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Aug 24 2010

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 US egg recall above half-a-billion and growing

AFP

Mon Aug 23, 1:57 pm ET

WASHINGTON (AFP) – A massive recall of eggs possibly tainted with salmonella bacteria is now at more than half-a-billion and could grow, the top US food safety official said Monday.

“It is the largest egg recall that we’ve had in recent history,” Margaret Hamburg, head of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), told NBC television.

“We may see some additional recalls over the next couple days, even weeks, as we better understand the network of distribution of these eggs contaminated,” she said.

2 Fight to save Pakistan city from flooding

by Hasan Mansoor, AFP

22 mins ago

KARACHI (AFP) – Authorities in Pakistan battled on Monday to save a city in the flood-devastated southern province of Sindh after a mass evacuation as floodwaters threatened to wreak further havoc.

The near month-long floods have killed 1,500 people and affected up to 20 million nationwide in the country’s worst natural disaster, with the threat of disease ever-present in the miserable camps sheltering penniless survivors.

Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated from flood-threatened areas in the south since Saturday, including from Shahdadkot, with most of the city’s 100,000 residents escorted to safety or making a getaway by any means possible.

3 Tough road ahead for trapped Chile miners

AFP

Mon Aug 23, 12:44 pm ET

COPIAPO, Chile (AFP) – Euphoria at finding 33 Chilean miners alive after an amazing 17 days trapped underground mixed Monday with the inevitable anguish that it could take till Christmas to rescue them.

When notes miraculously emerged Sunday, tied by survivors to a narrow drill probe that pierced their refuge some 2,257 feet (688 meters) underground, rescuers and family danced for joy.

But one day on, it was sinking in that a long, hard rescue process lies ahead that will test the very sanity of the miners as well as the abilities of rescuers to keep the trapped workers from losing hope.

4 Tiger Woods and wife Elin divorce after sex scandal

AFP

28 mins ago

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Tiger Woods and Swedish model wife Elin Nordegren divorced Monday, their marriage succumbing to a blistering sex scandal that has left the world’s top golfer struggling badly for form.

Woods, 34, and Elin Nordegren, 30, issued an amicable joint statement, saying they were sad to be ending their six-year marriage, wishing each other the best and promising to work together for their children’s happiness.

“We are sad that our marriage is over and we wish each other the very best for the future,” it said.

5 A day in the life of a Mogadishu ambulance driver

by Mustafa Haji Abdinur, AFP

Mon Aug 23, 12:03 pm ET

MOGADISHU (AFP) – In a city where so much time and energy is spent on killing, few people have saved more lives this year than Hassan Mohamoud Mohamed, a taxi-turned-ambulance driver in war-torn Mogadishu.

When the muffled blast of a mortar round echoes in the distance or the thunder of artillery fire erupts, Hassan slurps up his tea and stares at his mobile phone.

He knows a fateful call is probably minutes away.

6 Suicide attack kills 20 at Pakistan mosque

by S.H. Khan, AFP

Mon Aug 23, 11:52 am ET

PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AFP) – A suicide bomber blew himself up at a Pakistani mosque Monday, killing at least 20 people including a prominent local cleric in the lawless district of South Waziristan, officials said.

It was the first significant suicide attack in Pakistan since August 4 and comes with the country battling to cope with the fallout of devastating floods that have affected up to a fifth of the country and hit 20 million people.

The apparent target was cleric Noor Mohammed, a member of radical Sunni Muslim party Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam, which has been linked to the Taliban, and a former lawmaker.

7 Sarkozy’s immigration tough talk backfires

by Dave Clark, AFP

Mon Aug 23, 11:14 am ET

PARIS (AFP) – French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s tough talk on Gypsies and immigrants faced a fierce backlash Monday, drawing fire from the right, the left and the Catholic Church while failing to boost him in the polls.

With two years to go before he seeks re-election and with his popularity at an all-time low, Sarkozy has this month attempted to recapture the political initiative with a populist and racially-tinged law and order message.

Police have begun rounding up and expelling Roma from Eastern Europe and dismantling unauthorised Gypsy campgrounds, while Sarkozy has threatened to strip some foreign-born French criminals of their nationality.

8 ‘Blood cheat’ doctor admits cutting player’s lip

AFP

Mon Aug 23, 11:11 am ET

LONDON (AFP) – The doctor caught up in the Harlequins fake blood controversy admitted on Monday she had cut the lip of the player at the centre of the scandal.

Harlequins wing Tom Williams had earlier bit into a fake-blood capsule to engineer a blood replacement which allowed a substituted specialist kicker back on to the field in the closing minutes of their European Cup tie against Irish province Leinster in April last year.

The plan was to create a situation whereby fly-half Nick Evans, a specialist goalkicker, could get back on the field and so boost London club Harlequins’ chances of winning the match.

9 HP sparks bidding war with Dell over 3PAR

By Ritsuko Ando and Soyoung Kim, Reuters

Mon Aug 23, 2:30 pm ET

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Hewlett-Packard Co sparked a bidding war for 3PAR Inc on Monday with a $1.6 billion offer, topping rival Dell Inc’s deal to buy the niche data storage company.

The move to acquire nine-year-old 3PAR for about one-third more than Dell’s offer adds to a rush of mergers in the technology sector, with companies taking advantage of cash stockpiles and relatively low stock market prices.

Giant technology companies like HP, Dell and International Business Machines Corp are expanding rapidly into new areas, hoping to offer a more comprehensive set of technology products spanning hardware and software — but encroaching increasingly into each others’ traditional markets.

10 Chile secures lifeline to trapped miners, sends aid

By Alonso Soto, Reuters

48 mins ago

COPIAPO, Chile (Reuters) – Chilean miners who survived 18 days after a cave-in received hydration gel and medication through a narrow drill hole on Monday, but officials said it could be months before the men are freed.

In what relatives called a miracle, the miners on Sunday tied a note to a perforation drill that had bored a shaft the circumference of a grapefruit to where they are located, 2,300 feet vertically underground.

The accident in the small gold and copper mine has turned a spotlight on mine safety in Chile, the world’s No. 1 copper producer, although accidents are rare at major mines. The incident is not seen having a significant impact on Chile’s output.

11 Australia’s Labor and conservatives jockey for government

By Rob Taylor, Reuters

Mon Aug 23, 10:07 am ET

CANBERRA (Reuters) – Australia faces a week of political wrangling as votes were counted on Monday from an inconclusive election, with financial markets rowing back on early expectations of a minority conservative government.

Online bookmakers changed their betting to make Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s Labor favorite to lead a government with a handful of independents after putting their money on the conservatives.

Latest official counting gave Labor 72 seats to the conservative’s 69, short of the 76 seats needed to form government. A respected ABC pollster predicted both would fall short with 73 seats each, leaving three independents and a Green MP kingmakers.

12 U.S. pullout from Iraq a mountainous challenge

By Ulf Laessing, Reuters

Mon Aug 23, 12:35 pm ET

CAMP ADDER, Iraq (Reuters) – For months now First Lieutenant Sidney Leslie’s mind has not been on protecting U.S. military convoys in Iraq from bomb and insurgent attacks but on packing up, loading trucks and going home to Bedford, Virginia.

His 1st Battalion of the 116th Infantry Regiment ran military convoys across Iraq but is now among thousands of troops pulling out as the U.S. military cuts its numbers in Iraq to 50,000 by August 31, when combat operations end.

“We started about three months ago. The whole process to turn in equipment took a whole month,” said Leslie, executive officer at Alpha Company, speaking while soldiers loaded their backpacks onto a truck in the middle of the night.

13 Americans confused about healthcare reform: poll

By Julie Steenhuysen, Reuters

Mon Aug 23, 12:05 am ET

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Julia Wood, a 51-year-old mother of 12 from Chicago’s East side, has some health insurance through a state program — but is so worried she may lose it she asks not to give her real name.

Wood’s husband, a plumbing contractor, watched his business dry up in 2008 with the mortgage crisis.

“The economy hit us,” said Wood in an interview at the not-for-profit Chicago Family Health Center.

14 Many drugs for U.S. kids tested in poor countries

By Frederik Joelving, Reuters

Mon Aug 23, 7:24 am ET

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – A law intended to speed up development of new drugs for U.S. kids has ended up financing clinical trials in poor countries, where the medicines might never become available.

That’s the conclusion of a new report whose authors say the situation raises ethical concerns.

More than a third of the published trials performed under 1997 legislation called the Pediatric Exclusivity Provision were carried out at least partly in developing or transitioning nations, such as Uganda and India, researchers found.

15 Rescuers expand lifeline to trapped Chile miners

By MAURICIO CUEVAS, Associated Press Writer

45 mins ago

COPIAPO, Chile – Engineers reinforced a lifeline Monday to 33 miners entombed deep inside a Chilean gold and copper mine, preparing to keep them supplied with food, water, medicine and communications during the four months it may take to carve a tunnel wide enough to pull them out.

A team of doctors and psychiatric experts also arrived Monday at the remote mine, implementing a plan to maintain the miners’ sanity as well.

“We need to urgently establish what psychological situation they are in. They need to understand what we know up here at the surface, that it will take many weeks for them to reach the light,” Health Minister Jaime Manalich explained.

16 Afghanistan security force more than a year away

By ANNE FLAHERTY, Associated Press Writer

46 mins ago

WASHINGTON – A senior U.S. commander on Monday wouldn’t predict when Afghanistan might take control of its own security and warned that NATO needs at least another year to recruit and train enough soldiers and police officers.

The assessment by Lt. Gen. Bill Caldwell, the head of NATO’s training mission in Afghanistan, further dims U.S. hopes that the planned U.S. withdrawal next year will be significant in size.

President Barack Obama has said that troops will begin pulling out in July 2011, the size and pace of withdrawal depending on security conditions. Defense officials, including Defense Secretary Robert Gates, have said they believe next summer’s pullout would be modest.

17 FDA: only 2 egg farms so far show salmonella

By MARY CLARE JALONICK, Associated Press Writer

54 mins ago

WASHINGTON – Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg says there is no evidence that there are additional farms involved in a massive recall of more than half a billion eggs.

Officials also said Monday they do not expect the number of eggs recalled to grow based on what they know now. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said it has not identified additional clusters of illness that would indicate the outbreak has spread beyond two Iowa farms.

Also Monday, the House Energy and Commerce Committee said it is investigating the outbreak and sent letters to both farms asking for detailed information about company operations, communications with the government and what they knew when.

18 Oil spill investigators focus on communication

By RAMIT PLUSHNICK-MASTI and HARRY R. WEBER, Associated Press Writers

5 mins ago

HOUSTON – Federal investigators seeking the cause of the rig explosion that led to BP’s massive Gulf oil spill focused Monday on communication and chain of command, wondering at times whether the key players knew enough to handle an emergency.

They also questioned whether a piece of failed equipment designed to prevent the disaster was inspected on schedule. Details about the so-called blowout preventer, which was supposed to lock in place to prevent a spill in the case of an explosion, will be important as investigators pull it from the seabed to analyze.

Testimony about the frantic moments after the spill, when a distraught worker told the rig manager “she just blew, she just blew,” will also be key to understanding what happened April 20. That’s when the Deepwater Horizon rig exploded, killing 11 workers and subsequently spewing 206 million gallons of oil into the Gulf.

19 Tiger Woods, wife officially divorced

By DOUG FERGUSON, AP Golf Writer

13 mins ago

Tiger Woods and his Swedish-born wife officially divorced Monday, nine months after his middle-of-the night car crash outside their home set off shocking revelations that the world’s most famous athlete had been cheating on her through multiple affairs.

“We are sad that our marriage is over and we wish each other the very best for the future,” Woods and Elin Nordegren said in a joint statement released by their lawyers.

The divorce was granted in Bay County Circuit Court in Panama City, Fla., about 375 miles away from their Isleworth home outside Orlando. The couple had married in October 2004 in Barbados and have a 3-year-old daughter, Sam, and a 19-month-old son, Charlie.

20 SPIN METER: GOP hot, cold on Constitution

By BEN EVANS, Associated Press Writer

1 hr 44 mins ago

WASHINGTON – Republican Rep. Paul Broun of Georgia won his seat in Congress campaigning as a strict defender of the Constitution. He carries a copy in his pocket and is particularly fond of invoking the Second Amendment right to bear arms.

But it turns out there are parts of the document he doesn’t care for – lots of them. He wants to get rid of the language about birthright citizenship, federal income taxes and direct election of senators, among others. He would add plenty of stuff, including explicitly authorizing castration as punishment for child rapists.

This hot-and-cold take on the Constitution is surprisingly common within the GOP, particularly among those like Broun who portray themselves as strict Constitutionalists and who frequently accuse Democrats of twisting the document to serve political aims.

21 Group wants to end setting dogs on chained bears

By MEG KINNARD, Associated Press Writer

2 hrs 26 mins ago

COLUMBIA, S.C. – A declawed, defanged bear is chained to a stake as hunting dogs bark and snap, trying to force the bear to stand on its hind legs. The training exercise called bear baying is intended to make the bears easier to shoot in the wild and it’s only allowed in South Carolina.

Armed with new undercover video of four such events, the Humane Society of the United States is pressuring state officials to explicitly outlaw the practice, which the organization says is effectively banned in every other state. Animal rights advocates say it’s cruel to the nearly defenseless bears and harms them psychologically.

Hunters say the exercise popular in the state’s hilly northwestern corner helps them train their dogs on what to do when they come across a bear during a hunt.

22 Pakistani president defends gov’t flood response

By ASHRAF KHAN and CHRIS BRUMMITT, Associated Press Writer

2 hrs 13 mins ago

SHADAD KOT, Pakistan – Pakistan’s president defended the government’s much-criticized response to the country’s record-breaking flood crisis as emergency workers worked frantically Monday to shore up a system of levees protecting two southern cities.

The floods, which began nearly a month ago with hammering rains in the country’s northwest, have affected more than 17 million people, a U.N. official said, warning the crisis was outstripping relief efforts. About 1,500 people have died in the floods, most in first few days, though the crisis continues to grow.

President Asif Ali Zardari said anger at the government in the coming months is inevitable given the scale of the disaster, comparing it to the anti-government sentiment generated by the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in the United States.

23 Firm to pay $52.4M in Minneapolis bridge collapse

By BRIAN BAKST, Associated Press Writer

1 hr 12 mins ago

MINNEAPOLIS – After enduring countless surgeries and hours of court hearings, victims of the deadly 2007 Minneapolis Interstate 35W bridge collapse reached the end of their legal fight after an engineering firm agreed to pay $52.4 million to settle scores of lawsuits.

The settlement by San Francisco-based URS Corp. – agreed to more than a week ago but kept quiet until Monday – resolves the last major piece of litigation brought by victims. All told, the state and two of its contractors will have paid out $100 million to the families of the 13 people who died and the 145 people who were injured when the Mississippi River bridge broke apart during rush hour.

The settlement averts a trial that had been set for next spring that could have opened URS to punitive damages.

24 Storm knocks down tree that cheered Anne Frank

By TOBY STERLING, Associated Press Writer

Mon Aug 23, 12:48 pm ET

AMSTERDAM – The monumental chestnut tree that cheered Anne Frank while she was in hiding from the Nazis was toppled by wind and heavy rain on Monday.

The once mighty tree, now diseased and rotted through the trunk, snapped about 3 feet (1 meter) above ground and crashed across several gardens. It damaged a brick wall and several sheds, but nearby buildings – including the Anne Frank House museum – escaped unscathed. No one was injured, a museum spokeswoman said.

“Someone yelled, ‘It’s falling. The tree is falling,’ and then you heard it go down,” said museum spokeswoman Maatje Mostart. “Luckily no one was hurt.”

25 Passions rise at dueling NYC mosque demonstrations

By VERENA DOBNIK, Associated Press Writer

Mon Aug 23, 9:09 am ET

NEW YORK – Hundreds of impassioned demonstrators – all waving American flags, but separated into two groups by police – descended on the site of the proposed mosque near ground zero, with opponents chanting, “No mosque, no way!” and supporters shouting, “We say no to racist fear!”

The two leaders of the construction project, meanwhile, defended their plans on Sunday, though one suggested that organizers might eventually be willing to discuss an alternative site. The other, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, said during a Middle East trip that the attention generated by the project is actually positive and that he hopes it will bring greater understanding.

The rallies took place around the corner from the cordoned-off old building that is to become a 13-story Islamic community center and mosque. There were no reports of physical clashes but there were some nose-to-nose confrontations, including a man and a woman screaming at each other across a barricade under a steady rain.

26 McCain turns vulnerable label into front-runner

By JONATHAN J. COOPER, Associated Press Writer

Mon Aug 23, 11:25 am ET

GILBERT, Ariz. – The cast of “Survivor” has nothing on Sen. John McCain.

Once labeled a vulnerable incumbent, the four-term Arizona Republican is the clear front-runner against challenger J.D. Hayworth after spending some $20 million and casting his GOP opponent as a late-night infomercial huckster in a series of devastating ads. The primary is Tuesday.

McCain, who turns 74 on Aug. 29, has survived the deadly 1967 explosion on the USS Forrestal, 5 1/2 years in a Vietnam POW camp after being shot down near Hanoi and skin cancer. Politically, he has persisted through the Keating Five savings and loan scandal, and two failed bids for the White House.

27 In porn, a story of Iraq’s politics

By TAREK EL-TABLAWY, Associated Press Writer

Mon Aug 23, 6:33 am ET

BAGHDAD – The nude women on the DVD cover in a Baghdad street stall say it all: Change, whether you like it or not, is afoot in Iraq.

Hundreds of porn DVDs are stacked elbow-deep on a wooden table in Jassim Hanoun’s ramshackle stall on a downtown sidewalk. His other tables have Hollywood blockbusters, like “King Kong.” But not surprisingly, it’s the sex that sells best.

“I’ve got everything,” Hanoun says of his sex selection, flashing the kind of impish grin only a 22-year-old in tight jeans and slicked-back hair can pull off with any real conviction. “What do you want? I’ve got foreign films, Arab, Iraqi, Indian, celebrities – whatever you like.”

28 A shoe flies, a leader ducks … a trend is born?

By MICHAEL WEISSENSTEIN, Associated Press Writer

Mon Aug 23, 7:05 am ET

LONDON – For a few days, he was famous the world over – an Iraqi TV journalist who became an instant hero for millions when he hurled his shoes at President George W. Bush’s head and called him a dog.

Little has been heard out of Muntadhar al-Zeidi since he left Iraq and started a charity in Switzerland last year. But his odd moment in the spotlight has, to the chagrin of world leaders and their bodyguards, left behind an enduring legacy.

Throwing shoes at the mighty has become a global phenomenon that shows no sign of fading away.

29 Politics, alleged fraud disturb Jerusalem cemetery

By MATTI FRIEDMAN and DALIA NAMMARI, Associated Press Writers

Mon Aug 23, 6:23 am ET

JERUSALEM – A political battle over a Muslim cemetery in Jerusalem that began with charges of insensitivity leveled at plans for a museum of religious tolerance at the site has spread into a more curious fight about whether hundreds of nearby tombstones are even real.

The Mamilla cemetery had its peace disturbed this month by Israeli bulldozers demolishing gravestones in the middle of the night and by Muslim protests. The once sleepy plot of Muslim gravestones in Jewish west Jerusalem has become a flash point for rival claims to the holy city at the heart of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Since early this year, activists from Israel’s Islamic Movement have been cleaning and restoring graves at the cemetery, where tradition says famous Islamic scholars are buried beside warriors who fought the Crusaders alongside Saladin.

30 Financial records show Pirates win while losing

By ALAN ROBINSON, AP Sports Writer

Mon Aug 23, 11:54 am ET

PITTSBURGH – Don’t feel too sorry for the cellar-dwelling Pittsburgh Pirates. Losing has been profitable.

The Pirates made nearly $29.4 million in 2007 and 2008, according to team financial documents, years that were part of a streak of futility that has now reached 18 straight losing seasons. The team’s ownership also paid its partners $20.4 million in 2008.

The documents offer a rare peek inside a team that made money by getting slightly less than half its income (about $70 million) from MLB sources – including revenue sharing, network TV, major league merchandise sales and MLB’s website. The team also held down costs, keeping player salaries near the bottom of the National League, shedding pricier talent and hoping that untested prospects would blossom.

31 Favre’s first outing back a quick one

By JANIE McCAULEY, AP Sports Writer

Mon Aug 23, 12:08 am ET

SAN FRANCISCO – Being back on the field again meant plenty to Brett Favre, no matter if it was only for a few minutes.

No matter that he completed one pass and also got clobbered on a sack that lost Minnesota 10 yards.

Favre’s highly anticipated first game back with the Vikings lasted all of four unspectacular plays and one series in a 15-10 loss to the 49ers in a nationally televised preseason game Sunday at Candlestick Park, the only NFL show of the night.

32 An NYC icon cries foul over proposed rival nearby

By VERENA DOBNIK, Associated Press Writer

11 mins ago

NEW YORK – Look at Manhattan from afar, and the first thing you notice is the Empire State Building, spiking like a needle above the carpet of skyscrapers that coats Manhattan from tip to tip.

Now it’s got some competition – a proposal for a nearby glass office tower that would rise almost as high and alter the iconic skyline.

The tower would spoil the famous view of the 102-story skyscraper for millions of tourists, the Empire State Building’s owner, Anthony Malkin, testified Monday at a City Council hearing. It “defines New York,” he said.

33 DeLay headed to Texas court after feds end probe

By KELLEY SHANNON, Associated Press Writer

40 mins ago

AUSTIN, Texas – Former House majority leader Tom DeLay will be back in a Texas courtroom on Tuesday where he faces money laundering and conspiracy charges – days after learning that the U.S. Justice Department ended its own investigation without filing any criminal charges against him.

The Texas hearing brings DeLay and his two co-defendants one step closer to a possible trial on accusations that they illegally funneled corporate money to help elect Republicans to the Texas Legislature eight years ago.

The charges in Texas against DeLay – once known as “the Hammer” for his heavy-handed style – cost him his congressional leadership post. He pressed in late 2005 for a quick trial because he said he would be cleared, but a swift conclusion never came. He resigned from the U.S. House in 2006, but has remained in the limelight and even did a stint on the television show “Dancing With the Stars.”

34 Biden tells vets US keeping Iraqi commitments

By MIKE SMITH, Associated Press Writer

2 hrs 47 mins ago

INDIANAPOLIS – Vice President Joe Biden said Monday that the United States will remain committed to helping the Iraqi people even after the last American combat troops leave the country this month.

Biden, speaking at the annual convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, said Iraqis are ready to take charge of their country and that troubles with negotiations among Iraqi leaders was still a positive sign.

“Although it has taken a long time, I am absolutely convinced they are on their way,” Biden said. “Politics and not war has broken out in Iraq.”

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