MID-DAY UPDATE: Nuclear crisis intensifies in Japan, G7 rallies to lower the yen
Here are the latest headlines from the Marketplace Morning Report and around the web.
- The crisis rating at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear facility has been raised from level 4 to level 5 on an international scale of 7 as emergency work crews continue to regain control of the reactors. Asia Bureau Chief Rob Schmitz reports on the mood of the Japanese city Sendai, just miles away from the reactors.
- With Japan's currency at historic highs, the Group of Seven have launched a coordinated effort to weaken the yen and stabilize the markets. A weak yen will make Japanese goods more affordable and competitive in the global market.
- A big milestone today as we emerge from the financial crisis that sparked the global economic downturn. Today the Federal Reserve is expected to lift crisis-era restrictions on banks that have passed the most recent round of stress tests. That means banks will be able to raise dividends and buy back shares. Here's Marketplace's coverage.
- In New Hampshire cigarette taxes could be going down. Lawmakers in the Granite State passed a bill yesterday that would cut the state cigarette tax by 10 cents to $1.86 a pack to attract frugal smokers from other states. Here's Marketplace's story.
- Shoemaker Nike reported earnings rose slightly in its last quarter. But disappointing profits had shares down 6 percent overnight.
- General Mills is gonna pay more than $1billion for a 50 percent stake in French yogurt maker Yoplait.
- Beef prices are also likely heading higher. The USDA is expected to report today that U.S. feedlots bought fewer cattle last month because of the surging price of corn used to feed them.
- New York City is in the midst of a fight with a unicyclist. Acrobat Kyle Peterson has been pulled over and ticketed a couple times while riding his unicycle on the sidewalk. He says one time officers sang circus music to him. So according to the New York Daily News Peterson is suing the city because the law only prohibits two and three wheeled devices on sidewalks. The city claims there's no real difference between a bicycle and a unicycle. Peterson probably just wants to avoid having to walk to work in his clown shoes.
- From the DMV in London... After numerous attempts, a British woman has yet to pass her driver's test. She's failed 90 times. Ninety. 9-0. The woman's paid $4,500 so far in fees. But it could be worse. In 2009, a South Korean driver finally passed HER driver's test... After failing it 950 times.