Local Leads: 12/1/08

News you need to know

The following stories have been hand-selected by the Assignment Desk at News4:

U.S. stocks took a deep dive today as investors remained nervous about the holiday shopping season and digested more poor economic data. The Dow Jones industrial average was down 4.1 percent, or 366 points, while the Standard & Poor's 500-stock index fell 4.9 percent, or 44 points. The tech-heavy Nasdaq was down 5.1 percent, or 78 points. (Washington Post)

Black Friday marked the official start of the holiday shopping period, but today is the ceremonial kickoff for online retailers. For the past several years, the Monday after Thanksgiving has been called "Cyber Monday." The term was coined after online retailers noticed a trend of people shopping on the Web that day--which is the first workday after Thanksgiving for most. Data show that a large percentage of online shopping takes place at work. Early indications are that people are cutting back on online shopping this holiday season as the economy weakens. So online retailers plan major promotions to draw in their dollars.  (Free-Lance Star

Consumers swarmed the nation's stores over the weekend in search of deeply discounted electronics and apparel, sending sales rising and giving retailers a little Christmas cheer, according to early reports released yesterday. (Washington Post)

Feeling sorry for gas stations as prices plummet? Don't.  Although retail gasoline prices have fallen 55% since mid-July, wholesale prices have plunged even more sharply - 68%, according to the Oil Price Information Service. As a result, retailers have enjoyed record profit margins since mid-September.  "Guess what? They're making substantially more money at $1.89 (a gallon) than they were at $4.29," says OPIS chief oil analyst Tom Kloza. (USA Today

A female student was showering in a women's bathroom in Cumberland Hall last week when a man used a cell phone camera to attempt to take a photograph of her, University Police said.The woman was showering at 6 p.m. on Nov. 26 when the incident took place. The man fled down the building's stairs after the student noticed and yelled at him, according to a flier posted in Cumberland Hall. The man is described by police as wearing a gray jacket with a blue hooded sweatshirt. Residents of Cumberland Hall were troubled by the Peeping Tom incident. (Diamondback)

DC police have deployed 11 new speed radar cameras in the city.The locations include stretches of Eastern Avenue, Southeast-Southwest Freeway, Military Road NW and Suitland Parkway SE. Starting today, police will issue warnings. But after Dec. 26, fines will be issued to owners of vehicles caught speeding. The amounts will range from $30 to $200.

Sheila the quarter horse alerted Vernon Stottlemyer to the gruesome sight near the fenceline of his sister-in-law's farm.  In the darkness of Saturday evening, Stottlemyer, his wife and his sister-in-law soon found out why Sheila was so agitated. On the ground, their horse Prince lay dead with a bullet hole in its stomach. "My wife, it's been really tough for her," Stottlemyer said. "(Prince) was part of the family." His wife and niece enjoyed riding the 12-year-old paint horse, he said. But he doesn't think Prince was intentionally gunned down at the Loy Wolfe Road farm where both horses were kept. Instead it may have been a hunter peering through the thick woods near the property who mistook the gelding for a deer, Stottlemyer said. (Frederick News Post)

What began six years ago as a huge, muddy cavity next to the U.S. Capitol and has since consumed thousands of tons of concrete, 400,000 carefully selected hunks of stone, and a million and one other bits of metal, marble and history, at a cost of $621 million, will be officially christened tomorrow. (Washington Post

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