Sep 27 2010

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Italian bank chief’s exit sparks concern

by Mathieu Gorse, AFP

Sun Sep 26, 3:43 am ET

MILAN (AFP) – The ouster of Alessandro Profumo from the top post at Unicredit this week has sparked concern about future governance at Italy’s largest bank as other shake-ups rattle the European banking world.

Profumo’s dramatic exit following a shareholder rebellion over Libya’s growing stake in the bank rocked Italy’s financial elite and weighed down Unicredit’s share price at a time when the country’s economy is being scrutinised by investors because of its high debt levels.

Profumo, who oversaw a major international expansion by the bank in central and eastern Europe, resigned late on Tuesday after losing a shareholder confidence vote during a four-hour board meeting.

2 Alonso edges Vettel to win Singapore Grand Prix

by Martin Parry, AFP

1 hr 34 mins ago

SINGAPORE (AFP) – Fernando Alonso produced a masterful drive Sunday to win an incident-packed Singapore Grand Prix ahead of a charging Sebastian Vettel to put the world championship title race on a knife-edge.

Starting from pole position, the Ferrari star led from start to finish for the second race in a row to take the chequered flag, just 0.2 seconds ahead of the Red Bull driver.

It was a measured performance from the two-time world champion Spaniard, who outpaced his title rivals under floodlights for his fourth win of the season and the 25th of his career.

Hamilton was clearly past Webber, who hit him in the rear!

3 Women entrepreneurs in China get a helping hand

by Allison Jackson, AFP

Sun Sep 26, 2:01 am ET

TIANJIN, China (AFP) – After losing her job five years ago, Zhao Weimin decided to start a business with help from a government-backed microfinancing programme that has helped thousands of laid-off women get back on their feet.

Lacking money and experience, Zhao and her husband sought the help of the Tianjin Women’s Business Incubator.

“We had to do something,” Zhao told AFP in an interview, explaining the couple’s decision to start a small business.

4 In Milan, Emilio Pucci revisits bohemian looks

by Gina Doggett, AFP

Sat Sep 25, 5:14 pm ET

MILAN, Italy (AFP) – Emilio Pucci brought bohemian charm to Milan Fashion Week on Saturday with Rajasthan mirrors and gladiator boots, as Max Mara and Jil Sanders turned on the brights.

The Pucci show by designer Peter Dundas held off until Kylie Minogue took her seat among top fashionistas Anna Wintour and Suzy Menkes, plus Philippine blogger sensation Bryanboy.

Just as quickly, the models came out in their floor-length gowns, cleavage peeking out through leather laces, tie-dyes recalling hippy days, Rajasthan mirrors glittering or Greek motifs sealing in a classical look.

5 Delhi makes frantic effort for C’wealth Games

by Ben Sheppard, AFP

Sun Sep 26, 11:12 am ET

NEW DELHI (AFP) – Organisers of the Commonwealth Games scrambled to finish facilities and reassure athletes Sunday amid warnings much work still had to be done in New Delhi just a week before the opening ceremony.

National teams arriving at the athletes’ village were greeted by a massive clean-up operation as hundreds of extra staff tackled uncompleted apartments, dirty toilets and piles of builders’ rubbish.

The Commonwealth Games Federation denied it had failed to supervise Delhi during preparations for the event, which Indian leaders had hoped would be a demonstration of the nation’s recent economic progress.

6 ETA ready for verifiable, permanent ceasefire: report


Sun Sep 26, 6:51 am ET

MADRID (AFP) – The armed Basque separatist group ETA is ready to observe a permanent and verifiable ceasefire, two members of the outfit said in an interview published Sunday.

“ETA is willing to take that step and also to go further if the conditions for it are created,” the unnamed ETA members told the pro-independence Basque newspaper Gara, which has often published statements from the group.

The ETA members said a halt in offensive actions announced earlier by the group was long term, and that the group would like to see a dialogue on ending the conflict with discussions involving Basque parties and civic groups.

7 Miliband launches quest to return Labour to power in Britain

by Robin Millard, AFP

Sun Sep 26, 4:32 am ET

MANCHESTER (AFP) – Newly-elected Labour leader Ed Miliband goes straight into the British opposition’s annual conference Sunday facing a huge task to rebuild a party demoralised by losing power.

Miliband defeated his better-known older brother David, the former foreign secretary, in a knife-edge result on Saturday, winning the leadership battle by 50.65 percent to 49.35 percent.

“My aim is to show that our party is on the side of the squeezed middle in our country and everyone who has worked hard and wants to get on,” Miliband said.

8 U.S. set to be a posse of one on China yuan at G20

By Paul Eckert, Reuters

Sun Sep 26, 12:15 pm ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner faces a lonely campaign to make China’s currency a major issue at the next Group of 20 summit as would-be allies shrink from confronting Beijing.

Pressured by U.S. lawmakers, Geithner vowed last week to mobilize countries at the November 11-12 summit in South Korea to press China for faster appreciation of the yuan.

Interviews with officials from G20 countries suggest that Geithner — who has acknowledged that few countries are willing to confront China — could be leading a posse of one in Seoul.

9 India races to ready Games Village in time

By Amlan Chakraborty and Sudipto Ganguly, Reuters

Sun Sep 26, 11:18 am ET

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Workers painted walls and mopped rain water at the Commonwealth Games Village as India raced on Sunday to address complaints about dirty and unhygienic facilities one week before the start of the showpiece event.

The Games were supposed to enhance India’s image as a rising power, but shoddy construction, dirty accommodation and security fears raised governance and accountability issues in Asia’s third largest economy.

Several top athletes, including world champion sprinter Usain Bolt, pulled out, removing some of the shine from the event held every four years for former British colonies.

10 Democrats, Republicans duel over tax-cut vote

By Glenn Somerville and Kevin Drawbaugh

1 hr 53 mins ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Top Republican and Democratic officials skirmished on Sunday over the timing of a vote on extending tax cuts, seeking an edge ahead of November congressional elections likely to be dominated by job anxiety.

After Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives left open the possibility a vote will be delayed past November 2 midterm elections, Republicans shot back that doing so would only add to voters’ economic uncertainty.

“The Congress has an opportunity this week to end some of the uncertainty by allowing the American people to know what the tax rates are going to be at the end of the year,” House Minority leader John Boehner said on “Fox News Sunday.”

11 Chavez likely to retain parliament in Venezuela vote

By Daniel Wallis, Reuters

23 mins ago

CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuelans voted for a new parliament on Sunday with President Hugo Chavez expected to keep control of the National Assembly in a poll that tests his support ahead of the next presidential election in 2012.

Wearing a tracksuit top in the red, yellow and blue of the Venezuelan flag, Chavez arrived to vote at a school in the 23 de Enero slum in a modest red sedan that he drove himself.

“All those who come out to vote know their vote will be respected,” he told reporters, adding that he was happy the opposition had agreed to take part. “Those who are against, those who are in favor, let us all vote,” he said.

12 Britain’s Labour elects Ed Miliband in cliffhanger

By Adrian Croft, Reuters

Sun Sep 26, 6:28 am ET

MANCHESTER, England (Reuters) – Former cabinet minister Ed Miliband pipped his brother to win the leadership of Britain’s opposition Labour Party on Saturday thanks to union backing and could take the party down a more left-wing path.

The new leader’s focus will be on fighting deep public spending cuts planned by the ruling coalition which Labour says threaten public services and will hit the poor hardest.

The party has been searching for a new direction and a new leader since former prime minister Gordon Brown resigned following the party’s crushing defeat in a May election, which ended 13 years of Labour rule.

13 Pakistan PM cancels trips as govt speculation swirls

By Michael Georgy, Reuters

Sat Sep 25, 4:24 pm ET

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistani Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani has canceled a trip to Europe this month as media speculation swirls about a possible change of government following its perceived mishandling of summer floods.

The floods have killed more than 1,750 people, forced at least 10 million from their homes and caused lasting damage to the economy of Pakistan, a nuclear-armed country fighting homegrown Taliban insurgents which the U.S. regards as vital to efforts to stabilize Afghanistan.

“In view of his pre-occupations with the post-flood situation, the Prime Minister has decided not to go ahead with his scheduled visits to Paris and Brussels,” a Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman said in a statement.

14 Ga. megachurch pastor pledges to fight accusations

By ERRIN HAINES, Associated Press Writer

2 hrs 32 mins ago

LITHONIA, Ga. – The famed pastor of a Georgia megachurch said Sunday that he will fight allegations that he lured young men into sexual relationships, stressing that he’d be back to lead the church the next week.

Addressing a New Birth Missionary Baptist Church sanctuary packed with thousands, Bishop Eddie Long neither discussed specifics of the lawsuits filed against him nor flatly denied the accusations. But he drew thunderous applause when he addressed his flock publicly for the first time since the first lawsuits were filed several days ago.

“There have been allegations and attacks made on me. I have never in my life portrayed myself as a perfect man. But I am not the man that’s being portrayed on the television. That’s not me. That is not me,” he said as applause interrupted him during the first of two services Sunday morning.

15 White House, Dems see tax cut vote after election

Associated Press

1 hr 16 mins ago

WASHINGTON – The White House and Democratic leaders in Congress said Sunday they would find a way to extend middle-class tax cuts after the November elections, unable to secure GOP backing before lawmakers break to campaign.

“One way or the other, we’re going to get it done. And I believe the pressure is going to build among the American people” said David Axelrod, President Barack Obama’s top political aide.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., had suggested that a vote could be held this coming week before lawmakers leave town for the elections. But her deputy, Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland, said Sunday that holding a vote wouldn’t matter because the legislation is still languishing in the Senate under GOP objections.

16 Computer attacks linked to wealthy group or nation

By LOLITA C. BALDOR, Associated Press Writer

1 hr 21 mins ago

WASHINGTON – A powerful computer code attacking industrial facilities around the world, but mainly in Iran, probably was created by experts working for a country or a well-funded private group, according to an analysis by a leading computer security company.

The malicious code, called Stuxnet, was designed to go after several “high-value targets,” said Liam O Murchu, manager of security response operations at Symantec Corp. But both O Murchu and U.S. government experts say there’s no proof it was developed to target nuclear plants in Iran, despite recent speculation from some researchers.

Creating the malicious code required a team of as many as five to 10 highly educated and well-funded hackers. Government experts and outside analysts say they haven’t been able to determine who developed it or why.

17 Experts question BP’s take on Gulf oil spill

By DINA CAPPIELLO, Associated Press Writer

57 mins ago

WASHINGTON – Engineering experts probing the Gulf of Mexico oil spill exposed holes in BP’s internal investigation as the company was questioned Sunday for the first time in public about its findings.

BP’s lead investigator acknowledged that the company’s probe had limitations.

Mark Bly, head of safety and operations for BP PLC, told a National Academy of Engineering committee that a lack of physical evidence and interviews with employees from other companies limited BP’s study. The internal team only looked at the immediate cause of the April disaster, which killed 11 workers and unleashed 206 million gallons of oil into the Gulf.

18 PROMISES, PROMISES: Waiting for Abu Ghraib amends

By PETE YOST, Associated Press Writer

2 hrs 29 mins ago

WASHINGTON – Fending off demands that he resign over the Abu Ghraib prison scandal, then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld told Congress in 2004 that he had found a legal way to compensate Iraqi detainees who suffered “grievous and brutal abuse and cruelty at the hands of a few members of the United States armed forces.”

“It’s the right thing to do,” Rumsfeld said. “And it is my intention to see that we do.”

Six years later, the U.S. Army is unable to document a single payment for prisoner abuse at Abu Ghraib.

19 $93,000 cancer drug: How much is a life worth?


1 hr 30 mins ago

BOSTON – Cancer patients, brace yourselves. Many new drug treatments cost nearly $100,000 a year, sparking fresh debate about how much a few months more of life is worth.

The latest is Provenge, a first-of-a-kind therapy approved in April. It costs $93,000 a year and adds four months’ survival, on average, for men with incurable prostate tumors. Bob Svensson is honest about why he got it: insurance paid.

“I would not spend that money,” because the benefit doesn’t seem worth it, says Svensson, 80, a former corporate finance officer from Bedford, Mass.

20 New Muslim comic book superhero on the way

By EDITH M. LEDERER, Associated Press Writer

1 hr 23 mins ago

NEW YORK – Comic book fans will soon be getting their first glimpse at an unlikely new superhero – a Muslim boy in a wheelchair with superpowers.

The new superhero is the brainchild of a group of disabled young Americans and Syrians who were brought together last month in Damascus by the Open Hands Intiative, a non-profit organization founded by U.S. philanthropist and businessman Jay T. Snyder.

The superhero’s appearance hasn’t been finalized, but an early sketch shows a Muslim boy who lost his legs in a landmine accident and later becomes the Silver Scorpion after discovering he has the power to control metal with his mind.

21 Nevada ranked in AP poll for first time since 1948

By RALPH D. RUSSO, AP College Football Writer

1 hr 12 mins ago

NEW YORK – The only previous time Nevada was ranked in the AP Top 25, the Wolf Pack ended the season playing in the Harbor Bowl in San Diego.

That was 1948.

It took 62 years, but Nevada is back in The Associated Press poll. The Wolf Pack were No. 25 in the poll released Sunday and are off to a 4-0 start for the first time since 1991, the year before they jumped from I-AA to I-A.

22 Pakistani minister resigns after criticizing army

By ZARAR KHAN, Associated Press Writer

Sun Sep 26, 11:58 am ET

ISLAMABAD – Pakistan’s federal minister for defense production resigned after being summoned by the prime minister to explain comments he made criticizing the army and accusing it of killing prominent politicians, officials said Sunday.

Abdul Qayyum Khan Jatoi accused the army of killing several high-profile Pakistani figures, including ethnic Baluch tribal leader Nawab Akbar Bugti and former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.

“We provided the army with uniforms and boots not so that they kill their own fellow countrymen, kill Nawab Sahib (Bugti) and Benazir Bhutto,” said Jatoi during a televised press conference Saturday night in Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province.

23 Afghan election commission orders recounts

By HEIDI VOGT and RAHIM FAIEZ, Associated Press Writers

2 hrs 8 mins ago

KABUL, Afghanistan – Afghan election officials ordered recounts Sunday of voting at locations in seven provinces after last week’s parliamentary elections – the latest sign that fraud charges could hurt the credibility of the ballot.

The increasingly messy-looking election risks becoming another black mark against an Afghan government that has demonstrated little commitment to fighting corruption despite stern demands for reform from international allies after last year’s fraud-ridden presidential poll. Corruption is widely seen as turning Afghans against the government and boosting support for the Taliban.

Investigations into corruption within the government tend to bump up against senior officials, and last month, President Hamid Karzai moved to reduce the influence of international advisers in anti-graft task forces – widely seen as reducing their clout.

24 Turkey: gallery attack ignites debate

By CHRISTOPHER TORCHIA, Associated Press Writer

Sun Sep 26, 7:04 am ET

ISTANBUL – The gang of several dozen men with sticks and pepper spray moved methodically from one art gallery to the next, assaulting overflow crowds that had spilled into the streets during the joint opening of several exhibitions in the center of Istanbul.

“You don’t want us, so we don’t want you,” Nazim Hikmet Richard Dikbas, an artist, recalled one of the assailants saying. Hikmet was struck on the head with a club, and received several stitches at a hospital for a hairline injury.

Half a dozen suspects were detained in last week’s brazen attack, which has yet to be fully explained. Such outbursts of mob rage are rare and Istanbul has a relatively low rate of violent crime, but the gallery beatings highlighted Turkey’s struggle to reconcile sharp differences in a society marked by extremes of rich and poor, modern and traditional, secular and Islamic, democratic and authoritarian.

25 AP Poll: Many think health overhaul should do more


Sun Sep 26, 3:02 am ET

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul has divided the nation, and Republicans believe their call for repeal will help them win elections in November. But the picture’s not that clear cut.

A new AP poll finds that Americans who think the law should have done more outnumber those who think the government should stay out of health care by 2-to-1.

“I was disappointed that it didn’t provide universal coverage,” said Bronwyn Bleakley, 35, a biology professor from Easton, Mass.

26 BP fund czar promises bigger, faster claims

By HARRY R. WEBER, Associated Press Writer

Sun Sep 26, 3:02 am ET

NEW ORLEANS – Victims of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill should start getting bigger payments faster, the administrator of the fund set up to help them said Saturday.

Kenneth Feinberg said he was responding to criticism from residents and businesses.

“Over the past few weeks, I have heard from the people of the Gulf, elected officials, and others that payments remain too slow and not generous enough,” Feinberg said in a statement. “I am implementing new procedures that will make this program more efficient, more accelerated and more generous.”

27 Plans to haul big oil refinery loads spark battle

By NICHOLAS K. GERANIOS, Associated Press Writer

1 hr 28 mins ago

KAMIAH, Idaho – Lewis and Clark traversed part of the route that would one day become U.S. Highway 12 during their 1804-06 Corps of Discovery mission to the Pacific Ocean.

So did the Nez Perce Indians during the tribe’s epic 1877 flight on horseback from the U.S. Army.

Now two of the nation’s largest oil companies want to drive mammoth truckloads of refinery equipment along the narrow ribbon of spectacular mountain road that borders national forests, wild and scenic rivers, historic sites and campgrounds. Local residents are not pleased.

28 After 10 years in US, abortion pill still divisive

By DAVID CRARY, AP National Writer

Sun Sep 26, 1:17 pm ET

NEW YORK – Ten years ago, after long and bitter debate, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved use of the abortion pill by American women. It is hailed as safe and effective, but new turmoil may lie ahead as the pill’s proponents consider using telemedicine to make it more available.

Already, a pioneering telemedicine program in Iowa has provided the pill to about 1,900 women – with a doctor able to consult with a faraway patient in a video teleconference, then unlock a container by remote control to release the pill. To the alarm of anti-abortion activists, abortion providers in other states are pondering whether similar programs would enable them to serve more women, especially in rural areas.

“There are many affiliates that are carefully considering this option, within the confines of their state laws,” said Dr. Vanessa Cullins, vice president for medical affairs of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the nation’s leading abortion provider.

29 Kenya says West wasting money on anti-piracy ships

By EDITH M. LEDERER, Associated Press Writer

Sat Sep 25, 11:16 pm ET

UNITED NATIONS – Kenya’s foreign minister said Saturday the millions being spent to fight pirate attacks off the coast of Somalia should be spent instead on helping the country become a functioning state.

Moses Wetangula said in an interview with The Associated Press that Uganda has offered troops to expand the African Union force in Somalia from 7,100 to 20,000 to support the restoration of law and order.

But he said that nobody is stepping up to help with much needed money and equipment.

30 Ill. anti-war activists targeted by FBI speak out

By KAREN HAWKINS, Associated Press Writer

Sat Sep 25, 10:03 pm ET

CHICAGO – Two anti-war activists said Saturday that a 12-hour search of their Chicago home by the FBI was an attempt to intimidate them and silence the peace movement.

Joe Iosbaker and his wife, Stephanie Weiner, said the government targeted them because they’ve been outspoken against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and U.S. funding of conflicts abroad. They denied any wrongdoing.

The FBI said it searched eight addresses in Minneapolis and Chicago Friday. Warrants suggest agents were looking for connections between local anti-war activists and groups in Colombia and the Middle East.

31 At UN, climate ministers seek way out of stalemate

By JOHN HEILPRIN, Associated Press Writer

Sat Sep 25, 5:09 pm ET

UNITED NATIONS – Climate ministers and top negotiators from dozens of nations remain deadlocked over how to cut greenhouse gases less than three months before the next major international climate summit.

The U.N.’s top climate official told a high-level gathering Saturday that the key issues “are frankly in a deadlock” and the official negotiating text is bogged down by national interests.

But Christiana Figueres said some governments are trying to “rebuild the sense of trust in the process and rekindle the commitment to deliver” some agreements and funding.

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