May 2009 Current Events: Business/Science News
Here are the key events in business and science news for the month of May 2009.
- FDA Warns of Danger of Diet Drug Hydroxycut, Suggests Stopping Use (May 1): The Food and Drug Administration warns dieters to stop using Hydroxycut immediately, due to serious health problems associated with the weight-loss drug. Almost two dozen cases of serious liver damage and one death have been attributed to the drug. The company that makes Hydroxycut has agreed to recall 14 of its products.
- Stress Tests: U.S. Banks Need Extra $75 Billion in Capital (May 7): Government-issued stress tests on the nation's 19 largest banks reveal that the financial system needs to raise an additional $75 billion in extra capital by November. These results are better than the industry once feared.
- U.S. Loses 539,000 Jobs in April; Unemployment Reaches 8.9% (May 8): The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 539,000 jobs were lost in April 2009, and unemployment hit 8.9%. Though both numbers are dreadfully high, they are slightly better than expected, leading experts to believe that the recession is nearing its end.
- European Commission Fines Intel $1.45 Billion in Antitrust Case (May 13): The European Commission fines Intel Corporation, the leading maker of semiconductor chips, 1.06 billion euros ($1.45 billion) for distorting market competition and misleading consumers on the availability of chips by other makers. This is the largest fine ever levied in Europe for breaking anticompetition laws.
- Chrysler to Shut Down 25% of Its Dealers (May 14): Chrysler automotive company, which filed for bankruptcy last month, announces plans to shut down a quarter of its dealers across the country, in an effort to downsize the company and reduce costs. In total, 789 dealers will be closed, which represents 187,000 jobs. (May 15): Car maker General Motors announces it will not be renewing the franchises of 1,100 of its dealers across the country in an attempt to cut costs and avoid bankruptcy, Chrysler's recent fate. G.M. has cut thousands of jobs and eliminated its Pontiac brand in recent weeks.
- Scientists Unveil "Missing Link" in Human Ancestry (May 19): Scientists unveil the fossilized remains of a 47-million-year-old primate, allegedly the ancestor of humans, as well as other modern primates. Nicknamed "Ida" after a scientist's daughter, the fossil is the first discovery of its kind—it is almost completely intact. The fossil was discovered in Germany in 1983, but was kept in private collections and only recently analyzed by scientists. "Lucy," the oldest and best-preserved skeleton of a hominid (two-footed, humanlike primate) is only 3.2 million years old.
- Global Financial Crisis Hits South Africa (May 26): For the first time since 1992, South Africa went into a recession. The South African economy contracted 6.4% in the first three months of 2009. The downturn is a result of shrinking business in the manufacturing and mining industries.