Marketplace PM for February 22, 2005
President Bush won a small concession from NATO today as he continues his tour across the pond. Europe's security force pledged to help train Iraq's military. Now even Iraq-war opponents like France and Germany have signed on. They won't send troops -- but they'll train Iraqi soldiers outside Iraq or pay for the training. The Bush administration is marketing such developments as signs of a thaw in transatlantic politics. From the European Desk in London Stephen Beard reports .... about a chill on any residual warmth.
Tomorrow fans of the wealthiest sports franchise on the planet will march to protest the possible takeover of their team by an American business tycoon. Manchester United is a British soccer team -- football as the rest of the world calls it -- with numerous international titles, a global brand name and a global following. U.S. businessman Malcolm Glazer, who already owns the NFL's Tampa Bay Bucaneers, holds a 28 percent share of United and is trying to buy the team as a gift for his sons. Fans, players and most of the international soccer community are fighting to keep that from happening. Stephen Cohen is a soccer analyst for Fox Sports....
Just when you think that real estate prices can't go any higher in some major cities, they do. Prime example: Los Angeles. The median price of new and existing homes in LA County last month: $414,000. Same time last year: $352,000. Bubble? What bubble. Now all this may be great for real estate builders, brokers, and lucky sellers. But commentator and humorist Tim Bedore argues it's lousy for Hollywood.
Wal-Mart debuted its new credit card today. The nation's biggest retailer is offering a Discover card -- take that Visa and Mastercard. Do we really need more credit cards? Americans are carrying more debt than ever before. As the cards and mortgages pile up you might turn to a credit counselor or a personal financial adviser. And some are seeking financial relief through... a higher power. Robin Urevich reports.
As usual, we've got a full mailbag. Tess has some letters in this edition of Marketplace Letters ...