The Los Angeles Times reports that the Federal Reserve took “extraordinary steps” on Sunday to calm investors before the opening of the Asian financial markets. The Fed’s measures included opening a lending window to securities firms, slicing a key interest rate and backing with $30 billion in emergency funds the sale of Bear Stearns to J.P. Morgan.
U.S. stock markets fell sharply when trading opened Monday morning, with the Dow Jones industrial average down more than 170 points. The drop occurred despite emergency moves by the Federal Reserve to forestall a crisis following the emergency sale of investment bank Bear Stearns.
In what ABC News called “an extraordinarily rare weekend move,” Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke approved a cut in the Fed's emergency lending rate for financial institutions to 3.25 percent from 3.50 percent, effective immediately.
The dollar dipped to record lows against the euro, the Swiss franc and the yen on Monday following concerns about the state of the financial system after the sale of Bear Stearns. The dollar reached its weakest level since 1995 against the yen.
The Internal Revenue Service has announced its schedule for sending stimulus payment checks. The first round of direct deposit payments are due to be sent on May 2, with the last round of checks expected to go out in July.
Feeling pressure from the U.S., the United Arab Emirates plans to keep its currency pegged to the dollar. “The United States has always been the guarantor of UAE military security,” said Middle East analyst Anoushka Marashlian. “The UAE wouldn't do anything to compromise that relationship.”
Police told Atlantans to “stay out of the city” if possible following a tornado that destroyed the city’s downtown district. “You are coming into a zone that has a lot of safety issues,” Atlanta Police Department spokeswoman Judy Pal warned.
Millions of honeybees are on the loose after a truck carrying the insects flipped over on a highway in California. The California Highway Patrol estimates that 8 to 12 million bees escaped on Sunday from their storage crates and swarmed onto Highway 99, stinging officers, firefighters and truck drivers trying to clear the scene.
UN police were forced to leave the Serbian half of a Kosovo town after 100 people were hurt in an attack on a courthouse started by Serbs opposed to independence. More than 20 UN police and at least eight NATO peacekeepers were wounded.
Four FBI agents were hurt in Pakistan over the weekend when unknown attackers threw a bomb into a restaurant, wounding 12 people in total. It is not believed that the four agents were specifically targeted in the attack.
On Saturday Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party was banned by the country’s Constitutional Court after allegations of anti-secular activities. Olli Rehn, enlargement commissioner for the EU, condemned the ruling.
U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney made an announced with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki in Baghdad today. The two engaged in talks about replacing a UN mandate for foreign soldiers due to end at the end of the year. GOP presidential candidate John McCain met with Al-Maliki just prior to the vice president’s negotiation session.
David Paterson was sworn in as the 55th governor of the state of New York following Eliot Spitzer's resignation last week. Paterson is New York’s first black governor and the nation’s first legally blind chief state executive.
The District of Columbia’s longstanding ban on keeping handguns at home for self-defense—the nation’s strictest gun-control law—will face a challenge from the Supreme Court on Tuesday to determine whether the law violates the 2nd Amendment.