Thursday morning, Standard and Poor’s is set to announce changes to its risk rating process, reports CNBC. S&P follows other rating agencies Moody’s and Fitch, who have had to downgrade the credit rating of thousands of companies since the credit crunch.
Airlines Delta and Northwest are nearing a merger deal, reports the Financial Times. The two airlines could reach a deal by mid-February, although people attending the negotiations warn that talks could stall or fall apart completely.
Cisco Systems CEO John Chambers announced a major slowdown in orders from the U.S. and the European markets late on Wednesday, spurring after-hours sell-offs by other major tech firms, such as Apple and Intel. European markets were down 0.8 percent as of 7 a.m. Thursday, feeding fears of a recession.
Kazakh officials warned foreign oil companies operating in the country’s massive Kashagan oil field that they need to abide by the law if they wish to contine operating there. Kazakhstan has become more suspicious of foreign oil companies since a recent resurgence in nationalism. Italian oil company Eni lost its hold on the Kashagan oil field last month after three months of negotiations.
Businesses in New York are now accepting—even preferring—euros over dollars. The flagging U.S. dollar beckons European tourists flush with a strong home currency. Says Billy Leroy, owner of Billy’s Antiques & Props in Manhattan’s NoHo neighborhood, "I'm happy if I take in 200 euros, because what I do is keep them. When I go back to Paris, I don't have to go through the nightmare of going to an exchange place."
EU nations approved a preliminary plan to send 1,800 officials to Serbia to form a new diplomatic mission in the breakaway province of Kosovo to replace the current U.N. diplomatic post. This nearly caused Serbia’s coalition to collapse. This move comes days after pro-Western Boris Tadic won the presidency.
The Turkish parliament convened for the first round of voting on a constitutional measure to lift the ban on the Islamic headscarf in public universities. The first two hours were stalled by the main opposition party, the Republican People’s Party, which argues that the legislation contravenes the country’s secularist principles. The majority coalition formed by the Justice and Development Party and the Nationalist Action Party say the measure is essential to guarantee education to all young women.
Fighting between governmental troops and rebels has died down in Chadian capital N’Djamena, although the violence may resume as a border battle between the country and its neighbor Sudan. Resentment over an outpouring of Darfur refugees has resulted in what former Clinton official and anti-genocide activist John Prendergast calls a four-year “undeclared proxy war.”
Benazir Bhutto’s tomb has been crowded with thousands of well-wishers looking to pay their last respects before the end of the traditional Islamic 40-day mourning period. The slain politician’s widower, Asif Ali Zardari is set to deliver a speech on Feb. 7 kicking off the start of the Pakistan People’s Party campaign.
Just before the Chinese Lunar New Year and as the country prepares for the 2008 Summer Olympics, China released Hong Kong journalist Ching Cheong from jail. He served less than half of a five-year sentence for spying charges, having been convicted of buying information on Chinese political, military and economic policy and selling it to Taiwan.
Maharishi Mahesh Yogi died at age 91 at his home in the Dutch town of Vlodrop on Tuesday. He is credited with bringing transcendental meditation, a Hindu practice of mind control, to the West by way of the Beatles.