Following a strong opening, U.S. markets took a tumble Tuesday on the back of dropping commodities prices, whose then sagging stocks weighed down on trading for other sectors' stocks. The S&P 500 dropped 0.16 percent, closing at 1,280.75 and the Nasdaq fell 0.50 percent to 2,355.73. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which is not as broad of a market indicator, closed at 0.26 percent higher, up 30.12 points to close out at 11,573.67 after gaining 246 points earlier in the day.
Oil fell below $110 per barrel today for the first time since April, spurred in part by Hurricane Gustav’s sparing of oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico, as well as the strengthening U.S. dollar. London Brent closed at $108.34 per barrel. U.S. crude closed Tuesday at $109.71 after going as low as $105.46.
Google released its free open-source browser Chrome for download by Windows users this afternoon. Chrome's distinguishing characteristic from other Windows-accessible browsers Firefox and Internet Explorer is that Chrome runs each tab as a single process, so users only have to reboot one tab instead of restarting the browser when a page crashes.
Amid criticism of his running mate Sarah Palin’s background, GOP presidential candidate Ariz. Sen. John McCain defended his campaign’s vetting process. He pointed out that Palina was among six finalists for the spot, all of whom had to fill out a 70-question survey on topics including maritial fidelity and any use of pornography, prostitution or drugs.
Reports that GOP vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin was a member of a party that advocated Alaskan independence, that her 17-year-old daughter Bristol is pregnant and that her husband was arrested on drunk driving charges 22 years ago have called the Republican Party’s vetting process into question.
New Orleans residents will be allowed to return to their homes Thursday morning at the earliest after mandatory evacuation in advance of Hurricane Gustav, a spokeswoman for Mayor Ray Nagin told the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Some 77,000 customers of electricity company Entergy are without power.
The Minnesota National Guard and members of the St. Paul police force arrested 284 people yesterday following outbreaks of violent protests against the Republican National Convention, being held in Minnesota’s capital city. Windows were broken at a downtown bank building and at a Macy’s store. Some 130 of those arrested may be facing felony charges. An estimated 10,000 people were protesting in the largely peaceful demonstration.
Attorneys for former U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales have admitted that their client may have mishandled sensitive compartmentalized information about a counterterror program, perhaps even taking documents home at some point. The legal team points out that “there’s no evidence security was ever breached,” according to the Associated Press.
Swaziland's King Mswati III, the last remaining absolute monarch in sub-Saharan Africa, held the traditional Reed Dance of bare-breasted virgin women yesterday to select his 14th wife. The king faces criticism for what some see as an opulent lifestyle despite two-thirds of Swaziland’s population being in poverty, and for advocating polygamy and teenage sex. According to Reuters, about 40 percent of the country’s population has AIDS.
Thai Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej declared a state of emergency in the nation's capital Bangkok following violent protests that have left one person dead. The Thai army has vowed not to use force against the protesters, led by the People's Alliance for Democracy, a group that seeks the ouster of Samak and his People Power Party, on the grounds they allegedly bought votes during elections last December. According to the BBC, the violence is the worst Thailand has seen in 16 years.
Some 500,000 people are still stranded following floods last week in northern India's impoverished Bihar province. Food and potable water are running out in camps housing thousands of displaced farmers. The flood began when the Kosi River became overswollen with monsoon rains two weeks ago, overflowing a dam in Nepal and flowing downstream into India.
Cardinal John Henry Newman, a 19th-century convert from Anglicanism to Catholicism, is up for canonization by the Vatican. But due to his lifelong friendship with Ambrose St. John, a fellow convert, some historians believe he may be homosexual. Newman’s body, currently buried next to St. John’s, is being exhumed to be buried elsewhere. Some say the move is indicative of homophobia; others say is necessary to give the body of a saint a proper resting place.
Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda resigned yesterday because of what the Asia Times calls a “political deadlock,” echoing the resignation of Shinzo Abe, his predecessor in the post, who stepped down around the same time last year. Taro Aso, the head of the ruling Liberal Democracy Party, is expected to replace Fukuda.
A team of Swedish researchers released a study yesterday in the Archives of General Psychiatry showed possible links between older fathers and the rate of instances of bipolar disorder among their children. Men who fathered children at age 55 and older were one-third more likely to have children with bipolar; men over age 29 showed a similar trend.
At the European Society for Cardiology meeting in Munich, Germany yesterday, researchers presented findings that show that, among the 3,000 heart disease patients in the study, those who had angioplasties were twice as likely to need surgery within a year than those who have bypasses. The research was funded by Boston Scientific, a manufacturer of heart stents.
Top-ranked tennis player Rafael Nadal beat 55th-ranked Sam Querrey to reach the U.S. Open men's quarterfinals, where he is to play unseeded American Mardy Fish. Dinara Safina, seeded sixth, gained a berth in the women’s quarterfinals by beating Anna-Maria Groenefeld. Also reaching the quarterfinals was 16th-ranked Flavia Pennetta, who beat 32nd-ranked Amelie Mauresmo in two sets.
The Abu Dhabi United Group, backed by that emirate’s royal family and fronted by real estate investor and reality-television host Sulaiman al-Fahim, bought British soccer team Manchester City from deposed Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. The deal is estimated by one source of British paper The Guardian to be some 10 times bigger than when Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich bought U.K. soccer team Chelsea.
As of yesterday, most PBS stations ceased airing reruns of “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” citing low ratings and a need to air fresh children’s series as reasons. Brian Linder, a writer in South Carolina who watched the program with his twin daughters, told the Chicago Tribune, “It sucks, man. That’s not a Mr. Rogers thing to say. But maybe in this case he’d even say it.”