The Federal Reserve cut interest rates by half a percentage point yesterday, the second cut in eight days. The Wall Street Journal reports that, after an initial rise, "the market tumbled late in the day."
French bank Societe Generale will keep Chief Executive Daniel Bouton, despite what the Financial Times calls "a chorus of criticism." The bank's decision comes after France's central bank governor issued a scathing critique of the SocGen's risk controls.
Altria Group, which owns Phillip Morris, announced plans to spin off its international tobacco business on March 28. According to CNN Money, the move will free the company to "pursue cigarette sales more aggressively outside the U.S. by separating it from its American counterpart."
"America is on the road to recession, and many predict a worldwide slowdown. But it's a new economic order, and the emerging markets could take the lead," writes Newsweek, looking at America's place in the global economy.
Cody Corliss of The Christian Science Monitor comments on the increasing politicization of state Supreme Court elections. According to Corliss, these campaigns have become more politically charged in recent years, with interest groups contributing growing sums of money.
Major League Baseball's umpires' union has spoken out against the league's new background check policy. World Umpires Association spokesman Lamell McMorris told ESPN that MLB's "security staff is essentially defaming umpires in their communities by conducting, strange, surreptitious and poorly-executed investigations resembling that of secret police in some despotic nation."
Earl Ward, the lawyer of former Roger Clemens trainer Brian McNamee, told reporters that he thinks Yankee pitcher Andy Pettitte will tell Congress that he discussed human growth hormone with Clemens between the 2001 and 2002 seasons. Clemens has thus far denied McNamee's allegations of steroid use.
The Australian government announced it will issue a formal apology to the Aboriginal people when parliament reconvenes next month. The apology is aimed at the thousands of Aboriginal children who were forcibly taken from their parents and raised in institutions or white familes between 1915 and 1969.
U.S. envoy to Africa Jendayi Frazer said yesterday that the violence in Kenya's Rift Valley was "clear ethnic cleansing." However, Frazer "rejected labelling the crisis as genocide, although the fighting has seen the the Kikuyu targeted by the Luo and other tribes," reports British newspaper The Guardian.
An official inquiry into Israel's failed 2006 war in Lebanon found serious flaws in both the political and military leadership. Nonetheless, embattled Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, who oversaw Israel's raids into Lebanon, is likely to surivive the report.
A rare winter storm hit the Middle East yesterday, covering parts of Jerusalem in up to eight inches of snow. The Associated Press reports that although it snows once or twice a year in the Holy Land, it is rarely cold enough for the snow to settle.
New York Times writer Mark Bittman examines the energy costs and environmental impact of the global market for meat. Equating meat to another commodity—oil—Bittman writes that if "Americans were to reduce meat consumption by just 20 percent it would be as if we all switched from a standard sedan—a Camry, say—to the ultra-efficient Prius."