The New York markets were bearish today in light of negative news from major financial firms such as JPMorgan and Wachovia. The Street writes, "The Dow Jones Industrial AverageS&P 500 lost 15.68 points, or 1.2%, to 1,289.63. The Nasdaq lately edged down 9.34 points, or 0.4%, at 2,430.61. Holdings on Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's credit ratings were cut by Standard & Poor's. Wachovia upped its second-quarter losses to $9.11 billion from $8.86 billion."
N.Y. Atty. Gen. Andrew Cuomo is pushing forward with investigations of Wall Street firms, contrary to what some financiers may have considered, reports CNBC's Charlie Gasparino. "State and federal regulators have been investigating whether brokerages and banks falsely told clients that auction-rate securities—a $330 billion market of long-term debt instruments that pay yields reset through weekly or monthly auctions—were as safe and liquid as cash."
The New York Times may need to cut its share dividend to avoid junk bond status, reports Bloomberg.com. “The cost to protect the debt against default has climbed 27 basis points since the newspaper publisher posted earnings July 23, meaning investors are betting that credit quality will weaken further.”
Jim Leach, a former Republican Congressman from Iowa, formally endorsed Democratic presidential candidate Ill. Sen. Barack Obama today. With regard to his crossing party lines, Leach said to the Associated Press, “Part of it is political parties are a distant analog to families and you really hate to step outside a family environment.”
An unofficial draft of the Democratic National Committee's platform for 2008 calls for "refundable $4,000 education tax credit in exchange for public service," as well as "double federal funds for basic science research, make the research-and-development tax credit permanent, and lift the ban on the use of federal money for research involving embryonic stem cells," writes The Chronicle of Higher Education.
The U.S. citizenship of thousands of lifelong Texas residents is in question after dozens of midwives were convicted in the early of 1990s of forging birth documents for children born in Mexico. This could prove to be a shock to the local economy. Starting next year, a passport will be required to enter Mexico, which many residents of southern Texas often visit for business and personal reasons. Now people are scouring government and church offices to prove their place of birth.
"A grand jury in rural Louisiana considers Tuesday whether to bring murder charges against a Taser-wielding police officer in what may become a seminal case in the hotly debated history of stun guns," reports the Christian Science Monitor.
High gas prices are prompting homemakers to streamline their schedules to get all out-of-house errands done in one day. "If you're a stay-at-home mother, you'd better have a darned good reason to go somewhere. You wonder, where can I stop by on my way home from another errand?" said Jen Singer, the creator of stay-at-home mother advice site MommaSaid.net.
The nongovernmental organization Center for Science in the Public Interest released a report calling for a nationwide standard on restaurant cleanliness, and for public access to each establishment’s grade.
Incumbent Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe and Arthur Mutambara, leader of opposition party Movement for Democratic Change, signed a power-sharing deal to form a unity government in Zimbabwe. Presidential candidate Morgan Tsvangirai was not included in the agreement.
Gem traders in Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, scoff at the embargo against jewels from the junta-ruled country signed by American President George W. Bush last month. Theta Mar, an employee at Mandalar Jewelry at the Myanmar Gems Museum, said, "Our buyers are almost all from China, Russia, the Gulf, Thailand, India and the European Union, and we can barely keep up with their demand."
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev called for halt to his country’s military incursion into Georgia, saying on state broadcasting that “the military had punished Georgia enough for its attack on South Ossetia.” This ends five days of land and air attacks in response to Georgia’s attack on the separatist province.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas rejected a peace proposal from Israel as it did not include a Palestinian state with Jerusalem named as its capital. Reuters reports, "Under the proposal, Israel would return to the Palestinians some 92.7 percent of the occupied West Bank, plus all of the Gaza Strip, according to Western and Palestinian officials briefed on the negotiations."
As many as 130,000 Filipinos have been displaced from their homes as a result of fighting between government forces and separatist group Moro Islamic Liberation Front, which seeks to establish an Islamic state in the Mindanao region.
Fredy Villanueva, an 18-year-old from the Montreal neighborhood of Repentigny, was shot during a scuffle with police on Saturday night, sparking a riot the following evening after a vigil in his honor became violent. Five people were arrested in connection with riot-related offenses. "Looters smashed windows of stores, set fires to bus shelters and lit bonfires. Delorme said there were 20 break-ins during the riot, mostly at commercial stores on Rolland. There were 39 incidents of mischief, and eight cars were damaged," writes the Montreal Gazette. One of those arrested is due in court today for the second day in a row.
The Bush administration is pushing to eliminate parts of the Endangered Species Act that would lower the number of independent scientists reviewing given cases. "The draft rules would bar federal agencies from assessing the emissions from projects that contribute to global warming and its effect on species and habitats," the AP reports. Amendment of the act does not require congressional approval.
A poll by Britain’s Association of Teachers and Lecturers showed that nearly half of the teachers interviewed reported that students were excluded or bullied as a result of not being able to afford name-brand clothing. “The poll found 85% of teachers believe possession of fashionable goods is important to their pupils, with 93% saying brands are the top influence on what children buy. … More than 70% of teachers saying it has increased from 10 years ago,” reports U.K. paper The Guardian.
A study authored by University of Michigan researcher MaryFran Sowers shows that as much as 51 percent of the overweight adults participating had generally normal blood pressure, cholesterol, trigylcerides and blood sugar levels.
Michael Phelps beat his own world record in the 200-meter freestyle swimming final, claiming his third 2008 Olympic gold. This is his ninth career Olympic gold, tying an Olympic record to join an elite group that includes fellow swimmer Mark Spitz.
Venus and Serena Williams each won their third-round matches during the Olympic women's singles tournament. In the women's doubles competition, Americans Lindsay Davenport and Liezel Huber won their first-round match in 6-2, 6-1 against Poland's Klaudia Jans and Alicja Rosolska. The United States' Mike and Bob Bryan won their first doubles game in the men's tournament, defeating Bahamians Mark Knowles and Devin Mullings in 6-2, 6-1.
Members of disabled-advocacy organizations including the Special Olympics and the American Association of People with Disabilities plan to boycott the Ben Stiller film "Tropic Thunder" because of its use of the word "retard." Timothy Shriver, the chair of the Special Olympics, said of the movie, "If you want to pick on people, as the old playground saying goes, pick on people your own size."