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Oct 06 2010

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 French rogue trader Kerviel jailed, fined billions

by Annie Thomas, AFP

38 mins ago

PARIS (AFP) – A Paris court on Tuesday sentenced rogue trader Jerome Kerviel to three years in jail and ordered the 33-year-old to pay back the five billion euros that his market gambles cost Societe Generale bank.

The judge said the trader’s acts had “damaged the world economic order” and found him guilty of breach of trust, forgery and entering false data into computers at Societe Generale, of one of Europe’s biggest banks.

Kerviel looked shaken as the sentence was announced. Dressed in a dark suit and white shirt, he dodged hordes of journalists as he walked away from the courtroom to await further procedures that will decide when he enters custody.

2 Wonder carbon pioneers win Nobel Physics Prize

by Rita Devlin Marier, AFP

Tue Oct 5, 12:33 pm ET

STOCKHOLM (AFP) – Two Russian-born scientists, Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov, won the 2010 Nobel Physics Prize Tuesday for pioneering work on graphene, touted as the wonder material of the 21st century.

Both laureates began their careers as physicists in Russia but now work at the University of Manchester in Britain. Geim holds Dutch nationality and Novoselov is both a British and Russian national.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences hailed graphene, a form of carbon isolated only six years ago, for its glittering potential in computers, home gadgets and transport.

3 Europe pressures China as currency war bites

by Roddy Thomson, AFP

2 hrs 15 mins ago

BRUSSELS (AFP) – Europe pressured China Tuesday to let the yuan rise as fears grew of a global “currency war” while a French call for a new, more stable world monetary order received short shrift from Germany.

A trio of top eurozone officials urged Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao to live up to a June vow to make the yuan more flexible to counter accusations Beijing deliberately undervalues its currency so as to boost exports and growth.

The call came as a two-day Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) gathering 46 nations wound up with a consensus for more effective global economic governance.

4 Organisers defend Games as Australia, India shine

by Martin Parry, AFP

2 hrs 35 mins ago

NEW DELHI (AFP) – Commonwealth Games organisers defended the Delhi showpiece and insisted Tuesday that empty stadiums would fill up as Australia and India took a stranglehold on the medals table.

Glitches continue to haunt the event for nations and territories of the former British Empire, with row after row of empty seats a major concern.

Embattled organising committee chief Suresh Kalmadi blamed the lack of spectators on ticket booths not being set up outside stadiums, and said the blunder had been fixed.

5 Bosnia divided on key vote

by Katarina Subasic, AFP

Mon Oct 4, 10:56 am ET

SARAJEVO (AFP) – Bosnia’s election results showed moderates gaining ground in the central government, but hardliners remained entrenched in the Serb entity, casting a shadow Monday over the country’s European future.

Moderate Bakir Izetbegovic was set to secure the main Muslim seat in Bosnia’s tripartite presidency after Sunday’s vote, according to partial results.

The Serbs meanwhile re-elected hardline Bosnian Serb nationalist Nebojsa Radmanovic, who has advocated secession of the Serb-run Republika Srpska.

6 Global marine life census charts vast world beneath the seas

by Beatrice Debut, AFP

Mon Oct 4, 5:50 pm ET

LONDON (AFP) – Results of the first ever global marine life census were unveiled Monday, revealing a startling overview after a decade-long trawl through the murky depths.

The Census of Marine Life estimated there are more than one million species in the oceans, with at least three-quarters of them yet to be discovered.

The 650-million-dollar (470-million-euro) international study discovered more than 6,000 potentially new species, and found some species considered rare were actually common.

7 Europe triumph in thrilling Ryder Cup finale

by Rob Woollard, AFP

Mon Oct 4, 7:33 pm ET

NEWPORT, Wales (AFP) – Europe defeated the United States to win the Ryder Cup here on Monday, prevailing in a thrilling contest to finally overcome a gutsy American fightback.

US Open champion Graeme McDowell was the hero for the Europeans, holding his nerve to close out a three and one victory over world number 16 Hunter Mahan amid joyous scenes at Celtic Manor.

The victory avenged Europe’s defeat to the Americans at Valhalla two years ago and was witnessed by an estimated 35,000 fans, who turned out in droves to see the first Monday finish in the history of the competition.

8 Summer comes to Paris with Ungaro garden party

by Emma Charlton, AFP

Mon Oct 4, 5:56 pm ET

PARIS (AFP) – Summer came to town on Monday as Emanuel Ungaro’s new British designer threw a garden party in Paris, showcasing a high-society look that was all flowers, glitter and delicate lacework.

Giles Deacon skipped the catwalk in favour of a live display, with models sipping champagne around a montage of flower-covered old cars — Beetles and a yellow camper van — with giant butterflies poking out the top.

A whiff of the 1920s filled the vast glass venue, as models showed off black cocktail dresses of see-thru lace embroidery, with dangling crystal earrings and hair in a single rolled plait over the forehead.

9 US pledges 4 billion dollars to fight AIDS, other diseases

AFP

2 hrs 59 mins ago

WASHINGTON (AFP) – US President Barack Obama’s administration on Tuesday pledged what it said was a record four billion dollars over three years to a global fund devoted to fighting AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis.

But Health GAP, a non-government organization, immediately expressed “profound disappointment” with the pledge, saying it fell two billion dollars short of what Democratic supporters in Congress were asking for.

The announcement was made in New York as more than 40 donor countries, private foundations, and corporations met to replenish the resources of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria for 2011 through 2013.

10 Leaders of China, Japan ease rift in chance summit encounter

AFP

Tue Oct 5, 12:34 pm ET

BRUSSELS (AFP) – Leaders of China and Japan, locked in the fiercest bilateral dispute in years, mended fences at a chance post-dinner Brussels encounter, a first step to restoring ties between the Asian powers.

Asked Tuesday whether the encounter was arranged by a third party, Japanese government press secretary Satoru Sato said in the EU capital that the meeting “happened suddenly” and “naturally.”

The evening meeting between Japan’s Prime Minister Naoto Kan and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao at an Asia-Europe summit Monday broke the ice after an almost month-long territorial row over islands in the East China Sea.

11 Car bomb explodes outside N. Ireland shopping centre

by Eamonn Mallie, AFP

Tue Oct 5, 3:41 am ET

BELFAST (AFP) – A car bomb exploded Tuesday outside a shopping centre in Northern Ireland, causing substantial damage but no injuries, police said, amid an upsurge in violence in the province.

The blast occurred just after midnight outside a bank in Londonderry and follows a string of recent attacks blamed on dissident republicans seeking to undermine hard-won peace in the British province.

“Shortly after midnight (2300 GMT) a device in a Corsa car exploded outside a bank at the rear of the DaVinci retail complex” in the city, said a spokesman from the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

12 Ex-trader Kerviel sentenced to 3 years in jail

By Lionel Laurent, Reuters

14 mins ago

PARIS (Reuters) – Former Societe Generale trader Jerome Kerviel was sentenced to three years in jail by a Paris court on Tuesday for his role in a trading scandal and ordered to pay the French bank 4.9 billion euros ($6.8 billion).

The verdict came as a victory for SocGen, which always maintained Kerviel acted alone and without the sanction of his managers at the bank. It had sought payment of damages for the money it lost unwinding the trader’s risky market bets in 2008.

Kerviel’s lawyer said he would immediately appeal the verdict, which he said was “senseless” and cleared the bank of all blame.

13 Ford to cut dealers in Lincoln revamp

By Bernie Woodall, Reuters

11 mins ago

DEARBORN, Michigan (Reuters) – Ford Motor Co has told its U.S. dealers it expects to drop about 175 Lincoln dealerships in and around urban markets as part of a plan to overhaul the brand with a new look and high-end stores.

Ford executives, who met on Monday and Tuesday with Lincoln dealers at Ford headquarters, said the No. 2 U.S. automaker plans to remake Lincoln by differentiating it more sharply from its mass-market Ford vehicles.

As part of that effort, Ford will focus on the top 130 U.S. metro areas by population, where it has about 500 Lincoln dealerships now, executives said.

14 Special report: The Pentagon’s new cyber warriors

By Jim Wolf, Reuters

Tue Oct 5, 11:44 am ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Guarding water wells and granaries from enemy raids is as old as war itself. In the Middle Ages, vital resources were hoarded behind castle walls, protected by moats, drawbridges and knights with double-edged swords.

Today, U.S. national security planners are proposing that the 21st century’s critical infrastructure — power grids, communications, water utilities, financial networks — be similarly shielded from cyber marauders and other foes.

The ramparts would be virtual, their perimeters policed by the Pentagon and backed by digital weapons capable of circling the globe in milliseconds to knock out targets.

15 Duo wins 2010 physics Nobel for super-thin carbon

By Niklas Pollard and Adam Cox, Reuters

Tue Oct 5, 12:09 pm ET

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – Two Russian-born scientists shared the 2010 Nobel Prize for physics for showing how carbon just one atom thick behaved, a discovery with profound implications from quantum physics to consumer electronics.

Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov of the University of Manchester in England conducted experiments with graphene. One hundred times stronger than steel, it is a new form of carbon that is both the thinnest and toughest material known.

“Since it is practically transparent and a good conductor, graphene is suitable for producing transparent touch screens, light panels and maybe even solar cells,” the committee said.

16 France holds 12 in Europe anti-terrorism operation

By Brian Love, Reuters

Tue Oct 5, 11:18 am ET

PARIS (Reuters) – French police arrested 12 people on Tuesday in early morning swoops the interior minister said were directly linked to a campaign to counter an elevated terrorism threat in Europe.

France is on high alert after seven hostages, including five French citizens, were kidnapped by the North African wing of al Qaeda last month, and approval by the Senate of a bill to ban full-face veils. The hostages are still being held.

The U.S. State Department on Sunday issued a warning to Americans to exercise caution while in Europe. Also on Sunday, Britain raised its terrorism threat level to high from general for those traveling to Germany and France.

17 Financial stability set back by debt woes: IMF

By David Lawder, Reuters

Tue Oct 5, 12:30 pm ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Sovereign debt risk in Europe and continued real estate woes in the United States have dealt a setback to global financial stability in the past six months, the International Monetary Fund said on Tuesday.

The IMF said risks to the financial sector could be reduced if legacy problem assets were cleaned up, if governments improved their fiscal positions and if more clarity were provided on global financial regulation.

“The global financial system is still in a period of significant uncertainty and remains the Achilles’ heel of the economic recovery,” the IMF said in its semi-annual Global Financial Stability Report.

18 U.S. sues AmEx, Visa, MasterCard, latter two settle

By Maria Aspan and Diane Bartz, Reuters

Tue Oct 5, 7:59 am ET

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) – The Justice Department sued American Express Co, Visa Inc and MasterCard Inc on Monday, accusing them of violating antitrust laws and citing rules that prevented merchants from encouraging consumers to use cheaper credit cards.

Simultaneously, the Justice Department settled with Visa and MasterCard, which agreed to allow merchants to offer discounts to consumers who use less expensive types of credit or debit cards. The companies said the settlement, subject to court approval, did not involve any payment.

The lawsuit has the potential to cut into a significant source of profits for American Express and threatens to reshape the competitive landscape of the card processing business.

19 BOJ reverts to zero rates, pledges to buy more assets

By Rie Ishiguro and Leika Kihara, Reuters

Tue Oct 5, 10:02 am ET

TOKYO (Reuters) – The Bank of Japan on Tuesday pledged to pump more funds into the struggling economy and keep rates virtually at zero, surprising markets and stealing a march on the Federal Reserve in providing a fresh dose of economic stimulus.

The yen initially fell in reaction to the BOJ news, but later reversed course to be firmer against the dollar than when the BOJ news broke.

For months, the central bank had eschewed government calls for more decisive action, such as buying more government bonds, focusing instead on a limited funding scheme.

20 Bank bailout supporters struggling for re-election

By TOM RAUM, Associated Press Writer

1 min ago

WASHINGTON – The government’s giant bank bailout may well have averted a second Great Depression, economists say, but a lot of voters aren’t buying it. Support for the program is turning into a kiss of death for many in Congress.

Longtime Republican lawmakers – tarred by their votes for the emergency aid to banks, insurance and auto companies – have been sent packing in primaries. Fresh political attack ads are lambasting candidates from both parties for supporting the $700 billion package that Republican President George W. Bush pushed through Congress at the height of the financial crisis in October 2008.

The actual cost to taxpayers will be far less than the original price tag, perhaps totaling $50 billion or less. But it’s been difficult for lawmakers to make the case that they saved the nation from possible financial ruin – as some economists suggest. It’s far easier for opponents, especially in political soundbites, to portray the issue as Wall Street fat cats against ordinary Main Street folks in the final-weeks cacophony of the campaign.

21 Nevada Tea Party chairman quits after tape flap

By MICHAEL R. BLOOD and CRISTINA SILVA, Associated Press Writers

51 mins ago

LAS VEGAS – The chairman of the Tea Party of Nevada resigned Tuesday after a recording was made public capturing Republican Sharron Angle badmouthing GOP leaders during a meeting with the shadowy group’s U.S. Senate candidate.

The exit of chairman Syd James is another blow to the candidacy of Tea Party of Nevada nominee Scott Ashjian, who has been denounced by state tea party leaders who say he has no connection to the movement that advocates limited government and tightfisted public spending.

In a statement, James said he was endorsing Angle, whose uneasy relations with national Republicans were laid bare in the tape, which Ashjian recorded secretly and later released to the Las Vegas Sun newspaper.

22 Hungary sludge flood called ‘ecological disaster’

By BELA SZANDELSZKY, Associated Press Writer

9 mins ago

DEVECSER, Hungary – Hungary declared a state of emergency in three counties Tuesday after a flood of toxic red sludge from an alumina plant engulfed several towns and burned people through their clothes. One official called it “an ecological disaster” that may threaten the Danube and other key rivers.

The toll rose to four dead, six missing and at least 120 people injured after a reservoir failed Monday at the Ajkai Timfoldgyar plant in Ajka, a town 100 miles (160 kilometers) southwest of Budapest, the capital.

Several hundred tons of plaster were being poured into the Marcal River to bind the toxic sludge and prevent it from flowing on, the National Disaster Management Directorate said.

23 Women testify about sex with HIV-positive airman

By ROXANA HEGEMAN, Associated Press Writer

53 mins ago

WICHITA, Kan. – Two women testified at a military hearing Tuesday that they would not have had sex with an airman had they known he was HIV positive, and one said she believed him when he said he wasn’t because he was in the Air Force.

Tech Sgt. David Gutierrez has been charged with violating military law by having unprotected sex with at least 11 people without telling them he was infected.

The two women who testified Tuesday detailed numerous encounters where they had unprotected sex with Gutierrez, including at several so-called swinger parties in the Wichita area. Some of their sexual encounters were videotaped by the 43-year-old airman’s wife, they said.

24 Undocumented language found hidden in India

By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID, AP Science Writer

53 mins ago

WASHINGTON – A “hidden” language spoken by only about 1,000 people has been discovered in the remote northeast corner of India by researchers who at first thought they were documenting a dialect of the Aka culture, a tribal community that subsists on farming and hunting.

They found an entirely different vocabulary and linguistic structure.

Even the speakers of the tongue, called Koro, did not realize they had a distinct language, linguist K. David Harrison said Tuesday.

25 Half of baseball’s playoff team watch wallets

By RONALD BLUM, AP Sports Writer

31 mins ago

NEW YORK – It’s not just the usual suspects in the playoffs this year.

Texas, ranked 23rd according to Major League Baseball’s latest payroll figures, won the AL West. Tampa Bay, just 20th, beat out the high-spending New York Yankees and Boston to win the AL East.

Cincinnati won the NL Central and is going to the postseason for the first time since 1995 despite ranking 19th. No. 16 Atlanta won the NL wild card.

26 Ex-French trader must pay $6.7 billion for fraud

By GREG KELLER, AP Business Writer

52 mins ago

PARIS – Ex-trader Jerome Kerviel was convicted on all counts Tuesday in history’s biggest rogue trading scandal, sentenced to at least three years in prison and ordered to pay his former employer damages of euro4.9 billion ($6.7 billion) – a sum so staggering it drew gasps in the courtroom.

The court rejected defense arguments that the 33-year-old trader was a scapegoat for a financial system gone haywire with greed and the pursuit of profit at any cost – a decision sure to take some pressure off the beleaguered banking system overall.

By ordering a tough sentence for a lone trader, the ruling marked a startling departure from the general atmosphere of hostility and suspicion about big banks in an era of financial turmoil. It was a huge victory for Kerviel’s former employer Societe Generale SA, France’s second-biggest bank, which long had a reputation for cutting-edge financial engineering and has put in place tougher risk controls since the scandal broke in 2008.

27 Euro terror alert spotlights voiceprint technology

By RAPHAEL G. SATTER, Associated Press Writer

Tue Oct 5, 2:07 pm ET

LONDON – Did their voices betray them? The discovery of an alleged terror plot against Europe owes at least some of its success to “voiceprint” technology that allows law enforcement to electronically match a voice to its owner.

The technique – which some compare to fingerprinting – can be a powerful anti-terror tool, officials increasingly believe. Law enforcement agencies are already considering how a voice database could help thwart future plots.

The reported plot against European cities, in which suspects allegedly spoke of a Mumbai-style shooting spree, has triggered travel warnings and refocused attention on al-Qaida activities on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border, where several of the voices were recorded.

28 Nobel Prize honors super-strong, super-thin carbon

By MALCOLM RITTER and KARL RITTER, Associated Press Writers

10 mins ago

NEW YORK – It is the thinnest and strongest material known to mankind – no thicker than a single atom and 100 times tougher than steel. Could graphene be the next plastic? Maybe so, says one of two scientists who won a Nobel Prize on Tuesday for isolating and studying it.

Faster computers, lighter airplanes, transparent touch screens – the list of potential uses runs on. Some scientists say we can’t even imagine what kinds of products might be possible with the substance, which hides in ordinary pencil lead and first was extracted using a piece of Scotch tape.

Two Russian-born researchers shared the physics Nobel for their groundbreaking experiments with graphene, which is a sheet of carbon atoms joined together in a pattern that resembles chicken wire.

29 Here comes the sun: White House to go solar

By DINA CAPPIELLO, Associated Press Writer

Tue Oct 5, 12:15 pm ET

WASHINGTON – Solar power is coming to President Barack Obama’s house.

The most famous residence in America, which has already boosted its green credentials by planting a garden, plans to install solar panels atop the White House’s living quarters. The solar panels are to be installed by spring 2011, and will heat water for the first family and supply some electricity.

Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the plans Tuesday in Washington at a conference of local, state, academic and nonprofit leaders aimed at identifying how the federal government can improve its environmental performance.

30 Big-name companies to help colleges train workers

By ERIC GORSKI, AP Education Writer

Tue Oct 5, 6:31 am ET

As the White House stages a first-of-its-kind community college summit Tuesday, the Obama administration is proposing that stronger partnerships between two-year public colleges and big-name U.S. employers such as McDonald’s and The Gap will help better match workers with jobs during the economic recovery and beyond.

Community college officials welcomed the new initiative, “Skills for America’s Future.”

But it’s unclear whether the project will help meet Obama’s education goals. Community colleges are short of cash, jammed with laid-off workers and students who in better times would attend four-year schools and spending heavily on remedial education for students ill-prepared for college.

31 Chile president sees miners rescued before Oct. 15

By VIVIAN SEQUERA, Associated Press Writer

Tue Oct 5, 6:30 am ET

SAN JOSE MINE, Chile – Chile’s president said Monday that his government is “very close” to pulling 33 trapped miners to safety and he hopes to be there in person to see the rescue before leaving on a trip to Europe.

It was Sebastian Pinera who told the miners after they were found alive Aug. 22 that they would be saved by Christmas, and his government has assembled a team of hundreds to support them while three simultaneous drilling operations pound escape shafts through a half-mile of rock.

The drilling has gone well enough to move up the date since then, but rescue leaders have been cautious: Only last week, they estimated a late-October pullout.

32 Richardson’s shadow looms in hard-fought NM race

By BARRY MASSEY, Associated Press Writer

Tue Oct 5, 6:31 am ET

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – In a historic race where New Mexico will elect its first female governor, the outcome could hinge on voter discontent with a man not even on the ballot: Gov. Bill Richardson.

The governor’s popularity has plunged amid corruption investigations as he nears the end of his second term, and his presence looms large in the race between Republican Susana Martinez and Democratic Lt. Gov. Diane Denish.

Martinez frequently mentions Richardson in campaign appearances, and her TV ads feature pictures of Denish alongside Richardson. Denish has attempted to distance herself from Richardson even though she’s his lieutenant governor.

33 Thai court clears way for Viktor Bout extradition

By KINAN SUCHAOVANICH, Associated Press Writer

2 hrs 59 mins ago

BANGKOK – An alleged Russian arms smuggler dubbed “The Merchant of Death” was led off by masked commandos after a Thai court Tuesday removed a key legal obstacle to his U.S. extradition, which has landed Thailand in the midst of a diplomatic tussle between Washington and Moscow.

Viktor Bout, who allegedly supplied weapons that fueled civil wars in South America, the Middle East and Africa, has been fighting extradition since his March 2008 arrest in Bangkok as part of a U.S.-led sting operation.

The Bangkok Criminal Court on Tuesday dismissed a new trial against Bout, which had threatened to stall the extradition further. It was the latest phase – and a potential turning point – in a long-running legal battle. Both Washington and Moscow have been demanding Bout’s hand-over.

34 DA: Judge should recuse self in Texas arson case

By JEFF CARLTON, Associated Press Writer

6 mins ago

DALLAS – The district attorney whose office prosecuted a Texas man who was executed for setting fire to his home and killing his three daughters asked a judge to recuse himself from a hearing that could declare the executed man innocent.

Navarro County District Attorney R. Lowell Thompson filed a motion in state district court in Austin late Monday asking that Judge Charlie Baird recuse himself from Wednesday’s hearing in the case of Cameron Todd Willingham.

Baird, as a former member of the court of Criminal Appeals, already heard details of the case and voted to uphold Willingham’s conviction, according to the motion. Thompson also questioned whether Baird is impartial, noting he won a “Courage Award” this year from the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty.

35 Black community looks for Chicago mayor candidate

By TAMMY WEBBER, Associated Press Writer

36 mins ago

CHICAGO – Black ministers, politicians and business leaders are scrambling to unify their community behind one candidate in Chicago’s wide-open mayoral race, which already features a former White House chief of staff, as many as four congressmen and a sheriff among those preparing to run.

So many potential candidates have surfaced – at least a dozen in the black community alone – that many fear the black vote could be widely split, ruining a chance to exercise the kind of influence that helped elect Chicago’s first black mayor, Harold Washington, in 1983.

Among other considerations is whether Rahm Emanuel, praised by President Barack Obama even as he left the administration last week to run, will win support from black voters in Obama’s hometown.

36 Most 9/11 responders OK settlement resolving suit

By DAVID B. CARUSO, Associated Press Writer

49 mins ago

NEW YORK – A lawyer representing 10,000 ground zero workers suing New York City over their exposure to World Trade Center dust said Tuesday that 75 percent have signed a settlement resolving their claims and most of the rest have indicated they will do so.

Those figures suggest the city may be close to resolving a painful legal battle with construction workers, police officers and firefighters who developed respiratory problems and other illnesses after working in the sooty ruins after Sept. 11, 2001.

The settlement, worth as much as $713 million, requires that 95 percent of the plaintiffs sign on by Nov. 8.

37 Emanuel hits Chicago streets, makes case for mayor

By LINDSEY TANNER, Associated Press Writer

Tue Oct 5, 3:13 am ET

CHICAGO – Last week, Afghanistan. This week, parents protesting the proposed demolition of a park field house.

Former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel hit the campaign trail on Monday and got a sudden taste of the vastly different agenda he’d face as Chicago’s mayor – and the hurdles he must overcome to be elected.

A day after unveiling his campaign on a new website, Emanuel hit the streets vowing to “hear from Chicagoans – in blunt and honest terms” about what they want from their next mayor. Many were happy just to shake hands, exchange hugs, or drink coffee with President Barack Obama’s hard-charging former right hand man.

38 Corruption-riddled city cancels council meeting

By JOHN ROGERS, Associated Press Writer

Tue Oct 5, 3:13 am ET

BELL, Calif. – It was the first regularly scheduled City Council meeting in the corruption-riddled Los Angeles suburb of Bell since eight current and former city officials were charged with looting city funds – but it didn’t happen.

The Monday night meeting was canceled when four council members facing criminal charges didn’t show up.

“Due to the lack of a quorum, we won’t be able to have our regular meeting today,” Lorenzo Velez, the only councilman not facing criminal charges, told more than 200 people who’d come to the meeting.

39 2 arrested in anti-gay beating at famed NY gay bar

By JENNIFER PELTZ, Associated Press Writer

Mon Oct 4, 10:49 pm ET

NEW YORK – A patron at the Stonewall Inn, a powerful symbol of the gay rights movement since protests over a 1969 police raid there, was tackled to the floor and beaten in an anti-gay bias attack over the weekend, authorities said Monday.

Two men were arrested in the early Sunday beating, which came little more than a day after a group of male friends bidding an affectionate good night to each other were attacked in another anti-gay assault elsewhere in Manhattan, prosecutors said.

The attacks came amid heightened attention to anti-gay bullying following a string of suicides attributed to it last month, including a New Jersey college student’s Sept. 22 plunge off the George Washington Bridge after his sexual encounter with a man in his dorm room was secretly streamed online.

40 Casino owners, senators charged in Ala bingo probe

By PHILLIP RAWLS, Associated Press Writer

Mon Oct 4, 9:09 pm ET

MONTGOMERY, Ala. – After the governor began raiding the state’s electronic bingo halls, casino owners sent lobbyists to the Capitol with orders to make their Vegas-style parlors legal. Part of the plan, federal authorities said Monday, was to offer lawmakers millions of dollars in bribes.

The Justice Department unveiled an indictment accusing the owners of two of Alabama’s largest casinos, four state senators and several lobbyists of a scheme to buy and sell votes in the Legislature. One defendant has pleaded guilty to offering a senator $2 million to vote for a bill to keep the bingo machines operating.

Since Republican Gov. Bob Riley began his raids nearly two years ago, the issue has set off angry statehouse rallies and complaints by local officials that casino closures cost poor counties much-needed jobs. Against this backdrop and with the pro-gambling bill on the verge of passage, the Justice Department announced last spring that it was looking into corruption at the statehouse.

41 Foreign buyers see big opportunity in housing bust

By MICHELLE CONLIN, AP Real Estate Writer

Mon Oct 4, 5:37 pm ET

The Viceroy, a swanky condominium complex in downtown Miami, gives the impression that the United States is in another real estate boom. The sales office is strangely exuberant. Buyers gush about the glam condos – designed by hipster tastemaker Kelly Wearstler – and their hotel-like amenities: poolside libations, daily housekeeping and room service food stirred up by a celebrity chef.

Since January, 262 of the Viceroy’s 372 units have sold. But there’s a twist: Almost 90 percent of the buyers are foreigners. And they all paid cash.

The Viceroy’s story is playing out across Miami. Individual investors from as far as Argentina, Canada, Colombia, France, Israel, Italy, Norway and Venezuela are swarming the city’s sales offices to get in on what they see as one of the greatest real estate fire sales in the history of the United States.

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