AP Top News at 2:56 p.m. EDT
(AP Online Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Stocks fluctuate after Fed keeps rates unchangedNEW YORK (AP) _ Wall Street fluctuated Tuesday after the Federal Reserve disappointed some investors by keeping interest rates unchanged, but also sent a signal to the markets that the economy is not in dire straits. In a statement accompanying its decision, the Fed noted the growing strains in the financial markets a day after the Dow Jones industrials plunged 504 points in reaction to continuing turmoil in the financial sector. The Fed also noted the ongoing weakening of the labor market. But it also sought to give some reassurance by saying it expected its policy moves to foster moderate economic growth over time.
Officals pledge to empty Ike-battered peninsulaGALEVSTON, Texas (AP) _ The few hundred holdouts on Texas' ravaged Bolivar Peninsula will be required to leave in the next few days, and officials said Tuesday they are ready to use emergency powers to empty the barrier island scraped clean by Hurricane Ike. Judge Jim Yarbrough, the top elected official in Galveston County, said the roughly 250 people who defied warnings they would be killed if they rode out the storm in the rural coastal community are a "hardy bunch" and there are some "old timers who aren't going to want to leave."
Gen. David Petraeus leaves Iraq after 20 monthsBAGHDAD (AP) _ Gen. David Petraeus, whose strategy for countering the Iraq insurgency is credited by many with rescuing the country from all-out civil war, stepped aside Tuesday as Gen. Ray Odierno took over as the top American commander of the conflict. At a traditional change-of-command ceremony attended by top Iraqi and American military and civilian officials, Petraeus said that Odierno's skills and experience make him "the perfect man for the job."
Obama says McCain is 'passing the buck' on economyGOLDEN, Colo. (AP) _ Republican presidential candidate John McCain on Tuesday blamed Wall Street's financial turmoil on unchecked corporate greed. His Democratic opponent, Barack Obama, dismissed McCain's call for a high-level commission to study the economic crisis as "passing the buck." The presidential campaigns argued over who would be best able to deal with the kinds of financial meltdowns that roiled the markets Monday and to prevent a similar crisis in the future. McCain proposed a review on the order of the one led by the Sept. 11 commission, the bipartisan panel that studied the events leading to the 2001 terrorist attacks.
Big fall in energy pushes consumer prices downWASHINGTON (AP) _ Consumer prices in August posted the first monthly decline in nearly two years as Americans finally get a break from surging energy prices. The Labor Department reported Tuesday that consumer prices edged down 0.1 percent last month, a significant improvement from a 1.1 percent price spike in June and a 0.8 percent rise in July. The cost of gasoline and other fuels have plunged, reflecting big drops in crude oil prices.
FDA defends plastic linked with health risksWASHINGTON (AP) _ With scientists at odds over the safety of a chemical found in plastic baby bottles, metal cans and other food packaging, consumers got minimal guidance Tuesday about how to protect themselves. At a scientific hearing, the Food and Drug Administration defended its assessment that bisphenol A_ or BPA_is safe, even as the first major study of health effects in people linked it with possible risks for heart disease and diabetes. The debate could drag on for years.
Survey: Nearly every kid a video gamerCHICAGO (AP) _ Katherine Graden doesn't really like shoot-'em-up video games. She prefers games on her Wii system that test her fitness and agility _ the ones her guy friends tease are her "sissy games." "I'm like, `Fine! Go play your violent games. I'll stick with mine,'" the high school freshman from Chicago says, chuckling.
Barbra Streisand headlines fundraiser for ObamaDENVER (AP) _ How does Barack Obama lure wealthy donors to a big-money fundraiser in Hollywood? Bring in Barbra Streisand as the headline performer. The Oscar-winning singer and actress was to perform Tuesday night on Obama's behalf in Beverly Hills. It was to be a two-step evening with a reception and dinner costing $28,500 a person followed by a later event featuring Streisand at $2,500 a ticket.
World's shortest man, leggiest woman meetLONDON (AP) _ Trafalgar Square routinely serves as a stage for mimes, jugglers and other acts, but the tourist attraction drew an exceptionally curious crowd Tuesday when the shortest man who can walk met the woman with the longest legs. He Pingping, of China, stands precisely 2 feet 5.37 inches tall (.7461 meters tall). The 20-year-old was born with a type of dwarfism.
Fired Yost says he has no regrets managing BrewersMILWAUKEE (AP) _ Former Brewers manager Ned Yost says he feels he accomplished everything he set out to do except for taking Milwaukee to the playoffs. Yost was fired Monday and replaced with third-base coach Dale Sveum. The Brewers are tied with Philadelphia for the NL wild-card lead with 12 games to play.
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