In today's news: Japan's disaster gets a dollar figure, debit rewards programs get a deadline, the stock market rallies, Aflac wants you to quack, and you can't get an iPad outside of America.
The price tag for the double whammy of earthquake and tsunami is being tallied in Japan. “Japan’s government estimated the damage from this month’s record earthquake and tsunami at as much as 25 trillion yen ($309 billion), an amount almost four times the hit imposed by Hurricane Katrina on the U.S.,” Bloomberg reports.
Yesterday, Wells Fargo stopped its debit rewards program for new customers, while SunTrust will do the same on April 15 and Chase has set a July 19 deadline.”These rewards programs are the newest target in the heated battle between banks and the Federal Reserve over a proposed rule that would limit swipe fees – or the amount retailers must pay the bank every time customers use their debit cards,” CNN reports.
When the stock market closed Friday, it capped a three-day rally that became “the best week for the Dow Jones industrial average since July,” MSNBC reports. The reason? “The government said the economy grew at a 3.1 percent annual rate in the fourth quarter of 2010. That’s slightly better than economists expected and higher than the estimate made last month.”
Looking for work? If you can quack like a duck – specifically the Aflac duck – you might have a new career. Comedian Gilbert Gottfried, who was the voice of the duck for a decade, was fired last week for tweeting bad jokes about the earthquake and tsunami in Japan. “Rather than hire another celebrity voice right away, Aflac decided to solicit submissions from the general public,” USA Today reports. “Anyone interested will be able to submit a 30-second audio or video file giving their best version of the Aflac squawk at quackaflac.com.”
The new iPad 2 was launched in 25 countries on Friday – and was out of stock by Sunday. “It looks like Apple moved nearly its entire stockpile of iPad 2s by midnight Saturday,” CNN reports.