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Aug 19 2010

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Aid begins to flow to flood-ravaged Pakistan

by Marwan Naamani, AFP

1 hr 15 mins ago

MULTAN, Pakistan (AFP) – Foreign aid has begun flowing to the 20 million victims of floods in Pakistan, but thousands remain without food or shelter as weather forecasts signalled there may be some let-up.

Monsoon systems were weakening after three weeks of torrential rains brought devastating floods that have left at least 1,400 people dead in the country’s worst natural disaster, with survivors hitting out at the government’s slow response.

The floods wiped out villages, farmland and infrastructure, and OCHA, the United Nations’ aid coordination body, said that more than 650,000 homeless families were still without basic shelter.

2 Flood-hit Pakistan faces economic catastrophe

by Hasan Mansoor, AFP

Wed Aug 18, 1:16 am ET

KARACHI (AFP) – Pakistan faces economic catastrophe after the devastating floods that have wiped out farmland and ruined infrastructure, with feared losses of billions of dollars likely to set back growth by years.

The country’s worst ever humanitarian disaster has ravaged an area roughly the size of England, affected 20 million people, exacerbated a crippling energy crisis and raising fears of social unrest.

“It seems we’re doomed to walking through a dark tunnel. We’re on an unending path of misery,” said Morio Pahore, a farmer from small town Thul in southern Pakistan who is now living in a tent on a highway.

3 Pakistan, Russia back Afghanistan at rare summit

by Anna Smolchenko, AFP

2 hrs 20 mins ago

SOCHI, Russia (AFP) – The presidents of Pakistan and Russia, two states with a history of difficult relations with Kabul, on Wednesday backed the Afghan government’s fight against rebels at a rare summit meeting.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev hosted Afghan and Pakistan counterparts Hamid Karzai and Asif Ali Zardari in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, its balmy shores dotted with palm trees and magnolias a stark contrast from the battle with Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan.

The four-way summit, which also involved President Emomali Rahmon of Tajikistan, agreed to pursue joint economic projects to help bring stability to the region.

4 WikiLeaks says US willing to talk about leaked papers

AFP

Wed Aug 18, 1:01 pm ET

REYKJAVIK (AFP) – WikiLeaks said Wednesday the US military is willing to discuss the removal of sensitive data from a second batch of Afghan war documents it plans to release, but the Pentagon insisted it will not negotiate on a “sanitised version”.

The whistleblower website has already released nearly 77,000 leaked US military documents about the war in Afghanistan and is preparing to publish 15,000 more in the coming weeks, despite criticism that doing so could endanger lives since the files include the names of some Afghan informants.

Kristinn Hrafnsson, an Icelandic spokesman for the website, said the US military had a change of heart this week and told WikiLeaks it was prepared to talk about helping to remove sensitive details from the files.

5 Weather shifts behind disasters need ‘urgent’ probe: UN

AFP

2 hrs 35 mins ago

GENEVA (AFP) – Climate scientists must urgently look into changes in atmospheric currents linked to devastating floods in Pakistan and wildfires in Russia, UN climate and weather bodies said on Wednesday.

Ghassem Asrar, director of the World Climate Research Programme, told AFP that changes, known as blocking episodes, can prevent humidity or hot weather dispersing.

That intensified heavy rain or heatwaves and locked them over an area, he explained, potentially with a growing impact on extreme weather events that scientists expect to happen more frequently with global warming.

6 Obama tries to boost faith in US economic revival

by Tangi Quemener, AFP

34 mins ago

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AFP) – President Barack Obama held a kitchen table summit Wednesday to try to restore Middle America’s sinking faith in his administration’s ability to revive the lackluster US economy.

The souring economy and stubbornly high unemployment have seen Obama’s poll numbers slump to all-time lows and they are threatening to drag down his fellow Democrats in looming mid-term elections in November.

In the rustbelt city of Columbus, Ohio, Obama sat down with the Weithman family, who he said were typical of how Americans across the country were benefiting from his economic policies.

7 Model Macedonian school aims to bridge the ethnic divide

by Jasmina Mironski, AFP

Wed Aug 18, 12:07 pm ET

PRELJUBISTE, Macedonia (AFP) – Macedonia’s only bilingual school stands in a bucolic mountainous area that still bears the scars of an ethnic conflict that threatened full-blown civil war nine years ago.

The clashes are the reason the Fridtjof Nansen elementary school was created: to teach Macedonian and Albanian children to understand each other and overcome the differences that drove their elders to fight.

“Maybe we are different sort of fishes, but in this school, we all swim together,” reads a bold motto in the hall of the pioneering school, which believes it is a model for Europe.

8 To US students Beethoven’s a dog, Michelangelo a virus

by Karin Zeitvogel, AFP

Tue Aug 17, 5:15 pm ET

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Most young Americans entering university this year can’t write in cursive, think email is too slow, that Beethoven’s a dog and Michelangelo a computer virus, according to an annual list compiled by two academics at a US college.

To students who will get their bachelor’s degrees in 2014, Czechoslovakia has never existed, Fergie is a pop singer, not a duchess; Clint Eastwood is a sensitive movie director, not Dirty Harry; and John McEnroe stars in TV ads, not on the tennis court, Beloit College’s “Mindset” list says.

The Mindset list was first compiled in 1998, for the class of 2002, by Beloit humanities professor Tom McBride and former public affairs director Ron Nief.

9 BHP Billiton targets Potash Corp with hostile 40-bln-dlr bid

by Roland Jackson, AFP

Wed Aug 18, 1:05 pm ET

LONDON (AFP) – Anglo-Australian mining giant BHP Billiton on Wednesday launched a mammoth hostile takeover bid for Canada’s Potash Corp which values the world’s largest fertiliser producer at 40 billion dollars.

“Potash Corp will provide BHP Billiton with an immediate leadership platform in the global fertiliser industry and further diversify BHP Billiton’s portfolio,” BHP said in a statement unveiling the news, one day after Potash had rejected an unsolicited approach.

The offer, worth the equivalent of 31 billion euros, would allow the energy and metals giant to expand in the agricultural sector amid soaring wheat prices and keen food demand to meet the needs of the world’s rising population.

10 China lashes out at Pentagon military report

by Marianne Barriaux, AFP

Wed Aug 18, 9:03 am ET

BEIJING (AFP) – China hit out Wednesday at a Pentagon report on its expanding military capabilities as other Asian nations said they would be keeping a wary eye on their giant neighbour’s growing might.

Beijing said the US Defence Department report was “not beneficial” for military ties between the two powers, while state media branded the dossier “aggressive” and said it exaggerated China’s military power.

Geng Yansheng, spokesman for China’s defence ministry, insisted his country was on a “path of peaceful development”.

11 Ex-governor defiant after hung jury on Obama seat scheme

by Natasha Korecki, AFP

Wed Aug 18, 7:07 am ET

CHICAGO (AFP) – A US jury handed a shock victory to the ex-governor of Illinois after deadlocking on all but one count in his trial for allegedly trying to sell President Barack Obama’s vacated Senate seat.

Rod Blagojevich, the flamboyant politician-turned reality television star, vowed to appeal his sole conviction for lying to federal agents, while US prosecutors promised a new trial on racketeering, bribery, attempted extortion, and wire fraud.

It is “absolutely our intention to retry this,” assistant US Attorney Reid Schar said Tuesday after the jury said it was unable to reach agreement on 23 of 24 counts. The sole guilty verdict, for lying to the FBI, carries a maximum five-year jail sentence.

12 India rachets up pressure on BlackBerry

AFP

Wed Aug 18, 1:19 am ET

NEW DELHI (AFP) – India has sent a formal notice to mobile operators ordering them to ensure security agencies can monitor BlackBerry messages by the end of the month, companies said.

The move rachets up pressure on the smartphone’s Canadian makers Research in Motion (RIM) to satisfy a demand from the Indian home ministry for access to the heavily encrypted corporate emails and messaging service.

India, the world’s fastest growing cellular market, is a crucial marketing target for RIM with increasingly affluent Indians buying smartphones. The Canadian operator has said it is keen to settle the dispute.

13 U.N. secures more Pakistan flood relief funds

By Alistair Scrutton, Reuters

Wed Aug 18, 11:03 am ET

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Nearly half the $459 million needed to fund initial relief efforts following Pakistan’s worst ever floods has been secured after days of lobbying donors and warnings that the country faces a spiraling humanitarian catastrophe, the United Nations said on Wednesday.

Despite the fresh funds — and some signs that rain was easing — only a small minority of the six million Pakistanis desperate for food and clean water have received help after floods that have killed up to 1,600 people and left two million homeless.

“There has been an improvement in funding. Donors are realizing the scale of the disaster,” U.N. spokesman Maurizio Giuliano told Reuters, “but the challenges are absolutely massive and the floods are not over.”

14 GM files for IPO and plans dual listing

By Clare Baldwin and David Bailey, Reuters

9 mins ago

NEW YORK/DETROIT (Reuters) – General Motors Co filed for an initial public offering of stock on Wednesday, clearing a key hurdle toward repaying taxpayers for a controversial bailout just over a year after its bankruptcy.

The automaker said it planned to list the shares on the New York Stock Exchange and the Toronto Stock Exchange after its initial public offering.

Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan, Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Citigroup Inc have been selected as the lead underwriters for the IPO by the top U.S. automaker.

15 Muslims in Manhattan say they need a place to pray

By Daniel Trotta, Reuters

2 hrs 49 mins ago

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Muslims in lower Manhattan who have prayed in a crowded basement or in the streets say they are not looking for confrontation with opponents of a new mosque. They simply need the space.

Some New Yorkers traumatized by the September 11, 2001 attacks have emotionally opposed a proposed Muslim community center and mosque two blocks from the site of the World Trade Center. Republican politicians seeking to wrest control of Congress from Democrats in November elections have seized on the issue.

The controversy has sucked in President Barack Obama and stirred debate about the meaning of religious freedom in a nation founded in part on that principle. Competing rallies for and against the Muslim project are planned to mark this year’s ninth anniversary of the attacks.

16 Security firm ban could affect Afghan aid

By Paul Tait, Reuters

Wed Aug 18, 12:18 pm ET

KABUL (Reuters) – A ban on private security companies in Afghanistan could affect development and aid work as many of the firms guard Western projects in the country, U.S. officials said on Wednesday.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai issued a decree on Tuesday ordering private security companies to disband within four months — part of an ambitious plan for the government to take responsibility for all security in the country from 2014.

The firms, who compete for billions of dollars in contracts, employ around 40,000 heavily armed guards — mostly Afghans but including many foreigners. They are also used to guard convoys, embassies and other mainly Western interests.

17 SEC charges New Jersey with securities fraud

Reuters

22 mins ago

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. regulators said on Wednesday they charged New Jersey with securities fraud for not disclosing to municipal bond investors that it was underfunding its pensions.

New Jersey, the first state ever hit with securities fraud charges by the Securities and Exchange Commission, agreed to settle the case without admitting or denying the findings, the SEC said. The state was not required to pay any civil fines or penalties, but ordered to cease and desist from future violations.

New Jersey offered and sold more than $26 billion of municipal bonds in 79 deals between August, 2001 and April, 2007, according to the SEC.

18 Obama seeks new design for housing, Fannie/Freddie

By Kevin Drawbaugh and David Lawder, Reuters

Wed Aug 18, 1:32 pm ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. government’s role in housing finance should undergo “fundamental change,” but it should still provide some guarantees in the mortgage market, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said on Tuesday.

Setting the stage for what promises to be a long debate about fixing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, Geithner convened a conference of housing industry leaders and heard a range of ideas about reforms for the $10.7 trillion mortgage market.

Almost two years after the government seized Fannie and Freddie to save them from collapse, there is a widely held view that reform is needed, but the agreement ends there.

19 Gulf surface cleaner, but questions lurk far below

By SETH BORENSTEIN, AP Science Writer

Tue Aug 17, 9:30 pm ET

WASHINGTON – Researchers are warning that the Gulf of Mexico oil spill is a bigger mess than the government claims and that a lot of crude is lurking deep below the surface, some of it settling perhaps in a critical undersea canyon off the Florida Panhandle.

The evidence of microscopic amounts of oil mixing into the soil of the canyon was gathered by scientists at the University of South Florida, who also found poisoned plant plankton – the vital base of the ocean food web – which they blamed on a toxic brew of oil and dispersants.

Their work is preliminary, hasn’t been reviewed by other scientists, requires more tests to confirm it is BP’s oil they found, and is based on a 10-day research cruise that ended late Monday night. Scientists who were not involved said they were uncomfortable drawing conclusions based on such a brief look.

20 First oiled turtles released in Gulf after rehab

By ANTONIO GONZALEZ and JANET McCONNAUGHEY, Associated Press Writer

1 hr 16 mins ago

CEDAR KEY, Fla. – The first rehabilitated turtles oiled by BP’s massive leak were released back into the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday, with scientists saying that animals taken in by rescuers – including birds – appear more resilient than first feared.

Retired Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, who is overseeing the oil crisis for the government, helped release the 22 oiled sea turtles about a mile off the coast of Cedar Key, Fla., an area unaffected by the spilled crude. They were the first oiled turtles found in the Gulf and rehabilitated.

“I think it’s emblematic of us starting to look forward in the recovery,” Allen said, smiling as he released some of the turtles. “This is a very pristine environment. This is their natural habitat.”

21 FACT CHECK: Islam already part of WTC neighborhood

By CALVIN WOODWARD, Associated Press Writer

20 mins ago

WASHINGTON – A New York imam and his proposed mosque near ground zero are being demonized by political candidates – mostly Republicans – despite the fact that Islam is already very much a part of the World Trade Center neighborhood. And that Muslims pray inside the Pentagon, too, less than 80 feet from where terrorists attacked.

And that the imam who’s being branded an extremist has been valued by both Republican and Democratic administrations as a moderate face of the faith.

Even so, the project stirs complicated emotions, and Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf is a complex figure who defies easy categorization in the American Muslim world.

22 Some Muslims question mosque near ground zero

By RACHEL ZOLL, AP Religion Writer

1 hr 1 min ago

NEW YORK – American Muslims who support the proposed mosque and Islamic center near ground zero are facing skeptics within their own faith – those who argue that the project is insensitive to Sept. 11 victims and needlessly provocative at a time when Muslims are pressing for wider acceptance in the U.S.

“For most Americans, 9/11 remains as an open wound, and anything associated with Islam, even for Americans who want to understand Islam – to have an Islamic center with so much publicity is like rubbing salt in open wounds,” said Akbar Ahmed, professor of Islamic studies at American University, a former Pakistani ambassador to Britain and author of “Journey Into America, The Challenge of Islam.” He said the space should include a synagogue and a church so it will truly be interfaith.

Abdul Cader Asmal, past president of the Islamic Council of New England, an umbrella group for more than 15 Islamic centers, said some opponents of the $100 million, 13-story project are indeed anti-Muslim. But he said many Americans have genuine, understandable questions about Islam and extremism.

23 AP Poll: Obama at new low for handling economy

By LIZ “Sprinkles” SIDOTI, AP National Political Writer

17 mins ago

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama earned his lowest marks ever on his handling of the economy in a new Associated Press-GfK poll, which also found that an overwhelming majority of Americans now describe the nation’s financial outlook as poor.

A frustrated electorate could take it out on the party in power – Obama’s Democrats – in the November elections.

Eleven weeks before the Nov. 2 balloting, just 41 percent of those surveyed approve of the president’s performance on the economy, down from 44 percent in April, while 56 percent disapprove. And 61 percent say the economy has gotten worse or stayed the same on Obama’s watch.

24 Jurors were close to convicting Rod Blagojevich

By DON BABWIN and DEANNA BELLANDI, Associated Press Writers

13 mins ago

CHICAGO – They were close. After three weeks of respectful but increasingly tense deliberations, 11 jurors were ready to convict Rod Blagojevich of what prosecutors called a “political corruption crime spree” that would have sent yet another former Illinois governor to prison.

Not close enough. On vote after vote, the jury kept coming up one juror short – a lone holdout who wouldn’t budge and would agree only that Blagojevich lied to the FBI. “The person just did not see the evidence that everyone else did,” said juror Stephen Wlodek.

The guilty verdict on the least serious of the 24 counts against him, and mistrial on all the rest, led Blagojevich to taunt prosecutors in the courthouse lobby. More than a year after federal prosecutors accused him of crimes that would make Abraham Lincoln “roll over in his grave,” the disgraced politician bragged about essentially fighting them to a draw.

25 American activist turns self in to Peru police

By CARLA SALAZAR, Associated Press Writer

19 mins ago

LIMA, Peru – An American activist convicted of aiding leftist rebels surrendered to police on Wednesday after a court ordered her arrest and struck down a decision granting her parole.

Lori Berenson’s husband and lawyer, Anibal Apari, said she had turned herself in to police after the decision by a criminal appeals court was announced. Apari spoke to reporters outside the U.S. Embassy.

Apari declined to say whether she handed herself over within the diplomatic mission, but police officers were seen entering the embassy compound.

26 Favre comes back for 2nd season with Vikings

By JON KRAWCZYNSKI, AP Sports Writer

26 mins ago

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. – The lure of playing in another Super Bowl brought Brett Favre back to the NFL – again.

Favre joined his Minnesota Vikings teammates at practice Wednesday. The three-time MVP wore a helmet, shoulder pads and red quarterback’s jersey as he worked out with Minnesota for the first time since getting battered by New Orleans as the Vikings lost the NFC championship game in January.

“As we were driving on that last drive it seemed like it was destiny – for us,” said Favre, whose interception in the final minute ended that march and the Vikings never got the ball in overtime. “I was so close, so close to getting these guys to the Super Bowl.

27 Review finds flawed NC cases, including executions

By MARTHA WAGGONER, Associated Press Writer

56 mins ago

RALEIGH, N.C. – Analysts at North Carolina’s crime lab omitted, overstated or falsely reported blood evidence in dozens of cases, including three that ended in executions and another where two men were imprisoned for murdering Michael Jordan’s father, according to a scathing review released Wednesday.

The government-ordered inquest by two former FBI officials found that agents of the State Bureau of Investigation repeatedly aided prosecutors in obtaining convictions over a 16-year period, mostly by misrepresenting blood evidence and keeping critical notes from defense attorneys.

The review of blood evidence in cases from 1987 to 2003 by two former assistant directors of the Federal Bureau of Investigation calls for a thorough examination of 190 criminal cases, stating information that could have helped defendants was sometimes misrepresented or withheld.

28 On political tour, Obama gets in a backyard chat

By BEN FELLER, AP White House Correspondent

Wed Aug 18, 2:31 pm ET

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Admittedly wary of losing touch, President Barack Obama returned to the comfort of backyard politics on Wednesday, assuring a polite gathering of middle-class neighbors that the economy is coming around “slowly but surely.”

At the brick-and-shingle house of the Weithman family, Obama’s questioners showed no interest in the divisive midterm elections or other matters gobbling up the political debate. They wanted to know what he was doing on jobs, health care, pensions and child care. In turn, Obama got what he wanted: a sunny platform to engage voters and promote his agenda.

Obama hadn’t even left the property, though, before he got off message by answering a reporter’s shouted question about a national controversy – plans for a mosque and community center near the site of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on New York. Obama said he had “no regrets” about his stand that Muslims have the right to build the mosque.

29 Dr. Laura plans to end radio show at end of year

By DAVID BAUDER, AP Television Writer

27 mins ago

NEW YORK – Talk show host Laura Schlessinger says her desire to talk freely without having affiliates and sponsors attacked led to her abrupt decision to end her “Dr. Laura” radio show later this year.

Schlessinger said she is walking away a week after apologizing for saying the N-word 11 times on the air while talking to a black woman with a white husband, then saying “if you’re that hypersensitive about color and don’t have a sense of humor, don’t marry out of your race.”

She apologized a day after the Aug. 10 remarks, but Media Matters for America called for her removal from the talk show. The group encouraged its members to contact show sponsors and affiliates and urge them to drop “Dr. Laura.”

30 WikiLeaks: Pentagon ready to discuss Afghan files

By KARL RITTER, Associated Press Writer

2 hrs 28 mins ago

STOCKHOLM – WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said Wednesday the Pentagon has expressed willingness to discuss the online whistleblower’s request for help in reviewing classified documents from the Afghan war and removing information that could harm civilians. The Pentagon denied any direct contacts with WikiLeaks.

“This week we received contact through our lawyers that the General Counsel” of the Pentagon “says now that they want to discuss the issue,” Assange told The Associated Press by telephone.

Assange added that the contacts have been brokered by the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command, which “CID” denies.

31 ACT scores dip, but more students college-ready

By ERIC GORSKI, AP Education Writer

Wed Aug 18, 6:59 am ET

Average scores on the ACT college entrance exam inched downward this year, yet slightly more students who took the test proved to be prepared for college, according to a report released Wednesday.

The findings sound contradictory. But the exam’s authors point to a growing and more diverse group of test-takers – many are likely scoring lower overall, but more are also meeting benchmarks used to measure college readiness.

Last spring’s high-school seniors averaged a composite score of 21.0 on the test’s scale of 1 to 36, down slightly from 21.1 last year and the lowest score of the last five years.

32 Pivotal Senate primary in Washington decided

By CURT WOODWARD, Associated Press Writer

Wed Aug 18, 1:28 pm ET

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Democratic Sen. Patty Murray and her Republican challenger dove right into their fall matchup after winning the primary in a high-stakes election that could determine the balance of power in the nation’s capital.

Murray said a vote for Republican Dino Rossi is a vote for the failed policies of former President George W. Bush. Rossi declared that he would put Washington, D.C., on “a pork-free diet” and end what he calls a reckless pursuit of federal money by Murray in her 18 years in the Senate.

Murray and Rossi easily won Washington’s primary Tuesday on a day in which President Barack Obama came to the state to campaign for the Democrat.

33 Pakistan floods shape an archipelago of misery

By TIM SULLIVAN, Associated Press Writer

35 mins ago

SHIKARPUR, Pakistan – The water came in the morning, quietly sweeping across the rice paddies and into the village. Within hours, it was as high as a man’s shoulder and Abdul Nabi had lost his harvest, his mud home and all 10 of his buffalo.

It had barely been raining at all.

Weeks after massive downpours first battered northern Pakistan, submerging tens of thousands of square miles, killing about 1,500 people and leaving millions homeless, those floodwaters are still sweeping downriver and through the south, adding one more layer of misery to people long accustomed to hardship.

34 Neb. AG won’t defend law on abortion screenings

By TIMBERLY ROSS, Associated Press Writer

2 hrs 2 mins ago

OMAHA, Neb. – Nebraska’s attorney general will not defend a new state law requiring health screenings for women seeking abortions because there’s little chance the controversial law will prevail in court, his spokeswoman said Wednesday.

Attorney General Jon Bruning agreed to a permanent federal injunction against enforcement of the law, which faces a challenge from Planned Parenthood of the Heartland, said his spokeswoman Shannon Kingery.

“It is evident from the judge’s ruling (to temporarily block the law from taking effect) that LB594 will ultimately be found unconstitutional,” she said. “Losing this case would require Nebraska taxpayers to foot the bill for Planned Parenthood’s legal fee.”

35 Georgia archaeologists find Confederate POW camp

By RUSS BYNUM, Associated Press Writer

2 hrs 56 mins ago

SAVANNAH, Ga. – Preserved for nearly 150 years, perhaps by its own obscurity, a short-lived Confederate prison camp began yielding treasures from the Civil War almost as soon as archeologists began searching for it in southeastern Georgia.

They found a corroded bronze buckle used to fasten tourniquets during amputations, a makeshift tobacco pipe with teeth marks in the stem, and a picture frame folded and kept after the daguerreotype it held was lost.

Georgia officials say the discoveries, announced Wednesday, were made by a 36-year-old graduate student at Georgia Southern University who set out to find Camp Lawton for his thesis project in archaeology.

36 Toyota Camry still the top-selling car

By ANN M. JOB, For The Associated Press

Wed Aug 18, 1:02 pm ET

Toyota’s top-quality reputation is tarnished these days because of a rash of safety recalls. But that’s not stopping the Toyota Camry from outselling all other cars in the country.

In fact, sales this calendar year of the Camry, a perennially popular family sedan over the years, total nearly 190,000 and are up 2.8 percent through the first seven months of 2010 compared with the year-earlier period.

I found out why when a woman in a parking garage elevator wanted to know how I liked the new, 2010 Camry she saw me driving. She quickly confirmed she’s a Toyota loyalist and had fond memories of her old, durable Camry. She was driving a Lexus now, having moved up to Toyota’s luxury brand.

37 Vonnegut memorial library to open in Indianapolis

By RICK CALLAHAN, Associated Press Writer

Wed Aug 18, 3:09 am ET

INDIANAPOLIS – Three years after his death, pieces of Kurt Vonnegut’s life are coming together in his hometown, where a new library will chronicle the “Slaughterhouse Five” author’s harrowing World War II experiences and his works that struck a chord with the Vietnam generation.

The Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library scheduled to open this fall in downtown Indianapolis will be part library and part museum, with a collection including first editions of his books, a replica of his writing studio, his Purple Heart and rejection letters that preceded his success.

The 1,100-square-foot space will also house an art gallery featuring his distinctive line drawings and a gift shop that will help generate income for the nonprofit library, said Julia Whitehead, the museum’s executive director and founder.

38 City of Bell says it has terminated ‘loan program’

Associated Press

Wed Aug 18, 2:29 am ET

BELL, Calif. – The California city of Bell has ended a loan program devised by the former city administrator whose exorbitant salary sparked a scandal in the small working class city, interim city manager Pedro Carrillo said Tuesday.

“Since learning of the `loan program’ it was immediately terminated,” Carrillo said in a statement. “We are in the midst of determining who benefited from the program, how much money was loaned, and how much money remains to be paid back to the city of Bell,” the statement said. “Once that determination has been made, payment will be immediately requested.”

The Los Angeles Times reported earlier Tuesday that the city gave nearly $900,000 in loans to officials, employees and at least two council members in the last several years.

39 War comes home: Day-by-day, services honor fallen

By SHARON COHEN, AP National Writer

Wed Aug 18, 12:00 am ET

In the summer twilight, a crowd gathers on a baseball diamond in Seattle, candles in hand, to remember a sailor who not long ago ran this dusty path.

In a California church, a young widow reunites with friends she saw just nine months ago at her wedding – this time, though, they’ve come to bid farewell to her soldier-husband.

And in a Tennessee high school, a family friend remembers the eager boy who grew up counting the days until he could don an Army uniform.

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