Console contest. Sony’s PlayStation 4, the first new PlayStation model in seven years, went on sale at midnight last night. The PS4’s release comes just before the new Microsoft Xbox One hits the market next week. The two game consoles will be in fierce competition for the No. 1 sales slot this Christmas. Experts predict the PS4 will have the advantage in the market because of its lower cost ($400 vs. Xbox’s $500).
Church discipline. The Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church (UMC) is condemning the actions of a retired bishop who officiated a same-sex union in Birmingham, Ala., last month. Same-sex marriage is not legal in Alabama, but the two men, who were married in Washington, D.C., in September, said they wanted a local ceremony to celebrate with family and friends, Al.com reported. The event took place at a Birmingham church affiliated with the United Church of Christ after the two men were told they could not have their wedding at the UMC church where they are members. Bishop Melvin Talbert, a vocal supporter of same-sex marriage during his career, traveled to Alabama to perform the ceremony in violation of the wishes of the local UMC bishop and the UMC Book of Discipline, which states performing a same-sex marriage is a “chargeable offense” for clergy. Today, the Executive Committee of the Council of Bishops issued a statement asking its president to file a complaint against Talbert. The committee also called for a task force to lead “honest and respectful conversations about human sexuality,” indicating there could be room for a future policy shift about same-sex marriage in the UMC. “We acknowledge that we, the Council of Bishops, and the Church are not of one mind in matters of human sexuality,” the statement read.
Banks downgraded. Moody’s Investors Service downgraded the ratings of four of the United States’ largest banks yesterday based on predictions the government will be less likely to bail them out of future crises. Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., and Bank of New York Mellon Corp. all were bumped from the equivalent of a B to a B-minus on Moody’s Baseline Credit Assessment Scale. According to Bloomberg, the government has been rewriting regulations so that a bank’s investors, not taxpayers, would absorb future bank losses.
Going down with a fight. Toronto’s City Council voted 39-3 today to reduce the authority of disgraced Mayor Rob Ford, who has defied the Council’s requests that he resign over his drinking and drug habits and belligerent behavior. The Council can fire Ford only if he is convicted of a crime, which has not happened yet. Today’s move, which takes away Ford’s authority to appoint and dismiss high-level staff members, is a symbolic vote of no-confidence by the Council, which also voted to give the deputy major authority to handle any civic emergency.