March 9th, 2010
03:27 PM ET

Video: Man describes runaway Prius

Deborah Feyerick
CNN Correspondent

A California driver says his Toyota wouldn't stop even though he was braking hard. CNN's Deborah Feyerick reports.

Filed under: Deborah Feyerick • Toyota
March 9th, 2010
03:21 PM ET

Financial Dispatch: Retirement savings down… millionaires up

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/LIVING/worklife/02/19/your.stimulus.plan/t1larg.jpg caption="The Employee Benefit Research Institute attributes the decline in current savings rates to job loss and other economic factors." width=300 height=169]

Andrew Torgan
CNN Financial News Producer

The percentage of American workers who say they have less than $10,000 in retirement savings grew to 43% this year, up from 39% in 2009. It’s also the third straight year that number has gone up.

In addition, the percentage of workers who say they have less than $1,000 in retirement savings jumped to 27% from 20% in 2009, according to the Employee Benefit Research Institute's annual Retirement Confidence Survey. Both readings exclude the value of primary homes and defined-benefit pension plans.

The EBRI's research director and co-author of the survey says Americans' attitudes toward retirement have clearly tracked the economy the last couple of years, and attributes the decline in current savings rates to job losses, mortgage problems and the suspension of corporate 401(k) matches in 2009. But he added that the economy isn't entirely to blame.

Other sobering highlights from the survey:

– Only 16% of respondents expressed confidence in their ability to save enough for a comfortable retirement.

– Only 46% of workers have tried to calculate what they need for a comfortable standard of living in retirement

– And 24% of workers said they have postponed their planned retirement age in the past year, up from 14% in 2008.

More millionaires minted

Nest eggs may be declining, but America's millionaires are on the rise again.

A new report from Spectrem Group says U.S. households worth $1 million or more grew to 7.8 million in 2009, up 16% from 2008 - a year when the market’s meltdown thinned the herd.

And the number of ultra high-net-worth households, worth $5 million or more, jumped 17% to 980,000 in 2009.

The report comes one year to the day after the Dow and the S&P 500 closed at 12 year lows in the thick of the financial crisis.

The market’s drop sent the number of millionaires plummeting 27% in 2008, Spectrem said. Even now, the number of millionaires is still well below an all-time high of 9.2 million in 2007.

Employers still skittish on hiring

Most employers are still cautious when it comes to hiring, planning neither to add nor cut jobs from their payrolls this spring, according to a survey released today by staffing firm Manpower.

About 73% of employers surveyed expect no change in their hiring plans from March to June this year.

But there were also signs of improvement in the hiring outlook. Only about 8% of employers said they plan to make cuts, down from 12% in the previous quarter, and 14% a year ago. About 16% of employers said they expect to add to their payrolls, up from 12% last quarter.

Of the 13 industry sectors that Manpower surveys, employers in leisure and hospitality, business services and mining reported the strongest hiring outlooks for the quarter.

Only the government sector reported a negative outlook, with 11% of government employers saying they plan to cut jobs, and 10% saying they plan to hire new staff.

All four regions tracked by Manpower expect modest hiring gains through June. Employers in the Northeast posted the highest hiring outlook, followed by the South and West, and finally, the Midwest.

Complaints about banks surge 42%

The Better Business Bureau is out with its latest survey on consumer complaints, which increased by nearly10% in 2009. That’s works out to nearly 1 million complaints filed by disgruntled customers last year

The cell phone industry received the largest number of complaints in 2009 with 37,477, a 2.1% increase over the previous year. The cable & satellite TV industry ranked second with 32,616 complaints, an 8.7% increase. Rounding out the top three, banks received 29,920 complaints, a 42.3% increase over the previous year.

The BBB says the significant increase in complaints regarding banks coincides with the 140 bank failures we saw in 2009 – the highest number of failures in 17 years.

You can also find an 82-page list at www.bbb.org of the wide variety of goods and services that consumers complained about, including:

– Dune Buggies (eight complaints)

– Magicians (five complaints)

-Glass Blowers (four complaints)

-Square Dance Callers (three complaints)

-Bagels (two complaints)

Follow the money… on Twitter: @AndrewTorganCNN

Filed under: Andrew Torgan • Economy
March 9th, 2010
01:42 PM ET

Is Boeing's all-but-assured tanker bid as good for America as it seems?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/07/15/boeing.job.cuts/art.boeing.generic.gi.jpg]

David Gewirtz | BIO
AC360° Contributor
Director, U.S. Strategic Perspective Institute

You may not know it, but yesterday the earth shook in America's military-industrial complex. The largest procurement deal in Air Force history now seems a lock for Seattle-based Boeing.

This is a story of American lives and livelihood, where nothing is truly as it seems.

Let's first look at what's at stake. When American military planes fly long distances, they need to be refueled in the air. This extremely dangerous dance is part of what gives America its advantage in the skies, but many of the KC-135 tankers we use are 50-years-old.

For the past decade, the Air Force has been trying to buy itself some new tankers. The price tag is the single largest in Air Force history, ranging from some $35 billion up to $100 billion dollars.

As you might imagine, with up to $100 billion at stake, a lot of companies will want a piece of the action. And it's here that things start to get ugly.

Boeing was America's favorite. But the European maker, Airbus, had some innovative design features that might make for a better solution. Of course, Airbus is European, so selling that kind of outsourcing wasn't easy.


Filed under: David Gewirtz • Economy • Job Market
March 9th, 2010
01:38 PM ET

Haitian President warns of "historical mistake"

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/09/t1.clintonpreval.jpg caption="US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton makes remarks with Haitian President Rene Preval at the State Department in Washington DC. Preval visits Washington to lobby for support following January's massive earthquake." width=300 height=169]

Charley Keyes
CNN Sr. Producer

Haiti must restore its political system, and hold elections, as well as repair the vast physical damage from the January earthquake, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Haitian President Rene Preval said Tuesday.

"President Preval made the very important point that we must work toward elections to ensure the security and legitimacy of the Haitian government," Clinton said. Parliamentary elections set for February were postponed and it is unclear whether the presidential election scheduled for the fall can proceed.

"I assured President Preval that the United States would work with the international community to hold elections as soon as appropriate," Clinton said during a question and answer session at the State Department.


Filed under: Haiti • Hillary Clinton
March 9th, 2010
01:26 PM ET

Freed from Haiti, missionary returns 'with mixed emotions'

American missionary Charisa Coulter leaves a Port-au-Prince police station on Monday.


After more than a month in a Haitian jail, an American missionary was free Monday night, looking forward to a hot shower and a long night in bed on home soil.

But Charisa Coulter's heart remains in Haiti, her father said, because her best friend, Laura Silsby is now alone behind bars.

"She came back with mixed emotions," Mel Coulter told CNN affiliate WSVN in Miami, Florida.

Haitian Judge Bernard Saint-Vil released Coulter on Friday. She walked out of judicial police headquarters in Port-au-Prince and headed to the nearby airport for a flight to Miami.

Coulter is staying in a hotel by herself, her father said. He did not know when she might return home to Boise, Idaho.

He said his daughter had been through a "trying experience" and was welcoming the solitude.

Coulter, Silsby and eight other Americans had been detained in Haiti on suspicion of kidnapping 33 children after the killer earthquake January 12.

Keep reading...

Filed under: Haiti
March 9th, 2010
01:13 PM ET

GOP health care refusal could backfire

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/02/26/t1.capitol.generic.side.jpg caption="Julian Zelizer: GOP can benefit if policy fails; already succeeded in holding up Obama agenda." width=300 height=169]

Julian Zelizer
Special to CNN

Most Republicans have opposed President Obama's health care bill from the first day he proposed reform. If the House passes the Senate bill in the next few days, it will probably do so without any Republican support.

In many ways, Republicans can benefit politically from their tough stand against the health care legislation. If the program does not work as expected and proves to be politically unpopular, Republicans can say they warned America. If health care premiums continue to rise and Americans feel that their policies have not been improved, Democrats will be to blame.

Regardless of whether the legislation passes, Republicans can already claim a victory, given that the struggle for legislation has lasted more than a year and tied up the rest of the Democratic agenda.

Opposing health care also provided conservatives with a rallying point that re-energized the party faithful and resulted in the creation of the Tea Party movement. Finally, the battle over health care was part of the reason that Democrats lost their filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.

Keep reading...

Filed under: Health Care • Republicans
March 9th, 2010
12:13 PM ET

Convicted serial killer won on 'Dating Game'

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/09/t1.alcala.jpg
caption="Rodney Alcala, 66, is representing himself in the penalty phase of his trial." width=300 height=169]

Gabriel Falcon
AC360° Writer

Before he was a convicted serial killer, Rodney Alcala was a winning bachelor on "The Dating Game."

"Oh yeah, I remember it quite clearly," said Jed Mills, the game-show contestant who sat next to Alcala in 1978. "He was creepy. Definitely creepy."

Found guilty in February of murdering four women and a child, Alcala, 66, is acting as his own attorney in the penalty phase of the trial. He is hoping to persuade the jury in Santa Ana, California, to spare his life.

The crimes Alcala committed date to the late 1970s. Nobody at the time knew the man with the wavy long hair and toothy grin was an apparent psychopath - an unstable, antisocial personality.

That includes Mills, a veteran television and film actor, whose only encounter with Alcala was when both of them appeared on "The Dating Game."

Keep reading...

Filed under: Gabe Falcon
March 9th, 2010
11:30 AM ET

Romney to Tea Party movement: No third party bids

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/09/art.romney.0305.gi.jpg caption="Mitt Romney on Monday warned members of the Tea Party movement not to mount third party efforts in general elections."]

Peter Hamby
CNN Political Producer

Mitt Romney has a message to Tea Party candidates nationwide: If you lose your Republican primary bids, stay on the sidelines.

The former Massachusetts governor on Monday warned the grassroots movement not to mount third party efforts in general elections, which he said would siphon votes from Republican nominees.

"If there is a conservative candidate that runs in the general election, then obviously, divide and fail is the result," Romney said in an interview with the conservative Web site Newsmax. "Hopefully Tea Party candidates will run in respective primaries and they will either win or lose. And if they win, they will go into the general. If they lose, they won't, and they will get behind the more conservative of the two finalists."

Romney explained that "dividing our conservative effort in the general elections" would "basically hand the country to Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, and that would be very sad indeed."

Keep reading...

Filed under: Mitt Romney • Peter Hamby • Tea Party
March 9th, 2010
11:25 AM ET

Massa says Democratic leaders want him out

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/POLITICS/03/08/massa.ethics/story.massa.gi.jpg caption="Rep. Eric Massa says his opposition to health care legislation contributed to an ethics probe into his conduct." width=300 height=169]

Kristi Keck

House Democratic leaders on Monday refuted embattled Rep. Eric Massa's allegation that they want to get rid of him because of his opposition to health care legislation.

"That's completely false. There is zero merit to that accusation," said Katie Grant, spokeswoman for House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland.

An aide to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, also denied Massa's claim.

Massa, D-New York, announced Wednesday he would not seek re-election because of health concerns and denied reports that he had harassed one of his Capitol Hill staff members. Two days later, he said he would resign effective Monday.

The first-term congressman said he learned of an ethics investigation into his conduct after deciding to retire.

Keep reading...

Filed under: 360° Radar
March 9th, 2010
11:17 AM ET

Will college become a luxury for the few?

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/03/09/t1.college.grad.jpg caption="Rising fees keep thousands of eligible students from realizing their dreams, Martínez says." width=300 height=169]

Katynka Z. Martínez
Special to CNN

Before the protests of tuition hikes last week, a colleague posted the following: "Need suggestions for protest songs. We have a DJ but need to give her a play list." The requests started coming in: Joan Baez, the Dixie Chicks, The Clash.

I wondered about the overlap between songs on a professor's play list and those on a student's. So I went to class and asked students to tell me what they wanted to hear. The list included Dead Prez, Lyrics Born, B-Side Players and Erykah Badu, among many others. This is the protest play list of a new generation.

My introduction to protest songs came through my mom.

As the daughter of a Chicano movement activist, I attended protests against wars in Central America and rallies in response to police repression.

Last week, I marched in solidarity with people across 17 states calling for well-funded, accessible public education.

While at the March 4 rally, I realized that California's public education system has had a great impact on who my mother and I are today.

As a 15-year-old immigrant newly arrived in Los Angeles, my mother was placed in remedial classes because she didn't speak English. She struggled with the language but excelled in math. Yet her high school counselor directed her to work at a local tortilla factory.

Keep reading...

Filed under: Education
« older posts
newer posts »