Summer National News Catchup
August 22, 2011
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*On July 5, Casey Anthony was found not guilty of murder in the death of her child, Caylee. Instead, she was charged with four misdemeanors for lying to law enforcement about her daughter’s whereabouts. She was released almost a week later and went into hiding to ensure her safety. Much of the American population believed she was responsible for the death of her child.
*Standard & Poor stripped the U.S. of its AAA credit rating on Aug. 5. America’s debt ceiling deal, which failed to cut S&P’s desired amount from the deficit, is the main reason for this downgrade. The two other rating agencies, Moody’s and Fitch, have upheld the U.S. government’s AAA rating.
*In early August, London became a scene for disastrous rioting. The protest began in the Tottenham neighborhood after a local man, Mark Duggan, was shot by the police while being arrested. The rioting spread across London. Shops were looted, cars were burned and almost 200 hundred people were arrested. The Prime Minister, David Cameron, blames social media for the spread of the chaos. He even suggested banning certain people from such sites in the future to keep the peace.
Marriage Equality Act: A New York State law legalizing same-sex marriage. It also prohibited state and local courts from penalizing religious institutions for refusing to recognize or sanctify such marriages.
Misdemeanors: A criminal offense less serious than a felony.
Debt Ceiling Deal: This is a federal deal to raise the nation’s debt “ceiling” so the U.S. federal government won’t default on all of it’s debt. Basically, it allowed the U.S. to go past the national debt limit and gave the U.S. more time to figure out how to decrease the government’s deficit. It also enacted spending cuts (not enough to keep our AAA credit rating) and created a “Super Congress” to trim the federal budget further by the end of the year. This super-commission has garnered much negative attention because some question its legality.
Credit Rating: The credit rating a financial indicator to potential investors of debt securities such as bonds. A poor credit rating indicates that the company or government has a high risk of defaulting. A credit agency decides the rating based on previous financial history and analysis of long term economic prospects.
AAA: It is the highest credit rating on the Standard & Poor’s scale. It is considered “prime” security. We have been downgraded to AA+. This is the second highest on the scale. It is still considered high grade security.