Home sales plummeted by 27.2 percent in July compared to June, hitting the lowest level in 15 years. The drop, which is the biggest monthly dive since 1968, enforced fears that the economy continues to slow down. The end of a tax credit given to first-time buyers contributed to the fall, according to NPR. While home sales tumble, foreclosure rates are about 10 times higher than they were in 2006.
- Department of Agriculture official Shirley Sherrod, the African American woman who was fired last month after a right-wing blogger posted an edited videotape portraying her as a racist, refused to take her old job back after her exoneration. Instead, she plans to stay on as a civil rights consultant to prevent similar injustices in the future.
- A new study shows children who suffered through Hurricane Katrina are still afflicted by stress and anxiety disorders at disproportionate rates, even five years after the disaster.
- Despite harsher immigration laws spiking up all over the country, 2010 is shaping up to have the highest death count ever of immigrants crossing the border from Mexico to the U.S. Already, officials in Arizona's Pima County said 170 people have died making the journey, with the highest spike happening last month. In 2007, 218 immigrants lost their lives in the same area.
- Guards at a Los Angeles County jail will soon use a new laser weapon on inmates who start fights. The device, which shoots an invisible, CD-sized beam of heat from
up to 100 feet away, produces an intense burning sensation that can only be endured for three seconds, according to NBC. While they experiment with the new weapon, the National Institue of Justice will be examining it over the next six months to determine if it should be distributed in jails nationwide. NBC's Los Angeles affiliate asks readers if the
think the weapon is controversial with the potential for
misuse or abuse. A Chicago Reporter investigation earlier this year showed that Tasers, used in many Illinois jails to maintain order, are being misused at the Jerome Combs Detention Center in Kankakee.