Stocks fell late in the day on Thursday, according to Investor’s Business Daily. “At 2:41 p.m. EDT, the Dow and NYSE composite slumped 1.1% each. The S&P 500 lost 0.9%. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq slipped back into negative territory, falling 0.2%.”
According to Bloomberg.com, “Citigroup Inc., the largest U.S. bank by assets, agreed to buy back or help clients unload $19.5 billion in auction-rate securities and pay a $100 million fine to settle U.S. regulatory claims it improperly saddled customers with untradeable bonds.”
July was a successful month for discount stores like Wal-Mart and Costco, as the country’s economic woes continue to help sales. “Weakness, though, has been pervasive in the department-store and apparel spaces as consumers with tightening wallets haven't been inspired by retailers' selections to make big purchases.”
AIG, the largest insurer in the world, announced a loss of more than $5 billion for the second quarter. This is the third straight quarter for which the company has reported a loss. “In the same period last year the company earned $4.28 billion, or $1.64 per share.”
“First-half pre-tax profits at Barclays fell by a third to £2.75bn, the bank revealed on Thursday, as it took impairment charges and credit provisions totalling £2.45bn, up from £959m,” according to the Financial Times.
According to Reuters, “Oil recovered from three-month lows to rise by more than $2 on Thursday as supply concerns returned to center stage in a market that has come under pressure from growing evidence of slower fuel demand.”
The Turkistan Islamic Party (TIP) has released the second video in three weeks threatening to commit terrorist attacks during the Beijing Olympics. The man in the video blames China’s repressive policies against Muslims. U.S. intelligence does not think the TIP is a major threat, however, unlike the East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM).
The Iraqi parliament was not able to reach an agreement on the provincial election law yesterday, with the Kurds expressing opposition to the power-sharing measure. The status of the scheduled October 1 elections are now in serious doubt.
President George W. Bush spoke in Bangkok on Thursday on his way to China for the Olympics, where he said he had “deep concerns” about China’s human rights record. Bush also said, “Ultimately, only China can decide what course it will follow. America and our partners are realistic, and we are prepared for any possibility. I am optimistic about China's future.”
Yesterday, the military ousted Mauritania’s first democratically elected leader, President Sidi Mohamed Ould Cheikh Abdallahi, in a quick and bloodless coup. That morning, Abdallahi had fired his head presidential guard, General Mohamed Ould Abdelaziz, who would later take control of the country. “The US, the European Union and Africa's powerhouses, Nigeria and South Africa, were quick to condemn” the coup.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has said he will free 150 Palestinian prisoners on August 25 in a goodwill gesture to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Last week, Olmert said he would vacate his position in September, and he is “expected to push hard for peace as his time in office comes to an end.”
According to The Wall Street Journal, “A former executive who says his boss pressured him to contribute to Republican Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign has filed an employment-bias complaint that offers a rare glimpse behind the curtain of big-money corporate fund raising.”
Negative campaigning appears to be on the rise in the presidential race, as Ill. Sen. Barack Obama released a new television advertisement yesterday casting doubt on Ariz. Sen. John McCain’s claims to be a “maverick.” Also on Wednesday, another McCain ad appeared calling Obama “the biggest celebrity in the world.”
Salim Ahmed Hamdan, the former driver of Osama bin Laden and the first al-Qaida suspect to face the Guantánamo Bay court who was convicted yesterday, was sentenced today to five and half years in prison. “No matter what penalty Hamdan had received, he is subject to possible indefinite detention by the US military,” according to The Guardian.
“A judge ordered Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick to jail Thursday for violating the terms of his bond in his perjury case by making a city business trip to Canada and not informing the court,” according to MSNBC.
Almost seven years after the United States invaded Afghanistan on Oct. 7, 2001, 500 U.S. soldiers have died in Afghanistan. The 500th soldier was killed on July 22, 2008. The New York Times traces the course of the war.
The FBI released evidence yesterday pertaining to the Bruce Ivins anthrax case in the form of hundreds of pages of documents, “in an effort to show that they could prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Bruce Edwards Ivins, the Army scientist who killed himself last week, was the sole person responsible for the deadly 2001 anthrax attacks.” Much of the evidence remains circumstantial, however.
“The road to a college education in America is paved with good grades and hard work. But it also takes money and knowing how to navigate a complex admissions route—two factors that have contributed to poor students’ underrepresentation on many campuses,” according to the Christian Science Monitor.
"Hoping to deflate misconceptions, mistakes and outright lies circulating about a discovery made by the team operating the Mars Phoenix science probe, NASA convened a panel of experts and managers on Tuesday to 'announce a non-announcement,' as the head of the agency's Mars exploration program, Michael Meyers, put it," according to Discovery News.
According to the Associated Press, "Egyptian scientists are carrying out DNA tests on two mummified fetuses found in the tomb of King Tutankhamun to determine whether they are the young pharaoh's children."
"The average time that hospital emergency rooms patients wait to see a doctor has grown from about 38 minutes to almost an hour over the past decade, according to new federal statistics released Wednesday," the Associated Press reports.
The New York Jets acquired Brett Favre yesterday by outbidding the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in what Newsday calls “one of the biggest trades in team history,” putting to an end the drama surrounding the former Packers quarterback.
"The U.S. Olympic Committee, for the first time ever, is requiring all of its 596 Olympians to attend this course prior to traveling to Beijing. The committee has dubbed it the 'ambassador program.' Some athletes have another name for it: the Bode Miller show."