Evening Edition is an Open Thread
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1 Suicide bomber kills 16 at Russian market
by Dina Teziyeva, AFP
26 mins ago
|VLADIKAVKAZ, Russia (AFP) – A suicide car bomber killed at least 16 people and injured more than 100 Thursday at a market in the Russian Caucasus, the deadliest militant strike for months in the troubled region.
Officials said the blast in the city of Vladikavkaz in North Ossetia was caused by a suicide bomber who drove up to a local market in an explosives-packed car and whose headless body was later discovered.
The head of the FSB security service, Alexander Bortnikov, announced Thursday evening that three people had been detained on suspicion of involvement in the attack.
2 White House weighs direct plea to halt Koran burning
by Juan Castro Olivera, AFP
58 mins ago
|GAINESVILLE, Florida (AFP) – The White House Thursday weighed whether to appeal directly to a Florida pastor to call off a planned Koran burning ceremony amid mounting fears it will unleash a wave of violence.
US President Barack Obama warned if the incendiary gesture goes ahead as planned on Saturday’s anniversary of the September 11 attacks it will provide “a recruitment bonanza for Al-Qaeda.”
“This could increase the recruitment of individuals who’d be willing to blow themselves up in American cities, or European cities,” Obama told ABC, as the US State Department issued a travel warning for Americans worldwide.
3 Defiant Florida church says Koran burning to go ahead
by Mike Bernos, AFP
Wed Sep 8, 5:20 pm ET
|GAINESVILLE, Florida (AFP) – A small Florida church Wednesday shrugged off a wave of global outrage and vowed to go ahead with a Koran burning ceremony, as local officials drew up plans to tamp down the protest.
Condemnation rained in from top US officials, the military, the Vatican and other religious leaders, but the church refused to rethink plans to torch the Islamic holy book on the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks.
“As of this time we have no intention of canceling,” Pastor Terry Jones told a press conference, adding his evangelical church, the Dove World Outreach Center, had received numerous messages of support.
4 Georgia eyes tourist future for one-time rebel hotspot
by Michael Mainville, AFP
Thu Sep 9, 12:13 pm ET
|BATUMI, Georgia (AFP) – On a lush strip of Georgia’s Black Sea coast holiday-makers bask in the sun as construction crews hammer away building beachfront luxury hotels, in what was once an isolated, decrepit rebel enclave.
Adjara, a semi-tropical region on Georgia’s southwestern border with Turkey, was ruled for some 15 years after the fall of the Soviet Union by Aslan Abashidze, a Moscow-backed separatist strongman who ran it as his personal fiefdom.
Cut off from the rest of the country by armed guards, and a hotbed of organised crime, Adjara’s economy stagnated and its long beaches, famed as a Soviet-era resort destination, lay mostly empty.
5 Battle of oil titans as BP seeks to shift blame for spill
by Mira Oberman, AFP
Wed Sep 8, 5:45 pm ET
|CHICAGO (AFP) – BP sought to spread the blame for the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster Wednesday, setting off a battle of oil industry giants with tens of billions of dollars in potential fines and legal liabilities at stake.
The British energy giant released a report concluding that a “sequence of failures” were to blame for the April 20 explosion that killed 11 people and unleashed 4.9 million barrels of oil in the worst-ever maritime spill.
While admitting some mistakes, BP exonerated its well design and apportioned a large share of the blame to faults made by rig owner Transocean and contractor Halliburton, which cemented the well.
6 Obama seeks to mend frayed bond with voters
Wed Sep 8, 6:02 pm ET
|CLEVELAND, Ohio (AFP) – US President Barack Obama Wednesday admitted some of his policies were unpopular and had not revived the economy quickly enough, but sought to rekindle his frayed bond with American voters.
“It’s still fear versus hope, the past versus the future,” Obama said in economically bereft Ohio, pleading with voters to chose “moving forward” with him, rather than “sliding backward” with Republicans.
Obama, seeking to reframe the political debate ahead of November elections in which Democrats fear thumping losses, slammed his foes for pitching the economy into a historic crisis, and “moralizing” about the ballooning deficit.
7 UN chief in Rwanda faces Kigali ‘outrage’ over report
Wed Sep 8, 12:29 pm ET
|KIGALI (AFP) – UN chief Ban Ki-moon met Rwanda’s president here Wednesday in a bid to defuse his government’s anger over allegations contained in a UN report that Rwandan forces committed war crimes in DR Congo.
Ban told journalists in Kigali after the meeting that both he and President Paul Kagame had been “disappointed” the report outlining alleged atrocities by Rwandan troops had been leaked.
Kagame, who as president is commander in chief of his country’s armed forces, had threatened to pull Rwanda’s troops out of international peacekeeping missions in Sudan in a signal of Kigali’s fury.
8 Fed sees ‘widespread’ signs US economy is slowing
by Andrew Beatty, AFP
Wed Sep 8, 5:43 pm ET
|WASHINGTON (AFP) – The US economic recovery is showing “widespread” signs of slowing, the US Federal Reserve warned Wednesday, as it gears up for a key policy meeting later this month.
The central bank reported “continued growth in national economic activity” between mid-July and the end of August, “but with widespread signs of a deceleration.”
The latest Beige Book report, an economic survey which will guide a September 21 policy meeting, painted a dour picture of the health of the economy, with an uneven recovery across the country and across sectors.
9 US fighting losing war in Afghanistan: Taliban leader
by Lynne O’Donnell, AFP
Thu Sep 9, 11:57 am ET
|KABUL (AFP) – The leader of the Taliban said the West is losing the war in Afghanistan and called on Afghans to repel the “invading infidels” as experts urged the US to scale back its troops and goals.
Mullah Mohammad Omar, the one-eyed Taliban chief believed to be in hiding in Pakistan, said on Wednesday that strategists behind the nine-year-old Afghan war realised they were mired in “complete failure”.
The United States and NATO have 150,000 troops in Afghanistan aiming to quell the insurgency that began soon after the Taliban regime was overthrown in a US-led invasion in late 2001.
10 Euro MPs demand France ‘suspend’ Roma expulsion
by Alain Jean-Robert, AFP
Thu Sep 9, 9:12 am ET
|STRASBOURG (AFP) – France came under fresh fire for expelling Roma migrants Thursday as the European Parliament demanded it “immediately suspend” removal of the Gypsies.
It was the second time this week that Euro MPs had taken the floor to lambast President Nicolas Sarkozy’s stand on the issue while debating the plight of Roma across Europe in general.
But France’s Immigration Minister Eric Besson, in Bucharest for talks with Romanian authorities on the issue, hit back immediately, saying there was “no question” of Paris complying.
11 Obama: Koran-burning could lead to suicide bombings
By Ben Gruber, Reuters
1 hr 6 mins ago
|GAINESVILLE, Florida (Reuters) – President Barack Obama warned on Thursday that an obscure Christian pastor’s plan to burn the Koran could provoke al Qaeda suicide bombings, as foreign leaders urged Washington to intervene.
“This is a recruitment bonanza for al Qaeda,” Obama said in an ABC television interview. “You could have serious violence in places like Pakistan or Afghanistan. This could increase the recruitment of individuals who would be willing to blow themselves up in American cities or European cities.”
The international police agency Interpol warned governments worldwide of an increased risk of terrorist attacks if the planned burning went ahead and the U.S. State Department issued a warning to Americans traveling overseas.
12 Health reforms trigger spending shift
By Susan Heavey, Reuters
Thu Sep 9, 3:08 am ET
|WASHINGTON (Reuters) – New U.S. reforms are poised to dramatically shift the nation’s healthcare spending, not only curbing Medicare costs but also pumping more money toward the private sector as roughly 32 million people gain coverage.
Although the law has little impact on overall healthcare spending, government researchers said they expect sharp changes in the U.S. healthcare sector as the bulk of the recently passed law starts taking effect in 2014.
The survey, conducted by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) auditors and released on Thursday, is likely to fuel the debate over whether the reform law truly reins in healthcare spending, now already more than one-sixth of the nation’s economy.
13 New York finally sees progress at Ground Zero site
By Daniel Trotta, Reuters
Thu Sep 9, 12:50 pm ET
|NEW YORK (Reuters) – Nine years after the September 11 attacks, visible progress is finally being made toward rebuilding the World Trade Center site known as Ground Zero.
Delays from political, security and financing concerns have dominated the public image of the roughly $11 billion project in the absence of a gleaming new skyscraper or memorial to those who died when al Qaeda hijackers destroyed the Twin Towers.
But while rapid, visible progress has been made since the last anniversary of the attacks, that has captured little attention. Instead, the debate about Ground Zero has shifted to other concerns, such as the proposed Islamic cultural center to be built two blocks from the site.
14 U.S. slips in WEF’s competitiveness rankings
Thu Sep 9, 5:22 am ET
|BEIJING (Reuters) – Switzerland remains the world’s most competitive economy, while the United States has fallen from second to fourth after losing the top spot last year, according to the World Economic Forum’s annual rankings issued on Thursday.
Sweden, in second spot, and Singapore in third leapfrogged the United States in the WEF’s Global Competitiveness Report 2010/2011.
Last year the Asian city-state ranked third and Sweden fourth. There were no newcomers in the WEF’s top 10, although Germany climbed to fifth from seventh.
15 Mysterious N.Korea keeps world guessing on rare meeting
By Jeremy Laurence, Reuters
Thu Sep 9, 5:21 am ET
|SEOUL (Reuters) – North Korea’s capital is ready for its biggest political event in decades: giant billboards proclaim an event to make the country’s “history shine forever,” the dress rehearsals are complete and the army is ready.
But like all things in secretive North Korea, the event — a conference of the ruling Worker’s Party (WPK) which is widely expected to anoint Kim Jong-il’s son as his successor — is shrouded in mystery.
The gathering of the country’s ruling elite comes at a critical time for the destitute North after a botched currency reform late last year triggered inflation and wiped out ordinary citizen’s savings.
16 Afghanistan seeks to dilute foreign anti-graft role
By Sayed Salahuddin, Reuters
Thu Sep 9, 5:26 am ET
|KABUL (Reuters) – Afghanistan will limit foreign involvement in two major anti-crime units in a move likely to worry its Western backers and stoke fears about President Hamid Karzai’s commitment to fighting endemic graft.
Afghanistan is one of the world’s most corrupt countries and Washington fears the problem is helping to boost the Taliban-led insurgency and complicate efforts to strengthen government control so U.S. and other foreign troops can begin withdrawing from July 2011.
While still reliant on money and support from the West, Karzai has lately been trying to assert his independence from his Western backers ahead of a September 18 parliamentary election, most recently by issuing a ban on most foreign private security firms.
17 Obama: U.S. can’t afford to extend tax cuts for rich
By Patricia Zengerle, Reuters
Wed Sep 8, 8:33 pm ET
|PARMA, Ohio (Reuters) – President Barack Obama, fighting to keep Democrats in charge of Congress, said on Wednesday the United States could not afford to extend Bush-era tax cuts for the rich and accused Republicans of being fiscally irresponsible.
On a campaign trip to Ohio less than two months before November 2 congressional elections, Obama admitted his economic policies had not worked as quickly as hoped, but said his party and proposals were still better placed to boost the U.S. economy.
Obama’s comments, laced with political rhetoric, came amid a growing verbal battle with Republicans over tax cuts for wealthy Americans enacted under former President George W. Bush and set to expire at the end of this year.
18 BP points fingers in oil spill blame game
By Tom Bergin and Ayesha Rascoe, Reuters
Wed Sep 8, 9:10 pm ET
|LONDON/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – BP Plc and its Gulf of Mexico oil well partners traded blame on Wednesday after an internal BP investigation tried to downplay the company’s role in the world’s biggest offshore spill.
The 193-page BP report offered a preview of how the British oil giant plans to vigorously defend itself against lawsuits arising from the disaster and any charges of gross negligence, which carry fines potentially in excess of $20 billion.
BP accepted some responsibility for the disaster but pointed the finger at what it said were major failures by Transocean Ltd, the operator of the ill-fated Deepwater Horizon oil rig, and oil services company Halliburton, which cemented the deep-sea well that ruptured on April 20.
19 Errant drone near DC almost met by fighter jets
By LOLITA C. BALDOR, Associated Press Writer
1 hr 20 mins ago
|WASHINGTON – The U.S. military almost launched fighter jets and discussed a possible shoot-down when an errant Navy drone briefly veered into restricted airspace near the nation’s capital last month, a senior military official said Thursday.
The incident underscores safety concerns with unmanned aircraft as defense officials campaign to use them more often during natural disasters and for homeland security.
Navy Adm. James Winnefeld Jr., head of Northern Command, said Thursday that the August mishap could hamper the Pentagon’s push to have the Federal Aviation Administration ease procedures for drone use by the military in domestic skies.
20 Obama admonishes pastor to call off Quran ‘stunt’
By NANCY BENAC, Associated Press Writer
1 hr 39 mins ago
|WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama sternly admonished a Florida pastor Thursday and appealed to him to call off plans to torch the Quran, saying Saturday’s planned protest on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks was a dangerous “stunt” that could imperil U.S. troops abroad and incite suicide bombers on American soil.
American Muslim leaders urged members to remain calm if the pastor doesn’t back down from a threat that already has inflamed passions around the globe. Interpol, the international police organization, issued an alert to its 188 member-countries warning of a “strong likelihood” of violent attacks if the burn goes forward.
FBI agents met with the Rev. Terry Jones at his Dove Outreach Center, an independent church in Gainesville with about 50 members. At issue are his plans to stage an “International Burn-a-Koran Day” on the ninth anniversary of the terror attacks.
21 Apple publishes guidelines for app approval
By PETER SVENSSON, AP Technology Writer
2 hrs 43 mins ago
|NEW YORK – Apple Inc. on Thursday gave software developers the guidelines it uses to determine which programs can be sold in its App Store, yet it reserved for itself broad leeway in deciding what makes the cut.
The move follows more than two years of complaints from developers about the company’s secret and seemingly capricious rules, which block some programs from the store and hence Apple’s popular iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch devices.
The guidelines go some way toward addressing those complaints and broadening the discussion about Apple’s custodianship of the App Store.
22 Highway deaths fall to lowest level since 1950
By KEN THOMAS, Associated Press Writer
2 hrs 29 mins ago
|WASHINGTON – Traffic deaths have plummeted across the United States to levels not seen in more than a half-century, spurred by technology, safety-conscious drivers and tougher enforcement of drunken driving laws.
The Transportation Department said Thursday that traffic deaths fell 9.7 percent in 2009 to 33,808, the lowest number since 1950. In 2008, an estimated 37,423 people died on the highways.
Government and auto safety experts attributed the improvement to more people buckling up, side air bags and anti-rollover technology in more vehicles and a focus in many states on curbing drinking and driving. Economic conditions were also a factor.
23 Suicide car bombing in southern Russia kills 17
By SERGEI VENYAVSKY, Associated Press Writer
2 mins ago
|ROSTOV-ON-DON, Russia – Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin blamed extremists “without souls, without hearts” for a suicide car bombing that killed 17 people Thursday in the crowded central market of a city in the North Caucasus.
It was the fourth terrorist attack at the market in a decade, and while no one claimed responsibility, the Kremlin has been trying to contain Islamic militancy in the mountainous southern region of Russia.
Nearly 140 were wounded in the bombing in Vladikavkaz, the capital of North Ossetia, with about a half-dozen hospitalized in very serious condition.
24 Dynasty speculation on North Korea’s founding day
By HYUNG-JIN KIM, Associated Press Writer
Thu Sep 9, 8:20 am ET
|SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea celebrated its 62nd anniversary Thursday with odes to supreme leader Kim Jong Il and pilgrimages to his late father’s statue amid hints that a political meeting believed aimed at promoting his son as successor is imminent.
There is widespread speculation that Kim will use the conference to give his third and youngest son, Kim Jong Un, a key Workers’ Party position as part of plans to extend the family dynasty to a third generation.
Kim Jong Il, known as the “Dear Leader” in North Korea’s cult of personality, himself took over leadership after his father, North Korea’s founder Kim Il Sung, died of heart failure in 1994 – communism’s first hereditary transfer of power.
25 PROMISES, PROMISES: FAA fatigue rules finally near
By JOAN LOWY, Associated Press Writer
Thu Sep 9, 10:36 am ET
|WASHINGTON – After a regional airliner crashed in western New York a year and a half ago, killing 50 people, the Obama administration promised swift action to prevent similar tragedies. High on the list: new rules governing the number of hours pilots may work, to prevent tired flight crews from making fatal errors.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood wrote in June 2009 that the Federal Aviation Administration was in a hurry and wouldn’t wait for Congress “to add mandatory layers to airline safety,” nor even for crash investigators to complete their work, “because air passengers deserve action. And, they deserve it now.”
It’s taken 15 months and a half-dozen missed deadlines, but the FAA is finally about to propose new regulations on how many hours airlines can schedule pilots to be on duty or in the cockpit. A draft was submitted to the White House Office of Management and Budget for review last week, and a proposed rule is likely to be published within days, industry officials said. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to address the issue publicly. A House hearing on the proposal is scheduled for next week.
26 Regret, apology not part of BP’s oil spill report
By HARRY R. WEBER, MICHAEL KUNZELMAN and DINA CAPPIELLO, Associated Press Writers
Thu Sep 9, 5:40 am ET
|NEW ORLEANS – BP’s long-awaited internal report on what it believes went wrong when a rig exploded and started the massive Gulf oil spill never mentions the words blame, regret, apology, mistake or pollution. The word fault shows up 20 times, but only once in the same sentence as the company’s name.
BP took some of the blame, acknowledging among other things that it misinterpreted a key pressure test of the well that blew out and eventually spewed 206 million gallons of oil into the Gulf. But in a possible preview of its legal strategy, it also pointed the finger – and plenty – at its partners on the doomed rig.
The highly technical, 193-page report released Wednesday attributes the worst offshore oil spill in U.S. history and the deadly rig explosion that set it off to a complex chain of failures both human and mechanical. Some of those problems have been made public over the past 4 1/2 months, such as the failure of the blowout preventer to clamp the well shut.
27 A whole different Playboy channel – for the blind
By MICHAEL GRACZYK, Associated Press Writer
Thu Sep 9, 7:08 am ET
|HOUSTON – Suzi Hanks reads Playboy magazine for the articles. And the jokes. And the letters and cartoons.
And yes, for the pictures.
Each week, for an hour, Hanks snuggles close to a microphone in a tiny soundproof closet, reading – and describing in great detail – portions of the latest Playboy issue for the blind.
28 New report: more grandparents raising grandkids
By DAVID CRARY, AP National Writer
53 mins ago
|NEW YORK – The number of U.S. children being raised by their grandparents rose sharply as the recession began, according to a new analysis of census data. The reasons, while somber, were not all economic.
These grandparents often give themselves high marks as caregivers, but many face distinctive stresses as they confront unanticipated financial burdens and culture shock that come with the responsibilities of child-raising.
In all, roughly 7 million U.S. children live in households that include at least one grandparent, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of the most recent Census Bureau data, from 2008. Of that number, 2.9 million were being raised primarily by their grandparents – up 16 percent from 2000, with a 6 percent surge just from 2007 to 2008.
29 Appeals court blocks Pa. town’s immigration law
By MICHAEL RUBINKAM, Associated Press Writer
1 hr 54 mins ago
|ALLENTOWN, Pa. – A federal appeals court ruled Thursday that Hazleton, Pa., may not enforce its crackdown on illegal immigrants, dealing another blow to 4-year-old regulations that inspired similar measures around the country.
The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia said that Hazleton’s Illegal Immigration Relief Act usurped the federal government’s exclusive power to regulate immigration.
“It is … not our job to sit in judgment of whether state and local frustration about federal immigration policy is warranted. We are, however, required to intervene when states and localities directly undermine the federal objectives embodied in statutes enacted by Congress,” wrote Chief Judge Theodore McKee.
30 Report: LA officer involved in previous shootings
By RAQUEL MARIA DILLON, Associated Press Writer
Thu Sep 9, 12:44 pm ET
|LOS ANGELES – The police officer who shot and killed a knife-wielding man whose death has sparked three days of violent protests in Los Angeles had been involved in two previous shootings while on duty, according to a media report.
The Los Angeles Times report came as hundreds of people returned to the streets for a third night of protests over the fatal shooting of Manuel Jamines, 37, sporadically throwing rocks and bottles at officers and setting scattered rubbish fires.
Earlier Wednesday evening, police Chief Charlie Beck faced an angry crowd at a community meeting intended to quell the violence.
31 Backers of NYC mosque appear divided, regretful
By DAVID B. CARUSO, Associated Press Writer
Thu Sep 9, 12:31 pm ET
|NEW YORK – The backers of a proposed Islamic center near ground zero are expressing regrets about creating a firestorm with a plan they thought would be simple and noncontroversial.
Hisham Elzanaty, an Egyptian-born businessman who says he provided a majority of the financing to gain control over the two buildings where the center would be built, told The Associated Press that he has always viewed the project primarily as an investment opportunity, and would sell some of the site if the price is right.
And the imam slated to lead the spiritual component of the center told CNN that if he had realized how some Americans would react to the location, he would have picked some other spot.
32 Soldier’s father: Army was warned of murder plot
By GENE JOHNSON, Associated Press Writer
Thu Sep 9, 6:08 am ET
|SEATTLE – The father of a U.S. soldier serving in Afghanistan says he tried nearly a half dozen times to pass an urgent message from his son to the Army: Troops in his unit had murdered an Afghan civilian, planned more killings and threatened him to keep quiet about it.
By the time officials arrested suspects months later, two more Afghans were dead.
And much to Christopher Winfield’s horror, his son Adam was among the five Fort Lewis-based soldiers charged in the killings.
33 New Muslim college welcomes freshmen in California
By TERENCE CHEA, Associated Press Writer
Thu Sep 9, 5:44 am ET
|BERKELEY, Calif. – Amid the uproar over the proposed mosque near ground zero in New York, a new Islamic college recently opened its doors in California with plans to educate a new generation of Muslim-American leaders.
Founded by three prominent Islamic scholars, Zaytuna College in Berkeley is a small school with just five faculty members and 15 students in its inaugural freshman class. The school wants to become the country’s first fully accredited Muslim academic institution.
Zaytuna College is opening at a time when fierce opposition to the proposed Islamic community center and mosque near the former World Trade Center has left many American Muslims feeling under siege.
34 Appeals court lets government halt torture lawsuit
By PAUL ELIAS, Associated Press Writer
Thu Sep 9, 1:22 am ET
|SAN FRANCISCO – A sharply divided federal appeals court on Wednesday threw out a lawsuit challenging a controversial post-Sept. 11 CIA program that flew terrorism suspects to secret prisons.
The complaint was filed by five terrorism suspects who were arrested shortly after 9/11 and say they were flown by a Boeing Co. subsidiary to prisons around the world where they were tortured. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals cited national security risks when it dismissed the men’s case in a 6-5 ruling Wednesday.
The case could have broad repercussions on the national security debate as it makes its way toward the Supreme Court, and it casts a spotlight on the controversial “extraordinary rendition” program the Bush administration used after 9/11.
35 Chicago mulls future without Daley power at helm
By DON BABWIN and SOPHIA TAREEN, Associated Press Writers
Wed Sep 8, 11:06 pm ET
|CHICAGO – The last time Chicago was left without a Daley at the helm, the next mayor was thrown out of office by voters angry because he couldn’t keep snow off the streets.
The “City that Works” then became known as “Beirut on the Lake,” its council dissolved into a racially divided stalemate as remnants of the once-mighty Chicago Machine stonewalled reforms pushed by the city’s first black leader.
Within a few years of his election in 1989, Mayor Richard M. Daley brought that to an end by building his own machine – not with the patronage army his father used to amass and keep political power, but by sharing the spoils of city government, selectively doling out contracts and forcing factions to work together.
36 Ind. activist to head federal anti-carp campaign
By CARLA K. JOHNSON and JOHN FLESHER, Associated Press Writers
Wed Sep 8, 6:41 pm ET
|CHICAGO – John Goss, an environmental activist and former state official from Indiana, was appointed Wednesday as the Obama administration’s point man in the fight to prevent Asian carp from gaining a foothold in the Great Lakes.
Goss will oversee efforts by federal, state and local agencies to halt the advance of bighead and silver carp, which are on the verge of invading Lake Michigan through Chicago-area waterways. Scientists say if the voracious carp become established in the lakes, they could damage the food chain and a $7 billion regional fishing industry.
Goss has served as executive director of the National Wildlife Federation’s Indiana affiliate for four years. Previously, he was director of the state Department of Natural Resources and served as vice chairman of the Great Lakes Commission, an agency representing the region’s eight states.
37 NJ Gov. Christie plans to campaign in Iowa
By GEOFF MULVIHILL, Associated Press Writer
Wed Sep 8, 6:18 pm ET
|HADDONFIELD, N.J. – New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, already a tough-talking, budget-slashing, union-bashing regular on cable news talk shows, denies he’s considering a presidential run whenever he’s asked.
But that’s not keeping him from planning a trip next month to Iowa, the state with the nation’s first presidential caucus that makes it a destination for those with big political aspirations.
“He’s becoming a national politician on a platform to compete with 36 other people who want to be president in 2012,” said Steffen Schmidt, a political science professor at Iowa State University. “No one comes to Iowa unless they want to be president.”
38 Obama won’t yield on tax hike for wealthiest
By JULIE PACE and TOM RAUM, Associated Press Writers
Wed Sep 8, 6:06 pm ET
|CLEVELAND – Politically weakened but refusing to bend, President Barack Obama insisted Wednesday that Bush-era tax cuts be cut off for the wealthiest Americans, joining battle with Republicans – and some fellow Democrats – just two months before bruising midterm elections.
Singling out House GOP leader John Boehner in his home state, Obama delivered a searing attack on Republicans for advocating “the same philosophy that led to this mess in the first place: cut more taxes for millionaires and cut more rules for corporations.”
Obama rolled out a trio of new plans to help spur job growth and invigorate the sluggish national economic recovery. They would expand and permanently extend a research and development tax credit that lapsed in 2009, allow businesses to write off 100 percent of their investments in equipment and plants through 2011 and pump $50 billion into highway, rail, airport and other infrastructure projects.
39 Fla. pastor on fringe of US Christian life
By RACHEL ZOLL, AP Religion Writer
Wed Sep 8, 5:04 pm ET
|NEW YORK – The Florida pastor who plans to burn the Quran on the anniversary of 9/11 is rooted in Pentecostal tradition that believes Christians are engaged in a modern-day spiritual battle with evil.
For Terry Jones and his Dove World Outreach Center, Islam is that evil, a world view drawn from his politics and theology – as well as an apparent thirst for publicity for his tiny, independent church.
“Our burning of the Quran is to call the attention that something is wrong,” Jones said Wednesday at a brief news conference outside his Gainesville church. “It is possibly time for us in a new way to stand up and confront terrorism.”