The following stories have been hand-selected by the Assignment Desk at News4:
FED / HOME MORTGAGES
In a stunning about-face, the Federal Reserve now says it will buy up to $600 billion in mortgage-backed assets in another attempt to deal with the financial crisis. The Fed says it will buy up to $100 billion in direct obligations from mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as well as the Federal Home Loan Banks. (AP/USAToday)
Time with families, more than turkeys, may be sacrificed this Thanksgiving due to the country's economic woes. AAA Mid-Atlantic is projecting a decline in holiday travel for the first time in six years. About 41 million Americans are expected to travel 50 miles or more from home this weekend, reflecting a 1.4 percent decrease from last year, according to AAA. \In Maryland, 795,200 people are projected to be traveling, an estimated 1.5 percent decline from last year. (Frederick News Post)
AIR TRAVEL DOWN?
Airlines have announced price cuts targeting leisure travelers through the usually busy winter holiday season and beyond. Analysts view the moves as an attempt to woo back consumers who are putting off trips in response to the unfolding economic crisis. The downturn is emerging as the biggest threat to the industry since it was buffeted by surging fuel prices last summer. Now fuel prices are retreating, but so is demand for seats. (Washington Post)
GAS PRICES FALL, AGAIN
The price of gas continued to drop in the Woodbridge area Monday, down more than 20 cents since last week to $1.57 per gallon. Drivers lined up at the Wawa at Caton Hill and Minnieville roads to fill their tanks, some in awe of how low the prices have fallen.(Insidenova.com)
The most new cars and trucks ever earned spots on the insurance industry's annual list of the safest vehicles, led by Ford Motor (F) and its Volvo unit.The large number on the list was boosted by growing adoption of anti-rollover technology.
HOLIDAY SHOPPING SAFETY
Police are looking for a man who attempted to rob a woman of her purse in the parking lot of Neiman Marcus. The assailant tried to cut the strap of the victim's purse. The victim put up a fight and managed to wrestle the purse away from the bandit. The victim received a minor laceration to the hand. She was taken to a local hospital for observation. (NBCWashington.com)
MONTGOMERY COUNTY BUDGET WOES
Montgomery County's projected budget deficit next year likely will increase to more than $400 million after the latest round of tax revenues came in $200 million lower than estimated. The bleak budget outlook presented by the county's budget and finance officers Monday came as County Council members evaluated a $50 million savings plan proposed by County Executive Isiah Leggett (D). (Gazette)
METRO INAUGURATION DAY
Here's the latest from Metro on attending the inauguration festivities for President-elect Barack Obama: If you live or are staying within two miles of the Capitol, walk. (Washington Post)
URBANA OUTLET MALL
Urbana residents are split on whether a proposed outlet mall and office complex development should be built. About a dozen residents testified before the Frederick County Planning Commission at a hearing on the project last week. Several said it would create too much traffic and compete with businesses already there. Others said it would help attract businesses to build offices nearby. (Frederick News Post)
SALVATION ARMY BELL RINGERS SILENCED?
The traditional bells at three Salvation Army kettles inside Valley Mall this holiday season might ring a bit more quietly, but that doesn't mean the need is any less. The "clappers" inside the three bells were replaced with paper clips - a response to a request from some mall stores that were concerned about the volume of the bells."Only the three inside the mall are affected," Maj. Robert Lyle of The Salvation Army in Hagerstown said at Monday's kickoff of the 2008 kettle campaign at the Valley Mall food court. (Herald Mail)