According to Federal Reserve figures released today, American household wealth is on the decline for the first time in five years. "Data showed total household wealth fell $533bn to $57,718bn in the fourth quarter," reports the Financial Times.
Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas President Richard Fisher told investors that they shouldn't expect the Fed to cut interest rates: "I would discourage you from thinking that simply because of a significant action in the credit markets, like we had yesterday, that suddenly ... we're going to move Fed funds rates in response. It doesn't work that way."
Daniel Gross, business columnist for Newsweek, asserts that stagflation has arrived: “If your entire business model consists of borrowing huge sums of floating-rate or short-term debt and using it to buy other assets or debt instruments that tend to decline in value when inflation rises and growth stalls, then it's a killer. Unfortunately, that's exactly what the financial-services sector and the American homeowner have been doing for the last several years.”
The Labor Department announced that the country’s economic problems have resulted in 63,000 fewer net jobs in February than in January, making it the second straight month of job losses and worst monthly performance since 2003. The worst job losses were in construction and manufacturing.
The parents of Hannah Polling, a child who developed autism after receiving a series of vaccinations as a toddler, have announced that federal health officials agree that it was the vaccinations that eventually led to her autism.
A new study by Cytos Biotechnology of Switzerland has found that a vaccine could be used to control blood pressure. Martin Bachmann, vaccine inventor, stated, "Our vaccine would only have to be taken maybe twice or three times a year, not every day."
Law officials have stated there is no connection between the letters some members of the U.S. Congress received on Thursday containing the words “We did it” and the Times Square bombing. "It was just an incredibly unbelievable coincidence," a law enforcement official told Newsday on condition of anonymity.
The number of sex abuse claims against Roman Catholic priests dropped for three consecutive years, but payouts to victims have nearly doubled, reaching their highest level ever. Settlements increased over 90 percent from 2006 to 2007 to more than $526 million.
The sub-prime crisis could turn today’s “McMansions” into tomorrow’s tenements, according to a story in The Atlantic. Waves of foreclosures mean homeowners are abandoning expensive new homes, leaving them empty or in the hands of “dubious renters.”
The day after a Palestinian gunman killed eight people, most of them teenagers, at Mercaz Harav Yeshiva in Jerusalem, thousands gathered to mourn their deaths. Head of the yeshiva Rabbi Yaakov Shapira told the crowd, "We are all in need of mercy, the entire country ... Pray for all of us and give good counsel to the families, to the anguished friends."
Colombian guerrillas FARC bombed Venezuela's Transandino oil pipeline, and President Hugo Chavez said he "may seize assets of the neighboring country's companies after a Colombian raid into Ecuador killed a rebel leader," Bloomberg reports.
Saturday is International Women’s Day. Several hundred prominent female leaders from 45 countries have gathered in India this week to “seek ways to raise women's voices worldwide, hoping that their ideas—so often ignored—begin to move the world away from war,” reports The Christian Science Monitor.
A new study reveals that “the long-term trend in sea levels since the Cretaceous has been downward,” meaning sea levels are expected to plunge long-term, despite the effects of global warming-induced ice cap melting," reports National Geographic.