____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>The stock market had one of its most turbulent days in history as the Dow Jones industrials dropped almost 1,000 points in less than half an hour on fears that Greece’s debt problems could halt the global economic recovery.The market’s plunge came less than 90 minutes before the end of trading. The Dow’s drop was its largest loss ever during the course of a trading day, but it recovered to a loss of 347.80 at the close. All the major indexes lost more than three percent.There were reports that the sudden drop was caused by a trader who mistyped an order to sell a large block of stock. The drop in that stock’s price was enough to trigger “sell” orders across the market.Still, the Dow was already down more than 200 points as traders watched protests in the streets of Athens on TV. Protestors raged against austerity measures passed by the Greek parliament. But traders were not comforted by the fact that Greece seemed to be working toward a resolution of its debt problems. Instead, they focused on the possibility that other European countries would also run into trouble and that the damage to their economies could spread to the United States.“The market is now realizing that Greece is going to go through a depression over the next couple of years,” said Peter Boockvar, equity strategist at Miller Tabak. “Europe is a major trading partner of ours, and this threatens the entire global growth story.”Computer trading intensified the losses as programs designed to sell stocks at a specified level kicked in. Traders use those programs to try to limit their losses when the market is falling. The selling only led to more selling as prices fell.“I think the machines just took over. There’s not a lot of human interaction,” said Charlie Smith, chief investment officer at Fort Pitt Capital Group. “We’ve known that automated trading can run away from you, and I think that’s what we saw happen today.”New York Stock Exchange spokesman Raymond Pellecchia said the plunge wasn’t caused by a problem with the exchange’s trading systems. The Dow recovered two-thirds of its loss Thursday, but the fall was still the Dow’s biggest point loss since February 2009.Even if there were technical issues, emotions about the world economy were running high. The Dow has lost 631 points, or more than 5 percent, in three days amid worries about Greece. That is its largest three-day percentage drop since March 2009, when the stock market was nearing its bottom following the financial crisis.
293 items found for your search. If no results were found please broaden your search.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Indian officials sentenced to death Thursday the only surviving gunman from the bloody Mumbai attacks, punishing the 22-year-old Pakistani man who became the face of the assault after being caught on video storming a train station armed with an assault rifle.Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab, who covered his face with his hands and wept when the sentence was announced, was found guilty of murder and waging war against India for his role in the three-day November 2008 siege that claimed 166 lives in the nation’s financial capital.A photograph of Kasab wielding an assault rifle at the train station became the iconic image of the attacks. People outside the station set off firecrackers in celebration Thursday after the sentence was announced.Judge M.L. Tahaliyani said Kasab “shall be hanged by the neck until he is dead.” In rejecting Kasab’s contention that he had committed the crime under duress and pressure from militants, the judge added, “Such a person can’t be given an opportunity to reform himself.”The death sentence must be reviewed by the High Court. Kasab can also appeal the decision and apply for clemency to the state and central governments, though his lawyer said that no decision had been made yet on the next step.Such motions often keep the convicted on death row for years, even decades, in India, which has not executed anyone since 2004. The special prosecutor in the trial, Ujjwal Nikam, said he expects it will take at least a year for the sentence to be carried out.The siege — when 10 young men armed with assault rifles attacked two luxury hotels, a Jewish center and a busy train station — reverberated across India. Millions watched on television as the rampage turned into a siege on the hotels, while guests and staff hid.Kasab was accused of the most lethal episode of the attacks — when he and an accomplice killed and wounded dozens of people at one of Mumbai’s busiest train stations.“The judge has come to the most appropriate conclusion, and it could send a positive message to anyone who would like to wage a war against India,” India’s External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna told reporters in New Delhi.India blames a Pakistan-based militant group, Lashkar-e-Taiba, for masterminding the attack, which has deepened the rift between the rivals. There has been no public support and sympathy for Kasab in Pakistan during his trial, and official reaction to his sentencing was muted.“We would appreciate that our legal experts need to go through the detailed judgment,” Pakistani Foreign Office spokesman Abdul Basit said.“At this stage, what I can tell you is that Pakistan has strongly condemned the horrific Mumbai attack. It is important that culprits are brought to justice.” Tahaliyani said the evidence implicated at least 20 people — many of them members of Lashkar living in Pakistan — in a conspiracy to wage war against India.Among them were top Lashkar leader Hafiz Muhammad Saeed — whom Pakistan has yet to prosecute, much to India’s ire — and Zaki-ur-Rahman Lakhvi and Zarrar Shah, two other Lashkar operatives who are among seven men now on trial at a special court in Pakistan for their alleged role in the Mumbai attack.Krishna said India would keep pressing for the extradition of all those involved in the attacks.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>WASHINGTON — Riding the coattails of a historic health care vote, the House on Sunday also passed a broad reorganization of college aid that affects millions of students and moves President Barack Obama closer to winning yet another of his top domestic policies.The bill rewrites a four-decade-old student loan program, eliminating its reliance on private lenders and uses the savings to direct $36 billion in new spending to Pell Grants for students in financial need.In the biggest piece of education legislation since No Child Left Behind nine years ago, the bill would also provide more than $4 billion to historically black colleges and community colleges.The bill was paired with the expedited health care bill, a marriage of convenience that helped the prospects of each measure. The combined measure passed 220-211.“We are pairing this historic health reform with another opportunity that cannot be missed — the chance to make the single largest investment in college affordability ever at no cost to the taxpayers,” said Rep. George Miller, D-Calif.The Senate will take up the bill next week using the same expedited rules used for health care legislation. That means the Senate can pass the education measure by a simple majority, virtually guaranteeing its success despite qualms from some Democrats and opposition from Republicans.House lawmakers passed the bill last year, but in the Senate it did not have 60 votes to overcome a near certain filibuster. By riding shotgun on the fast-track health care bill, the legislation now can avoid that obstacle.Still, Obama won’t get the Pell Grant expansion he initially sought. Congressional Democrats had to trim their original spending plans when the 10-year savings realized by switching to direct government loans dropped from $87 billion to $61 billion.Private lenders have conducted an all-out lobbying effort against the bill, arguing it would cost thousands of jobs and unnecessarily put the program in the hands of the government.America’s Student Loan Providers, a trade group representing lenders, called for the Senate to reject the measure. “This is not the final chapter,” the group said in a statement. “The Senate now has the historic opportunity to pass health reform — without eliminating thousands of jobs and critical student services.”Through the college lending program, financial institutions provide college loans at low interest rates, the government guarantees the loans in the event of default and subsidizes private lenders when necessary to keep rates low.“By moving to the federal government’s direct loan program, we will put the best interests of students first and make college loans more reliable and affordable,” said Rep. Ruben Hinojosa, D-Texas, the chairman of a House higher education subcommittee.In addition to using the $61 billion in savings from that change for Pell Grants and higher education institutions, the legislation would direct about $19 billion for deficit reduction and to offset expenses in the health care legislation.Besides increasing Pell Grants, the bill provides $1.5 billion to make it easier for student borrowers to repay their loans. Beginning in 2014, borrowers would be allowed to devote no more than 10 percent of their monthly income to repay student loans. The current cap is 15 percent.Still, the legislation is not as generous as the bill the House passed last year. The bill had anticipated far more spending on community colleges and had called for increasing the Pell Grants each year by the consumer price index plus 1 percent. Democrats had to scrap the additional 1 percent increase.Instead, the bill proposes no increases in Pell Grants during the next two years and a modest increase through the five years that follow. The maximum Pell Grant, which a House-passed bill last year would have raised to $6,900 over 10 years, will now only increase to $5,900. The current maximum grant for the coming school year is $5,500.What’s more, a poor jobs market that has driven potential workers to colleges and technical schools has put a strain on the Pell Grant program. Of the $36 billion destined for Pell Grants, $13.5 billion would help fill a $19 billion Pell Grant shortfall.Following Republican criticism, Democrats dropped a provision in the new bill that would have allowed the state-owned Bank of North Dakota to continue making federally financed student loans to students.“That’s out, end of the story,” said Rep. Earl Pomeroy, D-N.D.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>INDIANAPOLIS — U.S. Rep. Baron Hill said Saturday that he will vote in favor of health care reform legislation being considered by Congress because the measure addresses his concerns about taxpayer-funded abortions and deficit reduction.The Indiana Democrat, who voted for a similar health care bill when the House first considered legislation last year, had stated concerns about abortion language in the Senate’s version and about the bill’s impact on the deficit.“I have thoroughly reviewed the language prohibiting federal funding of abortion services and my conscience is clear that both reform bills accomplish the same goal — no taxpayer funds can be used to pay for elective abortions,” Hill said in a statement.Hill also said the legislation would end insurance companies’ ability to deny people coverage because of pre-existing conditions.“This reform version covers more uninsured Americans than the respective House and Senate bills, while also reducing the deficit more effectively,” He said.Hill said he will be proud to vote for the legislation.Fellow Democratic Rep. Joe Donnelly is the only one among Indiana’s nine congressmen who hasn’t said how he’ll vote. All four Republicans oppose the measure, which the U.S. House is expected to consider Sunday.On Friday, Indiana Democratic U.S. Rep. Brad Ellsworth said he will vote for the bill and was swayed to support it in part because it maintains restrictions on federal funding for abortion.The two-term congressman, who is running for the Senate seat being vacated by retiring Democratic Sen. Evan Bayh, had been under pressure from groups on both sides of the health care debate as the vote nears.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Ellen DeGeneres’ debut on “American Idol” drove up ratings for the singing contest and drew praise from fellow judge Kara DioGuardi.“Ellen brought a sense of humor, of course, but I think she knows more about music than you think she does,” DioGuardi said during a teleconference Wednesday. “I think she did an incredible job for her first time here.”While declining to compare DeGeneres to her predecessor, Paula Abdul, DioGuardi said the comedian and talk-show host showed she can assess a contestant’s star quality and talent and still be kind.DioGuardi, who is in her second year as an “Idol” judge, said speculation about tension on the set between DeGeneres and fellow judge Simon Cowell is unfounded.“I think you have to take any rumor you hear about ‘American Idol’ with a grain of salt. They’re usually not true,” DioGuardi said. “Last year, it was Kara and Paula fighting; hate each other. These things are just ridiculous.”The judges are there to “do one thing, that’s to find the greatest contestant” and “Idol” winner they can find, she said.“That’s what the focus is. I know Ellen and Simon both take that seriously,” she said.DeGeneres joined the show Tuesday for the first round of “Hollywood Week,” the post-audition phase in which 181 contestants will be narrowed down to 24 semifinalists.Although quick-witted DeGeneres was expected to be a match for the acerbic Cowell, there was a lack of on-air fireworks between the new colleagues Tuesday. She teased him about his planned departure – “So this is it, huh? I come on; you leave” – and he teasingly called her a “sadist” when she toyed with contestants about their fate.“American Idol,” which has long reigned as TV’s No. 1 series but has seen viewership slip, got a welcome ninth-season ratings boost from DeGeneres’ debut.Viewership was up by double-digits over last Tuesday’s episode among total viewers (12 percent) and the advertiser-favored young adult audience (10 percent), according to preliminary Nielsen Co. figures. Next to the season premiere, DeGeneres’ first show was the second-highest rated of the season among both groups of viewers.Ratings also rose compared to last season’s first Hollywood week episode, up by 4 percent among total viewers, by at least 1 percent among young adults and by 8 percent among teenagers.The last figure is significant given that “Idol” has seen an inevitable ratings slide as it ages and must attract new and younger viewers to hold or reverse course.When Fox announced last year that DeGeneres, who lacks formal music experience, would be the new judge, fans were divided over the unlikely replacement for the sweet, emotional Abdul. The pop singer had judged “Idol” since it debuted in 2002 and left amid contract negotiations after the eighth season ended last year.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>PUNXSUTAWNEY, Pa. — The groundhog has spoken. And it’s bad news.Punxsutawney (puhnk-suh-TAW’-nee) Phil has emerged to see his shadow before chilly revelers in Pennsylvania, meaning winter will last another six weeks.German tradition holds that if a hibernating animal sees its shadow on Feb. 2 — the Christian holiday of Candlemas — winter will last another six weeks. If no shadow is seen, legend says spring will come early.The Inner Circle of the Punxsutawney Groundhog Club annually announces Phil’s forecast at dawn on Gobbler’s Knob, about 65 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.Phil’s announcement came before hundreds of onlookers who huddled as temperatures hovered in the teens.The Groundhog Club says since 1887 Phil has predicted more winter weather by seeing his shadow nearly 100 times, but there are no records for nine years.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>A federal agency says it has finished the cleanup of toxic PCBs at a former electrical components factory in southern Indiana.An Environmental Protection Agency official says crews removed about 40,000 tons of PCB-contaminated soil and 4,000 tons of contaminated concrete from the former Westinghouse Electric/ABB plant site in Bloomington.EPA project manager Tom Alcamo says completion of the work means the site can be redeveloped for commercial or industrial use. The work done during 2009 follows soil cleanup work during 1989-95.The Herald-Times reports that the $40 million cost for all the remediation work was paid for by the companies that have owned the site.Alcamo says the EPA expects to start PCB cleanup work in the spring at three landfill sites around Bloomington.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>DANA, Ind. — The state historic site featuring famed World War II correspondent Ernie Pyle’s Indiana boyhood home has been closed.The state agency that oversees the small museum in the western Indiana town of Dana says it has been by far the least visited of a dozen such historic sites.Department of Natural Resources spokesman Phil Bloom said the Pyle site has averaged 1,500 visitors a year, with the next-lowest attended sites drawing about 10,000 people.Retired site curator Evelyn Hobson says she’s mad that Indiana State Museum staffers took much Pyle memorabilia from the property to Indianapolis.Bloom says the state museum is expanding its World War II exhibit to give more attention to Pyle and his memorabilia.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>INDIANAPOLIS — Former President George W. Bush is to visit Indianapolis this spring for a fundraiser benefiting a group that assists women with unplanned pregnancies.Bush will be the featured speaker for the Life Centers Celebration of Life event April 15 at Conseco Fieldhouse. The organization says gospel singer Sandi Patty is also scheduled to perform.Life Centers is an Indianapolis-based group that provides free services such as pregnancy tests, counseling and post-abortion and maternity support at eight sites in central Indiana.Life Centers president Brian Boone says Bush was asked to speak because of his anti-abortion stances, which include signing the federal Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act into law.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>LAFAYETTE, Ind. – A former Purdue University student has pleaded guilty to firing the shot that killed a friend during an alcohol-fueled prank at an off-campus apartment.Twenty-three-year-old Corey Lunch of Carmel faces two years to eight years in prison after pleading guilty Monday to felony charges of reckless homicide. Lynch was charged with shooting 21-year-old Landon Siela of Fort Wayne shortly before classes started in August.Lynch and 22-year-old roommate William Calderon of Fort Wayne had been drinking alcohol with Siela and decided to scare him by pointing guns at him when he left the bathroom. Authorities said Lynch's gun fired and the bullet struck Siela in the throat.The Tippecanoe County judge scheduled Lynch's sentencing for March 5. Calderon has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of pointing a firearm.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>INDIANAPOLIS – Former Republican Rep. Mike Sodrel announced Monday he was running again for Congress, setting up a possible fifth consecutive campaign against Democratic Rep. Baron Hill in southern Indiana’s 9th District.Sodrel sent an e-mail to supporters announcing his bid for the Republican nomination, although another GOP candidate plans to argue it’s time for a new person to challenge Hill.The Hill-Sodrel campaigns have featured numerous personal attacks, with Sodrel being dubbed “Millionaire Mike” and allegations that Hill sucker-punched Sodrel after a 2002 debate.Sodrel’s announcement didn’t mention Hill, but it took swipes at President Barack Obama and Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.“The Obama administration and Pelosi’s Congress are doing all the wrong things,” he said. “You don’t pull a country out of an economic slump by hurting the people who do the hiring. Additional taxes, government takeovers and programs like ‘cap and trade’ would do just that.”Hill and Sodrel have faced each other in each congressional election since 2002. Sodrel won the seat in 2004, but Hill recaptured it two years later. Hill won the 2008 election with nearly 58 percent of the vote.Hill is in his fifth term and is a leader of the Blue Dog Coalition, a group of moderate and conservative congressional Democrats. He has been criticized by conservatives for voting in support of the House health care overhaul bill.Hill’s spokeswoman, Katie Moreau, did not immediately respond to a phone message Monday requesting comment.Attorney Todd Young of Bloomington and real-estate investor Travis Hankins of Columbus, Ind., have been campaigning for months for the Republican nomination, which will be decided in the May primary.Both said Monday they intend to remain in the race.Young has been endorsed by several Republican state office holders and held a Bloomington fundraiser with former Vice President Dan Quayle. He pointed out that Sodrel received just 38 percent of the vote in the 2008 election, while Republican presidential candidate John McCain and all statewide Republican candidates won in the predominantly rural district.“The voters spoke just months ago,” Young said. “I think people are ready for a fresh face.”Hankins said he regarded himself as the most conservative candidate in the race and that he expected 2010 would be “a great year for conservatives.”Sodrel in the 1970s founded a Jeffersonville-based bus and trucking company that made him a multimillionaire. He spent more than $1 million of his own money on his first congressional campaign in 2002.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>LAFAYETTE, Ind. – A former Purdue University student has pleaded guilty to charges in an alcohol-fueled prank in which a friend was fatally shot.William Calderon, 22, of Fort Wayne said during a court hearing Monday that he, his roommate and a hometown friend had been drinking at his off-campus apartment a couple days before classes started in August.Calderon said he and his roommate decided to scare 21-year-old Landon Siela of Fort Wayne by pointing guns at him when he left the bathroom. But Calderon said the gun held by 23-year-old Cory Lynch of Carmel fired, striking Siela in the throat.Calderon faces up to a year in jail on the misdemeanor charge of pointing a firearm. Lynch is scheduled to face trial starting Feb. 2 on reckless homicide and other charges.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Talk of expanding the NCAA tournament is almost always done in public, most notably by Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim in 2006.Now the NCAA is looking into it behind closed doors – at least preliminarily.Rekindling discussion of a popular topic outside the organization, the NCAA has held early-stage talks about expanding its men’s basketball tournament and possibly moving it from broadcast to cable.But don’t worry, purists. No changes are imminent.“We’re just in a due-diligence phase of examining all of our assets and among those things is men’s basketball,” said NCAA senior vice president of basketball and business strategies Greg Shaheen on Thursday. “Certainly, with all of the other championships, we’re studying structure, schedule and format on all of them. There are no talks as it relates to a particular topic. It’s just part of our due-diligence process.”The impetus for the conversations revolves around the NCAA’s 11-year, $6 billion contract with CBS.The NCAA can opt out of the final three years of the contract after this season. The organization’s brass has eyed the opt-out for several years, following the orders of late NCAA president Myles Brand to look at every possibility for all 88 of its championships — the men’s basketball tournament included.“We’re having very general study and conversation as we go,” said Shaheen. “We’ve been working on this phase of the process for years. When I took over the contracts in early ’04, Dr. Brand’s very first directive to me was to make sure we’re readily on position for the due-diligence phase several years from now — and now is the time.”The NCAA tournament expanded from 48 to 64 teams in 1985 and expanded to the current 65-team bracket in 2001, when the number of automatic bids was increased from 30 to 31.The idea of expanding the tournament has been raised numerous times throughout the years.Boeheim said three years ago at a meeting of the National Association of Basketball Coaches that the tournament should add four, maybe six, more teams. Others have called to raise it to 80 teams or make it 96 and fold in the National Invitation Tournament. Former UCLA coach John Wooden has said the tournament should include all the teams in Division I, which exceeds 300 this season.Purists want to leave it as is.“Most of the discussions have been done in a public forum, and there are varied perspectives and models out there,” Shaheen said.The NCAA also has contacted various networks about the possibility of moving the tournament from broadcast to cable.The organization already has a contract for 23 of its championships with ESPN, which signed a lucrative deal with the Bowl Championship Series last year, and syndicates others with various cable and video outlets.If the opt-out does happen, CBS isn’t likely to go down without a fight. The network has broadcast the NCAA tournament since 1982 and isn’t inclined to let one of its biggest sports assets go away easily.CBS spokeswoman LeslieAnne Wade declined to comment.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>ATLANTA – A federal court has dismissed an appeal by a Christian fraternity that tried to force the University of Florida to recognize it as an official organization.The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruling Tuesday found the controversy was moot because the university had amended its policy and allowed Beta Upsilon Chi to register.The fraternity had said inviting non-Christians would undermine its mission and argued the university’s refusal to recognize it threatened its core beliefs. The school said school-supported student groups should be open to all.But the university changed its policy in January. It said the appeal was now “merely academic,” and the three-judge panel in Atlanta agreed and dismissed the case.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>WEST LAFAYETTE – Investigators ruled that two small fires in the basement of Purdue University’s Elliott Hall of Music were intentionally set and were searching for a man seen running from the building.The fire Monday night forced about 900 students from the building as they were taking a calculus test.Campus Police Chief John Cox said the fires caused minor damage to a room in which band instruments are stored and around a bulletin board in a hallway. No injuries were reported.Firefighters quickly extinguished the blazes after arriving at about 8:30 p.m. Monday.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Arctic air extended its grip Wednesday with below-zero temperatures stretching from Montana to northern New England and frost nipping the Gulf Coast.A few ski areas in Vermont and northern Minnesota closed for the day because of the cold – 38 below zero at International Falls, with the wind chill during the night estimated at 50 below.The temperature at Bolton, Vt., was 10 below zero, and operators of the Bolton Valley ski resort feared that skiers could freeze if a lift malfunctioned, said spokesman Josh Arneson. “Getting people off a lift can take time,” he said.Schools from Iowa to Pennsylvania opened late so kids would not have to be out in the coldest part of the morning. Some schools closed.Blowing snow that cut visibility was the problem in the Chicago area. Airlines canceled more than 300 flights at O’Hare International Airport. And in nearby northwest Indiana, state police said one person was killed in a chain reaction crash involving about 20 vehicles on the Indiana Toll Road.Commuters in Albany, N.Y., faced a chill of six degrees, with brisk wind making it feel like 15 below zero, but some people claimed they didn’t mind.“I’m a cold weather fan,” said Jeff Plant of Colonie, N.Y., as he sat reading a newspaper at an Albany coffee shop. “I like to see some cold weather in the winter.” Later, he said, he planned to go for a walk “to get some sun.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Besieged money manager Bernard Madoff has arrived at a Manhattan courthouse, where prosecutors are making another move to have him jailed.Madoff did not speak as he was ushered into the courthouse around 1:15 p.m. Wednesday. Metal barricades held back a large group of photographers.He was scheduled to appear in court around 2:30 p.m.Prosecutors are appealing a judge’s ruling that Madoff could remain free in his $7 million penthouse despite government claims he improperly sent valuable jewelry and watches to close relatives and friends.The hearing comes as investigators continue to dig through the former Nasdaq chairman’s financial records.Authorities say Madoff has described what he did with investor’s money as a $50 billion Ponzi scheme, paying investors with money raised from new clients.On Monday, U.S. Magistrate Judge Ronald L. Ellis ordered a tightening of Madoff’s $10 million bail conditions to require that his outgoing mail be monitored by a security firm and that an inventory be made of any valuables in his Upper East Side apartment. Madoff was already confined to his apartment with electronic monitoring and 24-hour guard.Prosecutors notified the court shortly afterwards that they would appeal the decision to a federal judge. The hearing Wednesday will focus on the appeal.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Wall Street extended its 2009 retreat Wednesday, falling sharply after the government issued a dismal reading on retail sales and investors grew increasingly anxious about the banking industry. Major stock indexes lost more than 3 percent, including the Dow Jones industrial average, which fell about 250 points, its sixth straight slide.Although investors already knew that retailers suffered a terrible holiday season, a government report on December sales was much worse than anticipated. The Commerce Department said retail sales dropped 2.7 percent last month, more than double the 1.2 percent decline analysts forecasted.The pullback in sales marked a record sixth straight month of declines and was the latest sign of the troubles still facing consumers. A steep drop in home prices, rising unemployment and difficulty accessing credit have given many consumers no choice but to pare their spending. That’s troubling for investors because consumer spending accounts for more than two-thirds of U.S. economic activity. Many predict the recession, already the longest in a quarter-century, will persist at least until late this year.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>INDIANAPOLIS – New Indianapolis Colts coach Jim Caldwell says he wants to build on Tony Dungy’s success, not be a carbon copy of his former boss.The Colts introduced Caldwell as their coach Tuesday, a day after Dungy stepped down after seven seasons.Caldwell’s hiring was part of a succession plan the Colts announced last year when he was named associate head coach.Caldwell has a four-year deal, but team owner Jim Irsay would not disclose the financial details other than to say it was competitive for a first-time NFL head coach.Caldwell’s only previous head coaching experience came at Wake Forest, where he went 26-63 in eight seasons beginning in 1993.Caldwell said he would put his own stamp on the team, and that might include changes on the coaching staff.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>LAS VEGAS – Former IU coach Bob Knight, the winningest coach in Division I history, and former CBS sportscaster Billy Packer plan to analyze the NCAA men’s basketball tournament in a series of one-hour television programs taped at a race and sports book on the Las Vegas Strip.Packer told reporters on Monday that the show wouldn’t mention gambling even though it is to be filmed at the race and sports book at the Wynn Las Vegas.“Why Vegas is because Bob and I, and a lot of people, want to really experience what this is really like because we do think, next to being center court, this is the place to be,” Packer said.He said he has thought for years about coming to Las Vegas during the NCAA tournament.Packer, 68, left CBS at the end of last season after 27 years as the network’s lead college basketball analyst. Having spent previous years with NBC, Packer covered every Final Four since 1975, an unparalleled run for a national sports championship.“I remember a few years ago I said to myself, ‘Hey Billy, you know this has to stop sometime. And what are going to be the keys for you to not broadcast anymore if I have 100 percent control?’” Packer said. “There’s only so much time you have in life to do things you want to do, and so this Vegas idea and putting this stuff together ... that’s stuff I’d like to do.”The programs are expected to begin March 15 and air on Fox Sports Net. Packer said they would be taped after the teams are seeded in the tournament, after early round games and to analyze the Final Four before and after the games.Knight said he considered his role on the show as that of a recurring guest to give insights from his years as a coach. He said it would not affect his relationship with ESPN, where he is a college basketball analyst. He said he would contribute to ESPN during the NCAA tournament if asked.Knight, who won 902 games as coach, resigned from Texas Tech last February. He coached at Army and IU, where he won three national championships in 29 years.