Treasuries playing the waiting game
May 20th, 2011
08:52 PM ET

Treasuries playing the waiting game

Stocks end the day and week lower

U.S. stocks finished lower Friday, amid weak outlooks from retailers and as the dollar rallied on Greek debt jitters.
The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 93 points, or 0.7%. Earlier in the session, the blue-chip index slumped more than 100 points. The S&P 500 shed 10 points, or 0.8%, and the Nasdaq Composite lost 20 points, or 0.7%.

Gap shares tumbled 17.5% while Aeropostale's stock fell 14% after both companies lowered their full-year guidance, citing weaker demand and higher commodity costs. Gap shares were the worst performer on the S&P 500. Other retailers followed suit, with shares of Macy's, Urban Outfitters and Abercrombie & Fitch all sliding more than 2%. Shares of Polo Ralph Lauren and JC Penney fell more than 4%.

"When you see these retailers give numbers like this, you get concerned that the consumer is starting to give up some ground, with high oil prices and all," said Anthony Conroy, head trader at BNY ConvergEX.

Treasuries playing the waiting game

Treasury prices were little changed Friday, as investors sat on their hands ahead of a barrage of economic data coming next week.

The data dump will start Tuesday with a report on new home sales, and will be followed later in the week by data on initial unemployment claims, durable goods, GDP, personal income and spending, inflation and pending home sales.

And the Treasury Department will hold highly anticipated auctions of U.S. debt, starting with $35 billion in 2-year notes on Tuesday, $35 billion of 5-year notes on Wednesday and closing with $29 billion of 7-year notes on Thursday.

"Today it is likely to be a quiet one," Kevin Giddis, executive managing director at Morgan Keegan, wrote in a note to clients. "There are no economic numbers to be released and most traders seem to be comfortable sitting on the sidelines waiting for next week's supply."

–CNNMoney.com reporters Ken Sweet May, Charles Riley and Hibah Yousuf contributed to this report.

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Overheard on CNN.com: Land for peace?
May 20th, 2011
06:18 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Land for peace?

Comments of the Day:

“Obama is merely picking up the same plan that Israeli war hero Rabin championed to his death. I say this respectfully, because it is not an easy path, but the only one that can resolve it. I was in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem three months ago. At least half the Israelis agree with Obama's position.”– futureshock9

“You would think that the current Arab push for freedom would diminish the groups like Hamas who seek violent means to the ends. It should be clear after decades of pointless violence that peace can only be brought about through good-faith negotiation. Unfortunately, the Arabs have reneged and attacked Israel at every opportunity, rather than seeking to build their own nation. If I were a Jew, I would be very wary. The Arabs will have to put a lot on the table.” - celtic61

Obama calls for Israel's return to pre-1967 borders

In his speech to the State Department, President Obama called for Israel to return to its 1967 borders, "with mutually agreed swaps," so a secure peace could be established. This story elicited more than 11,000 comments, many of them arguing the history of the Middle East conflict from the Israeli or Palestinian viewpoint. While there were accusations that Obama had "thrown Israel under the bus", many like waggendog, said, "Well yea, Obama is just publicly saying what every president has been privately saying for decades."

“As an American Jew who has worked in Israel and has friends and family there, I believe what Israel is doing is not in their own interest. A friend tells you when you are doing something wrong. Obama is doing the right thing.” - ScottNH

Many CNN.com readers hailed Obama's remarks and called for compromise. kirikintha said, "I think that President Obama has the courage to point out the painful truth : The only way to a lasting peace is to move forward. There are no winners in Middle East peace, only general levels of hell. What do you do when everyone feels disenfranchised? What do you do when both sides are hell-bent on killing each other?”

humtake, who identified as a Republican, said, "I'm not a fan of Obama, but sometimes he does what is right. And in this situation, America needs to see that something has to be done by both sides or nothing is going to change. Allies don't have to always agree. My grandparents have been married for 63 years and don't agree on everything. But both sides need to work on fixing their problems together."

apeinclothes said, "There isn't another option if Israel wants to remain a Jewish-majority state. There are too many Palestinians to keep them in limbo indefinitely; neighboring Arab countries aren't going to absorb them, and the longer this goes on the more demographics favor the Palestinians. Israel either has to give up enough land to allow for a viable Palestinian state or choose between being Jewish-majority or being a democracy."

FULL POST

Judge signs order for release of ex-IMF chief
May 20th, 2011
04:36 PM ET

Judge signs order for release of ex-IMF chief

A judge has signed an order for the release of former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, his lawyer said Friday.

The attorney spoke to reporters outside the courtroom where final details of his release from Rikers Island jail were hashed out between the prosecution and the defense.

"He will be released," lawyer William Taylor said about his client, who resigned Wednesday as head of the IMF and who is charged with sexual assault of a maid last Saturday in a Times Square hotel. Taylor did not say when the release would take place.

The comments came after Taylor met with Assistant District Attorney John McConnell and New York State Supreme Court Judge Michael Obus in Obus's chambers.

During the hearing, Obus said a security company had found a temporary location for Strauss-Kahn to live in and that a hunt was on for longer-term lodging. While Strauss-Kahn is in the initial location, he will not be able to leave at all except for medical reasons, Obus said. Once he is in his longer-term location, the former banker must give six hours notice before leaving.

Taylor pleaded with members of the news media to grant privacy to his client and his client's family. "The reason that he had to move is because members of the press attempted to invade his private residence and interfere with his family's privacy," Taylor said.

The defense team was planning to take proof of the $1 million cash bail and $5 million bond to the judge, a court officer said. A document signed by bondsman Ira Judelson shows that the bond was secured by money from the accused's wife, Anne Sinclair.

FULL STORY
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Manny Pacquiao laces up gloves in country's fight over birth control
Manny Pacquiao, right, easily defeated Shane Mosely this month, but can he repeat in the Filipino birth control bout?
May 20th, 2011
04:05 PM ET

Manny Pacquiao laces up gloves in country's fight over birth control

Manny Pacquaio's latest fight could be much tougher than pounding on “Sugar” Shane Mosley for 12 rounds.

Fresh off his trouncing of the American welterweight contender, Pacquiao, 32 who also serves as a Sarangani representative in the Filipino Congress has entered the ring again to denounce a reproductive health bill that he and his fellow lawmakers are considering.

The bill has several controversial provisions, such as the requirement that women experiencing problems after abortions, which would still be banned, must be treated humanely and compassionately.

Pacquiao and President Benigno Aquino III, a backer of the bill, agree abortion should be outlawed, The Manila Times reported. Where they part ways is on the issue of contraception, according to Filipino media.

FULL POST

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Protests erupt in Syrian cities; at least 34 reported dead
Syrian soldiers prepare to hand over an elderly Syrian woman who was caught trying to cross the border into northern Lebanon.
May 20th, 2011
03:10 PM ET

Protests erupt in Syrian cities; at least 34 reported dead

[Updated at 3:10 p.m.] Anti-government demonstrations broke out Friday in Syria after weekly Muslim prayers, with activists reporting at least 34 deaths amid clashes between security forces and protesters.

The Syria Human Rights Information Link told CNN that at least 11 people died in the western industrial city of Homs when security forces fired at crowds.

For two months, Syria has been torn by street protests against political repression and a fierce security crackdown against demonstrators. The government's tough and violent actions toward marchers and its thousands of mass arrests have drawn widespread criticism.

Demonstrations erupted after Friday prayers in Syrian cities, as they have for weeks.

The United States has imposed sanctions on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and other senior officials. On Thursday, President Barack Obama singled out Syria for criticism during his speech on the Middle East.

A rights activist in Homs described thick black smoke hanging over the city as thousands of demonstrators took to the streets demanding al-Assad's ouster.

According to the rights activist, the demonstrators gathered from several neighborhoods around Homs.

The demonstrators chanted slogans calling for the release of political detainees and demanded freedom, equality and fundamental reforms, the activist said. As the crowd grew, security forces fired shots in the air and tried to disperse the gathering.

FULL STORY
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Agent Orange buried in S. Korea, vets say
U.S. soldiers load tanks onto rail cars at Camp Carroll in South Korea. Three veterans say Agent Orange is buried there.
May 20th, 2011
02:57 PM ET

Agent Orange buried in S. Korea, vets say

The U.S. military command in South Korea says it is investigating veterans' claims that they buried barrels of the toxic herbicide Agent Orange at a U.S. facility there in the late 1970s.

Arizona resident Steve House told CNN affiliate KPHO in Phoenix that in 1978, he was ordered to dig a long trench for "disposal" at Camp Carroll, where he was stationed as an Army heavy equipment operator.

He wasn't told what would be buried in the trench, but he says he saw it.

"Fifty-five-gallon drums with bright yellow, some of them bright orange, writing on them," House told KPHO. "And some of the cans said Province of Vietnam, Compound Orange."

The U.S. military sprayed Agent Orange from planes onto jungles in Vietnam to kill vegetation in an effort to expose guerrilla fighters. Exposure to the chemical has been blamed for a wide variety of ailments, including certain forms of cancer and nerve disorders. It also has been linked to birth defects, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The military has always said that all leftover Agent Orange was incinerated at sea, but it is investigating nonetheless.

FULL POST

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Man finds at least $40,000 in ammo boxes, returns it
The money was found inside eight ammo boxes in a Utah man's attic.
May 20th, 2011
02:51 PM ET

Man finds at least $40,000 in ammo boxes, returns it

Most people expect to find spiders or old boxes of junk in their attics. But a Utah man found at least $40,000 in cash.

Josh Ferrin recently purchased a home in the appropriately dubbed Bountiful, Utah, and noticed an access panel into the attic.  That's where he found the money, packed into eight ammo boxes, according to the Salt Lake Tribune.

After briefly pondering his own needs, including fixing his house and his car, he decided to do what was right.

“I couldn’t let myself consider the money mine,” Ferrin told the Tribune.  "(The previous homeowner) didn’t put it there for me. He put it there for a rainy day.”

It turns out the previous owner, Arnold Bangerter, was a father of six, who bought the home in the 1960s and had died in November.

“I knew he was a father, and I am a father, too. And I can understand thinking about the future and your children,” Ferrin said.

Ferrin tracked down Bangerter’s youngest son, Dennis, and his brother, Kay, who said they would split the money between the six siblings. He wasn’t sure how much money he handed over, because he stopped counting bills at $40,000, and there were stocks, bonds and about 50 pounds of coins in the ammo boxes.

“Hopefully, they won’t hide it in their ceiling,” Ferrin joked.

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'Macho Man' Randy Savage dead after car crash
"Macho Man" Randy Savage at the 2003 movie awards.
May 20th, 2011
02:39 PM ET

'Macho Man' Randy Savage dead after car crash

[Updated at 2:39 p.m.] Pro wrestler Randy "Macho Man" Savage, 58, was killed Friday morning in Florida when the Jeep he was driving jumped a median and hit a tree, the Florida Highway Patrol said.

Savage, whose real name is Randy Poffo, and his wife, 56, who lived in Seminole, Florida, were both in the car, officials said.

An investigation is under way, but a Highway Patrol report said that Ralph Poffo "lost control" of his 2009 Jeep Wrangler for "unknown reasons" as it was traveling westbound on Florida State Route 694 near 113th Street North in Pinellas County. His vehicle "traveled over the raised concrete median divider, crossed the eastbound lanes of SR-694, over the outside curb and collided head-on with a tree," the report said.

His wife was in the passenger seat and was injured, officials said. Officials could not confirm the cause of Poffo's death.

"WWE is saddened to learn of the passing of one of the greatest Superstars of his time, Randy Poffo, aka Randy “Macho Man” Savage," the wrestling federation said in a statement. "Poffo was under contract with WWE from 1985 to 1993 and held both the WWE and Intercontinental Championships. Our sincerest condolences go out to his family and friends. We wish a speedy recovery to his wife Lynn. Poffo will be greatly missed by WWE and his fans."

Savage was known for his flashy entertainment in and out of the ring - including his catchphrases "Ooooooh Yeaahhhhh," "Can you dig it?" and his Slim Jim commercials.

"We’re saddened by the loss," ConAgra Foods, who oversees the Slim Jim brand said in a statement. "Randy was a beloved ambassador for the Slim Jim brand for many years and will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends at this time."

Bay News 9: 'Macho Man' dies in car crash

Gotta Watch: This Jest In
Comedian Adam Carolla added something extra to his name on his driver's license.
May 20th, 2011
11:52 AM ET

Gotta Watch: This Jest In

CNN recently launched a new comedy series called This JEST In, and every Friday we’ll be sharing interviews with some of the finest comedians in all the land.  In the coming weeks we’ll bring you such big names as Chris Hardwick, Russell Peters, and Maria Bamford, just to name a few. There are no rules and no topics are off limits.

Adam Lakers Carolla – It wasn’t quite like gaining access to President Obama’s birth certificate (you know, the long-form one), but the most difficult part of putting this video together was obtaining a scan of Carolla’s drivers license. But we kept at it, and can proudly bring you proof that his middle name really is Lakers. As in Los Angeles Lakers. As in, no longer in the playoffs.

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NASA schedules final space shuttle mission
Space shuttle Atlantis on May 18, 2011 at Kennedy Space Center before it is attached to rocket boosters and external tank for the final flight.
May 20th, 2011
11:49 AM ET

NASA schedules final space shuttle mission

Thirty years after the space shuttle program began, the final space shuttle flight is slated to take place on July 8, NASA said Friday.

The Space Shuttle Atlantis will make the program's final voyage on a mission to deliver supplies and spare parts to the international space station, the agency said.

Chris Ferguson, a veteran of two shuttle missions, will command the flight, set to launch at 11:40 a.m., NASA said.

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May 20th, 2011
11:01 AM ET

U.S.: al Qaeda has interest in strikes on energy infrastructure

The Department of Homeland Security and the FBI have warned police across the United States that al Qaeda has a "continuing interest" in attacking oil and natural gas targets, a department spokesman said Friday.

The warning came as a result of information seized during the May 2 raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, a U.S. official said.

"We are not aware of indications of any specific or imminent terrorist-attack plotting against the oil and natural gas sector overseas or in the United States," said Homeland Security spokesman Matthew Chandler.

"However, in 2010 there was continuing interest by members of al Qaeda in targeting oil tankers and commercial oil infrastructure at sea."

Chandler said it is "unclear if any further planning has been conducted" since the middle of last year.

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Friday's intriguing people
NBC Sports executive Dick Ebersol was inducted into the U.S. Olympic Hall of Fame with the 2006 class.
May 20th, 2011
10:40 AM ET

Friday's intriguing people

Dick Ebersol

Along with ABC's Roone Arledge, Ebersol has defined the art of network sports coverage. Ebersol transformed the Olympic Games from a distant event into must-see TV that had an impact on all of broadcast journalism.

Thus, Ebersol's abrupt resignation as chairman of NBC Sports is a blow to the modern Olympic movement, said Bill Dwyre of the Los Angeles Times. Ebersol is to the Olympic Games  and athletes "as butter is to bread," Dwyre said.

"What he has done has been a service to athletes globally," Peter Ueberroth, the former U.S. Olympic Committee chairman and head of the 1984 Los Angeles Games, told the Los Angeles paper.

For NBC, the timing is horrible. Ebersol's resignation comes a few weeks before the International Olympic Committee holds a meeting with U.S. networks to decide on broadcast rights for the 2014 and 2016 Games.

Neither Ebersol nor NBC revealed what prompted his resignation, although The New York Times, which first reported the story, said Ebersol, 63, could not agree on a new contract with Comcast, which merged with NBC in January.

FULL POST

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Lance Armstrong over the years
May 20th, 2011
09:04 AM ET

Ex-teammate: I saw Lance Armstrong inject banned substances

A former cycling teammate said seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong used performance-enhancing drugs before several events, including the Tour de France, according to an interview with CBS' "60 Minutes."

In the interview, part of which CBS aired Thursday on the "CBS Evening News," Tyler Hamilton admitted that he, Armstrong and members of the U.S. Postal Service team often used banned substances. Hamilton has served a two-year suspension for doping.

Armstrong rebutted the allegation Thursday night on Twitter saying: "20+ year career. 500 drug controls worldwide, in and out of competition. Never a failed test. I rest my case."

Hamilton, who won an Olympic gold medal in 2004, told "60 Minutes" that he knows Armstrong used EPO, which helps boost endurance, several times, including in his win for the 1999 Tour de France.

"I saw (EPO) in his refrigerator. ... I saw him inject it more than one time like we all did, like I did many, many times," Hamilton said.

MayoClinic.com: Performance-enhancing drug risks

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On the Radar: Ex-IMF chief, Mideast peace, Mississippi floods, no 'Governator'
Ex-International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn leaves a New York courtroom Thursday during a recess.
May 20th, 2011
07:55 AM ET

On the Radar: Ex-IMF chief, Mideast peace, Mississippi floods, no 'Governator'

Strauss-Kahn release: Former International Monetary Fund chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn is expected to be released from jail Friday after being granted bail on charges related to the alleged assault of a housekeeper in a New York hotel, his attorney said. "It's a great relief to the family to be able to have him with them," defense attorney Bill Taylor told reporters outside the courtroom Thursday. He said his client was spending the night at the jail on Rikers Island before being released Friday.

The next court appearance is set for June 6. Supreme Court Judge Michael Obus granted bail on condition that Strauss-Kahn post $1 million in cash and a $5 million bond, surrender his travel documents and submit to home detention.

Obama-Netanyahu meeting: There is likely to be some tension at the White House on Friday when President Barack Obama meets with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the day after laying out his vision for the Middle East and North Africa. In his speech Thursday at the State Department, Obama said the pre-1967 borders of Israel should serve as the basis for negotiations in the formation of a future Palestinian state "with mutually agreed swaps, so that secure and recognized borders are established for both states."

In a statement issued in Jerusalem before his departure for Washington, Netanyahu said such borders would leave Israel "indefensible," by putting major Israeli population centers beyond those lines. Both leaders are set to make statements in the Oval Office around noon.

Mississippi flooding: The Mississippi River is expected to crest Friday at Red River Landing, Louisiana, a day after claiming the life of a 69-year-old Mississippi man.

Resignations at Japanese utility company: Tokyo Electric Power Co. President Masataka Shimizu has announced his resignation, and Managing Director Toshio Nishizawa has been tapped to replace him. Tokyo Electric is the parent company of the nuclear plants damaged by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, leading to radiation release and evacuations. The company reported a net loss of more than $15 billion Friday.

The board of directors must still approve Shimizu's resignation at a June meeting. Vice Presidents Sakae Mutoh and Makio Fujiwara also tendered their resignations.

No Schwarzenegger comic book: Comic book creator Stan Lee's company announced it would stop plans to produce "The Governator," a children's comic book and TV show based on former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's life. "In light of recent events, A Squared Entertainment, POW, Stan Lee Comics, and Archie Comics have halted production," the statement said. The statement was a revision from an earlier one that said the companies "have chosen to not go forward with the 'Governator' project."

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