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Nation & World briefly

Stocks plunge in US and around the world after Greece rescue thrown into doubt

NEW YORK (AP) – A wave of selling swept across Wall Street and stock markets around the world Tuesday after Greece’s prime minister said he would call a national vote on an unpopular European plan to rescue that nation’s economy.

The Dow Jones industrial average finished down nearly 300 points. It swung in 100 point bursts throughout the day as investors reacted to sometimes conflicting headlines about the next steps in Greece’s long-running debt crisis. Treasurys and other assets considered safe surged. The stocks of major banks, including Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase, were hit hard.

Intense selling roiled markets in Europe. Italy’s main stock index dropped 6.8 percent. France’s fell 5.4 percent and Germany’s fell 5 percent.

The value of the dollar rose, and bond prices jumped so dramatically that analysts said they were stunned. Analysts said the bond action reflected fears that the turmoil in Greece would tear at the fabric of Europe’s financial system and create a crisis that could engulf the entire European Union, which together forms the world’s largest economy.

“This brings all of the concerns about Europe back to the front burner,” said Scott Brown, chief economist at Raymond James. “If this ends up turning into a financial catastrophe in Europe, then no one will escape it.”

The first in a wave of inmates are released after 1980s-era penalties for crack are eased

WASHINGTON (AP) – Antwain Black was facing a few more years in Leavenworth for dealing crack. But on Tuesday, he was on his way home to Illinois, a free man.

Black, 36, was among the first of potentially thousands of inmates who are being released early from federal prison because of an easing of the harsh penalties for crack that were enacted in the 1980s, when the drug was a terrifying new phenomenon in America’s cities.

“I can’t wait for my son to get home,” said Black’s mother, Donetta Adams of Springfield, Ill. “I’ll just be glad to hug him and kiss him and see him right now.”

The 1980s-era federal laws punished crack-related crimes much more severely than those involving powdered cocaine – a practice criticized as racially discriminatory because most of those convicted of crack offenses were black.

More recently, the penalties for crack were reduced to bring them more in line with those for powder, and Tuesday was the first day inmates locked up under the old rules could get out early.

Light drinkers face slightly higher breast cancer risk

CHICAGO (AP) – Whether sipping beer, wine or whiskey, women who drink just three alcoholic beverages a week face slightly higher chances for developing breast cancer compared with teetotalers, a study of more than 100,000 U.S. nurses found.

The link between alcohol and breast cancer isn’t new, but most previous studies found no increased risk for breast cancer among light drinkers. The new research provides compelling evidence because it followed so many women for up to almost 30 years, experts said.

Still, the study only shows an association between alcohol and breast cancer; it doesn’t prove that drinking causes the disease. There could be some other reason light drinkers appeared to be at higher risk – maybe they were less active than nondrinkers or had unhealthy diets, said Dr. Susan Love, a breast cancer expert and author who runs a Santa Monica, Calif.-based research foundation.

Women in the study who averaged three to six drinks a week throughout the study had a 15 percent higher chance of developing breast cancer than nondrinkers. That risk means, for example, that among women in their 50s, who on average face a 2.38 percent risk for breast cancer, light drinking would result in 4 additional cases of breast cancer per 1,000 women

Risks increased by 10 percent for every 10 grams of alcohol consumed daily. That’s equal to a little less than one 12-ounce bottle of beer, a 4-ounce glass of wine or a shot of whiskey. The increasingly elevated risks were a little higher than seen in other research. It made no difference whether the women drank liquor, beer and wine.

Clinton family: Hillary Rodham Clinton’s mother, Dorothy Rodham, dies at 92

WASHINGTON (AP) – Dorothy Rodham, mother of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and former President Bill Clinton’s mother-in-law, died Tuesday at age 92 after an illness.

The family said Rodham died shortly after midnight, surrounded by her family at a Washington hospital. The secretary of state had cancelled a planned trip to London and Istanbul to be at her mother’s side.

In a statement, the Clinton family hailed Rodham as a woman who “overcame abandonment and hardship as a young girl to become the remarkable woman she was – a warm, generous and strong woman; an intellectual; a woman who told a great joke and always got the joke; an extraordinary friend and, most of all, a loving wife, mother and grandmother.”

President Barack Obama praised Rodham as a “remarkable person” who also was “strong, determined and gifted.”

“For her to have been able to live the life that she did and to see her daughter succeed at the pinnacle of public service in this country I’m sure was deeply satisfying to her,” Obama said after signing an executive order in the Oval Office. “My thoughts, Michelle’s thoughts, the entire White House’s thoughts go out to the entire Clinton family. I know that she will be remembered as somebody who helped make a difference in this country and this world.”