The Dow Jones industrial average fell below the 9,000 mark for the first time since 2003. Earlier on Thursday, the market opened ahead 100 points, but dropped 521 points, or 5.6 percent, before closing time.
A Wall Street Journal forecasting survey has found that economists expect the U.S. economy to worsen, and that government action is needed to alleviate its effects. "We're in the middle of a very dark tunnel," Brian Fabbri of BNP Paribas said to the Journal. "Each day we see another crack in the system."
The U.S. government is considering taking ownership stakes in failed banks in order to address the global credit crisis. The passing of the $700 billion bail out package has made the move a possibility, according to an anonymous Bush administration official.
In the trial of former child actor Skylar Deleon, who is accused of murdering a couple on a yacht in Arizona, witnesses testified on Wednesday that he bought Tasers and handcuffs in the days before the killings.
Iraqi tribes are beginning to reconcile as violence wanes in the country. Tribal elders are using traditional processes, including face-to-face talks, mediators and the exchange of blood money, to heal the rifts caused by sectarian fighting between Shiites and Sunnis.
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates is expected to outline a new strategy for the war in Afghanistan that entails increased economic aid and a campaign to target drug lords. Gates will speak at a gathering of defense ministers from NATO nations on Thursday afternoon.
Federal officials will start Thursday to seek input on a pressing question for Internet security: "who should create and vouch for the internet's crucial document—the root zone file—that serves as the cornerstone of the system that lets users get to Web sites and e-mails find their way to inboxes," reported Wired magazine.