Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Engineers prepare to seal ruptured BP oil well

by Matt Davis, AFP

Sat Jul 31, 5:21 pm ET

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (AFP) – Engineers Saturday readied a plan to permanently seal a damaged Gulf of Mexico well, despite delays to the process caused by debris left behind by a recent tropical storm.

As the work continued, incoming BP boss Bob Dudley vowed that the oil giant would not abandon residents affected by the spill after the well is finally sealed.

BP hopes to drown the well in an operation dubbed a “static kill,” in which mud and cement will be injected down into the ruptured wellhead via a cap installed on July 15.

2 Dutch troops leave Afghanistan after four years

by Claire Truscott, AFP

56 mins ago

KABUL (AFP) – Dutch troops ended their mission in Afghanistan Sunday after four “proud” years, in a departure which experts said signals the beginning of a drawdown of foreign forces that will leave a worrying void.

The pull-out is the first significant drawdown of troops from the Afghan war, now in its ninth year, and comes as Taliban-led violence worsens and US forces suffered their worst month for casualties.

Troops held a “change of command” ceremony at the main military base in central Uruzgan province, where most of the country’s 1,950 soldiers have been deployed, a Dutch embassy official said.

3 Greek truckers end week-long strike

by John Hadoulis, AFP

56 mins ago

ATHENS (AFP) – Greek truckers on Sunday called off a week-long strike that stranded thousands of travellers and nearly dried up fuel around the country at the peak of the busy tourism season.

“We have decided, by narrow majority, to suspend the strike,” the head of the Greek truck owners confederation, George Tzortzatos, told reporters after a union meeting that lasted over three hours.

“Transporters will be back at the steering wheel as of tomorrow,” he said.

4 Greek tourism reels from fuel shortage, strikes

by John Hadoulis, AFP

Sat Jul 31, 11:35 pm ET

ATHENS (AFP) – Disaster has struck Greece’s crucial tourism industry at the peak of a summer season badly needed by its recession-hit economy with a national fuel shortage compounding weeks of on-off work unrest.

A strike wave against austerity policies, a violent May protest in which three people died in a firebombed bank and unionist action targeting cruise ships and flights have made for a calamitous season, operators say.

And additional disruption caused to tens of thousands of travellers by the fuel holdup caused by a trucker walkout could not have come at a worse time for a sector which makes up nearly a fifth of the troubled Greek economy.

5 UAE to suspend key BlackBerry services

by Ali Khalil, AFP

1 hr 27 mins ago

DUBAI (AFP) – Gulf business hub the United Arab Emirates said Sunday it will halt key BlackBerry services that breach laws and raise security concerns, a move Saudi Arabia may follow according to unconfirmed reports.

The UAE suspension would kick in on October 11 and last until a legal solution was reached, the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) said in a statement on its website.

It said the decision was taken “after failing to make progress in repeated attempts to make BlackBerry services compatible” with the Gulf state’s legislation.

6 Webber wins Hungarian GP to take series lead

by Gordon Howard, AFP

Sun Aug 1, 1:07 pm ET

BUDAPEST (AFP) – Australian Mark Webber took over as leader of the Formula One world championship on Sunday with a mature and measured victory in an incident-filled and controversial Hungarian Grand Prix.

The 33-year-old Red Bull driver took full advantage of other people’s problems, including those of his German team-mate Sebastian Vettel, to produce an assured drive that brought him his fourth win of the season and the sixth of his career.

“It was a bit of a gift for me but you know I haven’t had many of them,” said Webber, who was taking part in his 150th Grand Prix.

7 Winds of austerity sweep through football

by Tom Williams, AFP

Sun Aug 1, 1:45 am ET

PARIS (AFP) – Anyone in doubt as to the lingering effects of the global economic downturn on the world’s top football teams need only cast a glance at the sleepy state of the current European transfer market.

The astronomical sums of last summer, when Real Madrid broke the world transfer record twice, have given way to caution and prudence as clubs contend with mounting debts and uncertain futures.

Barcelona, the world’s most fashionable club, are currently saddled with a record debt of 442 million euros and announced in early July that they had taken out a loan of 155 million euros to ease their cash-flow problems.

8 Seven hours the magic number for sleep: study

by Karin Zeitvogel, AFP

Sun Aug 1, 12:27 am ET

WASHINGTON (AFP) – People who sleep more or fewer than seven hours a day, including naps, are increasing their risk for cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in the United States, a study published Sunday shows.

Sleeping fewer than five hours a day, including naps, more than doubles the risk of being diagnosed with angina, coronary heart disease, heart attack or stroke, the study conducted by researchers at West Virginia University’s (WVU) faculty of medicine and published in the journal “Sleep” says.

And sleeping more than seven hours also increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, it says.

9 Debate on death and taxes heats up as billionaires fall

by Rob Lever, AFP

Sat Jul 31, 11:01 pm ET

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The question of death and taxes has risen to the fore in Washington as the demise of prominent billionaires has underscored a fluke which allows big estates to escape taxes, but only for this year.

Highlighting the conundrum has been the death of wealthy Americans including oil tycoon Dan Duncan and New York Yankees baseball owner George Steinbrenner, who can pass on their fortunes to heirs with no taxes. Duncan’s fortune was estimated at nine billion dollars and Steinbrenner’s at 1.1 billion by Forbes magazine.

If they had died in 2009 or 2011, their estates would have paid huge amounts of taxes to the US Treasury. The heirs avoided the tax man because a law enacted in 2001 under president George W. Bush phased out the estate tax entirely in 2010.

10 BP to try well kill Tuesday

By Leigh Coleman, Reuters

Sat Jul 31, 9:33 am ET

BILOXI, Mississippi (Reuters) – BP said on Friday it could seal its ruptured Gulf of Mexico oil well by next week as the House of Representatives voted to toughen regulation of offshore energy drilling.

Incoming BP Chief Executive Bob Dudley said the British energy giant would attempt a “static kill” operation on Tuesday to try to plug the blown-out deep-sea well that caused the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history.

This marks a slight delay. The U.S. official overseeing the spill response, retired Coast Guard Admiral Thad Allen, had said on Thursday he hoped the operation to pump mud and cement into the well could be performed as early as this weekend.

11 Congress questions BP’s use of dispersants in Gulf

By Deborah Zabarenko and Ross Colvin, Reuters

2 hrs 9 mins ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – BP’s use of dispersant chemicals on the Gulf of Mexico oil spill is sparking questions from a U.S. congressional panel, which says the company used more of these compounds than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had directed.

But the EPA indicated in a statement on Sunday that the difference between what the agency directed and what BP and the U.S. Coast Guard achieved is slight — the difference between a 75 percent cut in dispersant use and a 72 percent cut.

The environmental agency acknowledged, however, that the use of dispersants is “always a difficult decision.”

12 WikiLeaks guilty, at least morally: Robert Gates

By Phil Stewart, Reuters

Sun Aug 1, 9:11 am ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – WikiLeaks is at least morally guilty over the release of classified U.S. documents on the Afghan war, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Sunday, as investigators broaden their probe of the leak.

The whistle-blowing website published tens of thousands of war records a week ago, a move the Pentagon has said could cost lives and damage the trust of allies by exposing U.S. intelligence gathering methods and names of Afghan contacts.

Gates and Admiral Mike Mullen, the top U.S. military officer, appeared on television talk shows renewing those concerns amid fears WikiLeaks may publish more documents.

13 Pakistan president to visit Britain amid terror row

By Chris Allbritton, Reuters

Sun Aug 1, 8:19 am ET

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari will visit Britain this week for talks overshadowed by a row over remarks by British Prime Minister David Cameron suggesting Islamabad was not doing enough to fight terrorism.

Pakistan’s spy chief, who had been due to visit London on Monday for talks on counter-terrorism, canceled his trip in protest at Cameron’s remarks, a spokesman for the Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) agency said on Saturday.

Cameron, speaking in Pakistan’s rival India on Wednesday, told Islamabad that it must not become a base for militants and “promote the export of terror” across the globe, raising the ire of several officials and many people in the key U.S. ally.

14 U.S.-Canadian mission set to map Arctic seafloor

By Yereth Rosen, Reuters

Sun Aug 1, 8:04 am ET

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (Reuters) – U.S. and Canadian scientists are headed far north on a joint mission to map the still mysterious floor of the Arctic Ocean, as questions of sovereignty and mineral rights swirl around the region.

The five-week mission, the third joint expedition in as many years, employs two powerful icebreakers from the nations’ Coast Guard fleets.

Both are scheduled to depart Monday, from ports in Alaska and Canada’s Nunavut territory respectively, for a rendezvous point at sea, said the U.S. Geological Survey, a participating agency.

15 Gulf crews prepare to start plugging well for good

By GREG BLUESTEIN, Associated Press Writer

20 mins ago

NEW ORLEANS – The only thing keeping millions more gallons of oil out of the Gulf of Mexico right now is a rush job: an experimental cap that has held for more than two weeks but was never meant to be permanent. As soon as this week, crews will be pumping in some insurance.

Engineers are preparing to launch a so-called static kill as early as Monday evening, shoving mud and perhaps cement into the blown-out well to make it easier to plug the gusher up forever and end the Summer of the Spill.

The effort carries no certainty, and BP PLC engineers still plan to follow it up days later by sending a stream of mud and cement into the bottom of the mile-deep underground reservoir through a relief well they’ve been digging for months.

16 Coast Guard allows toxic chemical use on Gulf oil

By H. JOSEF HEBERT, Associated Press Writer

Sun Aug 1, 2:05 am ET

WASHINGTON – The U.S. Coast Guard has routinely approved BP requests to use thousands of gallons of toxic chemical a day to break up oil slicks in the Gulf of Mexico despite a federal directive that the chemicals be used only rarely on surface waters, congressional investigators said Saturday after examining BP and government documents.

The documents show the Coast Guard approved 74 waivers over a 48-day period after the restrictions were imposed, resulting in hundreds of thousands of gallons of the chemicals to be spread on Gulf waters. Only in a small number of cases did the government scale back BP’s request.

The extensive use of dispersants to break up oil gushing from BP’s Deepwater Horizon raised concerns early on as to what long-term damage the toxic chemicals might be doing to the Gulf’s aquatic life. That prompted the Environmental Protection Agency on May 26 to direct BP to stop using the chemicals on the water surface except in “rare cases.”

17 UAE to ban BlackBerry services, Saudi follows suit

By ADAM SCHRECK, AP Business Writer

1 min ago

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – The United Arab Emirates outlined plans Sunday to block BlackBerry e-mail, messaging and Web browsing services in a crackdown that could jeopardize efforts to establish the country as an international business hub.

The government cited a potential security threat because encrypted data sent on the devices is moved abroad, where it cannot be monitored for illegal activity. But the decision – quickly followed by a similar move in Saudi Arabia – raises questions about whether the conservative Gulf nations are trying to further control content they deem politically or morally objectionable.

BlackBerry phones have a strong following in the region, not only among foreign professionals in commercial centers such as Dubai and Abu Dhabi, but also among youth who see their relatively secure communication channels as a way to avoid unwanted government attention.

18 After 378 years, NH family farm goes up for sale

By KATHY McCORMACK, Associated Press Writer

1 hr 53 mins ago

DOVER, N.H. – In 1632, John Tuttle arrived from England to a settlement near the Maine-New Hampshire border, using a small land grant from King Charles I to start a farm.

Eleven generations and 378 years later, his field-weary descendants – arthritic from picking fruits and vegetables and battered by competition from supermarkets and pick-it-yourself farms – are selling their spread, which is among the oldest continuously operated family farms in America.

“We’ve been here for 40 years, doing what we love to do,” said Lucy Tuttle, 65, who runs the 134-acre farm with brother Will. “But we’re not able to work to our full capacity any longer, unfortunately.”

19 Guillen: Asian players treated better than Latinos

Associated Press

1 hr 4 mins ago

CHICAGO – White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen thinks Asian players are given privileges in the United States that Latinos are not afforded.

In his latest rant, the outspoken Guillen also said he’s the “only one” in baseball teaching young players from Latin America to stay away from performance-enhancing drugs and that Major League Baseball doesn’t care about that.

He said MLB only cares about how often he argues with umpires and what he says to the media.

20 Dutch become 1st NATO member to quit Afghanistan

By ROBERT H. REID, Associated Press Writer

Sun Aug 1, 1:09 pm ET

KABUL, Afghanistan – The Netherlands became the first NATO country to end its combat mission in Afghanistan, drawing the curtain Sunday on a four-year operation that was deeply unpopular at home and even brought down a Dutch government.

The departure of the small force of nearly 1,900 Dutch troops is not expected to affect conditions on the ground. But it is politically significant because it comes at a time of rising casualties and growing doubts about the war in NATO capitals, even as allied troops are beginning what could be the decisive campaign of the war.

Canada has announced it will withdraw its 2,700 troops in 2011 and Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski has promised to pull out his country’s 2,600 soldiers the year after.

21 High Iraq deaths cast doubt on US stability talk

By HAMZA HENDAWI, Associated Press Writer

22 mins ago

BAGHDAD – While concern is rising in the U.S. about the war in Afghanistan, the Americans are anxious to show evidence of progress in their other conflict – Iraq.

New Iraqi government figures tell a different story, however, showing civilian casualties hitting their highest level in more than two years – figures the U.S. rushed on Sunday to dispute.

The rejection of the figures, compiled by the Iraqi ministries of defense, interior and health, comes at a delicate time. The American military has pronounced Iraq’s security as stabilizing and is going ahead with plans to send home all but 50,000 troops by the end of the month, leaving Iraq’s nascent security forces in control. The last American soldier is due to leave by the end of 2011.

22 Christiane Amanpour takes on ABC News’ ‘This Week’

By FRAZIER MOORE, AP Television Writer

Sun Aug 1, 11:45 am ET

NEW YORK – Saying she’s “eager to open a window on the world,” ABC’s Christiane Amanpour has joined the company of Sunday political talk hosts.

Amanpour claimed her role at “This Week” on Sunday, replacing George Stephanopoulos on the show that competes with NBC’s “Meet the Press,” CBS’ “Face the Nation” and “Fox News Sunday.”

She appeared comfortable and aggressively inquisitive in her new position.

23 GOP looks to erase Democrats’ comfy House majority

By LIZ “Sprinkles” SIDOTI, AP National Political Writer

Sun Aug 1, 1:43 pm ET

WASHINGTON – No fewer than 65 House seats across the country – an overwhelming majority held by Democrats – are at risk of changing political hands this fall, enough to bolster Republican hopes of regaining power and stoke fears in President Barack Obama’s party of losing it.

Even more races from California to New York could become competitive by November as voters look to blame someone for the sluggish economic recovery and take out their frustration on the Democrats who run the government. As of now, enough seats are in play that Republicans could gain the 39 they need to reclaim the House, dealing a blow to Obama in the first midterm elections of his presidency.

Primary outcomes and national polls show a restless electorate and energized Republicans. Independents who propelled the Democrats to power in 2006 and 2008 in scores of swing districts are leaning toward the GOP, expressing concerns about excessive spending, government overreach and the spiraling national debt.

24 Britain’s military braced for sharp spending cuts

By DAVID STRINGER and SYLVIA HUI, Associated Press Writers

Sun Aug 1, 7:31 am ET

LONDON – Tens of thousands of troops, a gleaming new aircraft carrier, one or more of the nuclear-armed submarines that guarantees Britain’s place at the world’s top table: Something has to give as the government looks to make sharp cuts to its defense budget as part of deficit-shredding austerity measures.

After costly wars, and a financial crisis that has left the government’s coffers bare, military officials and ministers will spend the summer grappling with a pressing problem – can Britain still afford to be a military power?

Britain’s defense ministry is in the midst of the first major review of its capabilities and priorities since 1998 – a process aimed at predicting future threats and answering weighty questions over the country’s role in the world. At the same time, the new coalition government is undertaking a grueling spending squeeze, aiming at restoring the nation’s finances with uncompromising budget cuts.

25 US stalls on Sept. 11 trial for 5 at Gitmo

By BEN FOX, Associated Press Writer

Sun Aug 1, 5:33 am ET

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – As the U.S. military prepares for the first war crimes trial under President Barack Obama, its most high-profile case against the planners of the Sept. 11 attacks is stuck in political and legal limbo.

Canadian prisoner Omar Khadr, accused of killing an American soldier during a raid on an al-Qaida compound, is scheduled to go to trial Aug. 9 at the U.S. base in Cuba.

But Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the professed mastermind of the attacks, and four alleged accomplices are still sequestered at Guantanamo without charges. The Obama administration, after months of review, hasn’t made a decision on whether to seek a military or civilian trial.

26 Rangel using 3-way defense against ethics charges

By LARRY MARGASAK, Associated Press Writer

Sun Aug 1, 2:08 am ET

WASHINGTON – To rebut a lengthy list of alleged ethical misdeeds, Rep. Charles Rangel is trotting out this three-way defense: I didn’t do it. I did it, but was inattentive. Others lawmakers were allowed to do the same thing without penalty.

It’s an approach that nervous Democrats are watching closely in one of the most politically explosive cases in years.

Should it go to a public trial this fall, smack in the middle of the election season, and should his defense fall short, that won’t help Democratic candidates forced to defend their party’s ethics against Republican campaign attacks.

27 Hacker builds $1,500 cell-phone tapping device

By JORDAN ROBERTSON, AP Technology Writer

Sun Aug 1, 2:09 am ET

LAS VEGAS – A computer security researcher has built a device for just $1,500 that can intercept some kinds of cell phone calls and record everything that’s said.

The attack Chris Paget showed Saturday illustrates weaknesses in GSM, one of the world’s most widely used cellular communications technologies.

His attack was benign; he showed how he could intercept a few dozen calls made by fellow hackers in the audience for his talk at the DefCon conference here. But it illustrates that criminals could do the same thing for malicious purposes, and that consumers have few options for protecting themselves.

28 Blagojevich die-hards the kind he’d want on jury

By MICHAEL TARM, Associated Press Writer

Sun Aug 1, 2:00 pm ET

CHICAGO – One woman clapped the instant she saw Rod Blagojevich emerge from a courthouse elevator. An elderly woman, in tears, handed him a piece of candy in court and said she’d pray for him. On the sidewalk outside court, another person once held a placard that read, “Rod’s not cuckoo, Rod’s not guilty.”

While many have come to revile or laugh at Illinois’ disgraced former governor, a small but dedicated band of supporters gathered at the courthouse during his seven-week corruption trial to cheer him.

No matter about Blagojevich’s job ratings sinking to nearly 10 percent before he left office, or revelations about his alleged criminal schemings, or all the salty language the FBI captured on the wiretaps played in court. This odd bunch – mostly senior citizens – insisted they were sticking with him.

29 San Francisco approves giant redevelopment project

By ROBIN HINDERY, Associated Press Writer

Sun Aug 1, 12:30 pm ET

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – After more than 20 years of environmental cleanup efforts, San Francisco’s largest swath of undeveloped land will someday be home to thousands of families, as well as parks, businesses and perhaps even a new football stadium.

The county Board of Supervisors last week overwhelmingly approved a project to turn the abandoned Hunters Point Naval Shipyard into a bustling 700-acre residential and commercial center on the southeast shoreline of San Francisco Bay. The Miami-based developer, Lennar Corp., is in the process of negotiating with lenders to finance the initial home construction, which could begin later this year.

Supporters say the development, which will stretch west to Candlestick Park, will breath new life into the rough-edged Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood by bringing jobs, affordable housing and recreation options into an area plagued by gang crime and poverty.

30 Uneasy in US, Iroquois believe survival’s at stake

By SAMANTHA GROSS, Associated Press Writer

Sun Aug 1, 12:13 am ET

ONONDAGA NATION, N.Y. – A group of young men have gathered in the longhouse for the feather dance, and the sounds of their singing filter outside, where Mohawk Chief Howard Thompson sits.

His people call him Onerekowa, the name his predecessors have borne for a thousand years. Each month, when he gathers with the 49 other chiefs from the six Haudenosaunee nations, he stands to speak in the language of his ancestors. And when the 50 come to a decision, they don’t take a majority vote. Instead, as it has for a millennium, the leaders of the Iroquois Confederacy decide by consensus.

Today Thompson awaits the start of a meeting of the Haudenosaunee Peace and Trade Committee, where tradition will grapple with the outside world. The issue is passports.


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  1. Helen Thomas’s front row seat has been given to Fox News.. What an insult to a great lady.

    1. I wish the TV was better.


    Labor, Progressive Leaders Biting Bullet on Food Stamp Cut-for-State Fiscal Aid

       On a conference call with reporters, top labor officials and the head of a progressive coalition for education funding acknowledged that they would accept an offset to the education and Medicaid funding bill for budget-constrained states that would reduce expenditures on the federal food stamp program by $6.7 billion dollars starting in 2015. But they vowed to fight for the restoration of those funds in the intervening five years before the cuts take effect.


       The officials were asked by another reporter why the Senate didn’t include something that didn’t hit the poor, like closing the carried interest loophole that allows money managers to drastically reduce their income tax rate. Naomi Walker pointed out that a tax loophole that encouraged companies to outsource jobs is in the bill. “Carried interest is something we support, but we didn’t need as much revenue as that creates because this is a smaller package” than the tax extenders bill where the carried interest loophole was initially addressed, she said.

       This isn’t true. The carried interest loophole initially would have saved the government around $18 billion dollars, according to CBO estimates. A new version that resulted from negotiations over the tax extenders bill would have lowered that offset to $13.6 billion. Either way, that’s well below the $26.1 billion spent on this measure, meaning that food stamp cuts could easily have been swapped out in favor of closing the loophole. It’s a question of priorities.

    I don’t know if it’s because I’m having a rough day in general, or if it’s one of those “last straw” kind of things, or if I’d feel the same way even if it was a good day, but this just felt like a kick in the gut.  How can they do this?  How can they leave other corporate welfare items on the table and agree to cut the food stamp program?  From what I understand, it’s a pittance to begin with, and it’s hard to get because there is, IIRC, a means test.

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