August 2nd, 2011
05:13 PM ET

Dow dives below 12,000

Some highlights from the day's business news:

U.S. stocks plunged on Tuesday as fears about a weak U.S. economy were enflamed after investors got another disappointing economic report - this time on consumer spending.

"Now that we have solved the debt ceiling issue, the market has moved onto the other data, which has taken a significant turn for the worse," said Ryan Detrick, senior technical strategist with Schaeffer's Investment Research.

The Dow Jones industrial average plunged 266 points, or 2.2%, to close at 11,867. The Dow was dragged lower by the industrial and manufacturing heavyweights of the 30-member index: Alcoa, General Electric, United Technologies and Boeing.

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Filed under: Budget • Business • Economy
Overheard on CNN.com: Congress: We’re not impressed
Debt ceiling legislation to prevent the U.S. from having to default came down to the wire on August 2, 2011.
August 2nd, 2011
05:03 PM ET

Overheard on CNN.com: Congress: We’re not impressed

Comment of the day:

“What a bunch of crooks and cowards.” –agt1419cxtEN

No love for the debt deal

With only hours left of what was deemed a critical August 2 deadline, the U.S. Congress passed a compromise bill to raise the U.S. debt ceiling. The bill calls for up to $2.4 trillion in savings over the next decade while raising the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt ceiling. The last-minute compromise allowed the U.S. to narrowly avert default which may have had serious economic consequences.

But it was the lengthy back-and-forth process – with few signs of genuine compromise - leading up to the legislation that left CNN.com readers feeling less than enthused:

DonkeyHoatie said, “Bring back Bill Clinton. We had a huge surplus when he was president.”

vj900 said, “Why now? Why did it take to the very last day before the two parties got some sense and found a way to work together after months of fighting, walking out of meetings, etc? This is why the American people don’t trust the Congress.”

CrunkSwaggaG said, “Nice to know that the burdens of this debt deal will fall solely on the middle class. God forbid we ask millionaires and billionaires to make a shared sacrifice. Thanks Republicans. I'll remember this next election.”

JDriver777 responded, “Who do you think supplied many of these reps and senators with campaign funds? ‘Millionaires and billionaires.’ there's your answer.”

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Update: Strangers still thank football star who stopped gun-wielding student
August 2nd, 2011
04:04 PM ET

Update: Strangers still thank football star who stopped gun-wielding student

Kaleb Eulls says he didn't do anything special, but others still think of him as a hero.

It’s been nearly two years since the high school football star tackled a gun-wielding girl on a bus of students on the way to school in Yazoo County, Mississippi. Eulls, a senior at the time, was one of the oldest kids on the bus when the girl started pacing the aisle, shouting and pointing the gun, threatening to shoot.

Rewind: Football star tackles girl with gun on school bus

Eulls says he was just doing what was right when he lunged at the girl and tackled her to the ground, wrestling the gun from her hands. He was hailed as a hero and made the rounds on the talk-show circuit, dutifully answering questions with “yes ma’ams” and “no sirs” but not exactly relishing the spotlight.

The attention gradually faded, and he went about his life. He graduated from Yazoo City High School in 2010 and entered Mississippi State University on a football scholarship.

Now a rising sophomore, the 6-foot-4, 275-pound defensive tackle has his hands full with school and team practice. The 20-year-old says he hopes to go pro one day but he's studying for a “backup” career in finance.

Others aren’t so quick to forget a good tale of heroism. People still approach him about it, and the Oprah Winfrey Network reportedly interviewed him for an upcoming show.

“I get people who thank me and said what a great job I did; some want to know what happened,” he said. “I’m the same person I always was, but people recognize me more.”

He still speaks humbly about the incident and responds to questions with “yes ma'am” or “no ma’am.” He rejects attempts to attribute greater meaning to the incident or credit it with changing his life.

Well, except for one thing maybe.

“It taught me to expect the unexpected because you never think anything special or crazy is going to happen to you. But it does sometimes,” he says.

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Filed under: College football • Mississippi • Sports
66-point explosion could turn out to be NBA's only highlight
NBA star Kevin Durant played some old-school street hoops Monday night in New York City.
August 2nd, 2011
12:34 PM ET

66-point explosion could turn out to be NBA's only highlight

It's not top of mind for casual sports fans - especially since the NFL just settled its lockout without much damage to players, owners, or fans - but the NBA is also in the midst of a labor dispute that's getting ugly.

After a meeting with the players union Monday, NBA Commissioner David Stern said he saw no reason for optimism, and on Tuesday, the league filed two lawsuits against the players, fueling fear that the NBA lockout could result in games or possibly the whole season being lost.

If you want to delve into the issues that divide the players and owners, NBA.com breaks it all down, but there's actually a positive basketball story with really cool highlights trending on Twitter right now featuring the league's leading scorer.

Kevin Durant, who plays for the Oklahoma City Thunder, scored 66 points in an exhibition game in New York's famed Rucker Park Monday night. ESPN has the details of the game and the significance of the storied court in Harlem.

In the trending video, you see what the game is really about and the joy it can bring to fans. Durant, wearing No. 21 in orange, drains 3-pointer after 3-pointer, the thrilled crowd gets on the court to celebrate with him, and you remember for these two minutes that sports is supposed to be fun.

The NBA and its players union still have time to make a deal and have a full season. NBA fans can hope that both sides will look at the video from Monday night and realize the value of their game goes beyond the billions they are struggling to divide among themselves.

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Filed under: Basketball • NBA • New York • Sports
Global pressure mounts in wake of Syrian crackdown
Members of a pro-Islamic human rights group hold up a sign reading 'We remember Hama' during a demonstration Monday outside the Syrian Embassy in Ankara, Turkey.
August 2nd, 2011
11:46 AM ET

Global pressure mounts in wake of Syrian crackdown

Pressure at the United Nations and world capitals mounted Tuesday on Syria's government as a fierce security crackdown on peaceful protests overnight left dozens of deaths, injuries and arrests.

At least 24 people were killed, dozens were wounded, and more than 150 people have been detained across the country after Ramadan prayers late Monday night, said Rami Abdul-Rahman, head of London-based human rights group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Those slain include 10 in the western city of Hama, six in the Damascus suburb of Irbeen, three in Homs province, two in Boukamal, two in Latakia on the coast and one in Madamaiya near Damascus, Abdul-Rahman said.

"The world is watching, and the international community is gravely concerned," U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said, adding that at least 145 people have been killed since Friday.

"I stand in solidarity with peaceful protesters who are demanding that the persistent violation of their human rights ends now. I also stand in solidarity with the families of all the victims who have lost their lives since the crackdown began and condemn in the strongest terms the reprehensible violence this government is using against its own people."

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Filed under: Syria • World
Gotta Watch: Shark Week!
August 2nd, 2011
11:42 AM ET

Gotta Watch: Shark Week!

Discovery Channel's "Shark Week" is upon us. In honor of the yearly tradition we have compiled our favorite shark videos.

Synonymous with summer, "Shark Week" has become a staple of many people's summer vacation. Who knew that a string of programming that started in 1987 as filler in between network seasons would turn into a yearly phenomenon followed by millions of diehard shark enthusiasts? Nothing to scare you away from the beach like a week full of endless shark footage, right? Take a trip through shark alley and check out our favorite shark encounters.

Great white shark attacks boat – A great white shark off the coast of Australia chomps on a boats propeller, giving the pair of boaters quite the scare.

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Filed under: Animals • Gotta Watch • Sharks • Uncategorized
August 2nd, 2011
11:40 AM ET

Senate expected to pass debt plan, end crisis Tuesday

The U.S. Senate is scheduled to vote on a last-minute compromise plan Tuesday to raise the nation's debt ceiling while imposing sweeping new spending cuts and narrowly averting an unprecedented national default.

Senators are set to vote on the plan about noon. Although the bill requires a supermajority of 60 votes to clear the 100-member chamber, it is expected to be easily approved.

The measure was approved by the House of Representatives on Monday by a 269-161 vote, overcoming opposition from unhappy liberal Democrats and tea party Republicans.

The measure needs to be signed into law by President Barack Obama before the end of the day. If the current $14.3 trillion debt limit is not increased by that point, Americans could face rapidly rising interest rates, a falling dollar and shakier financial markets, among other problems.

FULL STORY
August 2nd, 2011
11:36 AM ET

Chinese riot police out in force after Xinjiang violence

Businesses remained shuttered Tuesday as riot police patrolled the streets of a remote northwestern Chinese city where at least 14 people were killed in weekend violence blamed on Muslim militants, state media said.

The top government official in China's Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region vowed a severe crackdown on the instigators of the violence. On Monday, police shot and killed two suspects, both ethnic Uyghurs.

Memtieli Tiliwaldi and Turson Hasan had fled after an attack on a restaurant Sunday in Kashi, the state-run China Daily newspaper said. Kashi is known as Kashgar in the Uyghur language.

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Filed under: China
Bin Laden Group to build world's tallest tower
Saudi Arabia's Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud shows a model of the Jeddah Tower on Tuesday.
August 2nd, 2011
10:46 AM ET

Bin Laden Group to build world's tallest tower

Saudi Arabia's Kingdom Holding has hired Saudi Bin Laden Group to build the world's tallest skyscraper in Jeddah, Gulfnews.com reports.

Jeddah Tower will be 1,000 meters (3,281 feet) tall and will contain a Four Seasons luxury hotel, apartments, condominiums and offices that overlook the Red Sea, Financial Times reported.

Kingdom Holding is paying Bin Laden Group, one of the world's largest construction companies, about $1.2 billion to take on the five-year project, according to Financial Times.

Saudi Bin Laden Group was founded in 1931 by Muhammad Awad bin Laden, the billionaire father of terrorist Osama bin Laden. It built much of Saudi Arabia's highways and infrastructure, as well as entire districts and cities.

The company constructed additions to the Muslim nation's two holiest mosques in Mecca and Medina. It operates throughout the Middle East and was chosen in 1964 to reclad the golden Dome of the Rock mosque in Jerusalem.

Over the years, Saudi Bin Laden Group has expanded into a conglomerate that includes engineering, manufacturing and telecommunications, according to business analysis site Hoovers.com.

Osama bin Laden, the 17th of 52 children, inherited part of his father's fortune, but his radical activities led the family to disown him in 1994.

Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz Alsaud, a nephew of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah, announced the tower building contract Tuesday. He owns 95% of Kingdom Holding, according to Financial Times.

When completed, Jeddah Tower will easily surpass Dubai's 828-meter (2,717-foot) Burj Khalifa as the world's tallest building.

The Chicago firm Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture designed the project and will oversee its development, Gulfnews.com reported. Adrian Smith was one of Burj Khalifa's designers when he was with Skidmore Owings and Merrill.

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Filed under: Architecture • Saudi Arabia
August 2nd, 2011
09:52 AM ET

Ancient ape skull found in Uganda

Scientists say they have found a 20 million-year-old fossil of an ape skull in Uganda.

A team of French and Ugandan paleontologists found the skull at a site called Napak XV, said team leader Martin Pickford, according to the news site The Hindu.

"This is the first time that the complete skull of an ape of this age has been found. ... (I)t is a highly important fossil and it will certainly put Uganda on the map in terms of the scientific world," Pickford said Tuesday in Kampala, according to France's Expatica.com.

The skull belonged to a male Ugandapithecus major, an ancestor of today's great apes.

The expedition was led by Pickford, of the Collège de France in Paris, and professor Brigitte Senut of the Paris-based National Museum of Natural History, reported Uganda's New Vision website.

The discovery will enhance understanding of the development of apes and humans, the scientists said.

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Filed under: Animals • France • Science • Uganda