LONDON, July 27 (Reuters) – Bells rang across Britain on Friday to signal the final countdown to the Olympic Games, which open with an exuberant and eccentric ceremony celebrating the nation in an explosion of dance, music and fireworks inspired by Shakespeare’s “Tempest”.
Watched by 60,000 people at the main Olympic stadium built in a run-down part of east London and a global audience of more than a billion, the event will have passages described by British Prime Minister David Cameron as “spine-tingling”.
The spectators will be urged to join in sing-a-longs and help create spectacular visual scenes at an event that sets the tone for the sporting extravaganza, when 16,000 athletes from 204 countries share the thrill of victory and despair of defeat with 11 million visitors.
(Reuters) – Consumer sentiment fizzled in July, falling to its lowest level of the year, as Americans took a dim view of the employment situation and their income prospects, a survey showed on Friday.
The Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan‘s final reading on the overall index on consumer sentiment fell to 72.3 from 73.2 in June. It was the second month in a row attitudes have soured and the lowest level since December.
But the level was a touch higher than economists’ expectations for it to be unchanged from July’s preliminary reading of 72.
“While consumers do not anticipate an economy-wide recessionary decline, they do not expect a pace of economic growth that could satisfactorily revive job and income prospects,” survey director Richard Curtin said in a statement.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of just 1.5 percent from April through June, as Americans cut back sharply on spending. The slowdown in growth adds to worries that the economy could be stalling three years after the recession ended.
The Commerce Department also said Friday that the economy grew a little better than previously thought in the January-March quarter. It raised its estimate to a 2 percent rate, up from 1.9 percent.
Growth at or below 2 percent isn’t enough to lower the unemployment rate, which was 8.2 percent last month. And most economists don’t expect growth to pick up much in the second half of the year. Europe’s financial crisis and a looming budget crisis in the U.S. are expected to slow business investment further.
Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Potter County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
PHILADELPHIA, PA (AP) — Authorities say a woman has been killed by a tree felled by powerful storms that left tens of thousands of customers without power, mostly in western and central Pennsylvania.
The Potter County coroner says 66-year-old Linda Button was killed Thursday evening in Genesee Township. That’s about 150 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, near the New York border. State police in Coudersport expect to release more details later Friday.
First Energy Corp. reported about 70,000 customers without power on Friday morning, with the worst problems in Butler County, north of Pittsburgh, and Cambria County, east of the city. Thousands more outages were reported by PPL Corp. in central Pennsylvania.
In New York City, the storm is blamed for killing a 61-year-old man who was struck by collapsing scaffolding outside a Brooklyn church. Police say lighting brought bricks down onto the scaffolding.
Map of Pennsylvania highlighting Berks County (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A man riding his bicycle on the Thun Trail next to the Schuylkill River was hit on the head and knocked down by a falling tree Thursday night as a powerful thunderstorm roared through Berks County, felling trees, power lines and even street signs.
The rider, a middle-aged man who was not identified by emergency personal, managed to call 9-1-1 for help from under the large tree, which shattered his helmet and mangled his mountain bike.
The accident happened at 7:20 p.m. as the storm knocked down trees and wires across Berks. Transformers blew up, alarms went off in homes and commercial buildings and the lights flickered in the city.
County emergency dispatchers were able to direct city firefighters to a general area along the trail after using cell towers to triangulate the location of the injured man’s cellphone.