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News In Brief

MID-DAY UPDATE: A new plume of volcanic ash halts airlines, S&P downgrades Italy

Katharine Crnko May 23, 2011

Here are today’s top headlines from the Marketplace Morning Report and from around the web.

European airline stocks fell today on concerns of a widespread disruption from the erupting volcano in Iceland. The U.K. says it expects some flights will be affected in British airspace tomorrow. Here is Marketplace’s coverage.

Italy has had its debt outlook cut to negative by the ratings agency Standard & Poors. S&P cited poor growth prospects and excessive borrowing as the reason for the warning. Check out Marketplace’s coverage.

And staying in Europe, Greece had its credit rating downgraded yet again.

The price of oil’s under $98 a barrel. Hopefully, that will translate to the gas pump.

Campbell’s Soup says its fiscal third quarter earnings rose 11 percent as sales increases in its snack, food service and international businesses offset a decline in its U.S. soup, sauce and beverage division.

Moody’s warned today things could get worse for Japan — before they get better. Sony said today yearly losses will likely top $3 billion. Honda said Japanese workers would be off 14 days because of parts shortages.

The European Union is tightening sanctions against Iran over worries about its nuclear program. The European Union imposed sanctions Monday on Syrian President Bashar Assad because of his government’s continuing crackdown on anti-government protesters, in which more than 900 people have reportedly been killed.

A Southern California woman is in trouble after trying to sell what she said was a rare piece of moon rock for $1.7 million. Moon rocks were brought back from U.S. lunar missions and it’s illegal to sell those national treasures. But the woman tried to sell the rock to an undercover NASA agent. There are all kinds of questions swirling around this case. Is the rock really from the moon? How’d she get it? But one question keeps popping up in my mind — when did NASA get undercover agents?

To Bountiful, Utah, where a guy named Josh Ferrin just bought a house. And when he was inspecting his new garage, he saw something poking out of a small door in the ceiling. He went up to check it out and found metal boxes filled with cash — $45,000 in all. Turns out it had been stashed away over many years by the home’s former owner who died last year. Ferrin says he’d love to use the money to remodel his new house but instead he’s giving it to the former owner’s children.

You can read the rest of today’s stories from the Marketplace Morning Report here.

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