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Sep 02 2010

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

Now with 40 Top Stories.

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 US deaths in Afghanistan hit record in 2010

by Lynne O’Donnell, AFP

Wed Sep 1, 12:18 pm ET

KABUL (AFP) – The toll of US soldiers killed in the Afghan war this year is the highest since the conflict began, an AFP count found, as NATO said Wednesday it had killed two insurgents for every soldier lost last month.

Military leaders say the spike in deaths reflects the deployment of additional troops into the Afghan theatre, which leads to a higher number of battlefield engagements with Taliban-led insurgents.

A total of 324 US soldiers have been killed in the Afghan war 2010, compared with 317 for all of 2009, according to AFP figures based on the independent icasualties.org website.

2 Suicide blasts in Lahore kill 25, injure 180

by Waqar Hussain, AFP

1 hr 33 mins ago

LAHORE, Pakistan (AFP) – Three suicide bombers targeted a Shiite mourning procession in Pakistan’s eastern city of Lahore on Wednesday, killing at least 25 people and wounding 180, police and rescue officials said.

It was the first major attack in Pakistan since devastating floods engulfed a fifth of the volatile country over the past month in its worst ever disaster.

The string of blasts ripped through the crowd of thousands at the moment of the breaking of fast in the ongoing holy month of Ramadan, and led to an outpouring of fury as mourners tried to torch a nearby police station.

3 Biden launches new US mission in Iraq

by Arthur MacMillan, AFP

1 hr 45 mins ago

CAMP VICTORY, Iraq (AFP) – Vice President Joe Biden launched a new American military mission in Iraq on Wednesday, opening up a fresh phase in a seven-year deployment that has cost the lives of more than 4,400 US troops.

Addressing soldiers near Baghdad a day after the US combat role officially ended, Biden sought to rally the nearly 50,000 American troops who will remain in the country until a total withdrawal at the end of 2011.

The vice president acknowledged that the 2003 invasion had split US public opinion but he called for unity around the new training and advisory mission and said he believed the Iraq conflict’s “darkest days are now behind us.”

4 US private employment slips first time in seven months

by P. Parameswaran, AFP

Wed Sep 1, 12:33 pm ET

WASHINGTON (AFP) – US private sector employment unexpectedly dropped in August for the first time in seven months, signaling a weakening economic recovery, payrolls firm ADP said Wednesday.

Some 10,000 private-sector jobs were lost last month following a revised July increase of 37,000 jobs, ADP said in a report.

The data surprised most economists, who had expected 13,000 jobs to be created in the private sector, a critical cushion easing the country’s high jobless rate.

5 Obama declares an end to Iraq combat mission

by Stephen Collinson, AFP

Tue Aug 31, 7:00 pm ET

WASHINGTON (AFP) – US President Barack Obama Tuesday formally declared an end to America’s seven-year combat mission in Iraq, saying it was time to turn the page on a war which has cost thousands of Iraqi and US lives.

“Tonight, I am announcing that the American combat mission in Iraq has ended,” Obama said in excerpts of his speech released by the White House ahead of his Oval Office address to the nation at 8:00pm (0000 GMT).

“Operation Iraqi Freedom is over, and the Iraqi people now have lead responsibility for the security of their country,” the US commander-in-chief added, drawing a close to the mission launched with the 2003 US-led invasion.

6 Divided Fed warns on ‘sluggish’ recovery

by Andrew Beatty, AFP

Tue Aug 31, 5:34 pm ET

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The US Federal Reserve expressed worry about a “sluggish” economic recovery Tuesday, according to minutes of an August meeting that highlighted divisions within the bank’s top rate-setting panel.

Although members of the Federal Open Market Committee expected the recovery to pick up pace in 2011, details from the August 10 gathering showed concern about a return to modest crisis-era measures to stimulate growth.

Faced with tepid news from the employment and housing sectors and evidence that the recession had been deeper than previously thought, members of the Fed’s rate-setting panel warned the short-term outlook remained bleak.

7 Climate: Risks loom for China: study

AFP

Wed Sep 1, 1:06 pm ET

PARIS (AFP) – Climate change could reduce key harvests in China by a fifth if the gloomiest scenarios prove true, according to a study on Wednesday.

Publishing in the journal Nature, a team of Chinese scientists say China’s climate “has clearly warmed” over the past half century, gaining 1.2 degrees Celsius (2.2 degrees Fahrenheit) since 1960.

The hotspots were northeastern China with a warming trend of 0.36 C (0.65 F) per decade, and Inner Mongolia, with a warming of 0.4 C (0.7 F) per decade.

8 Sweden to reopen rape probe of WikiLeaks founder

by Rita Devlin Marier, AFP

Wed Sep 1, 11:57 am ET

STOCKHOLM (AFP) – A top Swedish prosecutor said Wednesday she would reopen a rape investigation against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, overturning a previous ruling to quash a probe of the Australian.

“There is reason to believe that a crime has been committed. Considering information available at present, my judgement is that the classification of the crime is rape,” director of prosecutions Marianne Ny said in a statement.

“The basis for further considerations is not sufficient at the moment. More investigations are necessary before a final decision can be made” concerning possible charges, she added.

9 Blair memoir lifts lid on Iraq, alcohol and royals

by Katherine Haddon, AFP

Wed Sep 1, 11:45 am ET

LONDON (AFP) – Tony Blair does not regret the Iraq war despite the “nightmare” it unleashed, but he feels “desperately sorry” for those who died, the former British prime minister says in memoirs published on Wednesday.

“A Journey”, Blair’s account of his decade in Downing Street, also includes an unprecedented attack on his “strange” successor Gordon Brown, whose premiership he branded a disaster.

It details the personal toll the job took on him, including his use of whisky, gin and wine as a “prop”, as well as his role in the aftermath of princess Diana’s death in a car crash in Paris in 1997.

10 Pakistan stars depart for betting scam probe

by Julian Guyer, AFP

Wed Sep 1, 9:23 am ET

TAUNTON (AFP) – Three Pakistan players embroiled in betting scam allegations headed to London on Wednesday to face questioning which is almost certain to sideline them from the team’s tour of England.

Test captain Salman Butt plus bowlers Mohammad Aamer and Mohammad Asif look set to miss Pakistan’s match with county side Somerset in Taunton Thursday, a warm-up match before their limited overs internationals against England.

The trio, all casually dressed, left the team hotel in Taunton at 11:12am (1012 GMT) accompanied by team security officer Major Khawaja Najam, flanked by private security guards and police officers.

11 Blasts kill 20 in Pakistan’s Lahore, 170 hurt

By Mubasher Bukhari, Reuters

Wed Sep 1, 1:36 pm ET

LAHORE, Pakistan (Reuters) – Three bombs exploded at a Shi’ite procession in the Pakistani city of Lahore on Wednesday, killing at least 20 people and wounding over 170, piling pressure on a government already overwhelmed by floods.

Police said two suicide bombers blew themselves up in a crowd, after a lull in violence during the floods, the type of attack that Pakistani Taliban militants have claimed in the past.

Sajjad Bhutta, a senior Lahore official, told Reuters the death toll had climbed to 20, with at least 170 wounded. Rescue services said 25 were killed.

12 Tea Party promises to be a force in November

By John Whitesides, Reuters

1 hr 53 mins ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – With another win in a Senate Republican primary, this time in Alaska, the conservative Tea Party movement showed it is more than a political fad and has the staying power to be a significant force in November’s elections.

Polls show Tea Party favorites leading or running nearly even with Democratic foes in a handful of high-profile Senate races that could shift the balance of power in Congress — or at least inject a potent new strain of anti-spending, anti-big government conservatism into the staid Senate.

Republican Joe Miller’s win over Senator Lisa Murkowski in the Alaska primary was the movement’s latest success. Murkowski conceded the race on Tuesday, becoming the seventh incumbent to lose a congressional primary this year and the most recent Republican to fall under a wave of anti-establishment anger.

13 Blasts kill up to eight in Pakistan’s Lahore, 100 hurt

By Mubasher Bukhari, Reuters

Wed Sep 1, 11:39 am ET

LAHORE, Pakistan (Reuters) – At least two bombs exploded at a Shi’ite procession in the Pakistani city of Lahore on Wednesday, killing up to eight people and wounding 100, piling pressure on a government already overwhelmed by floods.

Witnesses said a suicide bomber blew himself up in a crowd of hundreds, after a lull in violence during the floods, the type of attack that Pakistani Taliban militants have claimed in the past.

A Lahore local government official said up to eight people were killed in the explosions which came within 15 minutes of each other. There were reports of a third blast.

14 Is the tea party becoming the new Grand Old Party?

By LIZ “Sprinkles” SIDOTI, AP National Political Writer

20 mins ago

WASHINGTON – Is the tea party the new Republican Party? The grass-roots network of fed-up conservative-libertarian displayed its power in its biggest triumph of the election year: the toppling of Sen. Lisa Murkowski in Alaska’s GOP primary. Political novice Joe Miller is the fifth tea party insurgent to win a GOP Senate nominating contest, an upset that few, if any, saw coming.

With the stunning outcome, the fledgling tea party coalition and voters who identify with its anti-tax, anti-spending sentiments proved that democracy is alive and well – within the Republican Party. Don’t like who is representing you? Rise up, fire them and choose someone new.

The tea party has taken hold in the Grand Old Party, unseating lawmakers, capturing nominations for open seats and forcing Republicans to recalibrate both their campaign strategy and issues agenda. Out is talk of delivering federal dollars back home; in is talk of fiscal discipline.

15 Number of illegal immigrants in US now declining

By HOPE YEN, Associated Press Writer

8 mins ago

WASHINGTON – The number of illegal immigrants living in the U.S. has dropped for the first time in two decades – decreasing by 8 percent since 2007, a new study finds. The reasons range from the sour economy to Mexican violence and increased U.S. enforcement that has made it harder to sneak across the border.

Much of the decline comes from a sharp drop-off in illegal immigrants from the Caribbean, Central America and South America attempting to cross the southern border of the U.S., according to the Pew Hispanic Center, which based its report on an analysis of 2009 census data.

The findings come amid bitter debate over Arizona’s strict new immigration law, which was passed earlier this year but is on hold for now as it is challenged in federal court. The Obama administration contends the state law usurps federal authority and promotes racial profiling, while Arizona leaders say states are justified to step in if federal enforcement falls substantially short.

16 US moves into final military phase in Iraq

By REBECCA SANTANA, Associated Press Writer

23 mins ago

BAGHDAD – The U.S. on Wednesday moved into the final phase of its military involvement in Iraq, with administration officials saying the war was ending even as the new commander of the remaining 50,000 troops warned of the ongoing threat from “hostile elements.”

The transfer of authority came a day after President Barack Obama announced the shift from combat operations to preparing Iraqi forces to assume responsibility for their own security. Obama made clear in Tuesday’s speech that this was no victory celebration.

A six-month stalemate over forming a new Iraqi government has raised concerns about the country’s stability and questions over whether the leadership can cope with a diminished but still dangerous insurgency.

17 New test seen as big advance in diagnosing TB

By MARILYNN MARCHIONE, AP Medical Writer

26 mins ago

Scientists are reporting a major advance in diagnosing tuberculosis: A new test can reveal in less than two hours, with very high accuracy, whether someone has the disease and if it’s resistant to the main drug for treating it.

The test could revolutionize TB care and replace the 125-year-old process used now, which is slow and misses more than half of all cases, experts say. A better test would be a powerful tool to curb TB in poor countries, where most people spread the lung disease before they are diagnosed and treated, and many don’t return for follow-up doctor visits to get test results.

In the United States, it could be a big help in inner city clinics, where diagnosing a drug-resistant strain on someone’s first visit enables proper treatment right away.

18 Official: 3 bombs kill 25 at Pakistan Shiite march

By BABAR DOGAR, Associated Press Writer

25 mins ago

LAHORE, Pakistan – Three bombs ripped through a Shiite Muslim religious procession in the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore on Wednesday, killing 25 people and wounding about 150 others, officials said.

The explosions appeared to be the latest in a string of attacks by Sunni extremists against the minority Shiites they consider infidels. Allied with al-Qaida and the Taliban, the bombers are also seeking to destabilize Pakistan’s U.S.-backed government.

The blasts were the first major attacks since Pakistan was hit by devastating floods more than a month ago. Lahore, the country’s political capital and home to much of its military elite, has been regularly targeted by militants over the past two years.

19 Apple unveils new box for streaming movies, TV

By JORDAN ROBERTSON and JESSICA MINTZ, AP Technology Writers

2 hrs 56 mins ago

SAN FRANCISCO – Apple Inc. announced a smaller, cheaper version of its Apple TV device for streaming movies and television shows over the Internet and into the living room. It also unveiled a new line of iPods, including a touch-screen Nano model.

The tiny new Apple TV system announced Wednesday will only let people rent, not buy, content. For first-run high-definition movies the day they come out on DVD, people will have to pay $4.99. High-definition TV show rentals will be 99 cents.

The price of the box is also being cut to $99, from $229. Cheaper options for streaming video had been available, including Roku’s set-top boxes that start at $60.

20 New York imam: Mosque fight about Muslim role

By BRIAN MURPHY, Associated Press Writer

Wed Sep 1, 11:10 am ET

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – The imam leading plans for an Islamic center near the site of the Sept. 11 attacks in New York said the fight is over more than “a piece of real estate” and could shape the future of Muslim relations in America.

The dispute “has expanded beyond a piece of real estate and expanded to Islam in America and what it means for America,” Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf told a group Tuesday that included professors and policy researchers in Dubai.

Rauf suggested that the fierce challenges to the planned mosque and community center in lower Manhattan could leave many Muslim questioning their place in American political and civic life.

21 Weak auto sales for August amid economic worries

By DEE-ANN DURBIN and TOM KRISHER, AP Auto Writers

37 mins ago

DETROIT – Americans nervous about the drumbeat of bad economic news stayed away from auto showrooms. Automakers nervous about their bottom lines didn’t offer deals to lure them in.

As a result, it was the worst August for U.S. auto sales since 1983, when the country was at the end of a double-dip recession. General Motors, Toyota, Honda and Ford all reported declines from the month before and from a year earlier.

The bleak results were a reminder that, for all the good news about the turnaround of the Detroit automakers, the market for cars and trucks in the United States remains frail. Initial data showed sales came in at about 997,000, down 5 percent from July, according to AutoData Corp.

22 Sen. Murkowski’s defeat marks major tea party win

By DAN JOLING, Associated Press Writer

Wed Sep 1, 1:12 pm ET

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – Backed by the Tea Party Express and Sarah Palin, a little-known conservative lawyer from Alaska became the latest newcomer to the national political stage to take down an incumbent in 2010.

In arguably the biggest political upset of the year, Joe Miller claimed the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate when incumbent GOP Sen. Lisa Murkowski conceded Tuesday evening. Murkowski gave up after failing to gain much ground in an count of outstanding absentee ballots.

Miller will be the favorite in November in strongly Republican Alaska against Democrat Scott McAdams, the mayor of Sitka.

23 Obama: US combat in Iraq over, ‘time to turn page’

By BEN FELLER, AP White House Correspondent

Wed Sep 1, 7:34 am ET

WASHINGTON – Claiming no victory, President Barack Obama formally ended the U.S. combat role in Iraq after seven long years of bloodshed, declaring firmly Tuesday night: “It’s time to turn the page.” Now, he said, the nation’s most urgent priority is fixing its own sickly economy.

From the Oval Office, where George W. Bush first announced the invasion that would come to define his presidency, Obama addressed millions who were divided over the war in his country and around the world. Fiercely opposed to the war from the start, he said the United States “has paid a huge price” to give Iraqis the chance to shape their future – a cost that now includes more than 4,400 troops dead, tens of thousands more wounded and hundreds of billions of dollars spent.

In a telling sign of the domestic troubles weighing on the United States and his own presidency, Obama turned much of the emphasis in a major war address to the dire state of U.S. joblessness. He said the Iraq war had stripped America of money needed for its own prosperity, and he called for an economic commitment at home to rival the grit and purpose of a military campaign.

24 Ex-Lehman CEO says regulators refused to save firm

By MARCY GORDON, AP Business Writer

1 hr 49 mins ago

WASHINGTON – The former chief of Lehman Brothers told a panel investigating the financial crisis that the Wall Street firm could have been rescued, but regulators’ refused to help – even though they later bailed out other big banks.

Richard S. Fuld Jr. told the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission at a hearing that Lehman did everything it could to limit its risks and save itself in the fall of 2008.

“Lehman’s demise was caused by uncontrollable market forces, and the incorrect perception and accompanying rumors that Lehman did not have sufficient capital to support its investments,” Fuld testified.

25 Rape probe against WikiLeaks founder reopened

By MALIN RISING, Associated Press Writer

2 hrs 10 mins ago

STOCKHOLM – A senior Swedish prosecutor reopened a rape investigation against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Wednesday, the latest twist to a puzzling case in which prosecutors of different ranks have overruled each other.

Assange has denied the allegations and suggested they are part of a smear campaign by opponents of WikiLeaks – an online whistle-blower that has angered Washington by publishing thousands of leaked documents about U.S. military activities in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The case was dismissed last week by Eva Finne, chief prosecutor in Stockholm, who overruled a lower-ranked prosecutor and said there was no reason to suspect that Assange, an Australian citizen, had raped a Swedish woman who had reported him to police.

26 Gates says history will judge worth of Iraq war

By ANNE GEARAN, AP National Security Writer

Wed Sep 1, 10:26 am ET

RAMADI, Iraq – Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Wednesday that history will judge whether the war in Iraq was worth it.

In Iraq to mark the formal close of the U.S. combat mission and the departure of the top U.S. war commander, Gates visited troops at Camp Ramadi in western Iraq.

Asked whether the U.S. was still at war in Iraq, Gates answered succinctly, “I would say we are not.”

27 Mormon church, Jewish leaders tackle proxy baptism

By JENNIFER DOBNER, Associated Press Writer

29 mins ago

SALT LAKE CITY – The Mormon church says it has changed its genealogical database to better prevent the names of Jews killed in Nazi concentration camps from being submitted for posthumous baptism by proxy.

In a joint statement issued Wednesday, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and a coalition of Jewish leaders said a new computer system and policy changes related to the practice should resolve a yearslong disagreement over the baptisms.

Mormons believe posthumous baptism by proxy provides an opportunity for deceased persons to receive the Gospel in the afterlife. Baptisms are performed in Mormon temples with members immersing themselves in a baptismal pool as proxies for others. The names used in the ceremonies are drawn from a church-run genealogical database.

But, but, but… this makes perfect sense.  You know Lehi, the Nephi, and the Jaredites.  They were all Jews.

28 French railway faces criticism in US for WWII role

By ANTONIO GONZALEZ, Associated Press Writer

46 mins ago

ORLANDO, Fla. – The French national railway’s hope to bid on the first high-speed tracks in the United States is running into resistance from Holocaust survivors because of the company’s role in transporting Jews to Nazi death camps.

One of those leading the charge against the railway is Florida resident Rosette Goldstein, whose father was taken away by Nazi soldiers, shoved in a cattle train and delivered to his death during World War II. Goldstein plans to voice her opposition on behalf of many Holocaust survivors to the railway Thursday when the Florida Department of Transportation holds a public meeting in Orlando on the $2.6 billion high-speed rail project, which would connect Tampa and Orlando.

Goldstein and others – including legislators – want the railway, known as the SNCF, to formally apologize for its role in the war, give full access to its records and make reparations.

29 6 Ore. men settle Boy Scout sex abuse cases

By TIM FOUGHT, Associated Press Writer

58 mins ago

PORTLAND, Ore. – Six men who were sexually abused three decades ago by a leader of their Boy Scouts troop have settled lawsuits against the national organization dedicated to building character among youngsters.

The settlement followed a trial in which the Scouts were accused of failing to act for decades on a growing trove of documents alleging sexual abuse – known in the organization as “the perversion files.”

In April, an Oregon jury awarded the first of the six victims to go to trial nearly $20 million from the century-old, congressionally chartered organization.

30 Facebook page leads search for loved ones in Haiti

By RUKMINI CALLIMACHI, Associated Press Writer

1 hr 10 mins ago

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – The desperate quest to find loved ones started just minutes after the quake, as cell phones rang unanswered from beneath the rubble of Haiti’s best hotel.

A few hours later, the search went online with a Facebook page dedicated to the Hotel Montana, created by three siblings in Long Island looking for their missing uncle. Strangers immediately began to post the names and photographs of their relatives. By the next morning, the site had received more than 50 messages from frantic families.

As the days passed and the death toll climbed, the number of members on the page grew until it reached 17,427 people from around the world. They called themselves “the family.” They adopted a profile picture of a rock inscribed with the word “Hope.” And they vowed to stick together until every last member of their online tribe was brought home, alive or dead.

31 Ohio bear owner carried no insurance for caretaker

By JULIE CARR SMYTH, AP Statehouse Correspondent

1 hr 22 mins ago

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Records show the owner of a bear that recently mauled its caretaker to death had no workplace injury insurance to cover the man, an apparent violation of state law.

Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation spokeswoman Maria Smith said investigators will go to Sam Mazzola’s home near Cleveland on Thursday to determine if he had paid 24-year-old Brent Kandra or other employees since his coverage lapsed in late 2005.

Ohio requires business owners who pay even one employee to carry insurance in the event of injury or death, Smith said.

32 Ellis Island immigrants’ oral histories go online

By DEEPTI HAJELA, Associated Press Writer

1 hr 23 mins ago

NEW YORK – Lawrence Meinwald’s voice starts shaking when he recalls the first time he saw the Statue of Liberty.

It was 1920, and the young Polish boy was on a ship with his family, headed to Ellis Island and a new life in America.

“It was a great sight. I didn’t know what it meant. But we stayed on deck, and everybody was anxious, and everybody was happy, and everybody was sad,” Meinwald said in an interview recorded years later recorded by the National Park Service.

33 Tales of surviving entrapment with sanity intact

By LEANNE ITALIE, Associated Press Writer

1 hr 28 mins ago

Randy Knapp was a teenager when he spent 13 nights trapped in a whiteout on Oregon’s Mount Hood. Thirty-three years later, he’s still climbing.

Jonathan Metz tried to saw off his arm this summer after it got stuck in his furnace and infection set in. Crouched alone for three days in his Connecticut basement, he’s about to return to his job as a finance manager for an insurance company.

Their stories of survival reveal a heartening truth for the 33 men trapped deep in a Chilean mine: While nobody walks away from catastrophe completely unscathed, neither do most survivors succumb in the aftermath to paralyzing despair, said George Bonanno, a psychology professor at Columbia University’s Teachers College.

34 Ohio restricting Puerto Rican birth certificates

By DOUG WHITEMAN, Associated Press Writer

1 hr 56 mins ago

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Elizabeth Torres was stung when her 19-year-old son said he’d been turned down for a state-issued Ohio identification card because his birth certificate from Puerto Rico was considered invalid.

“We’re not illegal aliens, we are citizens of this country,” Torres said. “We have everything, all the documents and all that, but we are not treated as such.”

People born in Puerto Rico are finding that older birth certificates from the U.S. territory are not being accepted when applying for a state ID or driver’s license at the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles, a reaction to concerns about possible fraud that a national Hispanic group said smacks of racial discrimination.

35 Some states haven’t changed coke-crack disparity

By DENISE LAVOIE and BILL DRAPER, Associated Press Writers

Wed Sep 1, 3:05 pm ET

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Police found such a small amount of crack cocaine in James V. Taylor’s car that investigators described it as unweighable. It was enough for a 15-year prison sentence in Missouri, where the courts make an enormous distinction between crack and powder cocaine.

Missouri and several other states followed the federal government’s lead in creating such disparities decades ago, but now federal law has changed and prisoner advocates say it’s time for the states to do the same. Most drug cases are prosecuted at the state level.

Defense attorneys and other critics of the tougher crack sentences say they subject mostly blacks to long prison terms while those caught with powder cocaine – mostly whites – get far more lenient treatment. Some prosecutors defend the disparities, saying that because crack is smoked, it gets into the bloodstream faster than snorted cocaine, produces a more intense high and is generally considered more addictive.

36 Hyundai makes eye-catching family sedan

By ANN M. JOB, For The Associated Press

Wed Sep 1, 11:49 am ET

The 2011 Hyundai Sonata sedan is selling at a record pace, and why not? With styling that makes the new, sixth-generation Sonata look richer than its under-$20,000 base price, the Sonata is arguably the most stylish of America’s mainstream family sedans.

It has more trunk room and cubic-foot passenger volume than the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord, and it’s fuel efficient, too. In fact, the 2011 Sonata has more horsepower – 198 generated from a direct-injection, four-cylinder engine – than the comparable four-cylinder-powered Camry, Accord, Nissan Altima and Ford Fusion sedans.

And none of the major Sonata competitors has Hyundai’s generous 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty and five-year/60,000-mile new vehicle warranty with unlimited-mileage roadside assistance.

37 Troops, families glad to hear end to Iraq combat

By ALLEN G. BREED, AP National Writer

Wed Sep 1, 3:30 am ET

As President Obama spoke, Violeta Sifuentes snuggled with her 6-year-old twins on the suede sofa – Samuel beside her, Selena sprawled across her legs. When the 29-year-old Army captain explained what the president meant by combat operations in Iraq being over, “Nina” let out a loud, “Woo-hoo!” then asked, “Can we go play now?”

Sifuentes had heard essentially the same thing earlier Tuesday, when the commander in chief visited Fort Bliss, Texas. He had shaken her hand, hugged her, thanked her personally for her service.

But seeing it on TV brought tears to Sifuentes’ eyes.

38 Cash-strapped Calif. county approves hospital tax

By CATHY BUSSEWITZ, Associated Press Writer

Wed Sep 1, 12:20 am ET

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Voters in a rural California county in such dire financial condition that it’s seeking a state bailout approved a tax to fund their hospital Tuesday.

The vote gives Modoc County, in the state’s northeastern corner, a much-needed infusion of cash and likely means it will avoid bankruptcy.

Voters approved both measures – one to impose a $195-a-year parcel tax to keep their struggling hospital, and another to create a hospital district to oversee its operations. The tax required two-thirds voter approval.

39 Guam’s World War II survivors seek compensation

Associated Press

Tue Aug 31, 10:58 pm ET

HAGATNA, Guam – Regina Reyes, 95, remembers making corn titiyas, or flatbread, and selling it by the side of the road for 50 cents to survive during the Japanese occupation of Guam during World War II.

Her husband was taken away by the Japanese for labor and never returned. One day, a Japanese soldier came to her house in Agana Heights, armed with a gun and bayonet.

“He pushed me down and raped me,” said Reyes, who was seven months pregnant at the time.

40 Inmates say jailer used ‘enforcers’ at Mo. jail

By JIM SALTER, Associated Press Writer

Tue Aug 31, 6:02 pm ET

ST. LOUIS – An advocacy group demanded independent oversight of Missouri jails and prisons Tuesday after inmates claimed that a former chief jailer encouraged some inmates to attack others causing problems at his rural jail.

The allegations were echoed in court documents and a federal indictment against Washington County’s former chief deputy, Vernon G. Wilson, who has pleaded not guilty to civil rights violations and making false statements to the FBI.

Former inmate Gary Gieselman, who was arrested Sept. 29, 2005 for writing a bad check, told The Associated Press that he was attacked shortly after arriving at the jail in Potosi, about 50 miles southwest of St. Louis. Gieselman said he had a “misunderstanding” with correctional officer Valeria Wilson Jackson, Wilson’s daughter, and was placed in a cell with five other men.

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