Jul 06 2010

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

39 Story Final.

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Polish liberals hold the reins after presidential victory

by Jonathan Fowler, AFP

15 mins ago

WARSAW (AFP) – Poland’s liberals held all the reins of power Monday after their candidate Bronislaw Komorowski foiled eurosceptic Jaroslaw Kaczynski’s audacious bid to replace his late twin in a presidential election.

Komorowski scored 53.01 percent of votes over 46.99 percent for his conservative rival in Sunday’s run-off, sparked by the April 10 air crash death of president Lech Kaczynski, full official results showed.

Turnout was 55.31 percent, election commission head Stefan Jaworski said.

2 China deploys troops for Xinjiang riot anniversary

by Marianne Barriaux, AFP

Mon Jul 5, 8:44 am ET

URUMQI, China (AFP) – Security forces fanned out to keep China’s Urumqi city in check on Monday, the first anniversary of deadly unrest that laid bare deep-seated ethnic tensions in the far-western Xinjiang region.

Urumqi, the regional capital, erupted in violence on July 5 last year between the mainly Muslim Uighur minority and members of China’s dominant Han ethnic group, fuelled by Uighur resentment over Beijing’s rule of Xinjiang.

In the following days, mobs of angry Han took to the streets looking for revenge in the worst ethnic violence that China had seen in decades. The unrest left nearly 200 dead and 1,700 injured, according to government figures.

3 Turkey threatens ‘to cut ties’ with Israel


27 mins ago

ANKARA (AFP) – Turkey warned Israel Monday it will cut ties unless it gets an apology for a deadly raid on Gaza-bound aid ships, but the Jewish state said it will never say sorry for defending itself.

Ankara has already closed its airspace to all Israeli military aircraft in reaction to the May 31 bloodshed on a Turkish ship in which nine Turks were killed, Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told the daily Hurriyet.

The Israelis have three options, Davutoglu said in remarks published Monday.

4 Clinton vows support for Georgia, slams Russian ‘occupation’

by Christophe Schmidt, AFP

33 mins ago

TBILISI (AFP) – US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reassured Georgia on Monday with a pledge of steadfast support and called on Russia to end its “occupation” of two breakaway Georgian regions.

“The United States is steadfast in its commitment to Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Clinton said at a joint news conference with President Mikheil Saakashvili during a visit to Tbilisi.

Clinton also urged Moscow to abide by a ceasefire agreement that stipulates its forces must return to positions held before the 2008 Georgia-Russia war over the rebel regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

5 BP oil spill costs soar above 3 billion dollars


46 mins ago

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (AFP) – BP’s costs over the Gulf of Mexico oil spill soared Monday above three billion dollars, while a giant Taiwanese ship provided hope of revolutionizing on-sea skimming operations.

“The cost of the response to date amounts to approximately 3.12 billion dollars, including the cost of the spill response, containment, relief well drilling, grants to the Gulf states, claims paid, and federal costs,” BP said.

The latest estimate is far higher than the 2.65 billion dollars given by the energy firm one week ago.

6 Greece on target to tackle deficit


Mon Jul 5, 12:21 pm ET

ATHENS (AFP) – Debt-stricken Greece claimed dramatic progress Monday in its quest to tackle overspending, with the budget deficit slashed 42 percent and the finance minister raising hopes the economy will do better.

Earlier this year the country was threatened with insolvency, sparking a eurozone debt crisis, but the ruling Socialists said Greece had turned a corner by tightening public finances, increasing tax revenue and improving efficiency.

“Today we are able to see our country’s future with greater optimism. Greece is successfully escaping the reef of economic collapse,” government spokesman George Petalotis told reporters.

7 Chavanel in yellow as Schlecks, Armstrong crash

by Justin Davis, AFP

2 hrs 30 mins ago

SPA, Belgium (AFP) – Frenchman Sylvain Chavanel claimed the leader’s yellow jersey after winning yet another crash-marred stage of the Tour de France Monday as the peloton called a truce in the wet Belgian Ardennes.

Seven-time champion Lance Armstrong and contender Andy Schleck were among a number of high profile victims as steep and slippery descents took a toll on the peloton during the 201km second stage from Brussels.

Saxo Bank leader Schleck fell alongside his brother Frank on the descent of the Stockeu climb, one of two which appear on the Belgian classic Liege-Bastogne-Liege, but they got back up to battle their way back to the peloton.

8 Dutch eye World Cup final, Brazil, Argentina face change

by David Legge, AFP

1 hr 47 mins ago

JOHANNESBURG (AFP) – Netherlands were warned not to under-estimate World Cup semi-final opponents Uruguay on Monday, as South American heavyweights Argentina and Brazil continued to suffer the shockwaves from their elimination.

Dutch duo Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben come face to face with Uruguayan star striker Diego Forlan in Tuesday’s first semi-final, while goal kings David Villa of Spain and Miroslav Klose of Germany square off on Wednesday.

Dutch coach Bert van Marwijk has begged his players to keep their feet on the ground and ignore the hype as they carry the tag of firm favourites into a showdown with injury and suspension-hit Uruguay in Cape Town.

9 Lower German deficit an example for Europe: Berlin


Mon Jul 5, 10:47 am ET

BERLIN (AFP) – Germany’s federal deficit is set to be much lower than expected, a draft budget suggested on Monday, as Berlin holds up its tough line on spending as the best way for Europe to exit its debt crisis.

Helped by an unexpectedly strong economic upturn, the deficit in Europe’s top economy will amount to about 65 billion euros (81 billion dollars) this year compared to a previous estimate of 80 billion euros.

Next year, the deficit will be 57.5 billion euros, nearly 20 billion less than feared, according to figures in the draft budget, obtained by AFP.

10 India rocked by strike over fuel prices

by Giles Hewitt, AFP

Mon Jul 5, 7:59 am ET

NEW DELHI (AFP) – An opposition-led strike over fuel price rises disrupted life across India on Monday, triggering transport mayhem and sporadic violence in major cities where schools and businesses closed down.

Flights were grounded in commercial airline hubs such as Mumbai and Kolkata, while protesters attacked buses, blocked roads with burning tyres and organised sit-down protests on inter-city railway links.

11 Swiss show brings heirs to discuss Picasso, Klee

by Agnes Pedrero, AFP

Mon Jul 5, 5:02 am ET

BERN (AFP) – An exhibition in Switzerland has brought together the genius of modern art contemporaries Pablo Picasso and Paul Klee with an added twist: the first meeting of their two heirs.

Picasso and Klee the elders, among the most influential artists of the 20th century, met only twice.

Once when Klee (1879-1940) was among a group of artists who visited the ebullient Spaniard’s studio in Paris in 1933.

12 BP eyes stake sale as oil spill costs top $3 billion

By Raji Menon and Matthew Bigg, Reuters

Mon Jul 5, 12:42 pm ET

LONDON/NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) – Shareholders in BP balked Monday at reports it would seek a strategic investor to ward off takeover bids, as the clean-up costs of its massive U.S. oil spill topped $3 billion.

As containment efforts continued in the devastated Gulf of Mexico, where a ruptured well has been spewing crude since April 20, tests on a supertanker adapted to skim large quantities of oily water from the surface were inconclusive because of high seas, ship owner TMT Shipping Offshore said.

Over the weekend, while U.S. Independence Day vacationers largely avoided Gulf of Mexico beaches tarred by the leaking well, media reports said BP was looking for a strategic investor among the sovereign wealth funds of the Middle East and Asia.

13 Komorowski wins Polish election with reforms in focus

By Gabriela Baczynska and Patryk Wasilewski, Reuters

58 mins ago

WARSAW (Reuters) – Prime Minister Donald Tusk’s candidate won Poland’s presidential poll but the narrowness of the victory cast doubt on the government’s ability to carry out unpopular reforms ahead of a 2011 parliamentary election.

Bronislaw Komorowski, a moderate conservative from Tusk’s Civic Platform party (PO), won 53.0 percent of votes in Sunday’s poll, final official results showed, after a cliff-hanger vote that saw his right-wing rival Jaroslaw Kaczynski perform much better than expected.

Turnout was 55.3 percent, higher than in a first round on June 20, despite the start of the summer vacation period.

14 Tests on Gulf oil "superskimmer" inconclusive: ship owner

By Matthew Bigg, Reuters

2 hrs 10 mins ago

NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) – Tests on a supertanker adapted to skim large quantities of oily water from the surface of the Gulf of Mexico are inconclusive because of high seas, ship owner TMT Shipping Offshore said on Monday.

Tests on the so-called “super skimmer” conducted just north of the blown out BP Plc well were supposed to be completed on Monday but have been extended because of the weather, said spokesman Bob Grantham.

“After an initial 48-hour testing period results remain inconclusive in light of the rough sea state we are encountering,” Grantham said.

15 Clinton concerned over Russian bases in Georgia region

By Arshad Mohammed, Reuters

57 mins ago

TBILISI (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton voiced concern over Russian plans to build up military bases in Georgian rebel regions and called on Moscow to end its “occupation” of Georgian territory two years after a war.

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin fired back, saying some people believe Moscow’s forces liberated Georgia’s breakaway South Ossetia region in the August 2008 war, rather than occupying it, Russian news agencies reported.

In Georgia on a tour to assure Russia’s neighbors that President Barack Obama’s “reset” with the Kremlin will not harm them, Clinton said Washington is still pressing Moscow to loosen its grip on South Ossetia and another rebel region, Abkhazia.

16 Pakistan renews call for dialogue with some Taliban

By Kamran Haider, Reuters

2 hrs 32 mins ago

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistan’s government, under fresh pressure to deliver stability after suicide bombers killed dozens last week, renewed its call on Monday for talks with Taliban militants ready to renounce violence.

At least 42 people were killed and 175 wounded when two suicide bombers struck Pakistan’s most important Sufi shrine on Thursday night, the second major attack in a month on Pakistan’s cultural hub and traditional seat of power Punjab province.

Speaking after a special high level meeting on law and order, Information Minister Qamar Zaman Kaira said the government would welcome negotiations under the right conditions.

17 China convicts U.S. geologist of stealing state secrets

By Lucy Hornby, Reuters

Mon Jul 5, 10:35 am ET

BEIJING (Reuters) – A geologist accused of stealing state secrets after he brokered the sale of an oil database has been sentenced to eight years in jail, the U.S. embassy said on Monday, over two-and-one-half years after he was detained.

Geologist Xue Feng, a 44-year-old U.S. citizen born in China, was detained late in 2007 after negotiating the sale of an oil industry database to his employer at the time, Colorado-based consultancy IHS Energy, now known as IHS Inc.

Xue was convicted of attempting to obtain and traffic in state secrets, a year after his trial ended, said the Duihua Foundation, which advocates for prisoners’ rights in China and the United States. The database was classified as a state secret only after it was sold, it added.

18 Restive Iraq provinces defy U.S. withdrawal timeline

By Matt Robinson, Reuters

Mon Jul 5, 3:48 am ET

JALAWLA, Iraq (Reuters) – It was a tip-off about a weapons cache that drew the U.S. soldiers of Charlie Troop away from their Stryker armored vehicles in the densely populated Iraqi town of Jalawla one Friday morning last month.

That was when the suicide bomber struck, detonating a car bomb so “catastrophic” that details of the attack that killed Sergeant Israel O’Bryan and Specialist William Yauch are still hazy, their commanding officer said.

One thing was clear: the insurgency in Jalawla won’t lie down.

19 Tar balls from Gulf oil spill turn up in Texas

By JUAN A. LOZANO, Associated Press Writers

1 min ago

GALVESTON, Texas – A top Texas official said Monday that tar balls from the Gulf oil spill have been found on state beaches, marking the first known evidence that gushing crude from the Deepwater Horizon well has now reached all the Gulf states.

Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson said two crews were removing tar balls found on the Bolivar Peninsula and Galveston Island on Sunday.

“We’ve said since day one that if and when we have an impact from Deepwater Horizon, it would be in the form of tarballs,” Patterson said in a news release. “This shows that our modeling is accurate. Any Texas shores impacted by the Deepwater spill will be cleaned up quickly and BP will be picking up the tab.”

20 Health overhaul first provisions start to kick in

By RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR, Associated Press Writer

1 hr 44 mins ago

WASHINGTON – The first stage of President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul is expected to provide coverage to about 1 million uninsured Americans by next year, according to government estimates.

That’s a small share of the uninsured, but in a shaky economy, experts say it’s notable.

Many others – more than 100 million people – are getting new benefits that improve their existing coverage.

21 Dutch agency admits mistake in UN climate report

By ARTHUR MAX, Associated Press Writer

1 hr 12 mins ago

THE HAGUE, Netherlands – A leading Dutch environmental agency, taking the blame for one of the glaring errors that undermined the credibility of a seminal U.N. report on climate change, said Monday it has discovered more small mistakes and urged the panel to be more careful.

But the review by the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency claimed that none of the errors effected the fundamental conclusion by U.N. panel of scientists: that global warming caused by humans already is happening and is threatening the lives and well-being of millions of people.

Mistakes discovered in the 3,000-page report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change last year fed into an atmosphere of skepticism over the reliability of climate scientists who have been warning for many years that human-induced emissions of greenhouse gases could have catastrophic consequences, including rising sea levels, drought and the extinction of nearly one-third of the Earth’s species.

22 Komorowski win strengthens Polish government

By VANESSA GERA, Associated Press Writer

Mon Jul 5, 2:23 pm ET

WARSAW, Poland – Poland chose a rival of the late president over his twin brother in a vote seen as a move away from three months of shock, grief and mourning that followed the death of Lech Kaczynski in a plane crash.

Bronislaw Komorowski was declared the winner Monday, meaning his governing pro-business Civic Platform party now has a year of control of both government and the presidency before the next parliamentary elections.

It represents a chance for them to fulfill promises to dismantle some remnants of the old communist-era welfare state. They have pledged to attack privileges ranging from permanent sick leave to low taxes for rich farmers in an attempt to prevent the European debt crisis from spreading to Poland.

23 Clinton criticizes Russia for occupying Georgia

By ROBERT BURNS, AP National Security Writer

45 mins ago

TBILISI, Georgia – U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton rebuked Russia on Monday for failing to live up to the cease-fire agreement it signed nearly two years ago to end the fighting in this small former Soviet state.

She asserted that Russia is occupying parts of Georgia and building permanent military bases in contravention of the truce.

“We’re calling on the Russians to enforce the agreement they signed,” she told a news conference with Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili at her side. She said that includes pulling its troops back to the positions they held before the invasion.

24 Chinese court sentences US geologist to 8 years

By CHARLES HUTZLER, Associated Press Writer

Mon Jul 5, 1:26 pm ET

BEIJING – An American geologist held by Chinese state security agents who stubbed lit cigarettes on his arms was sentenced to eight years in prison Monday for gathering data on China’s oil industry – a case that highlights the government’s use of vague secrets laws to restrict business information.

In pronouncing Xue Feng guilty of spying and collecting state secrets, the Beijing No. 1 Intermediate People’s Court said his actions “endangered our country’s national security.”

Its verdict said Xue received documents on geological conditions of onshore oil wells and a database that gave the coordinates of more than 30,000 oil and gas wells belonging to China National Petroleum Corporation and listed subsidiary PetroChina Ltd. That information, it said, was sold to IHS Energy, the U.S. consultancy Xue worked for and now known as IHS Inc.

25 Cost of the queen: less than $1 per person a year

By JILL LAWLESS, Associated Press Writer

1 hr 7 mins ago

LONDON – Like millions of her subjects, Queen Elizabeth II is going to have to make do and mend – cutting spending and putting off palace repairs as royal finances are squeezed by Britain’s budget crisis.

Accounts published Monday by Buckingham Palace reveal the total public cost of supporting the monarchy was 38.2 million pounds ($57.8 million) in the year to March 31, the equivalent of 62 pence (94 cents) per person. The total is more than 3 million pounds less than in 2008-2009.

Britain’s public sector is facing cuts as the government tries to eliminate a record deficit, and Alan Reid, Keeper of the Privy Purse, said the royal household “is acutely aware of the difficult economic climate” and will be cutting costs and putting off essential maintenance.

26 Study: Some voters may make end run around logic

By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID, Associated Press Writer

1 hr 31 mins ago

WASHINGTON – Science is confirming something successful politicians seem to know instinctively – support your local football team.

The success of major college teams in the two weeks before an election can have a measurable impact on how well incumbent politicians do at the polls, researchers report in Tuesday’s edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

“Events that government had nothing to do with, but that affect voters’ sense of well-being, can affect the decisions that they make on election day,” the researchers said.

27 Eating champ leaves NY jail after hot dog fracas

By EVA DOU, Associated Press Writer

Mon Jul 5, 2:25 pm ET

NEW YORK – Japanese eating champion Takeru Kobayashi, arrested at a July Fourth hot dog-eating contest, was freed Monday after a night in jail, looking a little weary and saying he was hungry.

Kobayashi, wearing a black T-shirt bearing the message “Free Kobi” in green letters, was freed by a Brooklyn judge after he pleaded not guilty. The slim, boyish 32-year-old said he consumed only a sandwich and some milk in jail.

A contract dispute had kept Kobayashi out of Sunday’s annual Nathan’s Famous International Hot Dog Eating Contest, but he showed up anyway.

28 Crash halts horses’ rampage at Iowa July 4 parade

By TODD RICHMOND, Associated Press Writer

Mon Jul 5, 1:03 pm ET

BELLEVUE, Iowa – A pair of runaway horses in harness crashed into a Fourth of July parade float and collapsed, ending a rampage that injured nearly two dozen people and killed one, people at the parade said Monday.

Tammy Muller, 43, a bartender who works downtown, said she was watching the parade at an intersection when she heard screaming. She said she looked up, saw the horses and yelled, “back up!”

The frenzied animals sped past her and were heading for a large crowd including children who had gathered to pick up candy, when they crashed into the Maquoketa State Bank’s float as it turned at the intersection.

29 NBA’s free agent fireworks could come next week

By BRIAN MAHONEY, AP Basketball Writer

Mon Jul 5, 11:47 am ET

NEW YORK – From Cleveland to Chicago, South Florida to the New York area, it was a mostly quiet Fourth of July in the NBA.

The real fireworks will apparently start this week.

With LeBron James and other big names taking time to ponder their futures, the free-agent market was in many ways on hold for the holiday – though Joe Johnson did agree to a maximum contract to stay in Atlanta.

30 Armstrong joins spills in Tour’s 2nd stage

By JAMEY KEATEN, Associated Press Writer

5 mins ago

SPA, Belgium – On a day of chaos and crashes, riders tumbled like dominoes in the rain and littered the road in a scene Lance Armstrong called “surreal.”

The seven-time champion did not escape the mayhem at the Tour de France on Monday. He was left searching for his bike, nursing scrapes and bruises to his hip and elbow and joking about the decision to come out of retirement.

He was in good company, joining dozens of riders who hit the asphalt on a slippery downhill run some likened to ice skating.

31 Derided no more, suburban life is turning serious

By ALAN SCHER ZAGIER, Associated Press Writer

Mon Jul 5, 2:13 pm ET

SHAWNEE, Kan. – The numbingly similar tract homes, endless strip malls and multiple minivans filled with youth soccer players indelibly mark this former Indian mission territory as a Kansas City suburb.

Look deeper, and a more nuanced portrait of Johnson County, Kansas emerges: an economic powerhouse that has eclipsed its big-city neighbor in political influence. An educated community with a vibrant arts scene. And a cultural melting pot where Brazilian grocers and Vietnamese nail salons blend in with the Walmarts and Burger Kings.

Suburban America has been the butt of jokes and stereotypes for decades. The portrayal persists in Hollywood, which continues to zing the ‘burbs with over-the-top tales of conniving, desperate housewives and wayward soccer moms in bed with Mexican drug lords.

32 Fireworks follow sun-scorched July 4 festivals

By MARC BEJA, Associated Press Writer

Mon Jul 5, 4:58 am ET

NEW YORK – The nation’s largest fireworks show lit up the sky in a burst of red, white and blue over the Hudson River straddling New York and New Jersey on Sunday, a scene that was repeated in hundreds of communities in a sizzling end to a scorching day for much of the U.S.

“It’s amazing on TV,” said Marcos Jimenez, a golf caddie who joined thousands of others lining the riverfront for a prime view of the show. “I figured seeing it live would be even better.”

Budget cuts forced some communities to pull the plug on the pyrotechnics, but the gigantic Macy’s fireworks show went on as planned on Manhattan’s West Side, where it moved in 2009 after eight years on the East River.

33 McCain: Kandahar is key to victory in Afghan war

By DEB RIECHMANN, Associated Press Writer

Mon Jul 5, 12:48 pm ET

KABUL, Afghanistan – The ranking Republican on the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee said Monday that NATO and Afghan troops will prevail in the war if they can succeed in securing and bolstering governance in the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar.

Sen. John McCain, who visited Afghanistan’s largest city in the south on Monday with two other U.S. lawmakers, warned of tough fighting ahead and predicted that casualties would rise in the short-term.

“The Taliban know that Kandahar is the key to success or failure,” McCain told a news conference at the airport in Kabul. “So what happens in this operation will have a great effect on the outcome of this conflict. But I am convinced we can succeed and will succeed, and Kandahar is obviously the key area. And if succeed there, we will succeed in the rest of this struggle.”

34 Mont. delegation pushes EPA on asbestos cleanup

By MATTHEW BROWN, Associated Press Writer

36 mins ago

BILLINGS, Mont. – Montana’s congressional delegation is seeking assurances from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that the government will not leave the asbestos-contaminated town of Libby before its cleanup is complete.

Health workers say at least 400 people have died in rural Libby from contamination caused by a now-closed W.R. Grace vermiculite mine.

The EPA in May finalized its cleanup strategy for the first two of eight contaminated areas, including a town park. Some Libby residents and local elected leaders fear the EPA is rushing to finish its work, leaving the town at risk.

35 Wildlife agency predicted low risk from oil spills

By MICHAEL KUNZELMAN, Associated Press Writer

58 mins ago

NEW ORLEANS – Less than three years before the Gulf oil spill erupted, federal regulators concluded several offshore drilling projects posed a low risk to endangered wildlife – a determination that contrasts sharply with recent scenes of birds struggling to survive the slick.

A September 2007 memo from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said large oil spills from the proposed Gulf drilling projects under review were “low-probability events” that weren’t likely to affect brown pelicans, sea turtles and other animals with Gulf Coast habitats.

The memo suggests that the former Mineral Management Service wasn’t the only federal agency that failed to identify and attempt to minimize the risks of deepwater drilling.

36 Census worker taken to court for trespassing

By MARK NIESSE, Associated Press Writer

Mon Jul 5, 3:17 pm ET

HONOLULU – In these divisive times, Census worker Russell Haas has come to expect some resistance when he goes door to door to count the residents of the rugged communities near Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano. He didn’t expect to get arrested.

An attempt to get one resident, a county police officer, to fill out Census forms landed Haas in the back of a patrol car with a trespassing charge.

The case is now in federal court, the latest example of disputes this year between Census workers and residents who don’t want to deal with them. It has created a rare instance in which federal prosecutors have stepped in to serve as criminal defense attorneys.

37 Tug company involved in Mississippi crash charged

By CAIN BURDEAU, Associated Press Writer

Fri Jul 2, 6:29 pm ET

NEW ORLEANS – A company whose towboat was involved in a crash with a tanker that caused a major oil spill on the Mississippi River two years ago has been accused of operating vessels with unqualified and overworked captains, federal prosecutors said Friday.

DRD Towing Co. was charged with breaking maritime safety and environmental laws, prosecutors said. Also, one of its owners, Randall Dantin, was charged with obstruction of justice for allegedly deleting electronic payroll records the Coast Guard needed to investigate the accident.

On July 23, 2008, the towboat Mel Oliver collided with the tanker Tintomara. A Coast Guard investigation revealed John Paul Bavaret II, a sleep-deprived apprentice mate without a captain at his side, was at the tug’s helm, a violation of Coast Guard rules.

38 Army drops ‘psy ops’ name for influence operations

By KEVIN MAURER, Associated Press Writer

Fri Jul 2, 5:54 pm ET

WILMINGTON, N.C. – The Army has dropped the Vietnam-era name “psychological operations” for its branch in charge of trying to change minds behind enemy lines, acknowledging the term can sound ominous.

The Defense Department picked a more neutral moniker: “Military Information Support Operations,” or MISO.

U.S. Special Operations Command spokesman Ken McGraw said Thursday the new name, adopted last month, more accurately reflects the unit’s job of producing leaflets, radio broadcasts and loudspeaker messages to influence enemy soldiers and civilians.

39 BP oil spill: A subdued Fourth of July on Louisiana’s Grand Isle

By Bill Sasser, The Christian Science Monitor

9:36 am ET

Grand Isle, La. – Along state Highway 1 on Grand Isle, La., a flagpole in one yard is flying the Stars and Stripes at half staff and upside down. The Bridge Side Marina has canceled its annual Fourth of July fireworks display. The marina owners say they’re worried that the pyrotechnics could ignite oil floating in nearby Caminada Bay.

On the holiday weekend during what should be the height of Grand Isle’s summer season, life on the island has been turned upside down.

BP spill-response workers and National Guard soldiers have taken over the campgrounds, motels, and restaurants that would normally throng with summertime visitors. The beaches are vacant except for empty picnic tables, thousands of yards of neon-orange solid boom, and workers in hazmat suits cleaning up oil from the blown BP oil well 50 miles offshore. The oil company has taken over the town’s community center, where its representatives meet with local fishermen and business owners to discuss claims.

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