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Oct 26 2010

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

Now with 43 Top Stories.

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Canadian ex-child soldier pleads guilty at Guantanamo

by Virginie Montet, AFP

1 hr 12 mins ago

US NAVAL BASE AT GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba (AFP) – Canadian former child soldier Omar Khadr, arrested by US forces in Afghanistan at age 15, pleaded guilty Monday to war crimes in a deal that will see him avoid a life sentence and possibly be returned to Canada.

In a military tribunal at the US naval base at Guantanamo Bay, the Canada-born Khadr admitted to killing a US soldier with a grenade in 2002 during a firefight in Afghanistan, conspiring with Al-Qaeda and building roadside bombs.

During a one hour hearing, military judge Colonel Patrick Parrish read out the five charges against Khadr, including murder in violation of the laws of war, providing material assistance to a terrorist organization and espionage.

2 US defends Iraq record after WikiLeaks furor

by Shaun Tandon, AFP

1 hr 21 mins ago

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The United States on Monday defended its record probing civilian deaths and abuse in Iraq after graphic revelations in leaked secret documents triggered concern around the world.

The whistleblower website WikiLeaks released an unprecedented 400,000 classified US documents, which recount widespread torture in Iraqi prisons and purport to show 15,000 more civilian deaths than previously disclosed.

General George Casey, the top officer in the US Army who earlier headed forces in Iraq for three of the bloodiest years in the war, denied that the United States “turned a blind eye” to abuse of prisoners.

3 US under pressure on WikiLeaks allegations

by Robin Millard, AFP

Sun Oct 24, 5:36 pm ET

LONDON (AFP) – Washington on Sunday came under increasing pressure to investigate allegations in the leaked Iraq war documents published by WikiLeaks, which Britain’s deputy premier called “shocking”.

Governments and human rights organisations alike put the focus on answers to the allegations made against US, allied and Iraqi troops as the whistleblowing website released 400,000 classified US military documents.

The flood of material from 2004 to 2009 offers a grim snapshot of the conflict, especially of the abuse of Iraqi civilians by Iraqi security forces.

4 Karzai admits receiving ‘bags of money’ from Iran

by Sardar Ahmad, AFP

2 hrs 37 mins ago

KABUL (AFP) – Afghan President Hamid Karzai admitted Monday that his chief of staff had received “bags of money” from Iran but insisted the payment was transparent and a form of aid from a friendly country.

Cash payments “are done by various friendly countries to help the president’s office … this is transparent,” Karzai told a press conference.

The New York Times reported Saturday that Karzai’s chief of staff, Umar Daudzai, received regular cash payments from Iran, a US foe and reportedly trying to expand its influence in the presidential palace in Kabul.

5 Government warns French strike threatens recovery

by Dave Clark, AFP

11 mins ago

PARIS (AFP) – President Nicolas Sarkozy’s government warned Monday that strikes against pension reform have cost the French economy up to three billion euros, as cracks appeared in a trade union fuel blockade.

In a tactical victory for Sarkozy, workers at three of France’s refineries voted to return to work and police were able to clear protesters blocking all 219 fuel depots not attached to the nine refining sites still on strike.

In a possible sign of further easing, the leader of the Marseille region, Eugene Castelli, said waste collectors would end their two-week strike Tuesday in France’s second city where 10,000 tonnes of refuse is lying uncollected.

6 Strikers restore blockade at French fuel depot

AFP

Mon Oct 25, 2:38 am ET

MARSEILLE (AFP) – The cat and mouse game between strikers and police continued in France early Monday, with dockers restoring their blockade on a big fuel depot in the south and a central depot being unblocked.

The oil depot at Fos-sur-Mer, the biggest in the south of France, was back in the hands of union members opposed to President Nicolas Sarkozy’s plans to raise France’s retirement age, an AFP photographer said.

Some 200 demonstrators blocked off several petrol (gasoline) tankers as riot police looked on.

7 Haiti cholera deaths drop off

by Clarens Renois, AFP

Mon Oct 25, 1:05 pm ET

PORT-AU-PRINCE (AFP) – The number of new cholera deaths in Haiti dropped off dramatically on Monday, raising hopes the quake-hit nation has avoided another disaster just 10 months after January’s devastating quake.

The death toll of 259 from Gabriel Thimote, director general of Haiti’s health department, went up by just six over the last 24 hours, although the number of new infections still rose by more than 200 to 3,342.

Aid agencies, meanwhile, stepped up efforts to ring-fence the disease and keep it out of the refugee camps around the capital where 1.3 million people displaced by the earthquake live in unsanitary conditions.

8 Haiti toll rises above 250, but new cases taper off

by Clarens Renois, AFP

Sun Oct 24, 7:44 pm ET

PORT-AU-PRINCE (AFP) – Haiti cholera deaths rose on Sunday above 250 but the number of new infections and fatalities began to taper off, offering hope the epidemic might have been contained.

The new toll of 253 dead and 3,115 infections, provided by the director general of Haiti’s health department Gabriel Thimote, represented an increase of only 33 fatalities over a 24-hour period.

The disease “is limited to a well-defined perimeter” in the northern region of Artibonite and part of the central plateau, Foreign Minister Marie-Michele Rey told reporters.

9 Haitians see hope despite cholera toll above 250

by Clarens Renois, AFP

Mon Oct 25, 3:46 am ET

PORT-AU-PRINCE (AFP) – Haitian health officials worked Monday to contain a cholera epidemic after statistics showed new infections had begun to taper off while the overall toll of cholera-related deaths rose above 250.

The new toll of 253 dead and 3,115 infections, provided by the director general of Haiti’s health department Gabriel Thimote, represented an increase of only 33 fatalities over a 24-hour period.

The disease “is limited to a well-defined perimeter” in the northern region of Artibonite and part of the central plateau, Foreign Minister Marie-Michele Rey told reporters.

10 BP boss says group will not quit US over oil disaster

AFP

2 hrs 19 mins ago

LONDON (AFP) – BP will not quit the United States over the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster that had “threatened the very existence” of the energy giant, its new chief executive Bob Dudley said here on Monday.

“I can promise you that I did not become chief executive of BP in order to walk away from the US. BP will not be quitting America,” Dudley, who is a US national, told a conference of British business leaders in central London.

“There is so much at stake, both for BP and the United States. The US has major energy needs. BP is the largest producer of oil and gas in the country, and a vital contributor to fulfilling them.”

11 Ferrari’s Alonso remains calm after F1 triumph

by Gordon Howard, AFP

46 mins ago

YEONGAM (AFP) – Two-times world champion Spaniard Fernando Alonso remained calm and cool on Monday as he headed back to Europe after winning Sunday’s inaugural rain-hit South Korean Grand Prix for Ferrari.

As his Italian team crackled with excitement following Alonso’s triumph – a win that lifted him to the top of the drivers’ world championship with two races remaining – the scarlet scuderia’s boss Stefano Domenicali warned them it was too soon to celebrate and to stay focussed for the final events in Brazil and Abu Dhabi.

“For us now, the mission is to stay cool, to keep very concentrated and without over-reacting to this great part of the season,” said Domenicali.

12 Rich Chinese show off their wealth on the water

by Allison Jackson, AFP

Sun Oct 24, 6:52 pm ET

TIANJIN, China (AFP) – They already drive flashy cars, wear expensive watches and eat at top-end restaurants. Now rich Chinese businessmen have found a new way to flaunt their wealth — luxury boats.

“They want to go out on the ocean and have fun — and take VIP clients to fish and negotiate deals,” said Zheng Weihang, secretary general of the China Cruise and Yacht Industry Association.

With the second-largest number of dollar billionaires in the world after the United States, according to Forbes magazine, China is drawing eager foreign marina developers and boatmakers to its shores to tap the fast-growing market.

13 Serbia takes step forward in bid to join EU

by Claire Rosemberg, AFP

Mon Oct 25, 11:22 am ET

LUXEMBOURG (AFP) – Serbia cleared a crucial hurdle in its bid to join the European Union on Monday when the bloc agreed to examine Belgrade’s candidacy as a reward for its softened stance on Kosovo.

But the deal demanded stepped-up cooperation from Belgrade with the International Criminal Court for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) and renewed efforts to bring in notorious Balkans war criminals such as Ratko Mladic.

“It’s the start of the process” to joining the 27-nation bloc, said Belgian Foreign Minister Steven Vanackere after counterparts rubber-stamped a deal worked out after weeks of wrangling.

14 Troops death toll in Afghanistan hits 600

by Karim Talbi, AFP

Mon Oct 25, 7:40 am ET

KABUL (AFP) – The number of foreign troops to die this year in Afghanistan has reached 600, by far the highest annual toll in nine years of war despite tentative reconciliation efforts with the Taliban.

The milestone was reached after a NATO International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) announcement that a soldier had been killed in an insurgent attack in the east on Sunday.

Another NATO soldier was killed in a bomb blast in the Taliban heartland of southern Afghanistan on the same day.

15 Singapore, Australia bourses in mega merger

by Philip Lim, AFP

Mon Oct 25, 6:41 am ET

SINGAPORE (AFP) – The Singapore and Australian stock exchanges on Monday announced a multi-billion dollar merger that will create one of the world’s largest and most diversified financial trading hubs.

Singapore’s SGX offered 8.2 billion US dollars to take over Sydney-based ASX to form ASX-SGX Ltd in a deal combining Australia’s strength in resources with Singapore’s more international profile and robust links to the China market.

The merger is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2011 subject to shareholder and regulatory approval. ASX and SGX will remain separate legal and locally regulated entities after the combination of their operations.

16 Battle for Middle Earth hits New Zealand streets

AFP

Mon Oct 25, 6:00 am ET

WELLINGTON (AFP) – The battle for Middle Earth erupted on the streets of New Zealand Monday as thousands of people rallied to keep “The Hobbit” movies in the country.

Save The Hobbit rally organiser Paul Barlow said the nationwide action was deliberately timed to coincide with the arrival of Warner Bros executives for crunch meetings to determine the fate of the films.

The location for filming “The Hobbit”, the long-awaited two-part prequel to “The Lord of the Rings”, has been in doubt since the actors’ union NZ Equity called for a global boycott while it sought to negotiate a minimum standards agreement.

17 U.S. says did not under-report Iraq civilian deaths

By Phil Stewart and Andrea Shalal-Esa, Reuters

1 hr 36 mins ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. military said on Monday it did not under-report the number of civilian deaths in the Iraq war or ignore prisoner abuse by Iraqi forces, rejecting allegations arising from leaked U.S. documents.

The whistle-blower website WikiLeaks on Friday released nearly 400,000 classified U.S. files on the Iraq war, the biggest leak of its kind in U.S. military history.

WikiLeaks said the documents detailed the deaths of 15,000 more Iraqi civilians than the U.S. military had reported.

18 Obama touts job creation as November 2 vote looms

By Matt Spetalnick, Reuters

1 hr 11 mins ago

WOONSOCKET, Rhode Island (Reuters) – President Barack Obama on Monday touted his administration’s job-creation efforts just eight days before elections in which voters’ economic anxiety threatens his Democrats’ grip on Congress.

Making a stop in the tiny state of Rhode Island in the final campaign sprint to Election Day, Obama visited a small factory outside Providence.

“When I tour plants like this it makes me optimistic. It took us a long time to get us into this economic hole that we’ve been in. But we are going to get out and I am absolutely convinced there are brighter days ahead for America,” Obama told workers after touring the American Cord & Webbing plant in Woonsocket.

19 Democrats off to good start in early voting

By John Whitesides, Reuters

Mon Oct 25, 2:55 pm ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democrats are off to a stronger than expected start in early voting despite months of dire predictions about their lack of enthusiasm for the November 2 midterm elections.

More Democrats than Republicans cast early ballots in a handful of key states, although more Republicans took advantage of the early voting process than in 2008 when President Barack Obama led a Democratic election sweep.

“The early voting numbers are favorable for Democrats, but here’s the caution — they are not as favorable as in 2008,” said Michael McDonald, a George Mason University professor who tracks early voting statistics around the country.

20 Haiti cholera deaths slow, but spread still feared

By Joseph Guyler Delva, Reuters

2 hrs 33 mins ago

PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) – The rate of deaths in Haiti’s cholera epidemic slowed on Monday as a multinational medical operation scaled up to limit the spread of an outbreak that has killed 259 people in the earthquake-hit country.

Despite initial encouraging signs of a decrease in the week-old outbreak’s lethality, Haitian and international health authorities warned they were still preparing for the deadly diarrheal disease to extend further before it was controlled.

“A nationwide outbreak with tens of thousands of cases is a real possibility,” the United Nations humanitarian agency OCHA said in a statement.

21 Special report: Is aid doing Haiti more harm than good?

By Simon Denyer, Reuters

7 mins ago

PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) – It was Haiti’s premier private hospital, its rooms filled with the latest medical equipment, its surgeons trained in the latest techniques, its thick walls built to withstand an earthquake.

Those walls stood firm when the earth shook on January 12, and for three months after that devastating quake the CDTI du Sacre Coeur Hospital threw open its doors, treating thousands of victims free of charge.

American and French doctors, flown in by their respective governments, worked non-stop in CDTI’s operating rooms together with their Haitian counterparts seeing more than 12,000 patients and performing more than 700 major surgeries.

22 Canadian Khadr pleads guilty in Guantanamo trial

By Jane Sutton, Reuters

Mon Oct 25, 1:03 pm ET

GUANTANAMO BAY U.S. NAVAL BASE, Cuba (Reuters) – Canadian captive Omar Khadr pleaded guilty on Monday to all five terrorism charges against him in the U.S. war crimes tribunal at the Guantanamo Bay naval base as part of a deal that could send him home to serve the rest of his sentence in a year.

Khadr, who was 15 and gravely wounded when captured during a firefight in Afghanistan in 2002, admitted he conspired with al Qaeda and killed a U.S. soldier with a grenade.

Terms of the 24-year-old Toronto native’s plea deal were not immediately disclosed, but lawyers had reportedly discussed an eight-year cap on his total sentence.

23 RI Dem: Obama can ‘shove it’ for not endorsing me

By MICHELLE R. SMITH, Associated Press Writer

32 mins ago

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – The Democratic candidate for Rhode Island governor, widely seen as more conservative than the independent seeking to lead the heavily Democratic state, said Monday that President Barack Obama can “shove it” after learning Obama would not endorse him.

Frank Caprio’s campaign said last week that he would welcome the president’s endorsement. But on Monday, the same day Obama made his first visit to Rhode Island as president and a day after the White House said Obama would endorse no one, Caprio angrily told WPRO-AM that Obama can “take his endorsement and really shove it.”

It was a surprising about-face for Caprio, the state’s general treasurer, whose campaign had said as recently as Sunday night that he was looking forward to Obama’s visit and that he would accompany the president to two appearances.

24 WikiLeaks docs raise questions of Obama policies

By RAPHAEL G. SATTER and PAISLEY DODDS, Associated Press Writers

33 mins ago

LONDON – President Barack Obama stepped into the White House pledging to end George W. Bush’s gloves-off approach to interrogations and detention – but a flood of leaked documents suggests that some old habits were hard to break.

Field reports from the Iraq war published by WikiLeaks show that, despite Obama’s public commitment to eschew torture, U.S. forces turned detainees over to Iraqi forces even after signs of abuse.

Documents also show that U.S. interrogators continued to question Iraqi detainees, some of whom were still recovering from injuries or whose wounds were still visible after being held by Iraqi security forces.

25 Obama assails GOP on clouded final campaign push

By DAVID ESPO, AP Special Correspondent

35 mins ago

WOONSOCKET, R.I. – President Barack Obama attacked Republicans with gusto Monday as he plunged into a final week of midterm election campaigning, but his party’s prognosis remained darkened by the feeble economy and his itinerary was designed largely to minimize losses.

Nor was his greeting totally friendly in Rhode Island where Obama has pointedly declined to endorse his party’s candidate for governor.

Obama can “take his endorsement and shove it,” declared Democrat Frank Caprio, battling Republican-turned-independent Lincoln Chafee in a gubernatorial race rated tight in the polls. Chafee endorsed Obama during the 2008 campaign for the White House.

26 GOP poised to win Congress redistricting edge, too

By JENNIFER C. KERR, Associated Press Writer

36 mins ago

WASHINGTON – The Republicans’ expected gains next week go way beyond Congress. The GOP could capture new Senate or House majorities in a dozen to 18 states – along with critical new power to redraw district maps and influence elections for a decade to come.

Three of the biggest prizes are New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania. All three states are expected to lose seats in Congress as a result of the 2010 census, and that’s sure to ignite boundary fights. A party’s congressman on the wrong end of redistricting can find the district he’s represented for years no longer exists.

Democrats have hopes, too. They aim to take away state Senate control in Michigan and Kentucky and the House in Texas and Tennessee. Texas would be a particular victory, since it seems likely to have four more seats to divvy up under the new census. But none of the analysts contacted by The Associated Press predicted the Democrats would succeed in any of those states.

27 Canadian at Gitmo pleads guilty to all charges

By BEN FOX, Associated Press

36 mins ago

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba – Eight years after he was taken to Guantanamo as a teenage prisoner, a Canadian pleaded guilty Monday to killing a U.S. Army sergeant during a battle in Afghanistan, in a deal that will send him home in a year to serve his sentence.

Defenders say Omar Khadr, who was 15 at the time of his capture, was a “child soldier” pushed into becoming an al-Qaida fighter by his father, an associate of Osama bin Laden.

The plea deal ends a widely criticized trial that made the United States the first Western nation since World War II to prosecute a child offender for alleged war crimes. The exact terms were not immediately disclosed, but Khadr’s sentence was reportedly capped at eight years, in addition to time already spent at the Guantanamo detention camp.

28 Wash. case raises alcoholic energy drink concerns

By SHANNON DININNY, Associated Press Writer

27 mins ago

ELLENSBURG, Wash. – Sugary, high-alcohol energy drinks that are popular with college students who want to get drunk quickly and cheaply came under renewed scrutiny Monday as investigators announced that nine freshmen had been hospitalized after drinking them at an off-campus party.

Several states are considering outlawing the drinks and at least two universities have banned them from campus while the Food and Drug Administration reviews their safety.

The issue received new attention after the Oct. 8 party in Roslyn, a picturesque mountain town known as the place where the 1990s television series “Northern Exposure” was filmed.

29 NPR chief sorry over handling of Williams’ firing

By DAVID BAUDER, AP Television Writer

39 mins ago

NEW YORK – NPR’s chief executive says she’s sorry for how analyst Juan Williams’ dismissal was handled – but not for firing him. Vivian Schiller sent an apology to National Public Radio staff members on Sunday night and wrote to managers at NPR stations. Her dismissal of Williams for saying on Fox News Channel that he gets nervous when he sees people on a plane with clothing that identifies them as Muslim became a “public relations disaster,” NPR’s ombudsman said.

The question now for NPR is whether the situation will cause lasting damage to public broadcasting permanently, or whether in some ways it might help it.

Williams, who was fired in a phone conversation, deserved a face-to-face meeting, Schiller wrote. She has also expressed regret for saying, after last Wednesday’s firing, that whatever feelings Williams has about Muslims should be between him and “his psychiatrist or his publicist – take your pick.”

30 Karzai says his office gets cash from Iran, US

By DEB RIECHMANN, Associated Press Writer

1 hr 17 mins ago

KABUL, Afghanistan – Afghan President Hamid Karzai acknowledged on Monday that he receives millions of dollars in cash from Iran, adding that Washington gives him “bags of money” too because his office lacks funds.

U.S. officials said the money flowing from Tehran was further proof that Iran is playing a double game in Afghanistan – wooing the government while helping Taliban insurgents who are fighting U.S. and NATO forces.

The United States has itself used cash as a weapon in the wars in both Afghanistan and Iraq – from local development projects to win public support, to salaries for Iraqi insurgents who switched sides, to cash payoffs to influential community leaders willing to back the U.S. and its allies.

31 BP CEO hits back at media and politicians

By JANE WARDELL, AP Business Writer

1 hr 58 mins ago

LONDON – BP Chief Executive Bob Dudley accused some politicians and the media on Monday of being too hasty to pin all the blame on his company for the devastating Gulf of Mexico spill – and emphasized the need for deep-water drilling.

In his first major public speech since taking the top job, Dudley also said BP would not pull out of the United States – and that the U.S. needs a company with BP’s resources to meet its vast energy needs.

Dudley delivered a speech whose mood hovered between firm and penitent, seeking to make clear that BP was learning every lesson possible from the disaster. He stressed that he also has met with experts from other hazardous industries, including the nuclear and chemical industries, as part of the company’s focus on improving safety.

32 Sestak, Toomey look for edge in southeast Pa.

By ANDREW MIGA and MARC LEVY, Associated Press Writers

Mon Oct 25, 4:13 pm ET

BRISTOL, Pa. – Republican Pat Toomey and Democrat Joe Sestak dueled for support Monday in the heavily populated swing counties around Philadelphia, seeking an edge as their hotly contested race for U.S. Senate heads into the final full week.

Both Toomey and Sestak said they plan no last-minute surprises in strategy as they launch a sprint to the finish, appearing at multiple events daily around the state aimed at building voter excitement and boosting turnout.

Recent polls have shown a tight race, as the campaigns, business groups, unions and others pour millions of dollars into TV ads and get-out-the-vote efforts.

33 As bedbugs creep out NYC, tourists crawl away

By SARA KUGLER FRAZIER, Associated Press Writer

2 hrs 1 min ago

NEW YORK – New York City’s bedbugs have climbed out of bed and marched into landmarks like the Empire State Building, Bloomingdale’s and Lincoln Center, causing fresh anxiety among tourists who are canceling Big Apple vacations planned for the height of the holiday season.

Some travelers who had arranged trips to New York say they are creeped out about staying in hotels and visiting attractions as new reports of bedbugs seem to pop up every few days. And officials in Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s administration are concerned about the effect on the city’s image and $30 billion tourism industry.

The discoveries of the bloodsucking pests at high-profile places are often not full-blown infestations, or even in public areas. Bloomingdale’s reported finding exactly one bug in the famous department store, the Empire State Building had them in the basement and Lincoln Center’s were in a dressing room.

34 AP-GfK Poll: One-third may still switch candidates

By ALAN FRAM, Associated Press Writer

Mon Oct 25, 11:38 am ET

WASHINGTON – One in three people has yet to lock onto a choice in the Nov. 2 congressional elections, according to an Associated Press-GfK Poll. Yet in this year of the fed-up voter, even these folks offer little hope to Democrats.

Despite record political spending and months of frenzied campaigning, one-third of likely voters remain steadfastly undecided or favor a candidate but say they could change their mind, according to the survey.

Such a large group might seem like a mother lode of opportunity for Democrats scuffling to unearth enough votes to prevent a Republican takeover of Congress. Yet a close look reveals that these people aren’t especially friendly to the party that seems all but certain to lose House and Senate seats on Nov. 2.

35 Haiti official: Cholera outbreak is stabilizing

By JACOB KUSHNER, Associated Press Writer

Mon Oct 25, 1:05 pm ET

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – A cholera outbreak that has killed more than 250 people in rural Haiti is stabilizing, health officials said Monday, as aid groups and the government race to prevent it from spreading to the capital’s squalid camps of earthquake survivors.

The outbreak was expected to continue spreading, but aid groups and the government said a drop in the death rate and the number of new cases suggested it could progress more gradually than feared.

“The situation is beginning to stabilize. Since yesterday we have registered only six new deaths,” Health Ministry Director Gabriel Timothee said at a news conference.

36 France: Strikes costing up to $557 million per day

By ELAINE GANLEY, Associated Press Writer

Mon Oct 25, 4:29 pm ET

PARIS – France’s massive strikes opposing changes in the country’s pension system showed some signs of weakening on Monday when Marseille garbage collectors and workers at three oil refineries voted to end their walkouts.

But the French finance minister announced that the strikes are costing the national economy up to euro400 million ($557 million) each day, as workers continued to block other oil refineries and some trash incinerators to protest the plan to raise the retirement age to 62.

Rotting piles of garbage – now at nearly 9,000 tons – are becoming a health hazard in Marseille, and trash collectors there explained their decision Monday to suspend their 2-week- long walkout as a response to the mounting hygiene problems in the Mediterranean city.

37 Afghan president will disband private guards

By KATHARINE HOURELD, Associated Press Writer

Mon Oct 25, 3:06 pm ET

KABUL, Afghanistan – Afghanistan’s president on Monday brushed aside appeals from international officials, including U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, to reverse plans to close private security companies.

If President Hamid Karzai moves ahead with the plan to replace private guards with 30,000 to 40,000 Afghan troops by the end of the year, it could result in the shutdown of hundreds of millions of dollars in development projects because international organizations don’t trust Afghan forces to protect their workers.

A shift to using Afghan troops could also detract from a NATO strategy to have Afghan forces assume more responsibility for protecting areas cleared of Taliban fighters.

38 Online TV spats mean fewer free shows on Web

By RYAN NAKASHIMA, AP Business Writer

Mon Oct 25, 5:46 am ET

LOS ANGELES – Broadcasters took a big step toward eliminating free TV shows on the Web after they blocked access to their programming online this month to enforce their demands to be paid.

Recent actions by Fox, ABC, NBC and CBS in two separate fee disputes suggest that after a few years of experimenting with free, ad-supported viewing, broadcasters believe they can make more money from cable TV providers if they hold back some programming online.

That could mean new limits on online viewing are coming: Broadcasters might make fewer of their shows available to begin with, or delay when they become available – say, a month after an episode is broadcast, rather than the few hours it typically takes now.

39 Abuse claims detailed in unsealed Ca. church docs

By GILLIAN FLACCUS, Associated Press Writer

Mon Oct 25, 4:16 pm ET

SAN DIEGO – Newly released documents show the Diocese of San Diego long knew about abusive priests, some of whom were shuffled from parish to parish despite credible complaints against them.

Attorneys for 144 people claiming sex abuse made the papers public Sunday, after a retired San Diego Superior Court judge ruled last week that the previously sealed documents could be released.

The nearly 10,000 pages of records were from the personnel files of 48 priests who were either credibly accused or convicted of sexual abuse, or were named in a civil lawsuit.

40 Activists: Mormon beliefs factor in LGBT struggles

By JENNIFER DOBNER, Associated Press

Mon Oct 25, 2:34 pm ET

SALT LAKE CITY – Ben Jarvis has heard a lot of coming out stories.

For the past 15 years, the southern California-based urban planner has been answering a hotline number for Mormons struggling with their sexual identity. Jarvis, a volunteer for Affirmation, a support group for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Mormons, estimates he’s talked to as many as 3,000 people.

Many of them are “deathly afraid,” their secret will be discovered by friends, family, or members of their Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints congregations, he said.

41 NJ weighs new bullying laws after Rutgers suicide

By GEOFF MULVIHILL, Associated Press Writer

Mon Oct 25, 2:57 pm ET

TRENTON, N.J. – New Jersey lawmakers introduced an “anti-bullying bill of rights” Monday that one advocate said would be the toughest state law of its kind in the nation, a proposal that follows the widely publicized suicide of a Rutgers University student who was humiliated online.

The proposal was introduced by a bipartisan group of legislators and advocates and seeks to augment laws New Jersey passed eight years ago. It would require anti-bullying programs in public K-12 schools and language in college codes of conduct to address bullying.

State Sen. Barbara Buono, a Democrat from Metuchen who was one of the main sponsors of the 2002 law, said she has learned since then how prevalent bullying is as parents of tormented children have called her office. The original law only encouraged anti-bullying programs and wasn’t doing enough, she said.

42 Gloria Allred: The attorney people love to hate

By JOHN ROGERS, Associated Press Writer

Mon Oct 25, 12:55 pm ET

LOS ANGELES – She’s been called an ambulance chaser, an opportunist, a made-for-TV attorney and a shameless publicity hound.

And, Gloria Allred will tell you with a smile, those are just some of the nicer names people use to describe her.

Meg Whitman, for example, is not a fan. Allred turned this year’s race for California governor upside down by stepping before the TV cameras to reveal that the Republican candidate employed an illegal immigrant as a maid for nine years.

43 Air Force manual describes shadowy cyberwar world

By DAN ELLIOTT, Associated Press Writer

Mon Oct 25, 4:01 am ET

DENVER – A new Air Force manual for cyberwarfare describes a shadowy, fast-changing world where anonymous enemies can carry out devastating attacks in seconds and where conventional ideas about time and space don’t apply.

Much of the 62-page manual is a dry compendium of definitions, acronyms and explanations of who reports to whom. But it occasionally veers into scenarios that sound more like computer games than flesh-and-blood warfare.

Enemies can cloak their identities and hide their attacks amid the cascade of data flowing across international computer networks, it warns.

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