Aug 31 2010

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

48 Top Story Final.

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 UN climate panel ordered to make fundamental reforms


30 mins ago

UNITED NATIONS (AFP) – An international review panel on Monday called on the UN global climate change body to carry out fundamental reforms after embarrassing errors in a landmark report dented its credibility.

The Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was caught in an international storm after it admitted its landmark 2007 report exaggerated the speed at which Himalayas glaciers were melting.

The review panel said the IPCC has been “successful overall” but called for leadership changes, stricter guidelines on source material and a check on conflicts of interest.

2 Biden in Iraq as US winds up combat mission

by Arthur MacMillan, AFP

2 hrs 2 mins ago

BAGHDAD (AFP) – Vice President Joe Biden landed in Baghdad on Monday to mark the official end of the US combat mission in Iraq and to urge the conflict-torn country’s squabbling leaders to end a political impasse.

Biden arrived in the capital one day before a speech by President Barack Obama will signal the end of the American military’s combat operations after seven years of fighting, which have seen more than 4,400 US soldiers killed.

The vice president’s three-day visit also comes as politicians wrestle with political animosities that have seen no new government formed since a general election almost six months ago ended in deadlock, causing alarm in Washington.

3 Gun rampage leaves eight dead in Slovakia

by Tatiana Bednarikova, AFP

2 hrs 9 mins ago

BRATISLAVA (AFP) – A man armed with an assault rifle shot seven people dead, wounded 15 and then turned the gun on himself in a Monday morning rampage on a street in the Slovak capital Bratislava, the police said.

“A man in his fifties shot six people dead and eventually killed himself after the police cornered him as he tried to escape the crime scene,” police commander Jaroslav Spisiak told reporters at the scene.

The shooting spree started shortly after 10:00 am (0800 GMT) in a flat inhabited by a Roma family in a prefab housing estate in Devinska Nova Ves, an otherwise quiet north-western district of the city.

4 Sweden’s HQ Bank in liquidation after licences revoked

by Rita Devlin Marier, AFP

Mon Aug 30, 12:46 pm ET

STOCKHOLM (AFP) – Swedish investment bank HQ Bank said Monday it was forced into involuntary liquidation after the financial supervisory authority revoked all its licences for breach of banking regulations.

HQ Bank, which manages around 60 billion kronor (6.3 billion euros, 8.1 billion dollars) from some 20,000 depositors, said efforts to find a way to keep the bank operating had failed after its licenses were revoked on Saturday

“As a consequence of the decision by the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority (FI) to revoke all HQ Bank’s licences, the board of HQ Bank has during the weekend actively sought a private solution with a party holding an existing banking licence that would allow the operations to continue,” said the bank, one of Sweden’s smallest.

5 Pakistan on ‘war footing’ to save city

by Hasan Mansoor and Emmanuel Duparcq, AFP

Sun Aug 29, 1:16 pm ET

THATTA, Pakistan (AFP) – Pakistani troops and workers were on a “war footing” Sunday as they battled to save the southern city of Thatta after most of the population of 300,000 fled advancing flood waters.

Torrential monsoon rains have triggered massive floods that have moved steadily from north to south over the past month, engulfing a fifth of the volatile country and affecting 17 million of its 167 million people.

Southern Sindh is the worst-affected province, with 19 of its 23 districts ravaged as flood waters swell the raging Indus river to 40 times its usual volume.

6 Flood spares Pakistan city as waters recede

by Hasan Mansoor, AFP

Mon Aug 30, 8:42 am ET

SUJAWAL, Pakistan (AFP) – A torrent of water threatening to deluge a city in flood-hit Pakistan has begun to recede, officials said Monday, as emergency workers plugged a breach in defences against the swollen Indus river.

Pakistani troops and workers were on a “war footing” over the weekend battling to save the southern city of Thatta after most of the 300,000 population fled the advancing waters.

“The breach near Thatta has been half-plugged and fortunately the flood has also changed its course and is moving away from the city and populated areas,” senior city official Hadi Bakhsh Kalhoro told AFP.

7 Obama hails New Orleans ‘resilience’ five years post-Katrina

by Tangi Quemener, AFP

Sun Aug 29, 7:47 pm ET

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (AFP) – President Barack Obama, marking the fifth anniversary of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans Sunday, praised the city’s resilience and pledged support for rebuilding “until the job is done.”

He acknowledged that the famed jazz city, where at least 1,500 people died in the storm and its aftermath, was still in need of support, but said community efforts had ensured “New Orleans is blossoming once more.”

“Together, we are helping to make New Orleans a place that stands for what we can do in America, not just for what we can’t do,” he said in a speech at the city’s Xavier University.

8 Trapped miners get messages of hope as big drill is readied

by Moises Avila Roldan, AFP

Sun Aug 29, 6:33 pm ET

COPIAPO, Chile (AFP) – Chile’s 33 trapped miners received messages of hope Sunday from the pope and relatives, who were promised a chance speak to the men for the first time in weeks, as a big drill was readied for a months-long rescue operation.

Out of sight of family and media at the San Jose gold and copper mine, engineers finished assembling a powerful Strata 950 drill to bore through more than 700 meters (2,300 feet) of rock and earth to reach the miners, now 24 days underground.

A delay in the arrival of a missing part set back the schedule by several hours but “drilling will begin on Monday,” Mining Minister Laurence Goldborne told reporters.

9 Sport chiefs vow swift action in cricket ‘fixing’ scandal

by Robin Millard, AFP

49 mins ago

LONDON (AFP) – Cricket’s world governing body on Monday vowed to take swift action if betting scam allegations against Pakistan were proven as damaging claims threatened the sport’s credibility.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) said corruption would not be tolerated and anyone found guilty of “spot-fixing” would be punished as the allegations of bowling pre-arranged no-balls engulfed top Pakistan players.

The world of cricket, a sport that prides itself on “fair play”, reacted with shock and dismay to claims huge sums of money had changed hands in alleged fixing schemes at international level, linked to shadowy betting rings.

10 Pakistan continue tour despite match fixing claims

by Julian Guyer, AFP

Mon Aug 30, 11:47 am ET

LONDON (AFP) – Pakistan set off on Monday for the next leg of their tour of England despite increasing pressure to call it off amid damaging allegations that top players were caught up in a match-fixing scandal.

The cricket world has reacted with shock and dismay to claims that hundreds of thousands of pounds had changed hands in match-fixing schemes at Test level linked to betting rings, while fans in Pakistan responded with fury.

Ex-England captain Michael Vaughan said any further matches against the tourists would have “no credibility” in the light of the damaging allegations.

11 Cool Hamilton wins chaotic Belgian Grand Prix

by Gordon Howard, AFP

Sun Aug 29, 6:54 pm ET

SPA-FRANCORCHAMPS, Belgium (AFP) – Lewis Hamilton regained the initiative in the drivers’ world championship in emphatic style on Sunday when he won a dramatic and incident-filled Belgian Grand Prix.

McLaren’s 2008 champion took the lead at the start and then controlled the 44-laps race through two safety car periods and some perilous weather conditions on his way to a well-deserved victory.

It was the Briton’s first win in Belgium, his third win this season and the 15th of his career in his 64th Grand Prix.

12 Joy and tears greet US Army troops back from Iraq

by Dan De Luce, AFP

Sun Aug 29, 6:41 pm ET

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Mothers cried and children squealed with delight as a company of US troops arrived back from Iraq on Saturday, after a year-long tour marked by desert heat and monotony.

A crowd of families roared as 124 soldiers from Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment, arrived marching in formation, part of a wave of homecomings as President Barack Obama scales back the US role in Iraq.

The welcoming ceremony at Fort Myer, outside Washington, was a joyous event for the soldiers and their loved ones after 12 months of separation, even if the legacy of the US invasion of Iraq remains a subject of bitter debate at home and abroad.

13 Thousands flee Indonesian volcano

by Atar, AFP

Mon Aug 30, 11:53 am ET

KABANJAHE, Indonesia (AFP) – An Indonesian volcano spewed a vast cloud of smoke and ash high into the air on Monday, disrupting flights and sending thousands more people into temporary shelters.

Airlines were warned to avoid remote Mount Sinabung in northern Sumatra as it erupted for a second day after springing to life for the first time in four centuries.

“It erupted again at 6:30 am (2330 GMT) and lasted about 15 minutes. The smoke and ash reached at least 2,000 metres (6,600 feet),” government volcanologist Agus Budianto said.

14 Seven US soldiers killed in Afghan bomb attacks

by Lynne O’Donnell, AFP

Mon Aug 30, 11:49 am ET

KABUL (AFP) – Seven US troops were killed in two Taliban-style bomb attacks Monday in southern Afghanistan, the area hardest hit by the insurgency nearing the end of its ninth and most deadly year, NATO told AFP.

One attack killed five soldiers, NATO’s International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said in a statement.

With the latest deaths, 478 foreign soldiers, including 315 Americans, have been killed in the Afghan war so far this year, according to a tally based on that kept by the icasualties.org website. Seven US soldiers were killed in a wave of attacks at the weekend.

15 Libyan leader courts controversy in Italy


Mon Aug 30, 9:37 am ET

ROME (AFP) – Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi’s visit to Rome to mark the second anniversary of a friendship treaty with former coloniser Italy stumbled into controversy Monday after he said Europe should convert to Islam.

Kadhafi made the comments on Sunday during a lecture to 500 young women hired and paid by an agency to attend his lecture.

“Islam should become the religion of all of Europe,” one of the women quoted Kadhafi as saying in the Italian press.

16 Time takes its toll on Latvia’s ‘Old Believers’

by Aleks Tapinsh, AFP

Mon Aug 30, 9:33 am ET

SLUTISKI, Latvia (AFP) – There are little more than a dozen residents left in as many wooden homes in this hamlet tucked away from civilisation in eastern Latvia. Most are Old Believers, a faith struggling to survive.

“The young people are leaving,” said Aleksejs Zilko, newly elected head of the Latvian Old Believer Church. “To whom shall we pass on our faith?”

Followers of the Christian denomination that split from the Russian Orthodox Church in the 17th century migrated to escape persecution, building tight-knit ethnic Russian communities around the world, secluded from the mainstream.

17 Anger at German banker’s comments on Jews, Muslims


Mon Aug 30, 7:44 am ET

BERLIN (AFP) – A member of Germany’s central bank whose remarks about Jews and Muslims have prompted outrage sparked fresh protests Monday as he unveiled a new book amid calls for his resignation.

Several hundred people, some waving banners reading “stop far-right populism” braved the Berlin drizzle to protest against Thilo Sarrazin, 65, whose book “Germany is doing away with itself” hit the stands earlier Monday.

After several controversial comments about Muslims, Sarrazin’s latest remarks about Jews resulted in fury across the political spectrum and were featured on most of the country’s front pages on Monday.

18 Drama series ‘Mad Men’ wins at Emmy awards

by Romain Raynaldy, AFP

Mon Aug 30, 7:14 am ET

LOS ANGELES (AFP) – The television series “Mad Men” won the best drama series award at the 62nd annual Emmy Awards late Sunday while “Modern Family” was named the best comedy show.

“Mad Men,” which tells the story of an advertising agency in the 1960s, won the award for the third year in a row.

ABC’s “Modern Family,” which makes fun of the everyday life of three American families, dethroned “30 Rock” in the category for outstanding comedy series.

19 U.S. ends combat in Iraq but instability lingers

By Michael Christie, Reuters

1 hr 52 mins ago

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – The U.S. military formally ends combat operations in Iraq on Tuesday as President Barack Obama seeks to fulfill a promise to end the war despite persistent instability and attacks that kill dozens at a time.

U.S. troop numbers were cut to 50,000 in advance of the August 31 milestone in the 7-1/2-year-old war launched by Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush, whose stated aim was to destroy Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. No such weapons was found.

The six remaining U.S. military brigades will turn their focus to training and advising Iraqi police and troops as Iraq takes on responsibility for its own destiny ahead of a full withdrawal of U.S. forces by the end of next year.

20 As U.S. withdraws, Iraqis still live in crisis

By Serena Chaudhry and Khalid al-Ansary, Reuters

Mon Aug 30, 10:44 am ET

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Kareem Hassan Abboud’s family of seven share a two room house in a makeshift squatter camp in the mainly Shi’ite district of Chukook in northwestern Baghdad. Sewage muddies the dirt road outside.

The 59-year-old fisherman and his family were forced to move there four years ago when sectarian violence between majority Shi’ites and once dominant Sunnis raged in Iraq, set off after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that toppled dictator Saddam Hussein.

As U.S. combat operations come to a close on Tuesday 7-1/2 years after the invasion, hundreds of thousands of Iraqis like Abboud, who fled mixed-sect neighborhoods at a time when bodies were piling up in the streets overnight, are living in squalor.

21 U.S. election skews NY Muslim center debate: imams

By Erika Solomon and Michelle Nichols, Reuters

2 hrs 24 mins ago

DUBAI/NEW YORK (Reuters) – A U.S. debate over plans for an Islamic center near New York’s World Trade Center site has been politicized ahead of the congressional election, the Muslim cleric heading the project and other city imams say.

Kuwait-born Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, who is touring Gulf Arab countries to speak about religious radicalism, said his plan for a $100 million cultural center and mosque in Lower Manhattan had become a campaign issue for the November 2 vote.

President Barack Obama and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg support the right of Muslims to build the center.

22 Biden visits Iraq as troops withdraw

By Rania El Gamal, Reuters

2 hrs 18 mins ago

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Vice President Joe Biden flew into Iraq on Monday to assure Iraqis the United States is not abandoning them as it stops combat operations, a milestone in the 7-1/2 year war the Obama administration is trying to end.

Biden will hold talks with Iraqi leaders amid a political deadlock almost six months after an inconclusive election in March over forming the next government, the White House said.

The impasse has turned the August 31 end of the U.S. combat mission, and accompanying reduction in the U.S. troop levels in Iraq to 50,000, into something of a gamble as political tensions simmer and attacks by insurgents persist.

Umm… there is no August 31.  See you tomorrow, September 1st

23 Senator Kerry warns of instability in Pakistan

By Chris Allbritton, Reuters

Mon Aug 30, 9:12 am ET

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Flood-stricken Pakistan urgently needs more international aid to combat potential instability and extremism, Senator John Kerry said, as hunger and disease threaten millions of victims.

In a commentary in the International Herald Tribune, Kerry, who heads the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said that the international community was not meeting its responsibilities toward Pakistan, where floods have killed more than 1,600 people and left at least 6 million homeless.

“The danger of the floods extends beyond a very real humanitarian crisis,” Kerry wrote in Monday’s edition.

24 Senator Kerry warns of instability in Pakistan

By Chris Allbritton, Reuters

Mon Aug 30, 9:12 am ET

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Flood-stricken Pakistan urgently needs more international aid to combat potential instability and extremism, Senator John Kerry said, as hunger and disease threaten millions of victims.

In a commentary in the International Herald Tribune, Kerry, who heads the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said that the international community was not meeting its responsibilities toward Pakistan, where floods have killed more than 1,600 people and left at least 6 million homeless.

“The danger of the floods extends beyond a very real humanitarian crisis,” Kerry wrote in Monday’s edition.

25 Drilling begins in effort to free Chilean miners

By BRADLEY BROOKS, Associated Press Writer

25 mins ago

SAN JOSE MINE, Chile – An enormous drill began preliminary work Monday on carving a half-mile chimney through solid rock to free the 33 men trapped in a Chilean mine, their ordeal now having equaled the longest known survival in an underground disaster.

The 31-ton drill bored 50 feet into the rock, the first step in the weeklong digging of a “pilot hole” to guide the way for the rescue. Later the drill will be outfitted with larger bits to expand the hole and pull the men through – a process that could take four months.

The men were trapped Aug. 5 in the San Jose mine in Chile’s northern Atacama Desert. Before rescuers dug bore holes to reach them, they survived 17 days without contact with the outside world by rationing a 48-hour supply of food and digging for water in the ground.

26 Blasts kill at least 7 US troops in Afghanistan

By CHRISTOPHER BODEEN, Associated Press Writer

26 mins ago

KABUL, Afghanistan – Roadside bombs killed seven American troops on Monday – including five in a single blast in Kandahar – raising to more than a dozen the number who have died in the last three days.

The spike in deaths comes as President Hamid Karzai has publicly raised doubts about the U.S. strategy in the war, saying success cannot be achieved until more Afghans are in the front lines and insurgent sanctuaries in Pakistan are shut down.

NATO gave no details of the Monday blasts except that they occurred in the south, the main theater of the conflict, and that five were killed in a single blast.

27 US grapples with bedbugs, misuse of pesticides

By MATT LEINGANG, Associated Press Writer

27 mins ago

COLUMBUS, Ohio – A resurgence of bedbugs across the U.S. has homeowners and apartment dwellers taking desperate measures to eradicate the tenacious bloodsuckers, with some relying on dangerous outdoor pesticides and fly-by-night exterminators.

The problem has gotten so bad that the Environmental Protection Agency warned this month against the indoor use of chemicals meant for the outside. The agency also warned of an increase in pest control companies and others making “unrealistic promises of effectiveness or low cost.”

Bedbugs, infesting U.S. households on a scale unseen in more than a half-century, have become largely resistant to common pesticides. As a result, some homeowners and exterminators are turning to more hazardous chemicals that can harm the central nervous system, irritate the skin and eyes or even cause cancer.

28 NC farm produces emerald shaped into massive gem

By EMERY P. DALESIO, Associated Press Writer

28 mins ago

RALEIGH, N.C. – An emerald so large it’s being compared with the crown jewels of Russian empress Catherine the Great was pulled from a pit near corn rows at a North Carolina farm.

The nearly 65-carat emerald its finders are marketing by the name Carolina Emperor was pulled from a farm once so well known among treasure hunters that the owners charged $3 a day to shovel for small samples of the green stones. After the gem was cut and re-cut, the finished product was about one-fifth the weight of the original find, making it slightly larger than a U.S. quarter and about as heavy as a AA battery.

The emerald compares in size and quality to one surrounded by diamonds in a brooch once owned by Catherine the Great, who was empress in the 18th century, that Christie’s auction house in New York sold in April for $1.65 million, said C.R. “Cap” Beesley, a New York gemologist who examined the stone.

29 NYC community board head wants interfaith center

By DEEPTI HAJELA, Associated Press Writer

2 mins ago

NEW YORK – The chairwoman of the community board that voted for an Islamic center and mosque near ground zero said she believes adding an interfaith dimension would help unite people, saying a nondenominational chapel built at the Pentagon as part of a Sept. 11 memorial did just that.

Julie Menin, of Manhattan Community Board 1, reiterated Monday that she supports the project going up in the proposed location two blocks north of the World Trade Center site and that it contain a mosque as developers plan. But she suggested another section of the community center be turned into an interfaith, nondenominational area for people of all religious backgrounds.

“What it could do is it could really get to the heart of the matter of making this project one that brings people together,” she said.

30 Clemens, in court, tells judge: `Not guilty’

By EDDIE PELLS, AP National Writer

20 mins ago

WASHINGTON – Roger Clemens put his right hand on the lectern, leaned down toward the microphone and made what might be the most important pitch of his life: “Not guilty, your honor.”

Those words, uttered Monday in a strong, confident voice by the seven-time Cy Young Award winner sporting a black blazer and blond highlights in his hair, marked the official beginning of a court case that could taint baseball even further and land the “Rocket” in jail.

U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton presided over an arraignment hearing that lasted less than 14 minutes in the ceremonial courtroom at the federal courthouse, across the street from the Capitol.

31 Roger Clemens pleads not guilty to charge of lying

By JESSE J. HOLLAND, Associated Press Writer

1 hr 23 mins ago

WASHINGTON – Seven-time Cy Young winner Roger Clemens pleaded not guilty Monday to charges of lying to Congress about whether he used steroids or human growth hormone.

When asked for a plea by U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton, the retired Major League Baseball pitcher said in a clear voice: “Not guilty, your honor.”

Clemens and another of baseball’s premier stars sullied by steroid accusations, all-time home run leader Barry Bonds, could both begin their day in court next spring, turning the spotlight back on major league baseball’s long-running drug scandal just as it opens the 2011 season.

32 Biden says US won’t abandon war-battered Iraq

By LARA JAKES and QASSIM ABDUL-ZAHRA, Associated Press Writers

1 hr 43 mins ago

BAGHDAD – Vice President Joe Biden sought Monday to reassure Iraq that America is not abandoning it as the U.S. military steps back and a stalemate over who will run the war-battered nation’s next government approaches its sixth month.

Biden flew into Baghdad a few days before a military ceremony formally marking the end of U.S. combat operations seven years after the invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein. He will also try to spur the nation’s leaders to forge a power-sharing agreement to bring some much-needed political stability to Iraq after March parliamentary elections failed to produce a clear winner.

Biden tried to reassure Iraqis that America’s transition to more of a diplomatic mission in Iraq than a military one would be smooth.

33 Indonesian volcano erupts after 400 years of quiet

By BINSAR BAKKARA and MALCOLM RITTER, Associated Press Writers

Mon Aug 30, 3:44 pm ET

TANAH KARO, Indonesia – Tens of thousands of people packed emergency shelters Monday after a long-dormant volcano in western Indonesia spewed clouds of hot ash and smoke more than a mile (several kilometers) into the air – an eruption that caught scientists off-guard.

The eruption of Mount Sinabung put the region on the highest alert level, and some domestic flights had to be diverted because of poor visibility.

Villagers living along Sinabung’s fertile slopes in North Sumatra province started heading down the 8,000-foot (2,400-meter) volcano after it began rumbling during the weekend.

34 India BlackBerry ban averted for 60 more days

By ERIKA KINETZ, AP Business Writer

Mon Aug 30, 12:03 pm ET

MUMBAI, India – India said it withdrew a threat Monday to ban BlackBerry services for at least two more months after the device’s maker, Research In Motion Ltd., agreed to give security officials “lawful access” to encrypted data.

The Ministry of Home Affairs, which wants real time access to encrypted corporate e-mails and instant messaging, said in a statement it would review RIM’s security proposals over the next 60 days after the Department of Telecommunications studies the feasibility of routing BlackBerry services through a server in India.

It remains unclear precisely what concessions Research In Motion agreed to in order to avert the ban.

35 Split personality for Emmy Awards

By DAVID BAUDER, AP Television Writer

Mon Aug 30, 1:11 pm ET

Emmy had a split personality this year. Television’s annual awards show honored hot new broadcast comedies “Modern Family” and “Glee,” while sticking with more familiar favorites from cable in drama.

“Modern Family” won the Emmy for best comedy in its rookie season. The sweetly uproarious sitcom knit together a gay couple and their adopted daughter, a more traditional bumbling dad and his uptight wife, and a world-weary patriarch with his hot young Latin wife – and became an instant favorite on ABC.

“We are so grateful, we are so thrilled that families are sitting down together to watch a television show,” said Steven Levitan, the show’s co-creator. “We just want you to know, we just wanted to say we are so happy that you have let us into your families.”

36 DOJ’s elite Public Integrity unit gets new leader

By PETE YOST, Associated Press Writer

Mon Aug 30, 6:54 am ET

WASHINGTON – The Justice Department’s Public Integrity Section has a storied 34-year history of pursuing corruption in government and safeguarding the public trust.

That trust was breached, however, when some of the unit’s prosecutors failed to turn over evidence favorable to the defense in their high-profile criminal trial of Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, who died earlier this month in a plane crash.

Now Jack Smith, a 41-year-old prosecutor with a love for courtroom work and an impressive record, has been brought in to restore the elite unit’s credibility.

37 Teen’s death prompts review of safety measures

By MICHAEL MAROT, AP Sports Writer

1 hr 31 mins ago

INDIANAPOLIS – The U.S. Grand Prix Racers Union is promising a review of its motorcycle racing safety rules, conceding it will never be able to eliminate the dangers in a high-speed sport where teenage competitors are the norm.

One day after a 13-year-old rider was killed in Indianapolis, the union’s chief steward, Stewart Aitken-Cade, said series officials will review all safety measures, including new age limits.

A formal investigation, however, is not planned.

38 Questions loom over drug given to sleepless vets


Mon Aug 30, 10:27 am ET

WASHINGTON – Andrew White returned from a nine-month tour in Iraq beset with signs of post-traumatic stress disorder: insomnia, nightmares, constant restlessness. Doctors tried to ease his symptoms using three psychiatric drugs, including a potent anti-psychotic called Seroquel.

Thousands of soldiers suffering from PTSD have received the same medication over the last nine years, helping to make Seroquel one of the Veteran Affairs Department’s top drug expenditures and the No. 5 best-selling drug in the nation.

Several soldiers and veterans have died while taking the pills, raising concerns among some military families that the government is not being up front about the drug’s risks. They want Congress to investigate.

39 ER visits for concussions soar among kid athletes

By LINDSEY TANNER, AP Medical Writer

Mon Aug 30, 3:31 am ET

CHICAGO – Emergency room visits for school-age athletes with concussions has skyrocketed in recent years, suggesting the intensity of kids’ sports has increased along with awareness of head injuries.

The findings in a study of national data don’t necessarily mean that concussions are on the rise. However, many children aren’t taken for medical treatment, so the numbers are likely only a snapshot of a much bigger problem, doctors say.

“It definitely is a disturbing trend,” said lead author Dr. Lisa Bakhos, an ER physician in Neptune, N.J.

40 Fire at site of future Tenn. mosque troubles city

By LUCAS L. JOHNSON II and TRAVIS LOLLER, Associated Press Writers

1 hr 19 mins ago

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – A suspicious fire that damaged construction equipment at the site of a future mosque in Tennessee has some local Muslims worried that their project has been dragged into the national debate surrounding Manhattan’s ground zero.

Authorities told leaders of the Islamic Center of Murfreesboro that four pieces of heavy construction equipment on the site were doused with an accelerant and one set ablaze early Saturday morning. The site is now being patrolled at all hours by the sheriff’s department.

Federal investigators have not ruled it arson, saying only that the fire was being probed and asked the public to call in tips. Eric Kehn, spokesman for the Nashville office of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said arson is suspected.

41 Arts student sues over Pittsburgh police beating

By JOE MANDAK, Associated Press Writer

2 hrs 32 mins ago

PITTSBURGH – A black teen who attended the city’s performing arts high school claims three white Pittsburgh police officers wrongfully assumed he was involved with drugs when they beat him, then allegedly conspired to file false charges against him and concoct a cover story for their actions, according to a federal lawsuit filed Monday.

Jordan Miles said he had his face pushed into the snow and his gums impaled on a piece of wood, as officers kicked and punched him Jan. 12, a day after his 18th birthday. Thinking he was being kidnapped by the plainclothes officers, who set upon him saying, “Where’s your money? Where’s the drugs? Where’s the gun?” Miles recited “The Lord’s Prayer,” prompting police to twice choke him and slam his face into the snowy ground, the lawsuit said.

Miles’ allegations were reviewed by the FBI and remain under investigation by the civil rights division of the Justice Department, spokeswoman Xochitl (ZOH’-shee) Hinojosa said Monday.

42 Private colleges ‘act local’ with financial aid

By ERIC GORSKI, AP Education Writer

Mon Aug 30, 4:41 pm ET

Hoping to portray themselves as more affordable and all-around better neighbors, private colleges from Appalachia to Boston are sweetening financial aid packages for students from their own backyards.

The latest and most prestigious example is Northwestern University. By targeting local students in financial need, Northwestern is seeking to boost minority enrollment, strengthen local ties and stay competitive in the college admissions race at a time when many private schools are increasing aid based on student merit instead of financial circumstances.

“You may be thinking globally about your education curriculum,” David Warren, president of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, said of such efforts. “But you’re increasingly acting locally with respect to students.”

43 Burning Man fans say cops too heavy-handed

By MARTIN GRIFFITH, Associated Press Writer

Mon Aug 30, 6:15 am ET

RENO, Nev. – David Levin represents entrepreneurs, investors and developers in his legal practice. As an aside, he’s a Burning Man barrister – offering free legal advice to those who run afoul of the law at the annual counterculture festival on the Nevada desert.

The Palo Alto, Calif., attorney maintains law enforcement has become so heavy-handed at the eclectic art and music gathering that he was compelled to form a legal defense team known as Lawyers for Burners to help participants who were cited or arrested.

He and other Burning Man fans accuse overzealous officers of destroying the quality of an otherwise peaceful celebration of radical self-expression to be held Monday through Sept. 6. Some 50,000 people are expected to gawk at offbeat artwork, wear bizarre costumes or nothing at all and torch the event’s 40-foot signature effigy on the Black Rock Desert, about 110 miles north of Reno

44 NYC mosque debate will shape American Islam

By RACHEL ZOLL, AP Religion Writer

Mon Aug 30, 12:07 am ET

NEW YORK – Adnan Zulfiqar, a graduate student, former U.S. Senate aide and American-born son of Pakistani immigrants, will soon give the first khutbah, or sermon, of the fall semester at the University of Pennsylvania. His topic has presented itself in the daily headlines and blog posts over the disputed mosque near ground zero.

What else could he choose, he says, after a summer remembered not for its reasoned debate, but for epithets, smears, even violence?

As he writes, Zulfiqar frets over the potential fallout and what he and other Muslim leaders can do about it. Will young Muslims conclude they are second-class citizens in the U.S. now and always?

45 Wright criticizes those who think Obama is Muslim

By ANDREW DeMILLO, Associated Press Writer

Sun Aug 29, 9:31 pm ET

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The Rev. Jeremiah Wright, President Barack Obama’s controversial former pastor, accused people who wrongly believe Obama is Muslim of catering to political enemies during a fiery speech Sunday in Arkansas.

In his sermon at New Millennium Church in Little Rock, Wright criticized supporters of the Iraq war and defended former state Court of Appeals Judge Wendell Griffen for speaking out against it. Griffen serves as the church’s pastor.

Wright’s only reference to Obama came when he compared Griffen’s opponents to those who incorrectly think Obama is Muslim. The president, whose full name is Barack Hussein Obama, is Christian.

46 Obama commits to revival of Gulf Coast

By ERICA WERNER, Associated Press Writer

Sun Aug 29, 7:58 pm ET

NEW ORLEANS – Five years after Hurricane Katrina’s wrath, President Barack Obama sought to reassure disaster-weary Gulf Coast residents Sunday that he would not abandon their cause.

“My administration is going to stand with you, and fight alongside you, until the job is done,” Obama said to cheers at Xavier University, a historically black, Catholic university that was badly flooded by the storm.

The president said there are still too many vacant lots, trailers serving as classrooms, displaced residents and people out of work. But he said New Orleanians have shown amazing resilience.

47 Imam behind NYC mosque faces divisions over center

By CRISTIAN SALAZAR, Associated Press Writer

Sun Aug 29, 7:52 pm ET

NEW YORK – Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf has long worked to bridge divisions, be they fissures between interfaith husbands and wives or political chasms separating the United States and the Muslim world. The 61-year-old clergyman is now in the midst of a polarizing political, religious and cultural debate over plans for a multistory Islamic center that will feature a mosque, health club and theater about two blocks north of ground zero.

He is one of the leaders of the Park51 project, but has largely been absent from the national debate over the implications of building a Muslim house of worship so close to where terrorists killed more than 2,700 people.

Though Rauf has said the center, which could cost more than $100 million, would serve as a space for interfaith dialogue, moderate Muslim practice and peaceful prayer, critics say it will create a base for radical, anti-American Islam. Some critics have also asked where the funding for the center might originate and whether it may come from sources linked to Muslim extremists.

48 5 years after Katrina, a revival not yet complete

By CAIN BURDEAU and MICHAEL KUNZELMAN, Associated Press Writers

Sun Aug 29, 5:33 pm ET

NEW ORLEANS – Gulf Coast residents tried to put Hurricane Katrina behind them on Sunday, marking its fifth anniversary by casting wreaths into the water to remember the hundreds killed. But part of the catastrophe lives on, in abandoned homes still bearing spray-painted circles indicating they had been searched and whether bodies were found inside.

President Barack Obama joined those hailing the recovery made so far in New Orleans, which he said has become a “symbol of resilience and community.” In a neighborhood that has seen little of that recovery, the Lower 9th Ward, it was the failures that seemed more apparent to residents.

“It don’t seem like much is getting done,” said Charlene LaFrance, a 42-year-old teacher who watched commemoration events on Claiborne Avenue. Brass bands played dirges and marches and politicians spoke about the nation’s failure to do enough to rebuild New Orleans, in particular the Lower 9th Ward.

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