May 14th, 2010
10:42 PM ET

Stocks take hit while oil, euro hit lows

A look at highlights from the day's business news:

Stocks take a hit

Stocks slumped Friday on worries that Europe's economic woes could spread to the United States, while the euro fell to 18-month lows versus the dollar and gold hit fresh records.

Investors dumped stocks and fled to safe-haven areas of the market such as the dollar, gold and government debt.

Despite the drop, the three major indexes finished higher for the week, with the Dow rising 2.3%, the S&P up 2.2% and the Nasdaq up 3.6%. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 163 points, or 1.5%.

Oil falls to 3-month low

Crude prices fell to a three-month low in electronic trading Friday amid a stronger dollar, higher supply and an approaching expiration for the June futures contract.

Crude for June delivery slipped $1.32 to $73.08 a barrel in global trading before the open of U.S. markets Friday. The last time oil fell below $74 was on Feb. 9, when it settled at $73.75.

Gasoline prices at the pump fell for the eighth day in a row, slipping to
$2.883 a gallon from $2.890 the day before, according to a survey by motorist group AAA.

Oil prices have been falling for the last four days, as concerns about economic instability in Europe have driven the dollar higher against the euro. A stronger dollar often dampens the price of oil, which is priced in the currency, as it makes it more expensive for foreign investors.

Euro falls to 18-month low

The euro fell to an 18-month low against the dollar Friday as investors remain worried about the outlook for economic growth in Europe.

The dollar rose 1.4% against the euro to $1.2365. Earlier, the euro fell to a low of $1.2359, the lowest level since November 2008. The dollar rose 0.6% versus the British pound to $1.4524. It was down 0.3% against the Japanese yen at ¥92.45.

Earlier in the week, the euro leaped on the weekend announcement of a nearly $1 trillion European rescue package. But as the week wore on, investors turned back to lingering problems in the euro zone.

Treasurys continue to climb

Treasurys extended gains Friday as investors continued to worry about European debt and the global economic recovery.

The benchmark 10-year note rose 21/32 to 100-13/32, pushing the yield down to 3.45% from 3.54% on Thursday. Bond prices and yields move in opposite directions. The 30-year bond was the one exception, falling 2-21/32 to 100-20/32 and yielding 4.34% after a $16 billion auction on Thursday.

Markets tumbled on Friday as investors feared that the euro zone's economic problems could spread to the U.S. reporters Alexandra Mooney, Ben Rooney, Chavon Sutton, Blake Ellis and Annalyn Censky contributed to this report.

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Filed under: Economy
May 14th, 2010
10:22 PM ET

The day's most popular stories

The five most popular stories on in the last 24 hours, according to Newspulse.

'Shocking' conditions at Tylenol plant: The quality and safety violations that led to the shutdown of a Tylenol plant were extremely serious, and could lead to tough action by regulators on drugmaker Johnson & Johnson.

Rachael Ray rips into KFC's new sandwich: HLN's Joy Behar chews the fat with Rachael Ray about the KFC Double Down and how food has changed over the years.

Marijuana plantations feeding Europe's habit: The mountains of Colombia's southwest Cauca province are far from the reach of the law and just as far from market, making it difficult to scrape a living selling legal produce, dirt-poor peasants say.

Girls' video 'inappropriate,' Dr. Phil says: Dr. Phil McGraw talks to CNN's Larry King on the video showing young girls dancing to the song "Single Ladies."

Stop finger-pointing over oil leak, Obama says: President Obama on Friday criticized executives from BP and two other companies for blaming each other for the continuing oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico.

Filed under: Gulf Coast Oil Spill • Most Popular
May 14th, 2010
09:38 PM ET

Medvedev: Brazilian visit could be last chance for Tehran

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva's visit to Iran this weekend could be the last opportunity to reach an agreement with Tehran and to avoid U.N. Security Council sanctions, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said Friday.

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Filed under: Brazil • Iran • Nuclear • Russia
May 14th, 2010
09:37 PM ET

Argentine president to British PM: Can we talk Falklands?

Memo from Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner to new British Prime Minister David Cameron: Congrats on your appointment, now can we discuss the Falklands?

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Filed under: Argentina • David Cameron • Falkland Islands • United Kingdom
May 14th, 2010
08:21 PM ET

Whale freed from fishing net has died, official says

A gray whale has died two days after rescuers near Los Angeles, California, cut away fishing net that was wrapped around its tail and a fin, an official with the with National Marine Fishery Service said.

According to CNN affiliate KCAL, the whale was spotted Monday, swimming slowly in the shallow harbor at Dana Point. On Wednesday a disentanglement team from Sea World removed the commercial fishing nets and ropes, and the whale appeared to head out to sea.

Joe Cordaro, a wildlife biologist with the fishery service, says it is the 10th gray whale this season to die during migration.

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Filed under: U.S. • Whales
May 14th, 2010
07:47 PM ET

$1.3 billion donated for Haiti relief

Despite the economy, donors opened their wallets to give more than $1 billion in the first four months of the relief effort in earthquake-devastated Haiti, a generous response for an international disaster.

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Filed under: Earthquake • Haiti
May 14th, 2010
05:27 PM ET

Man who admitted killing two teens gets multiple life terms

Registered sex offender John Albert Gardner III was sentenced to three consecutive life terms Friday for the deaths of two teens and the attempted rape of a third victim in a case that has sparked calls for stiffer penalties against sex offenders.

Gardner, 31, pleaded guilty April 16 to the murders of San Diego, California-area teens Chelsea King and Amber Dubois. He also pleaded to assault with intent to commit rape of a third person.

Gardner was arrested on February 28, three days after he abducted, raped and stabbed 17-year-old King, and buried her body in a shallow grave, according to court documents.  She was last seen alive leaving Poway High School. Her car was found at Rancho Bernardo Community Park, where she was known to run on the trails.

Dubois was last seen alive walking to Escondido High School on February 13, 2009. She was considered a missing person for more than a year, until Gardner led authorities to her remains in March in exchange for assurances that it would not be used against him in court.

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Filed under: Justice
May 14th, 2010
03:07 PM ET

Police: 6 killed in shooting outside Juarez kindergarten

The driver of the van lost control and ended up crashing the vehicle into the kindergarten building.

Six people were shot and killed Friday morning outside a kindergarten in the Valley of Juarez in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, the municipal police department told CNN Friday.


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Filed under: Mexico
May 14th, 2010
02:28 PM ET

Space Shuttle Atlantis lifts off for final scheduled mission

[Updated at 2:30 p.m.] Space Shuttle Atlantis is now successfully in orbit, NASA said.

[Updated at 2:29 p.m.] Space Shuttle Atlantis' main engine cutoff is confirmed, NASA said, and the external fuel tank has separated.


May 14th, 2010
01:49 PM ET

Watching hatch close on Atlantis' (maybe) final flight

Space Shuttle Atlantis sits on the launch pad as it prepares for what may be the shuttle's final flight.

The astronauts were all on board. The hatch was closed.  George Diller, voice of launch control, said, "the astronauts appear to be starting their pressure checks."

As I listened to the commentary I could not help but think how all this was coming to an end.  In many ways, it's going to be an agonizing end.

This is supposed to be the last flight of the orbiter Atlantis.  Maybe.  There are only two flights left after this. Maybe.  Instead of a clean-cut ending to the shuttle program,  it looks as if this will be a long, drawn out and agonizing  march to the end.


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Filed under: Space
May 14th, 2010
12:57 PM ET

Security Brief: To track terrorists follow the money - if you can

U.S. officials have learned to track terrorists the best way is to follow the money trail. The problem is it isn't always that easy.

Editor's note: This is the final post of a three-part blog series on terrorist finances. In Part 1 we examined al Qaeda’s challenging financial situation. In Part 2 we examined at the Taliban’s money trail and in the final Part 3 of the series we look at international cooperation (or sometimes the lack-thereof) in tracking terrorist financing. Bookmark our Security Brief section to track the latest on national security issues.

“I'll keep you in the right direction if I can, but that's all. Just... follow the money.” So said Deep Throat, in the movie “All The President’s Men.”

It’s a lesson the U.S. government has taken to heart in pursuit of international terrorists. But it’s not always easy to “follow the money” when critical information is off-limits on another continent.

Somewhere in Europe there are huge computer servers that process about 11 million financial “messages” involving trillions of dollars every day. They belong to an organization called SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications), which acts as a secure link for the global financial community to exchange information about the movement of money. But this arcane business has become the subject of an unseemly squabble between Europe and the United States over tracking the financing of terrorism.


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Filed under: Security Brief • Terrorism
May 14th, 2010
12:30 PM ET

At least 25 killed in Iraq bombing

At least 25 people were killed and 100 were wounded in a double suicide bombing in the northern Iraqi city of Tal Afar on Friday, an Interior Ministry official said.


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Filed under: Iraq • World
May 14th, 2010
12:27 PM ET

Obama blasts oil executives for Gulf spill blame game

[Updated at 12:27 p.m.] President Obama promised Friday that his administration will end what he characterized as a cozy relationship between the federal government and oil companies drilling in areas such as the Gulf of Mexico.

Moving forward, we will "trust but we will verify" industry actions, he said at the White House.

[Posted at 12:24 p.m.] President Barack Obama said Friday that he did not appreciate what he considered to be the "ridiculous spectacle" of oil executives blaming each other for the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico during this week's congressional hearings.


May 14th, 2010
12:12 PM ET

Sports Update: The LeBron 'stakes, NHL, Preakness

LeBron James has said he wants to win -- the question now is -- where will he try and make that happen?

Now the question is this: Has LeBron James played his last game for the Cleveland Cavaliers? Boston eliminated Cleveland last night in the Eastern Conference semifinals, the second straight season the No. 1-seeded Cavaliers were bounced prior to the NBA Finals. After the game (click here for full coverage), James gave little away about what uniform he will be wearing next season; he is eligible to opt out of his contract this summer. “I want to win,” James said. “That’s only my only concern. It’s all about winning for me. I think the Cavs are committing to that but at the same time I have given myself options to this point. Me and my team have a game plan that we will execute and we’ll see where we will be at.”

The team James was talking about wasn’t the Cavs, and speculation about the moves of LeBron James Inc. will be the talk of the sports world over the next few weeks. Of course, there are actual games to play in the immediate future and we highlight a few below (all times Eastern):

-Flyers at Bruins (7:00 p.m., Versus)
Philadelphia is the first NHL team since 1975 to force a Game 7 after losing the first three games of the series, and  can join the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs, the 1975 New York Islanders and the 2004 Boston Red Sox as the only teams to win a series after losing the first three games with a victory tonight. But they’ll have to do it on enemy ice.


May 14th, 2010
12:10 PM ET

Obama wants money to help Israel build defense system

The White House is asking Congress to approve $205 million to help Israel build a new short-range rocket defense system, Obama administration officials confirmed Friday. FULL POST

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Filed under: Israel • U.S. • World
May 14th, 2010
12:09 PM ET

Member of U.K. parliament stabbed

U.K. parliament member Stephen Timms was stabbed, the Labour Party said.

A member of parliament in the United Kingdom, Stephen Timms of the Labour Party, has been stabbed, the party press office said Friday.

Timms was taken to a London hospital where his condition was described as "not life threatening," the press office said.

Police said a 21-year-old woman was taken into custody. Timms has represented West Ham since 1994.

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Filed under: United Kingdom
May 14th, 2010
12:05 PM ET

At least 7 dead, 101 injured in Thai anti-government clashes

A police truck burns in the background of anti-government protests in Bangkok, Thailand.

[Updated at 12:05 p.m.] At least seven people have died and 101 have been injured Friday in clashes between anti-government demonstrators and security forces in Bangkok, Thailand, hospital officials report.  FULL POST

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Filed under: Thailand
May 14th, 2010
10:10 AM ET

Drug lord's wife released after questioning

Mexican police have released the wife of one the nation's most wanted drug lords after taking her into custody, prosecutors said.


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Filed under: Justice • Mexico • World
May 14th, 2010
09:44 AM ET

Volcanic ash shuts down Iceland airport

A NASA satellite captures the Eyjafjallajokull Volcano's ash plume, which can be seen colored brown.

Volcanic ash forced the closing of Iceland's main airport Friday.

Officials said they hope to reopen Keflavik International Airport in Reykjavík at midnight (8 p.m. ET).

Watch a webcam view of the Volcano


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Filed under: Air travel • Iceland • Uncategorized
May 14th, 2010
09:17 AM ET

On the Radar: Gulf oil spill, a CNN hero and the laser

Gulf oil spill - A U.S. congressman said he will launch a formal inquiry Friday into how much oil is gushing into the Gulf of Mexico after learning of independent estimates that are significantly higher than the amount BP officials have provided. BP officials have said 5,000 barrels per day of crude, or 210,000 gallons, have been leaking for the past three weeks. But after analyzing videos of the spill, a researcher at Purdue University has predicted that about 70,000 barrels of oil per day are gushing into the Gulf.

President Obama also plans to discuss the Gulf of Mexico oil spill with top aides on Friday; he is to talk publicly about those meetings at 11:50 a.m. ET. The Coast Guard plans to brief reporters on efforts to fight the spill at 10 a.m.

CNN Heroes - Dana Cummings survived two tours of combat duty as a Marine in the first Gulf War without injury. But 10 years later, he lost a leg in a car crash. A divorced father of three, Cummings said he was abandoned by his girlfriend and denied physical rehabilitation by his insurance. Realizing he needed to be strong for himself and his children, he began an intense workout regimen in the hospital. He then found his own brand of rehab in an unlikely place: A surfboard. In 2003, he helped create the Association of Amputee Surfers, or AmpSurf. The nonprofit, volunteer-run organization is dedicated to teaching people with disabilities, most of them veterans, how to surf — for free.


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