The Fed decided today to hold interests rates steady, causing the stock market to rally. By 2:51 p.m. EDT, the Nasdaq had jumped 1.6 percent, the Dow increased 0.6 percent, and the NYSE and S&P 500 each rose 1.2 percent.
On Thursday, Chrysler, the third-largest automaker in the United States, will announce that all 2009 models could have access to wireless Internet. Chrysler hopes the move will help turn around a very poor year for the company. “Coincidentally, Wi-Fi on wheels is being unveiled just days before new hands-free legislation goes into effect July 1 in California and Washington state,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
“Barclays today unveiled a plan to raise £4.5bn from sovereign wealth funds and existing investors in an attempt to shore up its balance sheet, with the Gulf state of Qatar pumping more than £2bn into the bank,” The Guardian writes.
The state of Illinois will sue Countrywide, the largest mortgage lender in the United States, for “‘unfair and deceptive’ practices to get homeowners to apply for risky mortgages far beyond their means,” according to the Chicago Tribune.
"Saudi authorities Wednesday announced a massive anti-terror sweep that netted more than 500 members of a purported al Qaeda-linked terrorist cell allegedly planning attacks on Saudi targets, including major oil installations," CNN reports.
"Queen Elizabeth II has stripped Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe's strongman president for nearly 30 years, of his honorary knighthood as a 'mark of revulsion' at the human rights abuses and 'abject disregard' for democracy over which he has presided," according to the International Herald Tribune.
An emergency meeting will take place today in Swaziland of the four-nation Southern African Development Community (SADC) “to mount regional pressure on Mugabe to call off Friday's presidential election,” writes The Guardian. But President Mbeki of South Africa said he will not attend, a large blow to the effort.
“Insurgent activity is increasing sharply in Afghanistan and has spread into once stable areas, with attacks up almost 40% in the eastern provinces alone, according to new American military data that have prompted alarm among senior Pentagon officials,” writes the Los Angeles Times.
Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert saved his coalition government last night by forging a last-minute deal. “The Labour Party, Mr Olmert’s main coalition partner, agreed not to support a right-wing sponsored bill to disband the Knesset, the Israeli Parliament, which was due to come to a vote today. That vote has been deterred indefinitely, preventing the country from going to national elections this autumn,” the Times of London writes.
Britain began to allow the use of anonymous witnesses in criminal cases, but, following a court ruling, new laws may soon be instated regarding this practice. The practice is not allowed in the United States.
A Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll gives Ill. Sen. Barack Obama a 49 percent to 37 percent lead over Ariz. Sen. John McCain for the presidency. The economy was a major factor for respondents in the poll, which included independent candidate Ralph Nader and Libertarian Bob Barr.
“Justice Department officials politicized the hiring of entry-level lawyers and interns by declining some applicants perceived to be Democrats or liberals, according to the first report from an internal probe.” Alberto Gonzales lost his job as attorney general last year for similar accusations.
In a 5-4 decision the Supreme Court ruled today that it was unconstitutional to give the death penalty for child rape. The Court said that, in such cases, the death penalty constituted cruel and unusual punishment.
The Supreme Court ruled 5-3 that the $2.5 billion punitive damages award stemming from the 1989 Exxon Valdez spill was excessive. "The court found that Alaskan businesses should have won no more than $507.5 million in such damages for their economic losses," according to USA Today.
A Massachussetts jury found Neil Entwistle guilty on all accounts today. He was accused of "shooting his wife and baby girl to death as they lay in their bed," according to the Boston Herald. Entwistle's parents believed that his wife Rachel killed the baby and then committed suicide because of depression.
"President Bush extended a law that could give some of the thousands of interpreters working for the American military refuge in the US under a special visa program," The Christian Science Monitor reports.
The New York Times writes that, “Congress is poised to approve a huge package of housing legislation, including a refinancing program aimed at rescuing hundreds of thousands of homeowners in danger of foreclosure and the most sweeping government overhaul of mortgage financing since the New Deal."
The Presidential Memorial Commission of San Francisco is trying to rename the Oceanside Water Pollution Control Plant the George W. Bush Sewage Plant when the new president is sworn in January. The plan, hatched by friends in a bar one night, is gaining support.
"An angry employee opened fire at a western Kentucky plastics plant after an argument early Wednesday, fatally shooting a supervisor and four others before committing suicide, police and a company official said.,” the Associated Press reports.
The AFP writes, “Florida has reached a tentative 1.75-billion-dollar deal to buy the largest US sugar producer and turn its vast swaths of farmland into reservoirs to protect the fabled Everglades wetlands, US media reported Wednesday.”
The Associated Press reports: "Wireless systems used by many hospitals to keep track of medical equipment can cause potentially deadly breakdowns in lifesaving devices such as breathing and dialysis machines, researchers reported Tuesday in a study that warned hospitals to conduct safety tests."
Researchers at Group Health in Seattle, found that patients with high blood pressure who were given access to a pharmacist and a Web-based self-monitoring system were able to control their hypertension better than patients who underwent traditional physician care.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Ariz., said he wants Phoenix Suns center Shaquille O’Neal’s special deputy badge back after a rap video was released by TMZ yesterday of Shaq ridiculing Lakers star and former teammate Kobe Bryant. The sheriff is opposed to Shaq’s “use of a racially derogatory word and other foul language,” according to the Associated Press.
“An Italian businessman once romantically linked to actor Anne Hathaway was arrested yesterday on charges that he ran a fraudulent real estate investment scheme, duping investors by boasting his Vatican connections could get U.S. real estate at bargain prices,” writes the Toronto Star.