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Jul 08 2010

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 US to deliver billions in equipment to tackle Afghan bombs

by Lynne O’Donnell, AFP

Thu Jul 8, 12:29 pm ET

KABUL (AFP) – The United States is set to deliver three billion dollars worth of equipment to Afghanistan aimed at countering Taliban-made crude bombs used in the war, a US official said Thursday.

Improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, have become the main weapon used against international and Afghan forces fighting to end an insurgency increasingly seen as bogged down in favour of the Taliban.

The equipment was “at least doubling” current counter-IED capacity as forces did not have all they needed to take on an escalating threat, said Ashton Carter, US undersecretary of defence for acquisition, technology and logistics.

2 Swiss solar plane makes history with 26 hr flight

by Peter Capella, AFP

Thu Jul 8, 11:56 am ET

PAYERNE, Switzerland (AFP) – A solar powered aircraft made history Thursday after flying around the clock on the sun’s energy alone, bringing the dream of perpetual flight a step closer.

After 26 hours in the air, the experimental Solar Impulse aircraft, flown by Andre Borschberg, made a seamless landing at Payerne airbase in western Switzerland at 9.01 am (0701 GMT), about three hours after daybreak.

“It’s the first time ever that a solar airplane has flown through the night,” said Bertrand Piccard, the Swiss adventurer who masterminded the project.

3 IMF presses US to cut debt

by Andrew Beatty, AFP

Thu Jul 8, 11:43 am ET

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The International Monetary Fund on Thursday urged the United States to rein in its ballooning budget deficit without putting the “modest” economic recovery at risk.

Amid jitters that high levels of unemployment may force a double dip recession, the IMF warned the slow US recovery would continue and that debt problems loomed.

“The central challenge is to develop a credible fiscal strategy to ensure that public debt is put — and is seen to be put — on a sustainable path without putting the recovery in jeopardy,” an IMF report said.

4 Cavendish strikes, then asks for understanding

by Justin Davis, AFP

1 hr 52 mins ago

MONTARGIS, France (AFP) – Britain’s Mark Cavendish finally lived up to his self-proclaimed label of the fastest man on two wheels Thursday when he powered to victory on the fifth stage of the Tour de France.

In doing so, the Isle of Man rider whose prolific record has been matched by his “bad boy” reputation in the past year, called on his detractors not to judge him before getting to know him.

“There’s a lot of people who want to judge my personality on the 30secs of what they see after a bike race,” Cavendish said after scoring his first win on this year’s race and 11th of his career.

5 Favourites Spain keep feet on ground

by David Legge, AFP

1 hr 47 mins ago

JOHANNESBURG (AFP) – Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque pleaded with his team to keep their feet on the ground ahead of Sunday’s World Cup final against Holland as even Dutch legend Johan Cruyff backed the European champions to triumph.

Del Bosque, whose team reached their first World Cup final thanks to a 1-0 semi-final win over three-time champions Germany, is wary of complacency having seen his side lose their opening group game in South Africa to Switzerland.

“Of course we must celebrate this victory (over Germany) but we will do so with moderation. We will not be blinded by success. We will enjoy this and then start preparing for the final,” stressed the former Real Madrid coach.

6 Viva Espana! Spain euphoric at semi-final win

AFP

Wed Jul 7, 6:07 pm ET

MADRID (AFP) – The whole of Spain erupted with joy as the national side reached the World Cup final for the first time ever with a 1-0 win over Germany — and the fiesta looked set to last all through the night.

“It’s over! We are in the final of the World Cup! It’s historic, what joy!” shouted a commentator from the television channel La Cuatro as the final whistle went.

“It’s not a dream, Spain is in the final!” the Madrid daily ABC said on its website.

7 Puyol strikes as Spain down Germany to reach final

by Barnaby Chesterman, AFP

Wed Jul 7, 6:12 pm ET

DURBAN, South Africa (AFP) – Carles Puyol scored the only goal of the game to send Spain into the World Cup final against Holland following a 1-0 victory against Germany on Wednesday.

The Barcelona centre-back powered home a header from 10 yards from Xavi’s corner 17 minutes from time to send the reigning European champions into their first ever World Cup final.

Holland reached the title game by beating Uruguay 3-2 in Cape Town on Tuesday.

8 Iraq’s rowers step out of shadow of death

by Jacques Clement, AFP

Thu Jul 8, 9:54 am ET

BAGHDAD (AFP) – Not so very long ago, dead bodies were seen floating down the Tigris river every day in Baghdad, the macabre toll of fierce sectarian violence that brought the country to the brink of civil war.

Despite the ever-present menace, however, the men of the Iraq national rowing team continued to train on the water through some of the most violent periods in Iraq that followed the 2003 US-led invasion.

These days the killings have declined markedly and the only obstacles that bar the rowers’ path as they glide downstream are bridges and fishing boats.

9 Baghdad attacks on Shiite pilgrims kill 70 in three days

by Assad Abboud, AFP

23 mins ago

BAGHDAD (AFP) – A string of attacks against Shiite pilgrims in the past three days killed 70 people in Baghdad, security officials said on Thursday, highlighting insurgents’ continued ability to inflict bloodshed.

The death toll was another blow to the leaders of a country which remains dogged by sectarian strife and has only a caretaker government more than four months after a general election in which no clear winner emerged.

Meanwhile, the United Nations warned in its latest human rights report that although violence had fallen overall in Iraq, “attacks deliberately targeting religious and ethnic groups continue unabated.”

10 ECB key rate remains same amid bank concerns

by William Ickes, AFP

Thu Jul 8, 11:40 am ET

FRANKFURT (AFP) – The European Central Bank held its key interest rate at a record low 1.0 percent on Thursday amid deep concern about the health of eurozone banks that have become dependent on ECB funds.

ECB head Jean-Claude Trichet voiced guarded optimism in a controversial ECB programme to buy government bonds on the secondary markets from banks needing to raise fresh funding while urging member states to press on with fiscal reforms.

Trichet welcomed soon-to-be-released stress tests for eurozone banks which will reveal whether they can withstand a crisis similar to that sparked by the collapse of US investment bank Lehman Brothers in September 2008.

11 Thousands demonstrate as new strike cripples Greece

by Helene Colliopoulou, AFP

Thu Jul 8, 7:21 am ET

ATHENS (AFP) – Debt-hit Greece was crippled Thursday by an anti-austerity strike that disrupted flights, trains and holiday ferries as thousands demonstrated in Athens and other cities.

More than 80 international and domestic flights were cancelled and 110 were delayed when air traffic controllers joined the strike, aviation officials said.

No trains ran, city buses were off the streets and all ships were also blocked in ports. Tourists were warned that ferry departures would be put back to Friday.

12 Joblessness, housing add risks to U.S. recovery: IMF

By David Lawder, Reuters

2 hrs 43 mins ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – High unemployment and a moribund housing market have increased risks to the U.S. economic recovery, while the public debt looms large and needs to be cut, the International Monetary Fund said on Thursday.

In a statement after annual consultations with U.S. authorities, the IMF raised its U.S. growth forecasts slightly to 3.3 percent for 2010 and 2.9 percent for 2011, but said unemployment would remain above 9 percent for both years.

The lofty jobless rate, coupled with a large backlog of home foreclosures and high levels of negative home equity, posed risks of a “double dip” in the housing market, it said. But the IMF said it did not think a renewed recession was likely.

13 June discounts help retail sales, may hit July

By Dhanya Skariachan, Reuters

Thu Jul 8, 1:16 pm ET

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. retailers relied heavily on promotions to boost sales in June, helping teen clothing chains and department stores, but the trend may hit margins as they head into the key back-to-school shopping season.

Sales at stores open at least a year rose 3.1 percent for the month, just shy of the 3.2 percent increase that Wall Street predicted, according to reports from 28 retailers tracked by Thomson Reuters. That compared with a 4.9 percent drop a year ago.

“What it really says is we’re just treading water,” said Stephen Hoch, marketing professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. “There’s no evidence that somehow the consumer is going to step up to the plate and spend us out of the economic doldrums.”

14 New U.S. oil drill ban depends on court decision

By Tom Doggett and Jeremy Pelofsky, Reuters

2 hrs 25 mins ago

WASHINGTON/NEW ORLEANS (Reuters) – The Obama administration said on Thursday it will immediately issue a revised ban on deepwater drilling if an appeals court bars it from reinstating the six-month moratorium it imposed in the wake of the BP oil spill.

However, the administration will not impose a new drilling ban if the federal court in New Orleans supports its initial moratorium, an Interior Department official told Reuters.

A hearing before a three-judge appeals panel is scheduled for 3 p.m. CDT/4 p.m. EDT (2000 GMT) on Thursday on the ban imposed during an investigation of the April 20 drilling rig explosion that killed 11 men and triggered the worst oil spill in U.S. history.

15 Chrysler launches money-back guarantee

By Soyoung Kim, Reuters

Thu Jul 8, 11:39 am ET

DETROIT (Reuters) – Chrysler Group LLC will offer consumers a 60-day, money-back guarantee on new vehicles and also make the first two months of payments for buyers, as it tries to shore up sales amid lackluster consumer confidence.

Chrysler said on Thursday consumers will be allowed to return a new vehicle within 60 days if they are not happy with the purchase and the company will pay up to $500 per month for the first two months.

In addition, Chrysler will offer interest-free loans for up to 60 months on most 2010 Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and Ram vehicles when financed through GMAC Financial Services for the month of July.

16 Joy in Spain, German misery after defeat

By Barry Moody, Reuters

Thu Jul 8, 1:10 pm ET

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) – Spaniards exploded in joy on Thursday after their team reached the World Cup final for the first time while Germany plunged into tearful misery following a semi-final defeat that ended their World Cup dream.

Spain will meet the Netherlands on Sunday in Johannesburg’s Soccer City when a new champion will be crowned from two sides seen for decades as the nearly-men of international soccer.

Spanish pride over their team’s superb performance in beating a strong Germany side 1-0 on Wednesday was seen by many as a welcome antidote to economic woes which include Europe’s highest unemployment and high debt.

17 Allen: Relief well timing depends on oil’s spread

By JAY REEVES, Associated Press Writer

13 mins ago

THEODORE, Ala. – A relief well being drilled deep into the seafloor of the Gulf of Mexico to shut down the gushing well could be completed ahead of a long-set deadline of mid-August only if conditions are ideal, government and BP officials said Thursday.

The relief well is currently the best hope for stanching the oil leak set off by the April 20 explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, which killed 11 workers and began an environmental catastrophe for the region.

National Incident Commander and retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen said Thursday that the relief well is expected to intercept and penetrate the Deepwater Horizon well pipe about 18,000 feet below sea level within seven to 10 days.

18 GOP chair Steele staying put despite latest gaffe

By LIZ “Sprinkles” SIDOTI, AP National Political Writer

13 mins ago

WASHINGTON – Michael Steele is staying put as Republican Party chairman. Despite his widely condemned comments on Afghanistan, even his GOP critics want to avoid a drawn-out fight over the party’s most prominent African-American just four months before midterm elections.

Instead, GOP elders are working around Steele, illustrating their lack of confidence in his leadership of the Republican National Committee and the challenge he would face should he seek a second term in January.

The outspoken Steele has faced calls for his resignation from conservatives and some in the GOP after he said that the nine-year-old conflict in Afghanistan was a mistaken “war of Obama’s choosing.” So far, Steele has ignored demands for him to step down.

19 AP Exclusive: Priests who abuse impaired targeted

By NICOLE WINFIELD, Associated Press Writer

1 hr 7 mins ago

VATICAN CITY – The Vatican is cracking down on priests who sexually abuse mentally impaired adults, sanctioning them with the same set of punishments meted out for clerics who rape and molest children, The Associated Press has learned.

A church source close to the Vatican told the AP on Thursday that a soon-to-be-released Vatican document on handling clerical abuse of minors under age 18 would also refer to adults with an “imperfect use of reason.”

Such particularly vulnerable victims will now have their cases handled directly by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under a special set of norms that can result in a priest being quickly defrocked without a canonical trial.

20 Jobless claims keep fluctuating as recovery slows

By CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER, AP Economics Writer

1 hr 56 mins ago

WASHINGTON – Applications for unemployment aid have been fluctuating from week to week, offering an uncertain view of layoffs and the job market.

First-time requests for jobless aid dropped last week to their lowest level since early May, the government said Thursday, erasing increases made in the last two months.

Still, economists say it’s hard to detect a trend in one week of declines. Initial claims have seesawed for several weeks and are not much lower than they were in January.

21 Solar plane lands after completing 24-hour flight

By ELIANE ENGELER, Associated Press Writers

Thu Jul 8, 12:36 pm ET

PAYERNE, Switzerland – An experimental solar-powered plane completed its first 24-hour test flight successfully Thursday, proving that the aircraft can collect enough energy from the sun during the day to stay aloft all night.

The test brings the Swiss-led project one step closer to its goal of circling the globe using only energy from the sun.

Pilot Andre Borschberg eased the Solar Impulse out of the clear blue morning sky onto the runway at Payerne airfield about 30 miles (50 kilometers) southwest of the Swiss capital Bern at exactly 9 a.m. (0700 GMT; 3 a.m. EDT).

22 Hope fades for 2 Hungarians in Pa. duck boat crash

By PATRICK WALTERS and GEOFF MULVIHILL, Associated Press Writers

1 hr 21 mins ago

PHILADELPHIA – Sandy Cohen looked up from the deck of a stalled tourist boat to see an enormous barge approaching fast, and it was clear it wasn’t going to stop. Then came the screams.

Over the next few seconds of terror, she and other passengers fumbled to put on life jackets and ran for cover as best they could. Next came a crash, the boat flipped over, and 37 passengers were plunged into the Delaware River.

Cohen came to the surface, clinging to the life jacket she had managed to snag seconds before. A Hungarian teenager on the tour was hanging onto the jacket too.

23 Spain bulls gore 2 in scary run, 5 more injured

By ALAN CLENDENNING, Associated Press Writer

Thu Jul 8, 12:27 pm ET

PAMPLONA, Spain – Two people were gored Thursday during a tense and dangerous second running of the bulls at Spain’s famed San Fermin fiesta, and at least five other people were hospitalized after falling or being trampled by the hulking beasts.

Thousands took part in the dash to keep ahead of six fighting bulls and six bell-tinkling steers who try to keep the bulls together in a tight pack along the 930-yard (850-meter) course from a holding pen to the northern town’s bullring.

The run lasted just under four minutes and produced panic when some bulls separated from the pack. One stopped just before entering the bullring and paced in circles threateningly while staring at the runners.

24 INSIDE WASHINGTON: First study, then crack down

By JIM KUHNHENN, Associated Press Writer

Thu Jul 8, 9:46 am ET

WASHINGTON – What to do about the size of too-big-to-fail banks? Order a study. How to hold stockbrokers accountable for their dealings with clients? Another study. How to ensure the reliability of credit rating agencies? Study that, too.

Time after time as Congress wrestled with contentious decisions on how to re-regulate the nation’s financial industry, it opted for what often is the classic Washington punt: further study. In all, the 2,300-page overhaul of financial regulations requires more than 60 such studies, on everything from examining the presence of shoddy Chinese drywall in foreclosed houses to judging the financial literacy of U.S. consumers.

“Studies can often be used as a way to delay, and can be a way for the money of the biggest banks to still have influence and undermine real accountability,” said Heather Booth, campaign director for a coalition of labor and consumer activists called Americans for Financial Reform.

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