The first day of trading during third-quarter 2008 got off to a "volatile and gloomy" start on the back of high oil prices and negative reports for the financial sector. A report from General Motors that showed lower-than-expected losses in sales helped buoy shares of the auto manufacturer 15 percent, up from its 54-year-low a day earlier, closing 2.2 percent ahead. "The benchmark S&P 500 closed 0.4 per cent higher at 1,284.93 points. The Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.3 per cent to 11,382.26 points while the Nasdaq Composite gained 0.5 per cent to 2,304.97 points," reports the Financial Times.
Prices for U.S. crude closed at $140.97, paring back 97 cents after prices eased from Monday's record-high $143.67. The International Energy Agency downgraded its prediction for international oil supply capacity in 2012 to 95.33 barrels per day, down 2.7 million barrels from forecasts a year ago. "The cut offset downward revisions to expected demand as high prices bite into fuel use in some consumer nations, such as the United States," reports CNBC. Concerns over a possible military standoff between Israel and OPEC member Iran played into prices.
Robert King Jr., the district judge of Dakota County in suburban St. Paul, Minn. ruled that Wal-Mart broke Minn. state labor laws more than two million times over a period of six years by denying employees breaks and forcing them to work off the clock. Each violation is liable to a $1,000 fine—for a total of $2 billion in penalties. The lawsuit stipulates that the retailer must pay at least $6 million in unpaid wages.
The Iraqi government filed a civil lawsuit yesterday in a U.S. federal court in Manhattan over alleged kickbacks to former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein in the U.N. oil-for-food program. Dozens of companies, including U.S. oil company Chevron, have been named as defendants in the $10 billion lawsuit, which seeks to claim damages for misappropriated funds that "were directly translatable into food, medicine and other humanitarian goods that were supposed to reach the Iraqi people."
Russian authorities refused to renew the work visas for foreigners working for TNK-BP, the joint venture between BP and the state of Russia. Some employees could be "temporarily relocated" by the end of the week. BP alleges that the Russian government is trying to take full control of the company.
A Paris court ordered online auction site eBay to pay $63 million in restitution to luxury brand Moet Louis Vuitton-Hennessey Monday for selling counterfeit goods bearing the Louis Vuitton logo. The decision comes weeks after a ruling that eBay pay Hermes $30,000 for selling fakes.
Some black Republicans are finding themselves in a dilemma as to whether to support GOP candidate John McCain or Democrat Barack Obama, the first black presidential nominee. Former Okla. GOP Congressman J.C. Watts said, "I wouldn't just vote for a Republican candidate just because they are Republican, no more than I would vote for a black candidate just because they're black." Other prominent black conservatives, including Gen. Colin Powell and talk show host Armstrong Williams, have mentioned that they are at least considering voting for Obama.
Both Obama and McCain have pledged "openess and transparency" in their dealings with Congress if elected. But, according to an unnamed former White House official, "If the president and the Congress are controlled by the same party, a lot of this stuff gets worked out behind the scenes."
A video taken with a surveillance camera at a psychiatric ward at Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn shows 49-year-old woman Esmin Green collapsing in distress, writhing on the floor and dying. Footage shows hospital staff looking at her and walking away.
A grand jury in Harris County, where Houston is located, acquitted local resident Joe Horn of murder, saying that his gunning down of two illegal immigrant burglars who were in his front yard "was a justifiable use of deadly force."
Edward Bachner, a resident of Chicago suburb Lake in the Hills, was charged Monday for possession of enough of the toxin found in pufferfish to kill nearly 100 people. Federal agents searching his home also found needles, syringes, and a book that outlined what doses of the toxin could be fatal to humans.
Forest fires have charred more than 400,000 acres and 30 homes in the Big Sur, Calif., area. Humid conditions and wind are helping fire-fighting efforts, but 1,200 homes are still threatened. "U.S. Forest Service officials announced that residents along a 20-mile stretch of coast south of the town of Big Sur would be evacuated by 5 p.m. today as a precautionary measure," reports the Los Angeles Times.
The California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice, a group established by the state senate in 2004, called the state's capital punishment system "dysfunctional" and said that it has fomented "disrespect for the rule of law and weakened any possible deterrent benefits of capital punishment."
The Nature Conservancy and the Trust for Public Land are protecting privately owned forests in northwest Montana, together nearly one-third the size of Rhode Island. The New York Times reports, "The groups will pay $510 million for about 500 square miles of forest now owned by Plum Creek Timber, a lumber and real estate firm based in Seattle."
A new UNICEF-funded program aims to issue birth certificates to all newborn babies in Afghanistan by the end of 2009. If successful, this would be the first time ever that all babies in the country have been accounted for at birth.
Turkish police arrested 24 people in connection with an alleged plot to stage a coup of that country's Islamist-leaning government. Among those charged are two retired military generals, the bureau chief in capital city Ankara of daily newspaper Cumhuriyet, and the head of Ankara's Chamber of Commerce.
African leaders convened in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh to discuss ways to negotiate with Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who was reinaugurated yesterday after winning an uncontested election. Castigating suggestions for a coalition government similar to that established in Kenya earlier this year, a Mugabe spokesman said, "We have our own history of evolving dialogue and resolving political impasses the Zimbabwean way. The Zimbabwean way, not the Kenyan way. Not at all."
Two separate outbreaks of "superbug" infections have broken out in Scotland. Nine patients staying at an NHS hospital in Glasgow died, with C. difficile bacterial infection cited as a "contributory factor." Five babies being treated for MRSA at a special care unit in Paisley. The two unrelated cases are prompting questions about the cleanliness of NHS facilities.
Floyd Landis's doping charges during the 2006 Tour de France were sustained by the Court of Arbitrations. In addition to forfeiting his title from the competition, Landis must also pay $100,000 in legal fees to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency.
Spain's national soccer team returned home on Monday to fanfare in celebration of their Euro 2008 win. An estimated 1 million people came out for the festivities in Madrid. Some 300,000 fans greeted runners-up Germany at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate.
The world record in the women's 100-meter backstroke was bested twice at the U.S. Olympic swim team trials Monday in Omaha, Neb. Hayley McGregory lowered Natalie Coughlin's mark of 59.21 seconds to 59.15 seconds. In the following heat, Coughlin reclaimed her title by covering the distance in 59.03 seconds.
The BBC will air a "lost" nine-minute interview between Beatles members Paul McCartney and John Lennon this week. The film sat 44 years in a garage in south London before a fan realized that the film captured the Beatlemania of 1964.