Oct 01 2010

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Ireland reveals full horror of banking crisis

by Andrew Bushe and Roland Jackson, AFP

1 hr 21 mins ago

DUBLIN (AFP) – Ireland revealed Thursday that bailing out Anglo Irish Bank could cost nearly 35 billion euros and had threatened to push the country into insolvency on a torrid day dubbed “Black Thursday”.

The state’s rescue of Anglo Irish, which hit the rocks when Ireland’s property bubble burst amid the 2008 global financial crisis, could cost as much as 34.3 billion euros (46.6 billion dollars).

The massive bill, plus the cost of helping other banks, is expected to help push Ireland’s public deficit to a record 32 percent of gross domestic product this year.

2 Debt throws eurozone back towards dangerous waters

by Roddy Thomson, AFP

Thu Sep 30, 9:26 am ET

BRUSSELS (AFP) – The eurozone plunged back into economic turmoil on Thursday when Ireland revealed a crippling record deficit and Spain was hit with a credit downgrade.

Tough new cutbacks proposed in Portugal, and a new hard line in a French budget statement on Wednesday, spotlight another threat in the eurozone: increasigly strident protests against spending cuts and tax rises.

Just hours after a general strike in Spain and mass street protests across European cities, the worker backlash against the tide of austerity was left facing daunting new realities.

3 Ecuador in turmoil amid ‘coup attempt’

by Alexander Martinez, AFP

1 hr 9 mins ago

QUITO (AFP) – Ecuador was plunged into crisis Thursday as troops seized the main airport and police stormed the Congress, forcing the government to declare a state of emergency and denounce an attempted coup.

About 150 renegade troops seized a runway at Ecuador’s international airport in the capital of the South American nation, as dozens of police protested against a new law which would strip them of some pay bonuses.

President Rafael Correa, 47, a leftist ally of his Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chavez, swiftly denounced what he called a coup bid, and sought refuge in a hospital after failing to calm tensions in an occupied barracks.

4 Indian court rules to divide disputed holy site

by Sharat Pradhan, AFP

1 hr 54 mins ago

LUCKNOW, India (AFP) – An Indian court ruled Thursday that a disputed holy site in Ayodhya with a history of triggering Hindu-Muslim clashes should be divided — in a judgement seen as favouring the Hindu litigants.

“All three sets of parties, i.e. Muslims, Hindus and (Hindu religious organisation) Nirmhoi Akhara are declared joint holders of the property in dispute,” Justice S.U. Khan said in a ruling at the Allahabad High Court.

Several of the claimants in the case immediately said they would appeal the judgement to the Supreme Court, meaning the already 60-year dispute will continue in India’s notoriously slow justice system.

5 North Korea publishes first photo of heir apparent

by Jung Ha-Won, AFP

Thu Sep 30, 1:56 pm ET

SEOUL (AFP) – Secretive North Korea finally put its heir apparent on show to the world Thursday, releasing a photograph of a chubby and serious-faced Kim Jong-Un seated close to his ailing father Kim Jong-Il.

Analysts said the issuance of the first-ever official photo confirms the young man’s status as leader-in-waiting of the impoverished but nuclear-armed communist nation.

Official media published the photo of the son — part of a group of leading ruling party officials at an outdoor photo session — two days after the party bestowed powerful posts on Jong-Un at its highest-level meeting for 30 years.

6 Contador blames positive test on contaminated meat

by Daniel Silva, AFP

2 hrs 52 mins ago

PINTO, Spain (AFP) – An emotional Alberto Contador on Thursday denied knowingly taking a banned substance and blamed contaminated meat for a positive dope test that led to the suspension of the three-time Tour de France winner.

The International Cycling Union (UCI) earlier Thursday announced that the Spaniard had been provisionally suspended after a minute trace of clenbuterol, a banned substance, was detected in a urine sample taken from him on July 21.

“It’s a case of food contamination and I was the victim,” Contador, who appeared tense and at times on the verge of tears, told a news conference in a hotel in his hometown of Pinto, outside Madrid.

7 Woods and McIlroy kept apart at Ryder Cup

by Rob Woollard, AFP

Thu Sep 30, 1:22 pm ET

NEWPORT, Wales (AFP) – World number one Tiger Woods and European rival Rory McIlroy were kept apart as the opening pairings for the 38th Ryder Cup were unveiled here on Thursday.

Woods had stated he was keen to play McIlroy after the 21-year-old Northern Irish rookie said last month he wanted to face the troubled superstar, who has battled poor form and personal problems this year.

But the prospect of a mouth-watering grudge match was ruled out after McIlroy and fellow Ulsterman Graeme McDowell were drawn to play Stewart Cink and Matt Kuchar in the second match of Friday’s fourballs.

8 Reptilian rock slides onto Paris catwalks

by Emma Charlton, AFP

Thu Sep 30, 12:18 pm ET

PARIS (AFP) – Gold bangles twirled lizard-like up calves at Manish Arora Thursday, while at Balenciaga a star-studded Paris fashion crowd was served up “children of punk”, clad in reptilian python and biker jackets.

Sleeveless leathers, studded belts and clumpy boots set the tone for Nicolas Ghesquiere’s spring-summer look for Balenciaga.

“They are the children of punk,” the designer told AFP backstage after the show, which opened with a leather overcoat in a red-and-black houndstooth pattern, glowing under the chandeliers of the capital’s Crillon Hotel.

9 US House passes bill targeting China currency

by Olivier Knox, AFP

Wed Sep 29, 6:38 pm ET

WASHINGTON (AFP) – US lawmakers overwhelmingly approved a bill Wednesday to punish China for what they branded its unfairly undervalued currency, blaming the weak yuan for killing US jobs weeks before key elections.

The House of Representatives passed the legislation by a 348-79 margin, one of its strongest showings against China in years, fueled by deep voter anger at the sour economy and joblessness near 10 percent ahead of the November ballot.

The US Senate has signaled it will take up a companion bill after the elections, but the legislation’s fate is unclear and President Barack Obama has not formally taken a position on whether he supports it.

10 Post-crisis Paris car show goes electric, looks to Asia

by Rory Mulholland, AFP

2 hrs 17 mins ago

PARIS, France (AFP) – Glamorous women draped themselves over gleaming vehicles and technicians plugged in electric cars Thursday as the world’s auto industry met in Paris to showcase dozens of new models and pray that crisis is behind it.

The worst global slump since the 1930s savaged the industry and it is now setting its sights on emerging markets like China and India to compensate for stagnating sales and fierce competition in Europe.

“In 2010 we are dealing with a two-speed world,” said PSA Peugeot Citroen boss Philippe Varin as he presented the French firm’s new models at the Paris Motor Show.

11 North Korea’s US ‘trophy’ ship is tourist site

by Ian Timberlake, AFP

Thu Sep 30, 9:35 am ET

PYONGYANG (AFP) – North Korea denies involvement in a deadly attack on a South Korean warship this year, but proudly shows off the “trophy” it captured from the United States in another maritime incident 42 years ago.

The USS Pueblo — still listed as a commissioned US Navy vessel — sits docked and open to visitors at a riverside berth in the capital Pyongyang.

A steady flow of tourists, including some Americans, boarded the vessel for a guided tour one day recently.

12 Myanmar to free Suu Kyi days after election: officials


Thu Sep 30, 9:24 am ET

YANGON (AFP) – Democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi will be released in November just days after Myanmar’s first election in two decades, officials said Thursday.

The Nobel Peace laureate, who has been detained for most of the last twenty years since winning the country’s last poll in 1990, will be freed when her current house arrest expires on November 13, the unnamed sources said.

“November will be an important and busy month for us because of the election and because of Aung San Suu Kyi’s release,” a Myanmar official told AFP, noting the release would come soon after the country’s November 7 vote.

13 China warns US bill on yuan could hurt trade ties

by Allison Jackson, AFP

Thu Sep 30, 8:11 am ET

BEIJING (AFP) – China on Thursday rejected US legislation seeking to punish Beijing for allegedly manipulating its currency, warning that pressure on the yuan issue could “severely damage” trade ties.

Beijing also said the bill — overwhelmingly approved by the US House of Representatives on Wednesday — violates World Trade Organisation rules, and insisted it has not deliberately undervalued its currency.

Angry US lawmakers, who accuse Beijing of keeping the value of the yuan artificially low to give its exporters an unfair competitive edge, blamed the weak yuan for the loss of US jobs, just weeks ahead of key midterm elections.

14 Ireland faces "horrendous" bank bill, Spain downgraded

By Carmel Crimmins, Reuters

Thu Sep 30, 7:19 am ET

DUBLIN (Reuters) – Ireland disclosed a mammoth “final” price tag of nearly 40 billion euros ($54.33 billion) on Thursday for bailing out its distressed banks and said it would have to make more drastic budget savings.

As markets contemplated Dublin’s ever growing fiscal hole, ratings agency Moody’s cut Spain’s AAA top-notch credit rating to Aa1, citing the budget impact of slower economic growth.

The downgrade was widely expected and followed similar moves by Standard’s and Poor and Fitch.

15 AIG, U.S. set faster, riskier exit path

By Paritosh Bansal, Reuters

Thu Sep 30, 1:30 pm ET

NEW YORK (Reuters) – American International Group Inc laid out a plan on Thursday that sets the insurer on an accelerated path for payback of bailout money, but it also increases the risk for the U.S. government.

The plan, which comes a little over two years after AIG was rescued with an aid package that ballooned to $182.3 billion, will see the Federal Reserve Bank of New York getting repaid in full and ending its involvement in AIG, leaving the company to deal with just the Treasury Department.

The Treasury will convert some of its AIG securities into common shares, raising its stake in the company to 92.1 percent from nearly 80 percent. That stake will be sold off over time.

16 Obama aide Emanuel to run for Chicago mayor

By Steve Holland, Reuters

14 mins ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, one of President Barack Obama’s most powerful aides, plans to step down on Friday to pursue a run for Chicago mayor, sources familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

Obama was to make an announcement at a White House East Room event on Friday. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs would not confirm Emanuel was the subject of the announcement but the sources said Emanuel’s announcement would come on Friday.

Pete Rouse, a senior adviser who is one of Obama’s longest- serving aides, is expected to take over the chief of staff position for the time being. Gibbs would not confirm that, but said Obama would be making two announcements and he spoke warmly of Rouse.

17 China says U.S. yuan bill could harm ties

By Chris Buckley, Reuters

1 hr 1 min ago

BEIJING (Reuters) – China on Thursday warned that a House of Represenatives bill to penalize it for not letting the yuan rise faster could seriously affect bilateral ties.

In a relatively measured response, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Jiang Yu said Congress should avoid steps that could harm relations, saying Beijing was “resolutely opposed” to the bill. But she declined to say whether China would retaliate.

The House of Representatives bill, which many analysts say is unlikely to become law, is aimed at pressuring Beijing to let its currency, also called the renminbi, rise faster by branding it in violation of world trade rules.

18 Consumer czar Warren says wants banks’ help on rules

By David Lawder, Reuters

Thu Sep 30, 9:05 am ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Elizabeth Warren, the Obama administration’s new consumer financial czar, offered an olive branch to the largest U.S. banks on Wednesday, saying she wanted their help in developing a principles-based approach to rulemaking.

Warren told the Financial Services Roundtable that the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau she is setting up does not intend to layer on complex new rules that add compliance costs and encourage avoidance by banks.

“Instead of creating a regulatory thicket of ‘thou shalt nots,’ and instead of using ever more complex disclosures that drive up costs for lenders and provide little help for consumers, let’s measure our success with simple questions,” Warren said in remarks prepared for delivery to the banking trade group.

19 North Korea’s leader-in-waiting goes on show

By Jeremy Laurence, Reuters

Thu Sep 30, 9:51 am ET

SEOUL (Reuters) – A photograph of a plump, poker-faced young man seated near North Korea’s ailing ruler confirmed the rise of Kim Jong-il’s youngest son as the leader-in-waiting of the secretive state.

Kim Jong-un was this week appointed to senior political and military posts in the isolated state, whose aspirations to be a nuclear weapons power has worried the outside world for years.

The photo, published by state media on Thursday, is the first picture since the appointment of the 20-something third son of Kim Jong-il and about whom little is known other than he was educated in Switzerland. The only previous known photos of him date back to his childhood.

20 Pakistan halts NATO supplies after border attack

By Zeeshan Haider, Reuters

30 mins ago

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistani authorities blocked a vital supply route for NATO troops fighting in Afghanistan on Thursday after the killing of three soldiers in two NATO cross-border incursions, officials said.

Trucks and fuel tankers for foreign forces in Afghanistan were stopped at the Torkham border post in the Khyber tribal region near the city of Peshawar, hours after the raid.

“Yes, the NATO supplies have been stopped. It has been done locally,” a senior security official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.

21 Congress funding fight may delay Wall Street reforms

By Andy Sullivan and Roberta Rampton, Reuters

Thu Sep 30, 8:12 am ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration may have to wait several months to begin enforcing parts of the landmark Dodd-Frank financial reform law because Congress has delayed funds necessary for its implementation.

Requested budget increases for financial regulators were not included in a stopgap spending bill to fund government operations through early December that passed Congress on Wednesday, which could complicate efforts to put the sweeping law in place. The delay could stretch into 2011.

Congress passed the temporary spending bill because it has not completed work on any of the 12 regular bills that fund government operations for the fiscal year that begins October 1.

22 Nearly one in four second-quarter home sales a foreclosure

By Lynn Adler, Reuters

Thu Sep 30, 5:58 am ET

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Nearly one in every four U.S. homes sold in the second quarter was a deeply discounted foreclosed house, putting the market on pace to work through distressed properties in about three years, RealtyTrac said.

Banks stepped up foreclosures through the summer and will take over a record 1.2 million homes this year, up from around 1 million last year and about 100,000 in 2005 before the housing bust, according to a forecast from the real estate data company.

Foreclosed homes accounted for 24 percent of all second-quarter sales, at an average price discount of more than 26 percent compared with homes not in the foreclosure process.

23 Study finds first evidence that ADHD is genetic

By Kate Kelland, Reuters

Thu Sep 30, 4:54 am ET

LONDON (Reuters) – British scientists have found the first direct evidence attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a genetic disorder and say their research could eventually lead to better treatments for the condition.

Researchers who scanned the gene maps of more than 1,400 children found that those with ADHD were more likely than others to have small chunks of their DNA duplicated or missing.

Anita Thapar, a professor psychiatry at Cardiff University who led the study, said the findings should help dispel the myths that ADHD is caused by bad parenting or high-sugar diets.

24 J&J CEO faces U.S. lawmakers over string of recalls

By Susan Heavey, Reuters

Thu Sep 30, 12:19 am ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Johnson & Johnson’s massive recall of faulty medicines, including a quiet buyback of its Motrin painkiller, has angered U.S. lawmakers who will question the company’s chief executive and a senior health regulator on Thursday.

J&J has recalled millions of bottles of potentially contaminated over-the-counter medicines such as Children’s Tylenol and Benadryl, forcing one of its plants to shut down well into next year, and prompting a criminal probe and civil lawsuits.

The House of Representatives Oversight and Government Reform Committee called the hearing after a session in May that some members said just raised more questions.

25 Contador suspended for "adverse" test result

By Ian Ransom, Reuters

Thu Sep 30, 6:01 am ET

GEELONG, Australia (Reuters) – Tour de France champion Alberto Contador has been provisionally suspended for returning an “adverse analytical finding” of clenbuterol from a urine sample taken during the race, the International Cycling Union (UCI) said on Thursday.

The Spaniard, who won his third Tour this year, was tested during the second rest day of the race and the second B test had confirmed the presence of clenbuterol, a banned anabolic agent, the UCI said in a statement.

“The rider, who had already put an end to his cycling season before the result was known, was nevertheless formally and provisionally suspended as is prescribed by the World Anti-Doping Code,” the statement said.

26 BP ousts exploration chief, vows to boost safety

By Tom Bergin, Reuters

Wed Sep 29, 8:26 pm ET

LONDON (Reuters) – BP Plc’s incoming Chief Executive Bob Dudley has ousted the oil group’s exploration and production chief following the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and promised to restructure the company to boost safety.

Echoing a move BP made after the Texas City blast in 2005, Dudley also said on Wednesday he was appointing a new safety guru, Mark Bly, who would ensure safe practices across the organization.

BP shares closed up 3.9 percent at 421 pence, against a 0.2 percent drop in the STOXX Europe 600 Oil and Gas index.

27 China releases 3 Japanese but isle dispute lingers

By Chris Buckley and Chisa Fujioka, Reuters

Thu Sep 30, 3:54 am ET

BEIJING/TOKYO (Reuters) – China released three Japanese citizens on Thursday whose detention had added to tensions between Asia’s two top economies, but a fourth remains in custody in a sign that the row is not yet over.

Tokyo and Beijing have been in a bitter feud since Japan detained a Chinese fishing boat skipper whose trawler collided this month with two Japan Coast Guard ships near uninhabited islands in the East China Sea that both sides claim.

Japanese prosecutors released the skipper late last week, but both sides have demanded compensation over the collision.

28 AP sources: Emanuel leaving White House on Friday

By DON BABWIN, Associated Press Writer

17 mins ago

CHICAGO – Rahm Emanuel will resign as White House chief of staff on Friday and will begin his campaign for Chicago mayor by meeting with voters in the city on Monday, two people familiar with Emanuel’s plans said.

The two people, who spoke Thursday on condition of anonymity because they did not want to pre-empt Emanuel’s announcement, said he will return to Chicago over the weekend and begin touring neighborhoods Monday.

“He intends to run for mayor,” one of the people told The Associated Press.

29 Lawyer says Whitman’s husband saw ex-maid letter

By MICHAEL R. BLOOD and JULIET WILLIAMS, Associated Press Writers

18 mins ago

LOS ANGELES – The attorney for Meg Whitman’s former housekeeper released a copy Thursday of a purported 2003 letter that she says shows the Republican gubernatorial candidate knew all along that the maid might be an illegal immigrant.

Attorney Gloria Allred says Nicky Diaz Santillan kept the letter from the government after Whitman’s husband, Dr. Griffith Harsh, partially filled it out and told the housekeeper to deal with it.

“At bottom of letter, “Dr. Harsh has written: ‘Nicky, please check this. Thanks,'” Allred said, adding that the housekeeper recognized the handwriting as belonging to Whitman’s husband.

30 Protesting police throw Ecuador into chaos

By TATIANA COBA, Associated Press Writer

9 mins ago

QUITO, Ecuador – The government declared a state of siege Thursday after rebellious police angered by a law that cuts their benefits plunged this small South American nation into chaos, roughing up the president, shutting down airports and blocking highways in a nationwide strike.

Incensed officers shoved President Rafael Correa around and pelted him with tear gas and water when he tried to speak at a police barracks in the capital.

Correa, 47, was hospitalized from the effects of the gas.

31 Bias crime charges weighed after NJ teen’s suicide

Associated Press

3 mins ago

PISCATAWAY, N.J. – Bias-crime charges are possible in the case of a New Jersey college student who committed suicide after a video was streamed online showing him having sex with a man.

Prosecutors say they’re examining the motives of whomever hid the camera in the room of Rutgers University student Tyler Clementi.

Middlesex County Prosecutor Bruce Kaplan says that’s crucial to determining whether bias charges should be brought.

32 Pakistan cuts NATO supply line after border firing

By CHRIS BRUMMITT and DEB RIECHMANN, Associated Press Writers

1 hr 20 mins ago

ISLAMABAD – Pakistan closed the most important supply route for U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan after a coalition helicopter attack killed three Pakistani soldiers at a border post Thursday, raising tensions in a vital relationship for both Islamabad and Washington.

NATO said its helicopters entered Pakistani airspace and hit a target only after receiving ground fire. The alliance expressed condolences to the families of the soldiers and said both nations would investigate the incident.

A lengthy ban on supply trucks would place intense strain on the U.S.-Pakistani relationship and hurt the Afghan war effort. But that was seen as unlikely, as neither Islamabad nor Washington can afford a meltdown in ties at a crucial time in the 9-year-old war.

33 And they’re out! Congress flees DC to campaign

By LAURIE KELLMAN and JIM ABRAMS, Associated Press Writers

Thu Sep 30, 11:17 am ET

WASHINGTON – Battle-weary members of Congress are coming soon to neighborhoods near you to press for re-election, more willing to campaign before angry constituents than to compromise in Washington on tax cuts, child nutrition or a federal budget.

Democratic congressional leaders decided to call off controversial votes on taxes and President Barack Obama’s latest spending requests and instead pass a temporary bill to keep the government running through November. Some Democrats facing particularly tough re-election fights joined Republicans in protest, saying Congress should stay in session and get more done before facing voters Nov. 2.

“The Senate should be more concerned about doing what’s right for the country and less concerned about campaign season,” said Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo.

34 Indian court: Hindus, Muslims must share holy site

By BISWAJEET BANERJEE and RAVI NESSMAN, Associated Press Writers

Thu Sep 30, 2:19 pm ET

LUCKNOW, India – For 150 years, Hindus and Muslims both claimed a site that is sacred to their religions, which triggered some of the worst rioting in India’s history. On Thursday, a court came up with a compromise: Split it.

Both sides said they would appeal, and the muted reaction to the potentially explosive verdict generated hopes that the increasingly confident country, with its growing regional clout and skyrocketing economy, has moved beyond its divisive history.

“(This) shows that we have become a mature nation,” said Kamal Farooqui, a member of the Muslim Personal Law Board.

35 Postal service denied rate increases for mail

By NATASHA T. METZLER, Associated Press Writer

21 mins ago

WASHINGTON – The Postal Service’s bid to raise the cost of mailing a letter by 2 cents was rejected Thursday, denying the agency immediate relief from a worsening financial crisis.

The Postal Service lost $3.8 billion last year and is headed toward an approximately $7 billion loss this year as people do more business on the Internet and the recession erodes the volume of marketing mail.

In July the post office had asked for a special rate increase for letters, postcards, periodicals, parcels and other services as one of several steps to cut its losses. The agency also had suggested cutting delivery service to five days a week and closing or consolidating offices – issues that were not addressed in Thursday’s rate decision by the independent Postal Regulatory Commission.

36 Contador blames bad meat for positive doping test

By CIARAN GILES and JOHN LEICESTER, Associated Press Writers

Thu Sep 30, 1:11 pm ET

PINTO, Spain – Three-time Tour de France champion Alberto Contador blamed contaminated steak for his positive doping test, vowing Thursday to clear his name so that cycling’s latest drug scandal doesn’t “destroy everything that I have done.”

The Spanish rider was provisionally suspended after a World Anti-Doping Agency lab in Germany found a “very small concentration” of the banned substance clenbuterol in his urine sample on July 21 at the Tour, according the International Cycling Union, the sport’s governing body.

“It is a clear case of food contamination,” Contador told a news conference in his hometown near Madrid, during which he appeared close to tears several times. “I am sad and disappointed but hold my head high.”

37 Economy loses speed in spring; more weakness ahead

By JEANNINE AVERSA, AP Economics Writer

Thu Sep 30, 10:30 am ET

WASHINGTON – The nation’s economic growth tailed off sharply in the spring and probably isn’t faring any better now.

Gross domestic product – the broadest measure of the economy’s health – expanded at a feeble 1.7 percent annual rate in the April-June quarter, The Commerce Department reported Thursday.

That’s a notch higher than the 1.6 percent growth rate the government estimated a month ago. The slight change was mostly due to a little more spending by consumers than first estimated. Still, that’s not enough to have a major impact on the economy.

38 AIG reaches deal to repay government

By STEPHEN BERNARD, AP Business Writer

Thu Sep 30, 10:40 am ET

NEW YORK – AIG, which became a lightning rod for criticism over government bailouts, said it reached a deal to repay billions of dollars it received during the credit crisis.

The plan announced Thursday could return a profit to taxpayers who footed the bill for AIG’s near collapse in September 2008.

“This is a pivotal milestone as we deliver on our long-standing promise to repay taxpayers,” Robert Benmosche, AIG’s CEO said in a statement. “We are very pleased that this agreement vastly simplifies current government support of AIG.”

39 NKorea prints photos of heir apparent Kim Jong Un

By KELLY OLSEN, Associated Press Writer

Thu Sep 30, 9:13 am ET

SEOUL, South Korea – North Korea introduced its heir apparent to the world Thursday, a chubby-faced young man with a serious expression, combed back hair cut high and tight on the sides and wearing a communist-style black suit.

State media published the first official images of Kim Jong Un, the youngest son of leader Kim Jong Il who appears destined to inherit control of the impoverished, nuclear-armed state.

North Korean television broadcast video of a meeting of North Korea’s ruling Workers’ Party held Tuesday, including images of Kim Jong Un, who was positioned in the front row during a speech and shown standing and vigorously clapping with other delegates in the cavernous venue.

40 High court looks at military funeral protests

By MARK SHERMAN, Associated Press Writer

Thu Sep 30, 6:59 am ET

YORK, Pa. – One thing Al Snyder wants to make clear: His boy fought and died for freedom in Iraq, but not for the right of some “wackos” to spew hate at soldiers’ funerals under the protection of the Constitution.

“It’s an insult to myself, my family and the veterans to say this is what our military men and women died for,” Snyder says, barely concealing his anger.

Yet more than four years after the death of his only son, Matthew, Snyder is in the middle of a Supreme Court case that raises almost precisely that issue.

41 Congress punts tough choice until after election

By ANDREW TAYLOR and LAURIE KELLMAN, Associated Press Writers

Thu Sep 30, 12:25 am ET

WASHINGTON – A deeply unpopular Congress is bolting for the campaign trail without finishing its most basic job – approving a budget for the government year that begins on Friday. Lawmakers also are postponing a major fight over taxes, two embarrassing ethics cases and other political hot potatoes until angry and frustrated voters render their verdict in the Nov. 2 elections.

As a last necessary task before leaving, both the Senate and House passed a temporary spending measure needed to keep federal agencies operating when the new budget year starts.

As Congress moved toward a messy end to a session fraught with partisan fire, President Barack Obama campaigned for Democrats in Iowa and Virginia, accusing Republicans of being dishonest about what needs to be done to revive the economy and restore middle-class dreams.

42 2 officers charged in La. convention center death

By MICHAEL KUNZELMAN, Associated Press Writer

24 mins ago

NEW ORLEANS – Two New Orleans police officers were charged Thursday with lying under oath about the shooting death of a man outside the city’s convention center in Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath, the latest case generated by a broad Justice Department probe of the police department.

Officers Ronald Mitchell and Ray Jones were patrolling the area where thousands had sought refuge and were later stranded when resident Danny Brumfield tried to flag the police down, according to the indictment. Brumfield either jumped on the car’s hood or was struck by the vehicle, according to the indictment, and Mitchell shot Brumfield.

Mitchell claimed he shot and killed Brumfield after he lunged at him with a “shiny object” and testified that he thought Brumfield was armed with a knife.

43 AG: FBI agents won’t be charged in Imam’s death

By ED WHITE, Associated Press Writer

31 mins ago

DETROIT – Michigan’s attorney general said Thursday that he won’t file criminal charges against FBI agents who shot a Detroit mosque leader 20 times, killing him during a raid last year on a suburban warehouse.

It is “undisputed” that Luqman Ameen Abdullah fired at agents, resisted arrest and rejected demands to surrender, Attorney General Mike Cox said.

“Under Michigan law, law enforcement agents are justified in using deadly force in these types of situations, and therefore we found no crimes,” Cox said in a written statement.

44 Family sues over Pa. man’s unheeded 911 calls

By JOE MANDAK, Associated Press Writer

41 mins ago

PITTSBURGH – The children of a man who died after waiting 30 hours for help despite 10 calls to 911 during a record-setting February snowstorm are suing, saying his death happened because of a total breakdown of the emergency medical system.

The lawsuit filed Thursday claims the city, the county dispatch center and the various paramedics and emergency medical services brass are responsible for the Feb. 7 death of Curtis Mitchell, 50.

Mitchell died at home after ambulance crews didn’t reach him despite calls his live-in girlfriend, Sharon Edge, made to 911 as a storm dumped nearly two feet of snow on the city.

45 Court hears appeal in ‘West Memphis Three’ case

By JILL ZEMAN BLEED, Associated Press Writer

2 hrs 1 min ago

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Justices on the Arkansas Supreme Court sharply questioned the state attorney general’s office Thursday, asking what damage could be done if a judge examined evidence that allegedly exonerates an inmate sentenced to death for killing three Cub Scouts in 1993.

“What harm is there in allowing (inmate Damien Echols) to present all evidence?” Special Justice Jeff Priebe asked senior assistant attorney general David Raupp.

Raupp responded: “The harm is to the criminal justice system’s interest in finality and the work that gets done in evaluating whether justice can be served.”

46 Groups plan march for jobs, justice in DC

By NAFEESA SYEED, Associated Press Writer

Thu Sep 30, 2:04 pm ET

WASHINGTON – Groups pushing for progressive policies will gather in the nation’s capital this weekend for a march aimed at recapturing momentum for their agenda and mobilizing supporters before next month’s midterm elections.

The “One Nation Working Together” rally at the Lincoln Memorial on Saturday comes one month before the Nov. 2 elections and one month after conservative broadcaster Glenn Beck’s “Restoring Honor” rally. Organizers say more than 400 organizations – ranging from labor unions to faith, environmental and gay rights groups – are coming together to advocate for job creation, quality education and justice.

Although organizers describe the rally as nonpartisan, they also hope to raise awareness of their concerns before political contests that are expected to sweep out many Democrats.

47 In American craft brewing, IPAs reign supreme

By ERIC GORSKI, AP National Writer

Thu Sep 30, 1:43 pm ET

DENVER – The quest for top honors in American craft brewing has come here, to a hotel ballroom marked “restricted access.”

More than 140 bottles of American-style India Pale Ale sit stacked in donated Bud Light and King Cobra boxes, labors of hop love brewed by a cast of characters that includes an organic chemist, a man with a grim reaper tattoo and a guy who wants to make a beer that tastes like orange sherbet mixed with hot fudge ice cream.

Over the next nine hours, beer identified only by number will get sniffed, scrutinized, swallowed and spit out by judges at the 29th annual Great American Beer Festival, the world’s largest beer competition.

48 Pastor accuser: Sex encounters on church grounds

Associated Press

Wed Sep 29, 10:27 pm ET

ATLANTA – One of four men accusing megachurch Bishop Eddie Long of coercing them into inappropriate sexual relationships said in a TV interview that aired Wednesday that he and the pastor would have encounters before and after worship services on church grounds.

Jamal Parris, 22, told Fox TV affiliate WAGA that they engaged in sexual acts at Long’s home, in his car and his office at New Birth Missionary Baptist Church in surburban Atlanta, similar to claims he made in his lawsuit last week.

The Atlanta station is airing its interview with Parris, done outside a convenience store in Colorado, over several days.

49 UN summit ends with call to action beyond rhetoric

By JOHN HEILPRIN, Associated Press Writer

Wed Sep 29, 8:21 pm ET

UNITED NATIONS – World leaders wrapped up an annual rite of global diplomacy Wednesday, pledging to try to do more despite many of them feeling that they have less in their pockets to contribute.

At the U.N. General Assembly’s annual high-level gathering, which lasted almost two weeks, presidents and ministers vowed to extract tens of billions more from their financially hard-hit nations to grapple with poverty, diseases and climate change, and to prop up peace as hopes wear thin from Sudan to Somalia to the Middle East.

General Assembly President Joseph Deiss of Switzerland exhorted leaders at the meeting’s end to “put aside electoral cycles and purely national interests” and to move beyond their own rhetoric in order “to make true breakthroughs” on peace and governing, human rights and the environment.

50 Wis. crime victims board says DA wasn’t ‘candid’

By RYAN J. FOLEY, Associated Press Writer

Wed Sep 29, 6:41 pm ET

MADISON, Wis. – A board meant to protect crime victims defended itself Wednesday for failing to act against its former chairman, who resigned after sending sexually harassing text messages to a domestic abuse victim.

The Wisconsin Crime Victims’ Rights Board acknowledged that Ken Kratz gave members information last December about text messages he sent Stephanie Van Groll while prosecuting her ex-boyfriend for attacking her.

But the board said Kratz did not give a detailed description of the texts, characterized the messages as being of a mutually friendly nature, and said he was interested in pursuing a friendship with Van Groll. The board, which has come under fire for not taking action against Kratz, said it could not investigate further under state law based on the information.

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