JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley agreed to buy back a combined $7 billion of auction-rate securities and pay fines of $25 million and $35 million, respectively, as part of a deal with federal regulators. UBS and Citigroup made similar deals last week.
Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili signed a truce Friday, but it is uncertain whether Russia will pull its troops out of the country. With Condoleezza Rice in attendance, Saakashvili made critical remarks about his allies: “Not only those people who perpetrate them are responsible, but also those people who failed to stop it.”
Former Maoist rebellion leader Prachanda was elected Prime Minister of Nepal Friday. His election marks the transition to democracy after the centuries-old Nepalese monarchy was officially ended in May.
The United States and Poland signed an antimissile defense agreement Thursday that will put an American interceptor base in Poland. Russia reacted angrily to the deal, saying that it “cannot go unpunished.”
Representatives from Zimbabwe’s political parties are meeting in South Africa to discuss a power-sharing agreement, hoping to have a deal in place before this weekend’s 14-nation Southern African Development Community summit.
Thailand’s Supreme Court denied a request by former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s lawyers to drop corruption charges against him and his wife. The case will proceed in absentia as Thailand begins an extradition process to force Shinawatra’s return from London.
Turkey and Iran and could not agree to an energy deal during Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s two-day visit, but Ahmadinejad remains hopeful that it will get done. Turkey has been criticized by the United States and other Western nations for negotiating with Ahmadinejad.
A school district in Texas will allow teachers and staff to bring concealed weapons to school. “When the federal government started making schools gun-free zones, that’s when all of these shootings started,” said Superintendent David Thweatt. “Why would you put it out there that a group of people can’t defend themselves? That’s like saying 'sic ’em’ to a dog.”
Michael Rodriguez, a member of the "Texas 7" escaped convicts that killed a police officer, was executed Thursday. Rodriguez had spent the previous two years asking to proceed with the execution because he thought it was “just” and he wished “to be accountable.”
ABC News reported that a plane carrying Sen. Obama was forced to make an emergency landing last month. The FAA and Midwest Airlines had downplayed the incident, but tapes obtained by ABC show that the pilot told an air traffic controller, “at this time we would like to declare an emergency and also have CFR (crash equipment) standing by in St. Louis.”
General Motors announced Thursday that its plug-in hybrid—the Chevrolet Volt—is near completion. It expects to have a prototype completed within the next 10 days and 50 prototypes by the end of the year.
A report in Friday’s Science journal states that there are more than 400 dead zones in the world’s oceans, twice as many as reported by the UN two years ago. “The phenomenon that drives life away from so many coastal habitats is called hypoxia—the lack of enough oxygen in bottom waters for fish and other valuable marine life to thrive,” explains the San Francisco Chronicle.
Michael Phelps won his sixth gold medal of the Beijing Olympics, finishing the 200-meter individual medley more than two seconds ahead of second-place Laszlo Cseh. For more Olympics news, see the findingDulcinea Olympic News Roundup.
A penguin at the Edinburgh Zoo received Norwegian knighthood Friday. The penguin, named Nils Olav, also serves as an honorary member of the King’s Guard since the guards chose him as a mascot in 1972. Sir Nils is actually the third Nils Olav; the previous two have died.