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Aug 05 2011

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 US stocks plunge in worst day since crisis

AFP

48 mins ago

The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 4.3 percent Thursday, its worst one-day drop since the financial crisis, as global markets melted down over fears of a new economic downturn.

The Dow closed down 512.76 points to 11,383.68. The broader S&P 500 lost 4.8 percent to 1,200.07, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite plunged 5.1 percent to 2,556.39.

More turmoil over sovereign debt problems in Europe and feeble US economic data are stoking “fear that the economy is heading for a double-dip recession,” said Peter Cardillo of Rockwell Global Capital.

2 Wall Street suffers worst selloff in two years

By Caroline Valetkevitch, Reuters

3 hrs ago

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Investors fled Wall Street in the worst stock-market selloff since the middle of the financial crisis in early 2009 in what has turned into a full-fledged correction.

The Dow and the S&P tumbled more than 4 percent on Thursday and the Nasdaq lost 5 percent on fear the United States is staring at another recession and that Europe’s sovereign debt crisis is swallowing two of its largest economies.

Analysts predicted further losses even though stocks have fallen on nine of the last 10 days. Two-year Treasury yields fell to a record low as investors sought safety in short-term government bonds.

3 Dow falls 512 in steepest decline since ’08 crisis

By DAVID K. RANDALL, AP Business Writer

34 mins ago

NEW YORK (AP) – Gripped by fear of another recession, the financial markets suffered their worst day Thursday since the crisis of 2008. The Dow Jones industrial average fell more than 500 points, its ninth-steepest decline ever.

The sell-off wiped out the Dow’s gains for 2011. It put the Dow and broader stock indexes into what investors call a correction – down 10 percent from the highs of this spring.

“We are continuing to be bombarded by worries about the global economy,” said Bill Stone, the chief investment strategist for PNC Financial.

4 Debt crisis hits heart of eurozone, ECB extends lifeline

AFP

4 hrs ago

The European Union said the debt crisis is now striking at the heart of the eurozone and the central bank threw out lifelines on Thursday, but stocks plunged.

Financial markets are alarmed about debt strains in the United States even though the debt ceiling has been raised, and in the eurozone, and the overall drag these add to already faltering growth.

European and US stocks slumped more than 3.0 percent after the ECB statements, and after European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso raised the alarm to a new pitch, saying “we are no longer managing a crisis just in the euro-area periphery.”

5 Stocks plunge on US data, eurozone fears

AFP

5 hrs ago

European and US stocks plunged by more than 3 percent and safe-haven gold hit a record peak on Thursday as eurozone woes and more weak US data sparked concern that the world could be heading for another sharp downturn.

The euro slid to $1.4171 from $1.4318 late on Wednesday.

Markets took a beating after the European Central Bank announced that it would resume emergency credit-easing measures that were last adopted at the height of the global financial crisis.

6 Huge tropical storm whips Haiti

By Clarence Renois, AFP

5 hrs ago

Tropical Storm Emily whipped southern Haiti with winds and rains Thursday as hundreds of thousands huddled in squalid makeshift camps, some perched precariously on bare, slippery hillsides.

After meandering for a few hours off southern Haiti, the storm was “nudging west northwards, drenching Hispaniola,” the Caribbean island shared by Haiti and the Dominican Republic, the US National Hurricane Center said.

The Miami-based weather experts have warned of “torrential rain” and “life-threatening flash floods and mudslides” as Emily moves over the impoverished nation.

7 Famine to engulf all of southern Somalia: UN

By Otto Bakano, AFP

6 hrs ago

The famine ravaging parts of Somalia, including the capital Mogadishu, is likely to persist for the rest of the year, engulfing all of the country’s south, experts warned Thursday.

The whole of southern Somalia is already suffering severe food shortages due to a harsh drought affecting several Horn of Africa countries, causing what the UN called the most severe humanitarian crisis in the world today.

The continuing lack of rain means the crisis will only deepen, the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said after three new parts of Somalia were declared Wednesday to have reached famine levels.

8 Nigerian oil pollution may need world’s biggest clean-up: UN

By Ola Awoniyi, AFP

5 hrs ago

Decades of oil pollution in Nigeria’s Ogoniland region may require the world’s biggest ever clean-up, the UN environmental agency said Thursday as it released a landmark report on the issue.

The UN Environment Programme also called for the oil industry and the Nigerian government to contribute $1 billion to a clean-up fund for the region that activists say has been devastated by pollution.

“The environmental restoration of Ogoniland could prove to be the world’s most wide-ranging and long term oil clean-up exercise ever undertaken if contaminated drinking water, land, creeks and important ecosystems such as mangroves are to be brought back to full, productive health,” the UNEP said in a statement.

9 NASA reports first evidence of flowing water on Mars

By Kerry Sheridan, AFP

1 hr 41 mins ago

NASA scientists announced Thursday that they had found the first evidence of flowing water on Mars.

If confirmed, the evidence gathered by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter would be the first discovery of active liquid water in the ground on the red planet.

“We have found repeated and predictable evidence suggesting water flowing on Mars,” Michael Meyer, lead scientist for the Mars Exploration program, told reporters.

The US space agency said the orbiter circling Mars since 2006 had monitored numerous instances of what appeared to be water flows occurring in several locations during the Martian spring and summer.

10 Obama seeks to revive base on turning 50

By Shaun Tandon, AFP

21 hrs ago

US President Barack Obama marked his 50th birthday Thursday after a night in his hometown Chicago, seeking to revive the energy of his last presidential campaign following a damaging debt showdown.

Obama paid a lightning evening visit back to the Midwestern metropolis on Wednesday ahead of hitting the half-century mark, seeking solace with some of his staunchest supporters, from online activists to high-rolling fund-raisers.

Inside a packed and sweaty downtown theater, Obama read off a list of accomplishments dear to his base such as expanding health care coverage, allowing gays to serve openly in the military and winding down the war in Iraq.

11 Dozens die, thousands flee Syrian tank assault in Hama

By Khaled Yacoub Oweis, Reuters

1 hr 41 mins ago

AMMAN, Aug 4 Reuters) – Syrian troops killed at least 45 civilians in a tank assault to occupy the center of the besieged city of Hama, an activist said on Thursday, seeking to crush an uprising against President Bashar al-Assad’s rule.

Thousands of civilians were fleeing the city, a bastion of protest against 41 years of Assad family rule surrounded by a ring of steel of troops with tanks and heavy weapons.

Electricity and communications have been cut off and as many as 130 people have been killed in a four-day military assault since Assad, from Syria’s minority Alawite sect, sent troops into the city on Sunday, residents and activists say.

12 Euro zone policymakers fail to extinguish market fire

By Marc Jones, Reuters

6 hrs ago

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – European policymakers tried to turn a more powerful fire hose on the euro zone debt crisis on Thursday but financial markets were unimpressed with their response.

The European Central Bank resumed buying government bonds after a four-month break and announced new longer-term funding for liquidity-starved banks. But after a brief hiccup, Italian and Spanish bond yields resumed the climb toward danger levels.

The executive European Commission urged holidaying euro zone leaders to consider swiftly boosting the size of their financial rescue fund, but was promptly rebuffed by the Germans and Dutch.

13 French court orders investigation into Lagarde

By Thierry Leveque and Alexandria Sage, Reuters

4 hrs ago

PARIS (Reuters) – A French court ordered an investigation on Thursday into possible misconduct by IMF head Christine Lagarde when, as finance minister, she approved a settlement to a businessman friend of President Nicolas Sarkozy.

The investigation will get underway at once into Lagarde’s alleged complicity in the misuse of public funds in her approval of a 285-million-euro ($407-million) arbitration payout to Bernard Tapie in 2008, the court’s prosecutor said.

Lagarde has denied any misconduct and the Washington-based International Monetary Fund, where she started as managing director last month, said its board was confident she would be able to effectively carry out her duties despite the investigation.

14 Analysis: Shaky economy has companies wary of spending

By Scott Malone and Mike Tarsala, Reuters

5 hrs ago

BOSTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) – Weakening demand in the United States and Europe has spooked some in corporate America, prompting big companies to throttle back their spending just as U.S. government looks for ways to cut its own outlays.

That new wave of fears is threatening to choke off a fledgling resurgence in capital investment by big companies — one of the few areas where economic activity was growing.

Chief executives and investors have been bombarded by a wave of bad economic news over the past few days, including a report that U.S. gross domestic product grew at a weaker than expected rate in the first half of the year and word on Wednesday that the rate of layoffs had picked up in July.

15 Special report: How Washington took the U.S. to the brink

By Caren Bohan, Andy Sullivan and Thomas Ferraro, Reuters

6 hrs ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The world’s largest economy was headed toward an unprecedented default, and all Washington wanted to talk about was the manner in which the president had left a room.

A White House meeting in mid-July between President Barack Obama and congressional leaders had ended with sharp words as Obama clashed with the brash Republican House majority leader, Eric Cantor.

Now Cantor was back on Capitol Hill, dishing details to a scrum of reporters — a shift from the terse, vague statements that usually followed such meetings.

16 GM profit nearly doubles, slowdown risk ahead

By Ben Klayman and Kevin Krolicki, Reuters

46 mins ago

DETROIT (Reuters) – General Motors Co’s quarterly profit shot past Wall Street expectations, but its share price slipped as investors focused on the risks of a sputtering economy and resurgent Japanese rivals.

GM reported second-quarter profit that nearly doubled as people paid more for new cars like the Chevrolet Cruze, and the automaker took a larger share of global sales as major Japanese competitors were largely sidelined by the March earthquake.

GM shares, which rose after the results were announced, fell 2.9 percent in midday trading.

17 BNY Mellon imposes fee on rapidly growing deposits

By Emily Flitter and Dan Wilchins, Reuters

25 mins ago

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Bank of New York Mellon Corp told some of its biggest depositors this week it does not want their money.

BNY Mellon said it is charging a fee to big corporate and asset management clients that deposit more money than average, because it has been overwhelmed by deposits.

Global economic turmoil — including the Greek debt crisis and the U.S. debt ceiling debate — has driven BNY Mellon’s large clients to sell riskier assets and move the proceeds to deposit accounts.

18 Kraft’s Rosenfeld breaking up food giant she built

By Martinne Geller, Reuters

3 hrs ago

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Kraft Foods Inc Chief Executive Irene Rosenfeld plans to break up the food giant, just 18 months after driving through the controversial acquisition of UK chocolate maker Cadbury.

The split will give investors the chance to bet on a snacks business that is growing fast in emerging markets, or opt for the stable dividends offered by a slower growing general grocery business that includes Oscar Mayer lunch meat and Kraft cheese.

The surprise move by the $48 billion company, disclosed on Thursday, is the latest in a broad trend of corporate break-ups that includes Fortune Brands Inc, ConocoPhillips and ITT Corp.

19 Resident: Random killings in besieged Syrian city

By ZEINA KARAM, Associated Press

57 mins ago

BEIRUT (AP) – The flashpoint Syrian city of Hama endured a fifth day under military siege Thursday, with a resident saying people were being “slaughtered like sheep” in the streets and families were burying their dead in home gardens or roadsides rather than risk a trip to a cemetery.

Food supplies grew short and residents shared bread, while phones, electricity and Internet were cut off or severely hampered.

There was no official count of the dead. One resident said around 250 people have been killed since Sunday. And a rights group that tracks death tallies reported up to 30 people were killed in Hama on Wednesday alone. The tolls could not be verified because of the difficulty reaching residents and hospital officials in the besieged city, where journalists are barred as they are throughout Syria.

20 Emily breaks up after soaking Haiti

AP

27 mins ago

MIAMI (AP) – Former Tropical Storm Emily has broken apart after causing floods and damaging hundreds of homes in Haiti.

National Huricane Center forecasters in Miami, Florida, said late Thursday that the storm is now a low pressure system that is dumping rains over Hispaniola. All watches and warnings have been canceled.

Strong winds whipped through palm trees in the capital of Haiti while heavier rains fell further north, damaging homes as well as a cholera treatment center. But there were no reports of deaths.

21 Reid: Compromise in hand to reopen FAA

By JOAN LOWY, Associated Press

9 mins ago

WASHINGTON (AP) – Congress has reached a bipartisan compromise to end the two-week partial shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration that has idled 74,000 federal employees and construction workers and cost the government about $30 million a day in uncollected airline ticket taxes, Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid said Thursday.

The deal would allow the Senate to approve a House bill extending the FAA’s operating authority through mid-September, including a provision that eliminates $16.5 million in air service subsidies to 13 rural communities. A vote on the bill is expected Friday.

Republicans had insisted on the subsidy cuts as their price for restoring the FAA to full operation. But the cuts may become moot.

22 Military money on chopping block in austere time

By DONNA CASSATA, LOLITA C. BALDOR, Associated Press

17 mins ago

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Pentagon got nearly everything it asked for during a decade of two wars shadowed by the Sept. 11 terror attacks and the rise of al-Qaida. No more.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen acknowledged that reality Thursday, saying the military is resigned to budget cuts of around $350 billion over a decade to meet the public clamor for reducing the nation’s debt. But they quickly warned that more than doubling those cuts along the lines of the “doomsday mechanism” spelled out in the new debt-limit law would undermine the military.

“If it happened – and, God willing, that would not be the case – but if it did happen, it would result in a further round of very dangerous cuts across the board, defense cuts that I believe would do real damage to our security, our troops and their families, and our military’s ability to protect the nation,” Panetta told reporters at his first Pentagon news conference.

23 Polygamist leader’s Texas trial goes to jury

By WILL WEISSERT, Associated Press

50 mins ago

SAN ANGELO, Texas (AP) – The child sexual assault case against Warren Jeffs was in the hands of a Texas jury Thursday, after the polygamist sect leader stood mostly mute for his closing argument.

Jeffs, who acted as his own attorney, stood expressionless, staring at the floor, for all but a few seconds of the half hour he was allotted. At one point he mumbled, “I am peace,” and said no more.

The only noise in the courtroom was the creaking of wooden benches brimming with spectators.

24 Kraft Foods plans to split into 2 companies

By SARAH SKIDMORE, AP Food Industry Writer

4 hrs ag

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – Kraft Foods Inc. said Thursday it plans to split into two publicly traded companies, with one focusing on its international snack brands like Trident gum and Cadbury chocolates and the other on its North American grocery business that includes Maxwell House coffee and Oscar Mayer meats.

Kraft is the latest in a string of U.S. companies including rival Sara Lee Corp. to separate its business to cater to different niche markets. As companies increasingly look for ways to drive growth during a difficult economic environment, there’s been a major shift from thinking bigger is always better to sharpening their strategy on smaller businesses that focus on a group of brands.

“In general, it mirrors what we have seen from other consumer brands,” said Morningstar analyst Erin Lash. “In terms of what it means for the industry, we have seen some businesses over the past several years, particularly food companies, become more focused brands.”

25 Eagles DT Patterson has brain condition

By ROB MAADDI, AP Pro Football Writer

1 hr 40 mins ago

BETHLEHEM, Pa. (AP) – Eagles trainer Rick Burkholder said defensive tackle Mike Patterson has a brain condition that may require surgery. Burkholder said Thursday that Patterson is undergoing further tests. The 27-year-old Patterson was hospitalized after suffering a seizure Wednesday morning at training camp at Lehigh University.

“What they did determine through some of the testing is that Mike has a congenital tangle of blood vessels right outside his brain that is called arteriovenous malformation, or what we refer to as AVM,” Burkholder said. “I’m pretty sure that’s what caused the seizure. We’re pretty sure it was not football related.”

Patterson’s agent, J.R. Rickert, disputed the definite diagnosis of AVM. He said it’s too early to say the 6-foot-1, 300-pound Patterson has the condition. Rickert spoke with Patterson and his wife, Bianca, Thursday morning. He had a conversation with Burkholder on Wednesday.

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