On the back of flimsy housing sales, stocks in the financial sector had the most bearish daily showing in eight years. Goldman Sachs, Citigroup and Bank of America "posted their biggest decline ever as a report showed sales of previously owned homes fell to the lowest level in a decade," Bloomberg reports. The S&P 500 dropped 29.65 points to 1,252.54; the Nasdaq skidded 2 percent to 2,280.11 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 283.1 points to 11,349.28.
“The House yesterday easily approved legislation that seeks to slow the steepest slide in house prices in a generation, rescue hundreds of thousands of homeowners at risk of foreclosure and reassure global markets that mortgage-finance giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will not be allowed to fail,” according to The Washington Post.
Ford Motor Co., the third largest automaker in the world, reported that it lost $8.7 billion in the second quarter in comparison to the $750 million profit the company reported a year ago. Ford said it “will convert three truck factories to produce small cars as rising gasoline prices sap U.S. truck sales.”
Iraq has been banned from participating in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing because of “political interference” in the country. In particular, the IOC is responding to the country’s disbanding of its national Olympic committee.
Despite disagreement from some members of Congress who say such a move would not be beneficial, “The Bush administration plans to shift nearly $230 million in aid to Pakistan from counterterrorism programs to upgrading that country’s aging F-16 attack planes, which Pakistan prizes more for their contribution to its military rivalry with India than for fighting insurgents along its Afghan border,” The New York Times reports.
Formula One racing head Max Mosley won his case and £60,000 from the tabloid newspaper The News of The World after the paper “had falsely accused him of taking part in a ‘sick Nazi orgy,’” The Guardian writes.
Former Bosnian Serb leader Radovan Karadzic, arrested in Serbia on Monday, has indicated that he will defend himself at his trial for war crimes. However, the Hague's United Nations war crimes tribunal said it will attempt to prevent that from happening.
“Olympic organizers will allow a modicum of dissent at the Beijing games, setting up special protest zones in a shift supporters and detractors said today is meant to safely channel pent-up criticisms of China and avoid disrupting the games,” the Los Angeles Times reports.
Scientific American writes, the “United Nations secretary-general Ban Ki-moon—backed by the African Union, the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the Gates Foundation, ExxonMobil, the World Bank, and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, among other key international organizations and businesses—set a timetable for comprehensive malaria control in Africa by the end of 2010.”
The House of Representatives handily passed a far-reaching housing bill yesterday. Although President Bush said he would approve the bill, few House Republicans supported it, perhaps signaling an “emerging split” in the Party between the outgoing president and lawmakers looking for re-election.
Presidential polls are close, with 47 percent of voters expressing their support for Obama and 41 percent saying they would vote for McCain. However, at this point, the campaign is looking less like a presidential race and more like a “referendum” for Barack Obama and comfort in his “background and experience level,” according to The Wall Street Journal.
During Barack Obama’s highly publicized trip to the Middle East, he appeared “hawkish” on his policy toward Hamas and said he would take an “aggressive” stance toward Iran. He spent only about 90 minutes in Palestinian territory.
“Republican John McCain pushed back on Wednesday against Democratic criticism that he misstated when the troop buildup ordered by President Bush began, saying elements were put in place before Bush announced the strategy in early 2007,” reports the Associated Press.
Architectural firms revealed three potential designs for a skyscraper to sit atop the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan today. “The 40-story, 1.3-million-square-foot office tower is to be developed by a joint venture of Vornado Realty Trust and the Lawrence Ruben Company, which is leasing the air rights over the terminal for 99 years,” according to the New York Times City Room Blog.
Hurricane Dolly made landfall in Texas and weakened on Wednesday “after its outer bands of driving rain and wind gusts up to 120 mph had already torn roofs from homes, flooded streets and sent residents near the coastal border of Texas and Mexico scrambling for safety.”
At Manhattan's TheTimesCenter building, Bill Gates and Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced they will donate $500 million to combat smoking. The campaign “will urge governments to sharply raise tobacco taxes, prohibit smoking in public places, outlaw advertising to children and cigarette giveaways, start antismoking advertising campaigns and offer people nicotine patches or other help quitting.”
According to the Associated Press, “The director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute and UPMC Cancer Centers plans to warn about 3,000 faculty and staff about the possible health risks associated with cell phone use.”
“Merck & Co’s Gardasil vaccine is safe and effective for protecting women and girls from a virus that causes cervical cancer, US officials said yesterday after reviewing thousands of reports of health problems,” the Boston Globe reports.
Following Batman actor Christian Bale’s arrest yesterday for alleged assault, “Sources close to the actor said he ‘flew off the handle’ at London's Dorchester hotel after Jenny Bale said ‘some outrageous things,’” according to Britain’s The Daily Mail.
Wednesday night, Roger Federer lost his first match since falling to Spain’s Rafael Nadal in the Wimbledon finals. The 22nd ranked player in the world, Giles Simon, defeated Federer 2-6, 7-5, 6-4 in the Rogers Cup.