"Stocks ramped higher midday Wednesday, thanks to better-than-expected economic data and lower oil prices," according to Investor's Business Daily. At 12:40 p.m. EDT, the Nasdaq jumped 1.3 percent, the S&P 500 increased 0.5 percent, the NYSE composite rose 0.1 percent, and the Dow climbed 0.3 percent.
Thanks to spiraling fuel prices, there are rumors that United Airlines parent UAL Corp. will remove another 70 jets from its fleet by the end of 2009, consequently diminishing the number of routes and laying off unionized employees.
“The US economy is likely to contract in the second quarter and remain sluggish all year before a gradual recovery in 2009, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development predicted Wednesday,” Agence France-Presse reports.
“European stocks dropped on speculation banks may need more capital as losses increase, while lower oil and metals prices weighed on commodity producers. U.S. index futures fell, while shares in Asia rose,” according to Bloomberg.com.
Fed chairman Ben Bernanke gave the dollar a shot in the arm by uncharacteristically commenting on the status of the U.S. currency. He indicated that “the Federal Reserve does not want the US currency to weaken any further because of the risks to inflation,” according to the Financial Times.
Police in Zimbabwe have detained opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, along with 14 fellow Movement for Democratic Change officials. George Sibotshiwe, who was accompanying Tsvangirai, said, "It's not an arrest but illegal detention. It appears they want to disrupt our campaign programme."
The only toilet on the Internatinal Space Station has been fixed, two weeks after it stopped working. The Space Shuttle Discovery "brought up a new pump for the toilet, as well as the space station's newest room, a $1 billion Japanese lab," the Associated Press reports.
Voice of America reports: “The U.S. military says it will withdraw its warships from the waters off Burma after the ruling military government refused to allow the ships to deliver relief supplies to the victims of last month's deadly cyclone.”
In response to criticism that the United States has failed to help Iraqis endangered by working with the American organizations, the government “has opened its first permanent office here for Iraqi refugees seeking to settle in the United States,” writes The Washington Post.
“South Korea's opposition parties agreed Wednesday to boycott the new legislature to pressure embattled President Lee Myung-bak to renegotiate a much-criticized beef import deal with the United States,” according to the Associated Press.
Agence France-Presse reports that “Indonesian police swooped on the headquarters of a radical Islamist group Wednesday and detained 59 alleged extremists over a violent attack on a peaceful rally for religious tolerance.”
Chinese officials have arrested parents grieving the death of their children in the earthquake. The parents have questioned China's role in keeping the buildings safe, and have opposed the "pittance" China has given them.
Last night Ill. Sen. Barack Obama won Montana and obtained the necessary number of delegates to claim the Democratic nomination. He has become “the first black candidate ever nominated by a major political party for the nation’s highest office.”
Cardinal Francis George has asked Rev. Michael Pfleger, who was a friend of Obama, to take a leave of absence for several weeks, sparking opposition from the Church and the community. At the end of May, Pfleger called N.Y. Sen. Hillary Clinton “a white elitist who felt entitled to the Democratic nomination for president,” the Chicago Tribune writes.
Those opposed to the teaching of evolution have adopted a new strategy. Instead of focusing on “intelligent design,” the Texas education board this summer will consider teaching the “strengths and weaknesses” of the theory of evolution.
A suit from five conservation groups against the government seeks to prohibit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from feeding the elk on the National Elk Refuge in Wyoming, because they claim the feeding will cause an outbreak of chronic wasting disease.
“Nearly 100,000 Massachusetts taxpayers have been fined for failing to obtain health insurance, even as a major survey concludes the effort to create near-universal coverage in the state is meeting key goals,” the Associated Press reports.
A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals that fewer teens now drink, smoke and have sex than adolescents in the early 1990s. But, "CDC officials say troubling racial and ethnic trends show Hispanics are at greater risk than blacks and whites for certain unsafe behaviors."
National Geographic writes, “A newfound extrasolar planet is the smallest yet discovered orbiting a star smaller than our sun, astronomers announced today. The find may increase the chances of finding life-supporting ‘exoplanets.'"
"IOC officials accused the U.S. Olympic Committee on Tuesday of refusing to renegotiate its 'immoral' share of global Olympic revenues, reopening a dispute that could harm Chicago's bid for the 2016 Games," CNN reports.
Joba Chamberlain appeared to struggle in his first start as a pitcher, in his transition from the relief to starting spot for the Yankees. “Gone was the Chamberlain that has been a sensation in New York since his callup last August, despite only pitching 47 2/3 innings: a flamethrowing phenom who punctuated his strikeouts with exuberant fist pumps and whose mere presence seemed sure to signal a Yankees victory,” Sports Illustrated writes.
“Mel Ferrer, the tall, darkly handsome star of such classic films as ‘Lili,’ ‘War and Peace’ and ‘The Sun Also Rises,’ as well as producer and director of movies starring his then-wife, Audrey Hepburn, died Monday at age 90,” CNN writes.
Northeastern University conducted a study where researchers secretely followed the cell phone habits of more than 100,000 people outside of the United States, raising "privacy and ethical questions for its monitoring methods, which would be illegal in the United States," according to the Associated Press.