escaped pet.
Recently declassified documents reveal heavy bureaucracy within terrorist network Al-Qaeda’s ranks. Two pages mixed Islamic terms with itemized budgets, chastising one member for excessive spending. "I obtained 75,000 rupees for you and your family's trip to Egypt. I learned that you did not submit the voucher to the accountant… Also with respect to the air-conditioning unit…furniture used by brothers in Al-Qaeda is not considered private property."
Italian artist Giuseppina Pasqualino di Marineo, known in the art world as Pippa Bacca, was kidnapped, raped and murdered while hitchhiking through Turkey while on a peace-mission tour of the Middle East. The suspect, Murat Karatas, was caught after he put his SIM card into Bacca’s cell phone. National paper Hurriyet ran the headline, “We are ashamed.”
The UN World Food Program announced today that North Korea is facing a severe food crisis following severe flooding last year over much of the country’s agricultural lands. "It is increasingly likely that external assistance will be urgently required to avert a serious tragedy,” said Tony Banbury, the WFP’s Asia regional director.
Some 50 supporters of main Zimbabwean opposition party Movement for Democratic Change have been arrested for “trying to incite violence” after calling workers to strike. Reporters from the country say that the strike, called in protest of delayed election results, was hardly effective in light of Zimbabwe’s 80 percent unemployment rate.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown accused Robert Mugabe of trying to steal the Zimbabwean election three weeks ago in a statement made today to the U.N. Security Council. The U.K. leader said that nobody believes that Mugabe won the vote, although official ballot results have not yet been released.
Yesterday the United Arab Emirates demanded that Iran relinquish control of the Greater and Lesser Tunb Islands in the Persian Gulf. Ahmed bin Shabib, first deputy speaker of the UAE’s Federal National Council, said “Iran is still committing violations and acts that are not conducive to building confidence in response to initiatives aimed at settling the issue as per principles of the international law or referral to the International Court of Justice.”
International organizations are pressuring the European Union to abandon regulations requiring use of biofuels. Stefan Tangermann, director of the Trade and Agricultural Directorate for the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development, "We must come to the conclusion that maybe it is time to revisit our commitment to biofuels."
Nico Marquardt, a 13-year-old German student, corrected NASA’s calculations on the likelihood of a killer asteroid making contact with Earth. Using data provided by the Institute of Astrophysics in Potsdam, he calculated there is a 1 in 450 chance of the asteroid colliding with the planet, rather than 1 in 45,000, as NASA predicts.