Evening Edition is an Open Thread
Now with 51 Top Stories.
|From Yahoo News Top Stories|
1 Spotlight on bank tests as ECB readies rate meeting
by William Ickes, AFP
Sun Jul 4, 3:47 am ET
|FRANKFURT (AFP) – The European Central Bank on Thursday will urge eurozone banks and governments to shore up their accounts in the face of market pressure for a clear reading on the health of the European financial sector.
The ECB’s main interest rate will undoubtedly remain at a record low 1.0 percent set in May 2009 and bank president Jean-Claude Trichet will press banks again to draw on state support if necessary to bolster balance sheets.
Around 100 banks across Europe are being subjected to “stress tests” aimed at determining whether they can withstand shocks such as another recession or the default of a major borrower.
2 New Afghan war commander formally takes reins
by Lynne O’Donnell, AFP
Sun Jul 4, 11:48 am ET
|KABUL (AFP) – US General David Petraeus formally took up his new role as commander of the Afghan war during a ceremony at NATO headquarters in Kabul on Sunday, saying: “We are in this to win.”
In a solemn ceremony held amid tight security, Petraeus received the colours of US and NATO forces engaged in the Afghan war, marking his assumption of command over the 140,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan.
Wearing fatigues, he told a small crowd of Afghan military, civilian VIPs and diplomats, the war had reached a “critical moment” and reiterated his call for a united effort against the Taliban-led insurgency in the country.
3 New Afghan war commander appeals for unity
by Lynne O’Donnell, AFP
Sat Jul 3, 1:40 pm ET
|KABUL (AFP) – US General David Petraeus appealed Saturday for a united effort to end almost nine years of war against the Taliban as he made his public debut as the commander of NATO forces in Afghanistan.
The four-star general, who arrived in the Afghan capital on Friday, faces a tough task to bring peace and secure a face-saving exit for allied troops fighting an increasingly deadly insurgency by the hardline Islamists.
“This is an effort in which we must achieve unity of effort and common purpose. Civilian and military, Afghan and international, we are part of one team with one mission,” Petraeus said at the US embassy in Kabul.
4 Kaczynski concedes defeat in Polish presidential bid
by Jonathan Fowler, AFP
28 mins ago
|WARSAW (AFP) – Polish ex-premier Jaroslaw Kaczynski conceded defeat Sunday in a presidential vote forced by his identical twin’s air-crash death, after exit polls indicated he had lost to rival Bronislaw Komorowski.
“I congratulate the winner. I congratulate Bronislaw Komorowski,” the eurosceptic Kaczynski said in a speech at his Warsaw headquarters, as supporters gasped when the figures were revealed the moment voting ended.
Komorowski, the acting president and the candidate for Poland’s governing liberals, won 53.1 percent of the vote to conservative Kaczynski’s 46.9 percent, according to an exit poll for public broadcaster TVP.
5 Biden urges Iraqi leaders to break political deadlock
by Arthur MacMillan, AFP
1 hr 45 mins ago
|BAGHDAD (AFP) – US Vice President Joe Biden on Sunday pleaded to Iraqi leaders to end the bickering and delays that have threatened to derail the conflict-torn nation’s democracy since an inconclusive general election.
Biden, on the second day of a visit to Baghdad, made his comments after separate meetings with the two men whose feud over who should lead Iraq’s new government as prime minister has deadlocked the political process.
He also stressed America had no “hidden agenda” over the outcome of the dispute which has overshadowed a phased withdrawal of US combat troops after seven years of operations since the 2003 invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein.
6 Biden ‘extremely optimistic’ about Iraq’s democracy
by Arthur MacMillan, AFP
Sat Jul 3, 4:36 pm ET
|BAGHDAD (AFP) – US Vice President Joe Biden said on a surprise visit to Baghdad on Saturday he was optimistic Iraqi politicians could end the squabbles that have deadlocked the conflict-torn nation’s democracy for months.
Biden, wearing a blue blazer and khaki slacks, was accompanied on the trip by his wife Jill, who was on her first trip to a country which has failed to form a new government since a close general election race on March 7.
The White House said the couple was “in Iraq to celebrate the Fourth of July with US troops,” but in his first remarks to reporters the vice president indicated that politics was at the heart of his unannounced visit.
7 Villa, Klose star as Europe tighten World Cup grip
by David Legge, AFP
Sun Jul 4, 12:27 pm ET
|JOHANNESBURG (AFP) – David Villa and Miroslav Klose confirmed they are among the finest football predators as the chances of a first European World Cup triumph outside the continent rocketed this weekend.
Netherlands are favoured to defeat Uruguay in the first semi-final Tuesday while Spain and Germany clash a day later in an intriguing repeat of the 2008 Euro final settled by a Fernando Torres strike.
Torres is having a bittersweet tournament as he helps Spain move within two victories of a first World Cup title while unable to regain the scoring touch that made him feared.
8 Villa leads Spain into W.Cup semi-finals
by Barnaby Chesterman, AFP
Sat Jul 3, 6:09 pm ET
|JOHANNESBURG (AFP) – David Villa scored the only goal as European champions Spain beat Paraguay 1-0 at Ellis Park on Saturday to set up a World Cup semi-final against Germany.
Villa, who now has five goals in the tournament, struck the winner seven minutes from the end of what had been a disjointed quarter-final performance from the fancied Spaniards in a game that saw both goalkeepers save second-half penalties.
Germany, who lost to Spain in the Euro 2008 final, had earlier thumped Argentina 4-0 in Cape Town.
9 Germany rout Argentina to reach W.Cup semi-finals
by Ryland James, AFP
Sat Jul 3, 2:44 pm ET
|CAPE TOWN (AFP) – Germany stormed into the World Cup semi-finals on Saturday with a 4-0 demolition of Diego Maradona’s outclassed Argentina as Miroslav Klose edged towards becoming the tournament’s greatest ever goal-scorer.
Germany now face either Spain or Paraguay, who meet later on Saturday, in Durban next Wednesday with a place in the final at Johannesburg’s Soccer City on July 11 at stake.
It was the third time at these finals that rampant Germany had scored four goals in a match while Argentina superstar Lionel Messi once again failed to reach the heights expected of him.
10 Uruguay end brave Ghana’s bid on penalties
by Robert Smith, AFP
Fri Jul 2, 7:56 pm ET
|JOHANNESBURG (AFP) – Uruguay claimed their first World Cup semi-final appearance in 40 years after a pulsating 4-2 penalty shootout win over heartbroken Ghana at Soccer City on Friday.
Uruguay goalkeeper Fernando Muslera saved skipper John Mensah and Dominic Adiyiah’s attempts after the quarter-final had been locked at 1-1 after extra time.
Two-time World Cup winners Uruguay will now play the Netherlands in the semi-finals in Cape Town on Tuesday.
11 Russian spy arrests came after threats to decade-long probe
Sat Jul 3, 4:31 pm ET
|WASHINGTON (AFP) – The dramatic arrests of 11 suspected deep-cover Russian agents, a throwback to the heydays of the Cold War, came after a threat to the decade-long US investigation, a report said Saturday.
Last Sunday’s swoop on sleeper agents — 10 in the United States and another in Cyprus — living unremarkable suburban American lives revived nostalgia for the shadowy hostilities of decades past between the two superpowers.
It also came exactly a week ahead of the Independence Day holiday, when US patriotism runs at an all-time high.
12 230 dead after DR Congo tanker truck explosion
by Jean-Baptiste Badhera, AFP
Sat Jul 3, 4:58 pm ET
|SANGE, DR Congo (AFP) – A fuel truck exploded and set fire to a village in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, killing more than 230 people and injuring scores, officials and local residents said Saturday.
Flames engulfed dozens of earth and straw constructed homes as villagers, many of them children, crowded around the tanker after it overturned late on Friday to scavenge its contents.
“People tried to escape but were caught by the fire and reduced to ashes,” said Tondo Sahizira, a 28-year-old teacher at Sange, home to some 50,000 people located around 70 kilometres (40 miles) south of the Sud-Kivu regional capital of Bukavu, close to the border with Burundi.
13 Supertanker skims oil as spill now worst accident on record
by Allen Johnson, AFP
Fri Jul 2, 7:59 pm ET
|NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (AFP) – A Taiwanese supertanker began preliminary efforts to skim oil in the Gulf of Mexico Friday as the disaster became the worst accidental spill on record.
Rough seas and strong winds were expected to continue to delay clean-up efforts, displace protective booms and push the oil deeper into fragile coastal wetlands, endangering wildlife preserves and the thousands of birds nesting there.
“This is going to be a very long and arduous clean-up operation in the days to come,” said Coast Guard Admiral Paul Zukunft.
14 Protests in Pakistan after suicide attacks kill 43
by Waqar Hussain, AFP
Fri Jul 2, 1:56 pm ET
|LAHORE, Pakistan (AFP) – Angry protesters took to the streets in Pakistan on Friday, burning tyres and condemning Taliban extremists after two suicide attacks killed 43 people at a shrine in the eastern city of Lahore.
The carnage at the Sufi shrine on Thursday was caught on camera in dramatic CCTV footage showing the bombers and the blast which sent hundreds of panicked worshippers fleeing in all directions engulfed in clouds of white smoke.
Thousands of protesters in Lahore and other cities demonstrated against the attack on the shrine dedicated to Sufi saint Hazrat Syed Ali bin Usman Hajweri, popularly known as Data Ganj Bakhsh.
15 Russian cargo ship fails to dock with ISS
by Stuart Williams, AFP
Fri Jul 2, 3:22 pm ET
|MOSCOW (AFP) – An unmanned Russian Progress cargo ship on Friday failed to dock as planned with the International Space Station (ISS) after flying past the facility in a rare mishap, mission control said.
The Progress M-06M cargo ship, launched on June 30, is carrying 2.6 tonnes of fuel, food and water for the six astronauts on the station. Failure of automatic docking systems is known but a complete docking failure is very rare.
“The docking was scheduled at 20:58 Moscow time (1658 GMT),” a spokeswoman for mission control told AFP.
16 Falling unemployment fails to quell US recovery fears
by Andrew Beatty, AFP
Fri Jul 2, 3:26 pm ET
|WASHINGTON (AFP) – The US unemployment rate fell to 9.5 percent last month as more than half a million people abandoned the job hunt, fueling doubts about the economic recovery.
The Labor Department reported a net loss of 125,000 jobs last month even as unemployment fell to its lowest rate in almost a year.
The falling jobless rate — down from 9.7 percent in May — offered some succor to President Barack Obama, who is running out of time to put the economy firmly back on track before congressional elections in November.
17 We have a ‘wiener’: American eats the most hot dogs
1 hr 21 mins ago
|NEW YORK (AFP) – American Joey “Jaws” Chestnut wolfed down 54 hot dogs in 10 minutes on Sunday to claim his fourth consecutive world title in one of the planet’s most bizarre sports: competitive eating.
But the New York event was marred by the arrest of Takeru “Tsunami” Kobayashi, Chestnut’s arch rival from Japan who had pulled out of the contest but tried to storm the stage and disrupt the victory ceremony.
Chestnut, the 26-year-old reigning champion, left the rest of the competition trailing as he retained the coveted prize, a mustard-yellow prize-fighter’s belt, with room to spare.
18 Dunga takes rap as Brazil feels pain
by Angus MacKinnon, AFP
Fri Jul 2, 9:29 pm ET
|PORT ELIZABETH, South Africa (AFP) – Brazil coach Dunga has accepted the blame for the World Cup quarter-final defeat by the Netherlands that brought his four-year reign to a bitterly disappointing end.
The man who captained the Selecao’s winning squad in 1994 has reached the end of his current contract and any hopes he may have harboured of being asked to stay on until Brazil hosts the tournament in 2014 were crushed by the Dutch, who came from behind to claim a 2-1 win on Friday.
“I was contracted for four years and we knew that from the start,” Dunga said. “During the last four years I have been very happy to coach this Brazilian team and if you look at the players’ faces you would understand how they feel.”
19 Liberal defeats bereaved twin in Polish vote: exit polls
by Jonathan Fowler, AFP
Sun Jul 4, 2:51 pm ET
|WARSAW (AFP) – Liberal Bronislaw Komorowski beat conservative opposition leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski in Poland’s snap presidential election Sunday, exit polls indicated, in a vote forced by the air-crash death of Kaczynski’s twin.
An exit poll by the TNS OBOP institute for public broadcaster TVP gave Komorowski 53.1 percent of the vote to Kaczynski’s 46.9 percent.
A rival poll by MillwardBrown SMG/KRC for private station TVN showed Komorowski with 51.09 percent to Kaczynski’s 48.91 percent.
20 Treasure trove of vintage Arab film posters hidden in Beirut
by Jocelyne Zablit, AFP
Sun Jul 4, 1:33 pm ET
|BEIRUT (AFP) – Deep under Beirut’s busiest shopping district lies a treasure trove of the Arab world’s film history where movie buff Abbudi Abu Jawdeh has amassed vintage film posters spanning some 80 years
What started as a childhood passion today offers a rare and little known pictorial record of Egyptian, Syrian, Iraqi, Palestinian and Lebanese films, including many that no longer exist, lost over time because of wars, fires or simple neglect.
“I have loved cinema since I was a child and every Sunday, rather than go to church I would head to the movie theatre,” said the 52-year-old Abu Jawdeh, who runs a publishing house in Beirut’s Hamra district where his collection is stored.
21 US oil spill clean-up resumes after storm
by Allen Johnson, AFP
Sun Jul 4, 6:32 am ET
|NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (AFP) – Clean-up work gathered speed in some areas of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill Sunday, but heavy swells kept many boats docked, halting efforts to fight the ecological disaster.
A Taiwanese mega-skimmer dubbed “A Whale” was in position near the site of the leak and set to undergo 48 hours of “proof of concept” testing, Coast Guard spokeswoman Ayla Kelley told AFP.
The 300-yard (275-meter) long tanker can vacuum up 21 million gallons of oily water a day, separating oil from water and spitting the seawater back out.
22 Gulf beaches quiet as spill spreads
By Sharon Reich, Reuters
Sun Jul 4, 1:06 pm ET
|PENSACOLA BEACH, Florida (Reuters) – Gulf coast beaches, normally packed on Independence Day, were quiet on Sunday as workers cleaned up tar balls from BP’s leaking oil well while the company was reported to be taking steps to ward off potential takeover bids.
The impact of the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history on the Gulf of Mexico tourist industry was evident on its 76th day as dozens of workers picked up tar balls along Pensacola Beach.
“It’s … sad to see the beach is not as crowded as it normally is, there’s not as many people here. Not as many people in the restaurants. Very sad because you know they need the business,” said Derek Robbins, a tourist from Houston who has been coming to Pensacola every year for decades.
23 BP launches search for new investors: report
1 hr 17 mins ago
|LONDON/DUBAI (Reuters) – Oil major BP Plc is seeking a strategic investor to secure its independence in the face of any takeover attempts as it struggles with a devastating oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico, newspapers said on Sunday.
Britain’s Sunday Times said the company’s advisers were trying to drum up interest among rival oil groups and sovereign wealth funds to take a stake of between 5 and 10 percent in the company at a cost of up to 6 billion pounds ($9.1 billion).
Abu Dhabi newspaper The National said BP could get a reprieve from Middle East financial institutions looking to make a strategic investment, citing informed sources.
24 Afghan war at critical stage, says Petraeus
By Rob Taylor, Reuters
Sun Jul 4, 1:29 pm ET
|KABUL (Reuters) – The nine-year war in Afghanistan has reached a critical stage, U.S. General David Petraeus said on Sunday, as he formally took command of the 150,000-strong NATO-led force fighting a growing Taliban insurgency.
“We are engaged in a tough fight. After years of war we have arrived at a critical moment,” Petraeus told guests at a change-of-command ceremony at the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) headquarters in Kabul.
“We all recognize the threat that the Taliban, al Qaeda and the other associated syndicate of extremists pose to this country, this region and to the world,” he said. “We are in this to win.”
25 Biden nudges Iraqi leaders to end deadlock
By Rania El Gamal and Waleed Ibrahim, Reuters
Sun Jul 4, 4:16 pm ET
|BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Vice President Joe Biden urged Iraqi leaders on Sunday to press ahead and form a government after four months of post-election deadlock but said neither Washington nor anyone else should dictate to them.
In talks with Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki and the top vote winner in the March 7 election, ex-Prime Minister Iyad Allawi, Biden promised U.S. support for Iraq’s democracy as it emerges from sectarian war but struggles to halt a stubborn insurgency.
He said Washington had a long-term commitment to Iraq despite plans to end U.S. combat operations in August and withdraw completely next year, and cautioned Iraq against falling under the sway of other nations in the region.
26 Komorowski wins Polish presidential election
By Gabriela Baczynska and Pawel Sobczak, Reuters
1 hr 52 mins ago
|WARSAW (Reuters) – Bronislaw Komorowski, the candidate of Poland’s ruling pro-business Civic Platform (PO), won Sunday’s presidential election run-off, removing a potential obstacle to reforms needed to repair battered public finances.
An exit poll by TVP state television gave Komorowski, who was previously acting president, 53 percent of the vote against 47 percent for his rival Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of the right-wing main opposition party Law and Justice (PiS).
Partial results based on just 21 percent of ballots counted showed Komorowski on 51 percent and Kaczynski on 49 percent.
27 Suicide bomber in government HQ in west Iraq kills 3
Sun Jul 4, 6:50 am ET
|FALLUJA, Iraq (Reuters) – A female suicide bomber blew herself up Sunday in the governor’s compound of Iraq’s western Anbar province, killing three people and wounding 39, as U.S. Vice President Joe Biden visited Baghdad, officials said.
A police source said the blast occurred in the reception area of the heavily fortified compound in Ramadi, 100 km (60 miles) west of the capital. A hospital source said the 39 wounded included 13 police officers.
The sprawling desert province was the heartland of a fierce Sunni Islamist insurgency after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion and was in the grip of al Qaeda. Its main cities, Ramadi and Falluja, witnessed some of the fiercest fighting of the war.
28 U.S. asks Japan to pay more for moving Marines
Sun Jul 4, 3:40 am ET
|TOKYO (Reuters) – The United States has asked Japan to shoulder additional costs for shifting part of the U.S. Marines based in southern Japan to Guam, Kyodo news agency said, further complicating bilateral ties already hurt by disputes over where to relocate the U.S. airbase.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates made the request last month because costs for upgrading water, electricity and other infrastructure to accommodate incoming personnel will likely exceed original estimates, Kyodo said, citing diplomatic sources.
Former Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama had raised the hopes of people on the Japanese southern island of Okinawa last year that the U.S. Futenma airbase could be moved off the island despite a 2006 deal to shift the base to a less crowded part of Okinawa.
29 Fuel tanker explosion kills over 230 in Congo
By Katrina Manson, Reuters
Sat Jul 3, 2:49 pm ET
|KINSHASA (Reuters) – At least 230 people were killed when a fuel tanker overturned and exploded in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, unleashing a fire ball that tore through homes and cinemas packed with people watching World Cup soccer.
Officials said on Saturday the explosion late on Friday also injured 196 people, adding that the death toll could rise.
They described scenes of devastation in the town of Sange, where houses were burned and bodies littered the streets. Some people died while trying to steal fuel leaking from the tanker, but most were killed at home or watching World Cup soccer in cinemas.
30 Clinton sees "steel vice" squeezing civil liberties
By Arshad Mohammed, Reuters
Sat Jul 3, 11:08 am ET
|KRAKOW, Poland (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Saturday a “steel vice” is crushing groups that promote democracy and civil liberties around the world, and defended U.S. government funding for them.
Speaking on the eve of a Polish presidential run-off, she held the country up as a model democracy that emerged from Soviet domination strong enough to survive an air crash that killed its president, military leaders and many lawmakers in April.
However, Clinton cited many countries — from Iran and North Korea to Cuba and Zimbabwe — where nongovernmental organizations are banned, harassed or restricted.
31 Otunbayeva sworn in as Kyrgyz interim president
By Olga Dzyubenko, Reuters
Sat Jul 3, 9:10 am ET
|BISHKEK (Reuters) – Roza Otunbayeva was sworn in as Kyrgyzstan’s interim president on Saturday after guiding it through three months of revolt, ethnic violence and a referendum intended to build Central Asia’s first parliamentary democracy.
A former foreign minister, Otunbayeva, 59, came to power on April 7 during a popular revolt that overthrew the government of the small but strategically-placed central Asian state, which borders China and houses both U.S. and Russian military bases.
She was sworn in to act as president until the end of 2011 under the terms of a new constitution that voters backed in a referendum last week, creating a parliamentary system in a region otherwise dominated by authoritarian presidents.
32 Fireworks to follow sun-scorched July 4 festivals
By MARC BEJA, Associated Press Writer
31 mins ago
|NEW YORK – The nation’s largest fireworks show will light up the skies over the Hudson River straddling New York and New Jersey, one of hundreds around the country that will bring sizzling ends to a scorching day for much of the U.S.
Budget cuts have forced some communities to pull the plug on the pyrotechnics, but the gigantic Macy’s fireworks show will continue on Manhattan’s West Side, where it moved in 2009 after eight years on the East River. And that move has brought with it a change in fortune for businesses, too.
In the city that’s home to the $1,000 umbrella and the $175 cheeseburger, tickets have been sold at $1,450 a pair for one sweet spot to see the fireworks that are free for anyone standing on a nearby street corner or at a window.
33 Petraeus takes over Afghan fight, vows to win it
By DEB RIECHMANN, Associated Press Writer
2 hrs 11 mins ago
|KABUL, Afghanistan – “We are in this to win,” Gen. David Petraeus said Sunday as he took the reins of an Afghan war effort troubled by waning support, an emboldened enemy, government corruption and a looming commitment to withdraw troops even with no sign of violence easing.
Petraeus, who pioneered the counterinsurgency strategy he now oversees in Afghanistan, has just months to show progress in turning back insurgents and convince both the Afghan people and neighboring countries that the U.S. is committed to preventing the country from again becoming a haven for al-Qaida and its terrorist allies.
“We are engaged in a contest of wills,” Petraeus said as he accepted the command of U.S. and NATO forces before several hundred U.S., coalition and Afghan officials who gathered on a grassy area outside NATO headquarters in Kabul.
34 Blasts mar Biden’s call for new gov’t, unity
By REBECCA SANTANA and LARA JAKES, Associated Press Writers
Sun Jul 4, 4:19 pm ET
|BAGHDAD – Vice President Joe Biden urged rival Iraqi politicians Sunday to end months of delays and select new leaders for their wobbly democracy, predicting a peaceful transition of power even as suicide bombers struck government centers in two major cities.
The attacks in Mosul and Ramadi underscored persistent fears that insurgents will exploit Iraq’s political uncertainty to stoke widespread sectarian violence. Four people were killed and 25 injured in the two blasts that occurred hundreds of miles apart.
The twin explosions on the Fourth of July illustrated the vexing nature of the U.S. involvement in Iraq and its efforts to nudge the country toward stability and democracy.
35 Rough weather curtails some Gulf cleanup work
By TOM BREEN, Associated Press Writer
Sun Jul 4, 4:27 pm ET
|NEW ORLEANS – Cleanup crews across the Gulf of Mexico surveyed damage done by last week’s hurricane while contending Sunday with choppy seas that idled many of the boats dedicated to keeping oil from hitting vulnerable beaches and marshes.
Offshore skimming vessels were able to operate in Louisiana waters, but not off the coasts of Alabama, Mississippi and Florida, officials said.
“We’ve got our guys out there and they’re docked and ready, but safety is a huge concern for us, especially with the smaller vessels,” said Courtnee Ferguson, a spokeswoman for the Joint Information Command in Mobile, Ala.
36 Horses take off, injure 24 people at Iowa parade
10 mins ago
|BELLEVUE, Iowa – Two horses running out of control trampled children collecting candy and other onlookers along a Fourth of July parade route in a small Mississippi River town in eastern Iowa on Sunday.
Twenty-four people were injured, including at least two children who were in critical condition, police and hospital officials said.
The horses took off after one rubbed its head against the other, removing that horse’s bridle, police said. The horses, with a wagon in tow, galloped for several blocks, running over children and adults who sat and stood along the streets watching the parade in Bellevue. At one point, the wagon flipped, ejecting two people in it, police said.
37 Wyoming threatens to sell prime Grand Teton land
By MEAD GRUVER, Associated Press Writer
Sun Jul 4, 1:11 pm ET
|MOOSE, Wyo. – For Sale: Two square miles of Grand Teton National Park.
Majestic views of the Teton Range. Prime location for luxury resort, home development. Pristine habitat for moose, elk, wolves, grizzlies.
Price: $125 million. Call: Gov. Dave Freudenthal.
38 Cleveland might feel economic pinch without LeBron
By MEGHAN BARR, Associated Press Writer
Sun Jul 4, 4:43 pm ET
|CLEVELAND – Before LeBron James, there were thousands of empty seats for most Cleveland Cavaliers games and downtown was silent after dark. With him, every game is a sellout and nearby bars and restaurants bustle.
As they face the possibility of losing the free-agent NBA superstar, residents wonder if the man they call King James might take a little of this struggling city’s economy with him.
“The kingdom lies where the king resides,” said Nick Kostis, owner of a restaurant and comedy club on East Fourth Street, a pedestrian-only district near the Cavaliers’ arena that began to take off in the early 2000s.
39 Hotdoggin’ it: Ex-champ crashes NYC eating contest
By VERENA DOBNIK, Associated Press Writer
2 hrs 31 mins ago
|NEW YORK – A Japanese eating champion who sat out this year’s Coney Island Fourth of July hot dog contest apparently couldn’t resist the temptation to hotdog afterward.
Competitive eater Joey “Jaws” Chestnut gobbled his way to a fourth consecutive championship Sunday. But he was suddenly upstaged by the surprise appearance of his biggest rival – six-time champion Takeru Kobayashi, who did not compete but crashed the stage after Chestnut’s win and wrestled with police.
“Let him eat! Let him eat!” the crowd chanted as police handcuffed the world’s No. 3 professional eater, dubbed “The Tsunami.”
40 GOP lawmakers wary of Obama’s Afghan deadline
By MATTHEW LEE, Associated Press Writer
Sun Jul 4, 10:28 am ET
|WASHINGTON – Leading Republican lawmakers and the Afghan ambassador to the United States are voicing opposition to President Barack Obama’s plan to begin withdrawing troops from Afghanistan starting next year.
Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham, appearing on the Sunday talk shows while in the Afghan capital, said Obama’s decision to start pulling out in July 2011 is a mistake and will embolden Taliban and al-Qaida extremists. The senators and the Afghan envoy, Said Tayeb Jawad, said withdrawal should be based on a conditions on the ground, not a fixed date.
Their comments came as Gen. David Petraeus assumed command of the 130,000-strong international force in Afghanistan. “We are in this to win,” he said, at a time of growing casualties and skepticism about the nearly 9-year-old war. Petraeus backs the withdrawal plan but has stressed it will also be based on conditions.
41 Congo: Burn survivors recover from tanker blast
By MAX DELANY, Associated Press Writer
Sun Jul 4, 1:57 pm ET
|SANGE, Congo – Dozens of moaning and badly burned survivors from a massive tanker blast that killed at least 230 people recovered in hospitals and clinics across eastern Congo on Sunday, two days after the wrecked fuel truck exploded on a rural highway.
President Joseph Kabila declared a two-day national mourning period, and Red Cross workers sprayed chlorine and poured disinfectant powder over the blackened scene of the explosions in the village of Sange, where priests prayed during a brief memorial service on a barren football field.
In a conflict-strewn corner of one of the world’s most unstable countries, the shocking tragedy late Friday in the village of Sange was a devastating blow for residents in a still lawless region who survived back-to-back back wars that lasted from 1996 to 2002.
42 Harvick wins wild race at Daytona
By JENNA FRYER, AP Auto Racing Writer
Sun Jul 4, 6:32 am ET
|DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Kevin Harvick lined up next to his Richard Childress Racing teammate for a two-lap sprint to the finish at Daytona International Speedway.
He and Clint Bowyer didn’t bother to talk strategy.
“It was every man for himself at that point,” Harvick said.
43 On July 4 in spill country, pondering America
By PETER PRENGAMAN, Associated Press Writer
2 hrs 36 mins ago
|LAFITTE, La. – From the country’s earliest days, when a handful of colonists became fed up with Britain and decided independence was worth dying for, Americans have been guided by fires in their bellies and a deep belief in the ability to accomplish anything.
For the United States, big dreams and the confidence they inspire have always produced big deeds — the creation of a new nation, the taming of a wild frontier, the building of an industrial giant and the ascent of a superpower.
But on the weekend when we celebrate becoming Americans, an inability to plug a vomiting oil well in the Gulf of Mexico – or launch a coherent, effective cleanup response on par with the disaster – has many people along the coastline wondering whether we have lost our way.
44 Sinking oil threatens historic Gulf shipwrecks
By CAIN BURDEAU, Associated Press Writer
Sun Jul 4, 1:12 pm ET
|TIMBALIER ISLANDS, La. – Not just flora and fauna are getting caked in oil. So is the Gulf of Mexico’s barnacled history of pirates, sea battles and World War II shipwrecks.
The Gulf is lined with wooden shipwrecks, American-Indian shell midden mounds, World War II casualties, pirate colonies, historic hotels and old fishing villages. Researchers now fear this treasure seeker’s dream is threatened by BP PLC’s deepwater well blowout.
Within 20 miles of the well, there are several significant shipwrecks – ironically, discovered by oil companies’ underwater robots working the depths – and oil is most likely beginning to cascade on them.
45 Towns grapple with tidying forsaken cemeteries
By STEPHANIE REITZ, Associated Press Writer
Sun Jul 4, 12:34 pm ET
|MONTVILLE, Conn. – Almost 125 years ago, 15-month-old Emma Wheeler was laid to rest within sight of her family’s church near a stone wall in a New England cemetery.
The church is now long gone, and the cemetery is abandoned. Over time, the toddler’s grave and the rest of the Montville burial grounds became obscured by shoulder-high branches, brambles and fern fronds.
It’s a scene mirrored at an untold number of abandoned cemeteries nationwide, leaving state and local governments under pressure from residents to clean up the burial grounds out of respect for the dead – without imposing more costs on the living.
46 ‘Holy men’ blaze curious trail across country
By MEGHAN BARR, Associated Press Writer
Sun Jul 4, 12:16 pm ET
|CANFIELD, Ohio – The monks seemed to come out of nowhere.
They arrived from Cleveland last fall – Archbishop Timothy and Father Anthony and the cleric in charge, Metropolitan Stephen. In their billowing black robes, they were looking for a new base for the Syro Russian Orthodox Catholic Church.
It was Archbishop Timothy who first drove past the Canfield Colonial Motel Condotel, a crime-ridden, no-tell motel on a desolate road dominated by hay bales and barns with sunken roofs.
47 Finding gold in them thar foreclosures
By ADAM GELLER, AP National Writer
Sun Jul 4, 12:00 am ET
|GILBERT, Ariz. – If we’re going to search for gold in the wreckage of the mortgage crisis, then 6:57 a.m. in front of 1009 W. Juanita Avenue is as good a time and place as any to start.
The Cooper Ranch subdivision, tucked behind an industrial park 25 minutes from downtown Phoenix, is just beginning to stir. But when Casey Doran pulls his pickup to the curb, the tan stucco house has already seen a steady trickle of visitors. From under the visor of his ball cap, Doran sizes up the first foreclosure of the day.
“Still occupied,” he says, nodding to a green plastic tag hanging from the meter by the garage, proof that someone’s paying the electric bill. He leans on the bell; when no one answers, he tries the door. The house resists his advances, leaving Doran squinting into the darkness behind the blinds. He tugs on the back gate, peering over the wall into a yard corralling chest-high tumbleweeds.
48 Old technology foils Schwarzenegger’s wage order
By CATHY BUSSEWITZ, Associated Press Writer
Sat Jul 3, 6:11 pm ET
|SACRAMENTO, Calif. – As the Terminator, Arnold Schwarzenegger was the technology of the future, feared by humans. As governor, he’s being foiled by the technology of the past.
For the second time in two years, Schwarzenegger has ordered most state workers’ pay cut to the federal minimum wage because lawmakers missed their deadline to fix the state’s $19 billion budget deficit. The Legislature’s failure to act has left the state without a spending plan as the new fiscal year begins.
A state appellate court ruled in Schwarzenegger’s favor Friday, but the state controller, who issues state paychecks, says he can’t comply. One reason given by Controller John Chiang, a Democrat elected in 2006: The state’s computer system can’t handle the technological challenge of restating paychecks to the federal minimum of $7.25 an hour.
49 Churches, nonprofits fight for survival amid spill
By JAY REEVES, Associated Press Writer
Sat Jul 3, 2:43 pm ET
|BAYOU LA BATRE, Ala. – God only knows what will happen to churches and other nonprofit organizations who say they are struggling for survival because of the Gulf oil spill crisis.
Months after the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded and its well started gushing oil, the British petroleum giant says it has yet to decide how to handle claims filed by religious groups and other charitable organizations that are endangered because people can no longer afford to contribute.
Pastor Dan Brown prays BP PLC comes up with a solution quickly: He said he filed a $50,000 claim last month over lost revenues at Anchor Assembly of God. His small, storefront church outlived Hurricane Katrina and is now struggling because of the oil crisis.
50 Sororities’ antics spur school alcohol efforts
By LISA CORNWELL, Associated Press Writer
Sat Jul 3, 2:17 pm ET
|OXFORD, Ohio – Sorority spring formals call up visions of young women in colorful dresses dancing the night away – not vomiting on tables, urinating in sinks or having sex in closets.
The drunken shenanigans of three sororities at Miami University in southwest Ohio sound like something out of “Animal House” and were especially startling for a school that frequently makes the top 50 in a U.S News & World Report academic ranking but never makes lists of big-time party schools.
The school suspended two of the sororities and put the third on probation. A task force is reviewing discipline and education policies on student behavior and alcohol, and the campus group governing sororities says it will begin teaching new members to speak out when they witness bad behavior.
51 Forget grade levels, KC schools try something new
By HEATHER HOLLINGSWORTH, Associated Press Writer
Sat Jul 3, 1:41 pm ET
|KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Forget about students spending one year in each grade, with the entire class learning the same skills at the same time. Districts from Alaska to Maine are taking a different route.
Instead of simply moving kids from one grade to the next as they get older, schools are grouping students by ability. Once they master a subject, they move up a level. This practice has been around for decades, but was generally used on a smaller scale, in individual grades, subjects or schools.
Now, in the latest effort to transform the bedraggled Kansas City, Mo. schools, the district is about to become what reform experts say is the largest one to try the approach. Starting this fall officials will begin switching 17,000 students to the new system to turnaround trailing schools and increase abysmal tests scores.