- Wang Jian, a researcher with China's national Development and Reform Commission, said that China may begin cutting interest rates for the rest of the year in an effort to stave off a possible economic slowdown. "The central bank will be very cautious about raising interest rates. In fact, I believe it may stop raising interest rates but cut interest rates in the second half of this year," he said in a Reuters interview.
- A works council is refusing to back the proposed merger between the Deutsche Boerse and NYSE Euronext. This is not enough to block the merger, but it could hurt Deutsche Boerse's efforts to convince German regulators to approve the merger.
- The Bank of England has warned that rising energy costs could push inflation in England as high as 5% before the end of the year. It has also downgraded its expectations for 2011 GDP from 2% to 1.75%.
- EU finance ministers will be discussing the possibility of aid to Greece next week, but will not make any final decisions until after a mission to Athens gives its verdict on progress on required financial reforms. Meanwhile, in what can only be described as a concerted effort to ensure that no further financial aid will be forthcoming, large-scale strikes protesting attempts to meet existing austerity targets have crippled the nation.
- Iran has suspended the espionage trial of three hikers on the grounds of the absence of the defendents. One defendant, Sarah Shourd, was released on bail, returned to the United States and then declined to return and stand trial because it would be "too traumatic". The other two have been held in Iran by the Iranian government since their arrests, and no explanation for their "absence" has been given.
- Toyota Motors, despite their production difficulties, has vowed to stay in Japan. "Toyota was born in Japan, raised in Japan and is now a global company," said Toyota President Akio Toyoda, "I love Japan and I want to keep the tradition of manufacturing strong here."
- UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for an immediate ceasefire in Libya. There was no direct response from either the rebels or the government.
- The European Union will open an office in the rebel-held city of Benghazi to improve the flow of aid to the rebels. Baroness Catherine Ashton, the EU foreign policy chief, also stated the explicit (and UN mandate-ignoring) objective of the EU: "Gaddafi must go from power and must end his regime."
- The Syrian army, responding in its typically sensitive to human rights fashion, spent Wednesday attempting to suppress pro-democracy protests in Homs by shelling and machinegunning the neighborhood of Bab Amro. The official position of the Syrian government appears to be that all of the violence is being caused by "armed terrorist groups".
- Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase & Co, Citigroup, Wells Fargo & co, and Ally Financial Inc have proposed paying $5 billion to settle a probe of their foreclosure practices by the Attorneys General of all 50 states.
- The Massachusetts Securities Division is considering charging Goldman Sachs with improperly passing analysts' tips to top clients, without making those tips available to all clients.
- The FDIC proposed new regulations for retail customers who engage in foreign exchange transactions with a bank instead of through an exchange. The investor would need to post a margin amount of 2% (for major currencies) to 5% (for minor currencies), and the banks would be required to keep detailed transaction records and provide more information to the investors. The regulation has not gone into effect yet, and is currently made public for a 30 day comment period.
- In "I'll be honest here, I thought they had gone out of business" news, AIG is going to sell 100 million shares in a public offering. The US Treasury will sell another 200 million shares at the same time (reducing the government's ownership from 92% to 77%). Whether the sale will meet the government's $28.72 per share break even target or not remains to be seen; as of the time of this writing, AIG was trading at $30.91, up $1.29.
- Now that NYSE Euronext has rejected a second takeover bid from Nasdaq OMX, Nasdaq has announced that they will launch a hostile takeover bid as soon as it clears antitrust hurdles with the Department of Justice. The offer could be made in the next few weeks.
- In what is probably a reelection bid move, Senators Robert Menendez, Sherrod Brown and Clair McCaskill have introduced a bill to repeal tax breaks for the five largest oil and natural gas companies in the United States. The bill's sponsors say that it will save taxpayers about $2 billion a year, but opposition is expected to be fierce. The bill does call for all new tax income generated through the repeal of the tax breaks to be put towards deficit reduction.
- A 58-year-old man in New Mexico was treated for bubonic plague, the first case of the "Black Death" in 2011. Typically, 10 to 15 people contract it in the US each year.
- Pro-democracy (or, at least, anit-Saleh) demonstrations have run to a third day in Yemen, paralyzing two major cities and increasing concerns by Saudi Arabia and the United States that the country could collapse into chaos and be used by al Qaeda to operate freely. Yemeni security forces have attempted to suppress that potential chaos with snipers, gunfire, tear gas, and baseball bat beatings from plainclothes agents. Protester responses have been unfavorable, and have resulted in at least on police building being burnt down.
 A works council is a German thing. It is a panel of elected employee representatives that assist workers and push their interests.
 In my opinion, if you care, this is also a little absurd. Why not a bill to repeal tax breaks for all oil companies, if you're going to do something like this?
 The article calls it "savings from the tax break". I dislike this, since it implies that the tax money was the government's in the first place, and that they're deciding to save it instead of returning it to a tax payer. Given that the only money the government has to work with is either money borrowed from investors or money collected through taxes. It does not save money by increasing taxes.