European Union regulators have fined Microsoft $1.35 billion for not complying with a 2004 antitrust order. "Microsoft was the first company in 50 years of EU competition policy that the commission has had to fine for failure to comply with an antitrust decision,'' European Competition Commissioner Neelie Kroes said in a statement today.
The dollar dropped to a record low against the euro following a downbeat report from U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. “The economic situation has become distinctly less favorable,” Bernanke said, prompting fears of more interest rate cuts. In the morning the euro was trading at $1.5105, before rebounding to $1.5043 during the afternoon session.
Orders for durable goods dropped by 5 percent over the month of January, according to a report released today by the Department of Commerce. This surpassed economists' estimates and was the largest decrease seen in five months.
New York’s stock exchanges gained ground during afternoon trading today. The Nasdaq edged up by 0.6 percent; the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the NYSE were both up 0.4 percent and the S&P 500 climbed 0.3 percent.
The United States Supreme Court will hear arguments in the $2.5 billion case Exxon Shipping Co. v. Baker. The case stems from the Exxon Valdez oil tanker spill in 1989, which poured 11 million gallons of oil into Alaska's Prince William Sound, the worst man-made environmental disaster in history.
The price of crude oil rose above $102 a barrel today, sending gold prices to a record-high $967.70 an ounce as commodities traders looked to alternative investments. By the afternoon, the price dropped to $961.40, still a consolidated gain of $12.30 from yesterday.
In response to the Clinton campaign's charges that the media unfairly praises Obama, New York Times opinion columnist Maureen Dowd writes, “Beating on the press is the lamest thing you can do. It is only because of the utter open-mindedness of the press that Hillary can lose 11 contests in a row and still be treated as a contender.”
Tony Blankley of The Washington Times writes, “The overall lesson to take away from the Democratic primary season so far is that big charges against Obama backfire on the accuser. Beware of Hillary's ill-fated decision to play Sonny Liston to Obama's Cassius Clay.”
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) and Tom Davis (R-Va.) said in a letter to Attorney General Michael Mukasey that baseball player Roger Clemens’ rejection of steroid use allegations merits further investigation.
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger announed that he would create a cabinet-level position to oversee the state's volunteers. “Because even though regular people do the majority of rescuing after almost every major disaster, they are the last people to be intelligently enrolled in the process," Time magazine writes.
Foreign Policy outlines the international legal process for declaring an independent nation: “With Kosovo unilaterally declaring independence and a host of wannabe states looking to follow its lead, you might be thinking it’s about time to set up your own country ... But what’s the next step? Creating a new country isn’t as easy as you think.”
Hussain Abdul-Hussain, writer for Middle Eastern newspaper The Daily Star, looks at the Arab interests at stake in a potential Obama presidency: “With Iraqis fearing a hasty Obama withdrawal, Palestinians still anxiously waiting to see what concessions a President Obama might compel Israel to offer them ... how can Obama's election be in the interest of the Arabs?”
Today, robotics expert Noel Sharkey will outline his research concerning the plans of several countries, including the United States, to robotize the military. The American military already has 4,000 semi-autonomous robots.