“Heath Ledger is dead at 28, and it’s sad but not shocking,” writes the Chicago Tribune’s Phil Rosenthal. He looks at how 24-hour news and Internet reporting seems “to speed up the lives of the rich and famous.” True or not, Rosenthal presents an articulate analysis in the next stage in the reporting of Ledger’s demise.
For the second day in a row, the U.S. stock market dropped sharply in the morning and rallied furiously in the afternoon. On Tuesday, stock prices fell about 4 percent before paring the loss to 1 percent. On Wednesday, stock prices fell 2.5 percent in the morning before rallying to finish up 2.5 percent on the day, as beaten-down financial stocks rallied off their recent lows.
Hedge fund billionaire George Soros asserted in an article on Tuesday evening that the world is currently in its worst economic crisis in 60 years. “The current crisis marks the end of an era of credit expansion based on the dollar as the international reserve currency,” wrote Soros in the Financial Times.
Apple reported strong fourth-quarter earnings, but slowing iPod sales, and a disappointing forecast caused Apple’s stock to fall 11 percent, to a level more than one-third lower than Apple's recent all-time high.
“The Fed Did Not Panic” declares the headline of The Daily Telegraph’s op-ed. Cutting interest rates was imperative, argues the Telegraph: “As Fed Governor Frederic Mishkin put it recently, we cannot chastise whole societies to keep the moralists content."
President Bush’s $100 billion stimulus package is meant to create jobs. Tax policy analyst Chris Edwards asks if job creation is that easy, why not do it all the time? “Bush and Paulson are in a sense saying that they have solved the problems of the business cycle,” writes Edwards, “which is ludicrous.”
Concern in Egypt is growing as Palestinians continue to cross the border from Gaza. Militants tore down parts of the barrier between the countries, allowing Palestinians to breach the Israeli barricade that is stopping supplies from reaching the Gaza Strip.
Pets have fallen foul of the sub-prime crisis, as foreclosures push homeowners onto a rental market where many apartments have a no-animals policy. The Chicago Tribune writes on the spike in the number of stray dogs and cats reported at many shelters.