Videogame Software Slides Again In February, Despite New Consoles
Research firm NDP Group said.U.S. consumers continue to buy videogame consoles at a rapid clip but not much software. Sales of new games at retail shops fell 11% to $328 million in February, despite strong sales of new Microsoft Corp. and Sony Corp. videogame consoles released in November. NPD said videogame hardware sales rose 42% to $347 million. Liam Callahan, an NPD analyst said that software sales triggered by the new consoles haven’t been enough to offset the dramatic falloff in purchasing for older videogame systems. NPD said Sony’s PlayStation 4 continued to be the top-selling videogame console in the U.S., without disclosing specific figures.
U.S., U.N. Announce Deal On Gaza Cease-fire
The United States and United Nations announced Thursday that Israel and Hamas have agreed to a humanitarian cease-fire to start Friday morning for 72 hours. In a statement released in New Delhi where Secretary of State John Kerry is traveling, the U.S. and U.N. said they had gotten assurances that all parties to the conflict in Gaza had agreed to an unconditional cease-fire during which there would be negotiations on a more durable truce in the three-week-old fighting.
Iraqi Kurds, Battling Islamist Threat, Press Washington For Arms
Kurdish and U.S. officials said the semi-autonomous Kurdish region in northern Iraq is pressing the Obama administration for sophisticated weapons it says Kurdish fighters need to push back Islamist militants threatening their region. A Kurdish official said the request was discussed during a Kurdish delegation's visit to Washington in early July, and U.S. officials said Washington was considering ways to bolster the Kurdish defenses. The Kurds say U.S. help is critical to enable the Peshmerga, the Kurds' paramilitary force, to repel fighters from the Islamic State, an al Qaeda spinoff that seized a wide swath of Iraqi territory in a stunning advance in the last few months.
Israel Vows To Destroy Hamas Tunnels, Deaths Spike
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu vowed Thursday to destroy Hamas' tunnel network designed for deadly attacks inside Israel "with or without a cease-fire," as the Palestinian death toll soared past 1,400 — surpassing the number killed in Israel's last major invasion of Gaza five years ago. Netanyahu's warning came as international efforts to end the 24-day-old war seemed to sputter despite concern over the mounting deaths. The Israeli military said it was calling up an additional 16,000 reserve soldiers to pursue its campaign against the Islamic militants.
US, UN Announce Deal On Gaza Cease-fire
The United States and United Nations are announcing that Israel and Hamas have agreed to a humanitarian cease-fire to start Friday morning for 72 hours. In a joint statement, the U.S. and U.N. said they had gotten assurances that all parties to the conflict had agreed to an unconditional cease-fire during which there would be negotiations on a more durable truce. The statement was released in New Delhi, where Secretary of State John Kerry is now meeting with Indian officials.
Southwest Airlines, SeaWorld To End Marketing Partnership
Southwest Airlines and SeaWorld said on Thursday they are ending a longtime marketing partnership, as the airline faces pressure from animal rights groups critical of the marine life conditions at its popular tourist attractions. The companies called it a mutual decision to drop the contract when it expires at the end of the year. SeaWorld Entertainment and Southwest Airlines began joint promotions in 1988. SeaWorld has faced increasing scrutiny over conditions for its killer whales, following last year's broadcast of the documentary "Blackfish," telling the story of an orca that killed a trainer at SeaWorld's park in Orlando, Florida, in 2010.
Amid Default, Argentina Says Its Open To Talks
Argentina's economy minister says he is willing to hold further talks with holdout investors whose claim for bond payments forced the South American country into its second default in 13 years. Economy Minister Axel Kicillof spoke after returning from failed talks in New York. A U.S. court has blocked Argentina from making interest payments to creditors until it settles with U.S. hedge funds who claim they are owed about $1.5 billion. Brazil's stock market fell more than 8 percent Thursday because of the default.
Default Fuels Uncertainty, Stock Drop In Argentina
Argentina's economy minister says he is willing to hold further talks with holdout investors whose claim for bond payments forced the South American country into its second default in 13 years. Economy Minister Axel Kicillof spoke after returning from failed talks in New York. A U.S. court has blocked Argentina from making interest payments to creditors until it settles with U.S. hedge funds who claim they are owed about $1.5 billion. Argentina's stock market fell more than 8 percent Thursday because of the default.
US Stocks Plunge, Wiping Out July's Gains
U.S. stocks had their worst one-day drop since February as traders worried about weak corporate earnings and the looming end of economic stimulus from the Federal Reserve. The drop interrupted a prolonged advance in the market and erased its gains for July. It was only the second monthly loss for stocks this year, after January. The Dow Jones industrial average plunged 317 points, or 1.9 percent, to close at 16,563 Thursday. The Standard & Poor's 500 index dropped 39 points, or 2 percent, to 1,930.
Jamie Foxx To Play Mike Tyson In Planned Biopic--Knockout Casting Alert!
Jamie Foxx may have met his next Oscar match. In a bit of TKO casting, the 46-year-old actor is attached to play Mike Tyson in an as-yet untitled biopic about the controversial and rather fascinating former heavyweight boxing champ being penned by Boardwalk Empire creator Terence Winter. Foxx's manager, Rick Yorn, is producing and has been instrumental in getting the project off the ground. While it's unclear as yet which areas of Tyson's life the film will focus on, the plot is rife with possibility, considering Tyson's triumph-and-tragedy-packed, rags-to-riches-to-prison-to-bankrupty-to-riches-to-pop-culture-infamy trajectory.