Nov 02 2010

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Embassies targeted in Greek bombing campaign

by John Hadoulis, AFP

17 mins ago

ATHENS (AFP) – Parcel bombs exploded at the Russian and Swiss embassies in Athens Tuesday and devices sent to three others were intercepted, the latest in a wave of attacks linked to left-wing extremists, police said.

The packages were similar to four devices addressed to embassies in the Greek capital and intercepted on Monday, including one addressed to French President Nicolas Sarkozy.

“A Greek organisation belonging to the anti-establishment movement is very likely” behind the attacks, police spokesman Thanassis Kokkalakis told AFP.

2 Britain, France sign landmark defence pact

by Alice Ritchie, AFP

47 mins ago

LONDON (AFP) – Britain and France vowed to work hand-in-glove Tuesday as their leaders signed a “historic” deal to create a joint force and share nuclear test facilities in an unprecedented era of defence cooperation.

British Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Nicolas Sarkozy inked two treaties in London which they say will allow both nations to remain global players while cutting defence budgets following the financial crisis.

The neighbouring NATO members — historic rivals for centuries who fell out spectacularly over the 2003 Iraq invasion — insisted the pact will not deprive their militaries of the ability to act independently.

3 Court hears India’s ‘biggest corporate fraud’ case

by P.S. Jayaram, AFP

2 hrs 59 mins ago

HYDERABAD, India (AFP) – The disgraced founder of Indian outsourcing giant Satyam appeared in court Tuesday in a billion-dollar corporate fraud case dubbed “India’s Enron”.

The firm’s founder and former chairman B. Ramalinga Raju — a one-time poster boy for Indian economic progress — was present for a preliminary hearing in the southern city of Hyderabad.

His declaration in January 2009 that he had falsified profits plunged the Indian business world into turmoil.

4 Obama, Democrats fear rout as Americans vote

by Olivier Knox, AFP

31 mins ago

WASHINGTON (AFP) – President Barack Obama’s Democrats faced a day of reckoning Tuesday as Americans voted in key elections likely to see Republicans seize control of the House of Representatives.

Amid a wave of anger at the faltering economy, Democrats also feared heavy losses in the Senate, in twin blows that could severely hamper Obama’s ability to press ahead with his agenda of reform.

Analysts forecast however the Democrats would cling to a narrow majority in Senate, dividing power in Washington and setting the stage for a superheated political war ahead of Obama’s 2012 reelection bid.

5 Fed set for landmark move to prime US economy

by Andrew Beatty, AFP

1 hr 42 mins ago

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The Federal Reserve’s policy-setting panel began a crucial two-day meeting Tuesday, poised to cast aside its long-held reluctance to micro-manage the economy in a bid to avoid a lost decade of growth.

The central bank’s open market committee (FOMC) is widely expected to approve the resumption of large-scale spending not seen since the depths of the economic crisis.

At the conclusion of the meeting Wednesday, the Fed is expected to announce the purchase of long-term US bonds — essentially printing billions of dollars — in the hope of staving off deflation that could spell economic stagnation.

6 BP warns of oil spill costs leaping to $40 bln

by Ben Perry, AFP

Tue Nov 2, 11:48 am ET

LONDON (AFP) – The devastating Gulf of Mexico oil spill is set to cost BP a staggering 40 billion dollars, the British energy giant revealed on Tuesday, after ramping up its estimate by almost a quarter.

But the British oil giant also reported a net profit of 1.785 billion dollars for the third quarter in contrast to a loss of 16.9 billion dollars during the second quarter of this year, a huge turnaround.

BP said it had taken an additional third quarter charge of 7.7 billion dollars, taking the company’s total estimated clean-up and legal costs to 39.9 billion dollars (28.6 billion euros).

7 Justices ask sharp questions on California videogame law


1 hr 46 mins ago

WASHINGTON (AFP) – US Supreme Court justices offered sharp questions Tuesday at a hearing on the constitutionality of a California law banning the sale or rental of violent videogames to minors.

The case, in which lower courts have struck down the 2005 law, offers a test of the free speech clause in the First Amendment to the US constitution.

Justice Antonin Scalia said the law was an attempt to create a “brand new area” in which speech could be restricted due to violence.

8 Russia’s Khodorkovsky ‘doesn’t want to die in prison’

by Olga Nedbayeva, AFP

Tue Nov 2, 11:02 am ET

MOSCOW (AFP) – Jailed Russian oil magnate Mikhail Khodorkovsky told a court Tuesday he did not want to die in prison, but nor did he believe he would be acquitted as his trial for fraud and embezzlement drew to a close.

“While there is always hope, no one believes we will be acquitted,” he said in the final submission at his trial in Moscow’s Khamovnichesky district court.

Khodorkovsky called the trial a test of the rule of law in Russia, even though his supporters have denounced the charges brought by the prosecution as a politically motivated farce.

9 German town prepares tearful goodbye to UK troops

by Deborah Cole, AFP

Tue Nov 2, 6:14 am ET

BERGEN, Germany (AFP) – News that Britain would pull out all of its 20,000 soldiers based in Germany by 2020 hit communities like this tiny northern town like a bombshell.

Bergen lies in the shadow of the former Nazi concentration camp Bergen-Belsen, which British and Canadian soldiers liberated in April 1945 just weeks after Jewish diarist Anne Frank died there at the age of 16.

It has come to rely heavily on the troops.

10 Bombs kill dozens as Iraqi Christians mourn

By Waleed Ibrahim and Khalid al-Ansary, Reuters

49 mins ago

BAGHDAD (Reuters) -A series of bombs rocked mainly Shi’ite areas of Baghdad on Tuesday, killing at least 40 people and wounding dozens two days after al Qaeda militants staged a bloodbath when they took hostages in a Christian church.

The bombings occurred hours after a memorial service for some of the 52 hostages and police killed in Sunday’s church raid, and as the Iraqi government vowed to step up security for Iraq’s Christian minority.

The third major assault in Iraq since Friday appeared to demonstrate that a weakened but stubborn insurgency has a greater capacity to carry out large-scale strikes than U.S. and Iraqi officials have acknowledged.

11 Embassies targeted in wave of Athens parcel bombs

By Renee Maltezou, Reuters

1 hr 42 mins ago

ATHENS (Reuters) – Small bombs exploded at the Swiss and Russian embassies in Athens on Tuesday and a possible bomb was intercepted at the German chancellor’s office, the latest in a wave of attacks by suspected Greek leftist guerrillas.

Police had already arrested two Greeks aged 22 and 24 on Monday in possession of two bombs including one addressed to French President Nicolas Sarkozy. The latest incidents took the total of actual or suspected bombs to 11 since Monday.

“It seems that this is a continuation of yesterday’s attacks and that Greek guerrillas are behind it, but we are still investigating,” police spokesman Thanassis Kokkalakis said.

12 Jailed tycoon will sacrifice for freedom in Russia

By Maria Tsvetkova, Reuters

Tue Nov 2, 10:30 am ET

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Jailed former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky used his closing argument at his second trial on Tuesday to raise his profile as a political prisoner, saying he would sacrifice his life for the rule of law in Russia.

Dressed in black and smiling gently at his parents, Khodorkovsky delivered a 22-minute speech in which he said he was “ashamed” of Russia, a country where “a person who collides with ‘the system’ has no rights whatsoever.”

“I am not an ideal person, but I am a person with an idea … If I have to (die in prison), I will not hesitate. The things I believe in are worth dying for,” Khodorkovsky told a packed courtroom to enthusiastic applause.

13 Haiti scrambles to prepare for feared hurricane hit

By Joseph Guyler Delva, Reuters

Mon Nov 1, 6:03 pm ET

PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) – Government officials and aid partners in earthquake- and cholera-ravaged Haiti scrambled on Monday to prepare crowded quake survivor camps and coastal towns for a possible hit by a hurricane later this week.

Tropical Storm Tomas, which is heading westward across the eastern Caribbean sea, is expected to turn north toward Haiti and Dominican Republic by the end of the week, and restrengthen as a hurricane, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

Jamaica also could be impacted, although the precise track of the storm remained uncertain, the forecasters said.

14 Republicans poised for big gains

By Andy Sullivan, Reuters

1 hr 38 mins ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – After a long and bitter campaign, Americans cast their votes on Tuesday in elections that could sweep Democrats from power in Congress and slam the brakes on President Barack Obama’s legislative agenda.

Anxiety over the stumbling economy and discontent with Obama have propelled Republicans to the threshold of huge gains that could give them a majority in the House of Representatives and perhaps even the Senate.

“The Democrats’ economic plan is not working,” said Peter Ruiz, a Miami retiree who voted for Republicans on Tuesday despite backing Obama two years ago. “We need to try something else.”

15 Russia warns of more visits to disputed islands

By Alister Doyle, Reuters

Tue Nov 2, 11:31 am ET

OSLO (Reuters) – Russia said on Tuesday President Dmitry Medvedev planned more trips to a group of islands seized by the Soviet Union from Japan at the end of World War Two, deepening a serious rift with Tokyo.

Japan said it was recalling its ambassador from Moscow temporarily after Medvedev this week became the first Russian leader to visit the desolate islands, known as the Southern Kuriles in Russia and the Northern Territories in Japan.

The dispute has added to the pressure on Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan, who is grappling with a divided parliament and is already under fire for what critics say was his mishandling of a separate territorial dispute with China.

16 Warm weather and fewer events to hurt October sales

By Dhanya Skariachan, Reuters

Tue Nov 2, 12:19 am ET

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. retailers are poised to report their weakest monthly sales gains in six months as unseasonably warm weather and fewer shopping events hurt demand for fall merchandise in a slowly recovering U.S. economy.

Analysts expect same-store sales to have risen 1.7 percent in October, compared with a 1.8 percent increase last year, according to Thomson Reuters data.

“Unfortunately, this month was abnormally warm. In this economy, where so many consumers are living paycheck to paycheck, it really has become very much a ‘buy now, wear now’ type mentality,” said Ken Perkins, president of research firm Retail Metrics.

17 Giants end 56-year World Series wait

By Larry Fine, Reuters

Tue Nov 2, 7:47 am ET

ARLINGTON, Texas (Reuters) – The San Francisco Giants were able to savor a first World Series triumph in 56 years when they beat the Texas Rangers 3-1 in Game Five of the best-of-seven Major League Baseball championship on Monday.

Shortstop Edgar Renteria stroked a three-run homer to left-center field in the seventh inning off Texas ace Cliff Lee to break up a scoreless stalemate and give a masterful Tim Lincecum his second victory of the series.

Renteria, who also homered for the first run of San Francisco’s Game Two victory, was named World Series MVP after batting .412 in the Giants’ 4-1 triumph to end a patchy season on the highest note possible.

18 BP ups spill cost estimate by $8 billion as profits dive

By Tom Bergin, Reuters

Tue Nov 2, 6:17 am ET

LONDON (Reuters) – BP lifted its estimate of the likely cost of its Gulf of Mexico oil spill to $40 billion on Tuesday, denting profits, but its underlying performance beat all expectations on higher refining margins and a lower tax rate.

BP, the world’s biggest non-government controlled oil company by production last year, said delays in capping its blown-out well prompted the increased charge for ending the leak, cleaning up the damage and compensating those affected.

The charge, up by $7.7 billion, pushed third-quarter replacement cost profit, which strips out unrealized gains or losses related to changes in the value of fuel inventories, down 63 percent to $1.8 billion.

19 Court keeps military ban on gays during appeal

By Steve Gorman, Reuters

Mon Nov 1, 7:30 pm ET

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A federal appeals court on Monday ordered the U.S. military’s ban on openly gay troops to remain in place while the Obama administration challenges a lower-court opinion declaring the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law unconstitutional.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals effectively ruled that the ban should remain in effect for the duration of a landmark legal battle that briefly forced the U.S. military to welcome openly gay recruits for the first time, then shut them out again.

Monday’s order extends a temporary stay the 9th Circuit issued on October 20 lifting an injunction imposed the week before by U.S. District Judge Virginia Phillips when she ordered a halt to further enforcement of the law.

20 Series of rapid-fire blasts in Iraq kills 76

By REBECCA SANTANA, Associated Press

14 mins ago

BAGHDAD – Rapid-fire bombings and mortar strikes in mostly Shiite neighborhoods of Baghdad killed 76 people and wounded nearly 200 on Tuesday, calling into question the ability of Iraqi security forces to protect the capital.

The blasts – at least 13 separate attacks – came just two days after gunmen in Baghdad held a Christian congregation hostage in a siege that ended with 58 people dead. Tuesday morning, hundreds of Christians gathered at a downtown church to mourn their lost brethren.

“They murdered us today and on Sunday, they killed our brother, the Christians,” said Hussein al-Saiedi, a 26-year-old resident of the Shiite slum of Sadr City where 21 people were killed in the most deadly incident of the day. He said he was talking to friends on a busy street, when the blast occurred.

21 Court hears arguments on violent video games

By JESSE J. HOLLAND, Associated Press

17 mins ago

WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court on Tuesday expressed sympathy for a California law that aims to keep children from buying ultra-violent video games in which players maim, kill or sexually assault images of people. But several justices said the law faces a high constitutional hurdle before going into effect.

The high court has been reluctant to carve out exceptions to the First Amendment, striking down a ban on so-called “crush videos” that showed actual deaths of animals earlier this year.

California officials argue that they should be allowed to limit minors’ ability to pick up violent video games on their own at retailers because of the purported damage they cause.

22 Bold Republicans bidding for control in Congress

By DAVID ESPO, AP Special Correspondent

19 mins ago

WASHINGTON – Confident of major gains, Republicans challenged the Democrats’ grip on power in Congress on Tuesday in midterm elections shadowed by recession and stirred by the rebellion of tea party conservatives.

All 435 seats in the House were on the ballot, plus 37 in the Senate. An additional 37 governors’ races gave Republicans ample opportunity for further gains halfway through President Barack Obama’s term.

“This is going to be a big day,” House Republican leader John Boehner, in line to become speaker if the GOP wins the House, said after voting near his West Chester, Ohio, home. For those who think the government is spending too much and bailing out too many, he said, “This is their opportunity to be heard.”

23 Obama: Agenda ‘all at risk’ in any Republican romp

By MARK S. SMITH, Associated Press

20 mins ago

WASHINGTON – Even with voting already under way, President Barack Obama furiously worked the phones to urban-format radio stations Tuesday, arguing that his agenda would be “all at risk” if Republicans trampled Democrats.

“We need to keep moving forward, that’s why I need folks to vote today,” Obama told listeners to KPWR in Los Angeles.

Interrupting the music and chat of the station’s morning show, Obama phoned in from the Oval Office to acknowledge voter frustration with the recession-bound economy – and say that even though he’s not on the ballot, his agenda is.

24 Legalize-pot activists push for upset win in Calif

By DAVID CRARY and LISA LEFF, Associated Press

21 mins ago

SAN FRANCISCO – California voters decided Tuesday whether to make their state the first to legalize recreational marijuana, drawing worldwide attention atop the 160 ballot measures in 37 states that also included divisive proposals to slash taxes and ban abortion.

The California proposal – titled the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act – would allow adults 21 and over to possess up to an ounce of pot, consume it in nonpublic places as long as no children were present and grow it in small private plots.

The initiative, Proposition 19 on the state ballot, would authorize local governments to permit commercial pot cultivation, as well as the sale and use of marijuana at licensed establishments.

25 BP not spearheading oil industry move back in Gulf

By JANE WARDELL and ROBERT BARR, Associated Press

55 mins ago

LONDON – Oil company BP PLC shied away from spearheading any industry rush back into the Gulf of Mexico as it revealed Tuesday that the cost of its devastating oil spill has jumped to $40 billion – taking the shine off a return to profit in the third quarter.

Chief Executive Bob Dudley was forced to raise the likely cost of the worst oil spill in U.S. history by $7.7 billion because of delays to the final capping of the busted Macondo well.

That dragged down third quarter net income by more than 60 percent compared to a year ago, to $1.79 billion from $5.3 billion. But underlying replacement cost profit – a key industry benchmark that excludes the one-time cost of the spill – came in at $5.5 billion, beating analysts’ forecasts of $4.6 billion.

26 Berlusconi: Better to love women than gays

By NICOLE WINFIELD, Associated Press

2 hrs 15 mins ago

ROME – Premier Silvio Berlusconi dismissed calls Tuesday to resign over his involvement with an underage Moroccan runaway – and even created a new uproar by claiming it was better to love beautiful girls than gays.

His comments sparked outrage from gay rights groups and fueled new calls for him to step down.

Opposition politicians have charged that Berlusconi abused his office by calling Milan police in May when the then-17-year-old runaway nicknamed Ruby was detained for alleged theft. Newspapers have reported that Berlusconi told police that a local party official would take custody of the girl, who had visited Berlusconi’s Milan villa on at least one occasion.

27 Voters cast ballots; Control of Congress at stake

By CALVIN WOODWARD, Associated Press

Tue Nov 2, 12:25 pm ET

WASHINGTON – The fate of the Democratic Congress was put before voters Tuesday in midterm elections that drew Americans to balloting stations starting before dawn, some clamoring for change, others digging in their heels against resurgent Republicans. Expectations took hold in both camps that the political order was in for a makeover in these anxious times.

In the middle-class Cleveland suburb of Parma Heights, Ohio, Fred Peck, 48, explained his vote for Republicans – and by extension against President Barack Obama’s agenda – by pointing to a 20 percent increase in his health care premiums and the declining value of his retirement fund. “I see nothing changing for the better,” said Peck, who works in university campus maintenance.

In Miami’s liberal Coconut Grove neighborhood, teacher Steve Wise, 28, voted for independent Charlie Crist for the Senate and Democrats for other offices. Mostly, he welcomed the end of a national campaign so often toxic in its tone. “I just want this day to be over,” he said. “Because it’s been too much – political ads, newscasts, too much talking heads. I just want to move on and get this country back.”

28 Beleaguered Haiti braces for possible hurricane

By JONATHAN M. KATZ, Associated Press

2 hrs 26 mins ago

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – A hurricane may hit Haiti this week, adding to the woes of a nation where cholera is spreading in the countryside and more than 1 million earthquake survivors have only a plastic tarp or tent to protect them.

A U.S. Navy vessel, the amphibious warfare ship Iwo Jima, was steaming toward Haiti on Tuesday to provide disaster relief in case Tropical Storm Tomas strikes late in the week as forecast, possibly as a Category 2 hurricane.

The storm has already caused 14 deaths in the eastern Caribbean. Haiti issued its highest storm warning to inform people they may need to evacuate – though most have nowhere to go.

29 Fed poised to buy more bonds to try to aid economy

JEANNINE AVERSA, AP Economics Writer

Tue Nov 2, 7:28 am ET

WASHINGTON – With unemployment at 9.6 percent, the Federal Reserve is all but certain this week to launch a new program to try to fortify the economy. Yet the program isn’t expected to do much to ease a crisis that’s left nearly 15 million people jobless.

On Tuesday, Chairman Ben Bernanke opens a two-day meeting where he will help craft a Fed plan to buy more government bonds. The idea is for those purchases to further drive down interest rates on mortgages and other loans. Cheaper loans might then lead people to spend more. The economy would benefit. And companies would step up hiring.

That’s the plan, anyway. But many question whether the Fed’s new plan will provide much benefit.

30 Giants give City by the Bay its long-awaited title

By BEN WALKER, AP Baseball Writer

Tue Nov 2, 4:29 am ET

ARLINGTON, Texas – Buster Posey caught the final strike, started to rush the mound, then stopped and turned toward the dugout.

The rookie catcher wasn’t quite sure what to do or where to go. Hard to blame him, either. It’s not as if the San Francisco Giants win the World Series every day.

More than a half-century after moving West, the Giants are taking the trophy to the city by the Bay for the first time. Tim Lincecum was wicked on the mound, Edgar Renteria broke a scoreless duel with a three-run homer in the seventh inning and San Francisco beat the Texas Rangers 3-1 in a tense Game 5 Monday night.

31 Early clues: What to watch in Tuesday’s elections

By NANCY BENAC, Associated Press

Mon Nov 1, 9:37 pm ET

WASHINGTON – How early will America know if it’s a Republican romp or if Democrats somehow minimized their damage? There should be plenty of clues Tuesday evening – and long before bedtime. Final results in some states might not be known for days. But trends could be evident from the Midwest and South – especially from Indiana, Kentucky and West Virginia – even before most of the nation has finished dinner.

Six states have polls that close at 7 p.m. EDT, and 16 more close by 8 p.m., featuring plenty of telling races in the East and Midwest. First up: Indiana, Kentucky, South Carolina, Georgia, Virginia and Vermont, offering the first hard evidence of just how big a night it’s going to be for Republicans.

Not even their mothers expect the Democrats to gain ground. It’s just a question of whether they fall back or over a cliff.

32 Appeals court hints at tossing part of Arizona law

By PAUL ELIAS, Associated Press

Mon Nov 1, 9:38 pm ET

SAN FRANCISCO – Arizona’s immigration law faced tough scrutiny from a federal appeals panel Monday as the state’s governor appeared in person to support the controversial provision on the day before the election in which she’s seeking her first full term.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals signaled it was ready to toss out the provision of Arizona’s law that criminalizes the failure to carry immigration papers showing lawful residency in the United States.

But the three-judge panel didn’t tip its hand over which way it was leaning on other provisions of the state law that touched off a national furor when Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed it April 23. The federal government filed a lawsuit soon after to invalidate the measure.

33 Conn. Senate hopefuls stump for last-minute votes

By SUSAN HAIGH, Associated Press

Mon Nov 1, 10:58 pm ET

MIDDLETOWN, Conn. – Democrat Richard Blumenthal and Republican Linda McMahon traveled across the state on Monday to meet with committed supporters in their U.S. Senate race while trying to drum up new ones before Tuesday’s election.

Both candidates said they felt momentum building for their respective campaigns as a new Quinnipiac University poll gave Blumenthal a nine percentage point lead.

Meanwhile, McMahon’s husband, Vince McMahon, the CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, announced the WWE had reluctantly agreed to stop plans to give away merchandise to voters near the polls after receiving a warning from the U.S. Department of Justice.

34 Ex-Rep. Condit: No involvement in Levy killing

By MATTHEW BARAKAT, Associated Press

Mon Nov 1, 7:51 pm ET

WASHINGTON – Former California Rep. Gary Condit told jurors Monday that he didn’t murder Chandra Levy and insisted he cooperated fully with police when they investigated the Washington intern’s disappearance nearly a decade ago.

But he continued to evade direct questions on cross-examination about whether he had an intimate relationship with Levy, saying “we’re all entitled to some level of privacy.”

A Salvadoran immigrant, Ingmar Guandique, is on trial for murdering and attempting to assault Levy back in 2001. Prosecutors say Guandique had a history of assaulting female joggers in Rock Creek Park, where Levy’s remains were found.

35 Future teachers must show, not just tell, skills

By CHRIS WILLIAMS, Associated Press

30 mins ago

ST. PAUL, Minn. – Standing at the edge of a pond surrounded by her class of fourth-graders, Jasmine Zeppa filled a bucket with brown water and lectured her pupils on the science of observing and recording data. Many of the children seemed more interested in nearby geese, a passing jogger and the crunchy leaves underfoot.

Zeppa’s own professor from St. Catherine University stood nearby and recorded video of it all.

“I think it went as well as it possibly could have, given her experience,” the professor, Susan Gibbs Goetz, said. Her snap review: The 25-year-old Zeppa could have done a better job holding the students’ attention, but did well building on past lessons.

36 Voters carry anxiety, disappointment to the polls

By ERIN McCLAM, Associated Press

2 hrs 19 mins ago

The millions of Americans voting in midterm elections Tuesday were not always sure what they wanted, or even whom. But they knew they were unhappy — uneasy about the economy, frustrated with the direction of the country and dissatisfied with politics.

On an Election Day that seemed a long way from 2008, disappointment was the theme.

“I’d like to find somebody to blame,” said Kimberly Abrudan, a customer service manager who had voted at a Delaware charter school for Democrat Chris Coons for Senate. “It would make things a lot easier. But I’m not convinced that it’s any one man.”

37 PAC treasurer testifies at DeLay laundering trial

By JUAN A. LOZANO, Associated Press

Tue Nov 2, 12:37 pm ET

AUSTIN, Texas – The ex-treasurer of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay’s political action committee told jurors Tuesday there was nothing wrong with the PAC collecting corporate money, as long as it didn’t go to candidates.

Prosecutors contend that the former House majority leader used his PAC to illegally funnel $190,000 in corporate donations into Texas legislative races eight years ago.

DeLay, who was spending Election Day in court, is charged with money laundering and conspiracy to commit money laundering. He has denied any wrongdoing. If convicted, Delay could face up to life in prison.

38 Recall election scheduled for city of Bell

By JOHN ROGERS, Associated Press

Tue Nov 2, 4:02 am ET

BELL, Calif. – The crowd outside Bell City Hall erupted in cheers when the City Council for the scandal-plagued Los Angeles suburb voted to hold a recall election, although many were not happy that they couldn’t watch the historic moment in person.

Minutes earlier, police had cleared the City Council chambers of a raucous audience of about 100 recall supporters after one of them had offended a council member who then briefly walked out.

After the audience left and the member returned, the council quickly voted 3-0 to schedule a recall vote on March 8. On that day local residents will go to the polls to determine whether to boot Mayor Oscar Hernandez, Vice Mayor Teresa Jacobo and Councilman George Mirabal from office and replace them with three candidates for City Council.

39 Woman convicted in deadly Pa. collar bomb robbery

By JOE MANDAK, Associated Press

Tue Nov 2, 4:01 am ET

ERIE, Pa. – Barring appeals, Marjorie Diehl-Armstrong will spend the rest of her life in federal prison for her conviction in a disjointed and deadly plot that killed a pizza delivery driver who was forced to rob a bank wearing a metal bomb collar that later exploded.

The driver, Brian Wells, of Erie, was 46 when one of two pipe bombs connected to egg timers exploded at the base of his neck – an FBI bomb expert said the other pipe bomb malfunctioned and was thrust away from Wells’ body by the blast on Aug. 28, 2003. Wells’ grisly fate can still be viewed on bootleg news footage on the Internet, and his highly publicized death has spawned a Wikipedia page and countless conspiracy theories belying his previously inconspicuous life. His siblings continue to claim he had no role in the plot and was a purely innocent victim.

The 61-year-old Diehl-Armstrong, who has metastasized breast cancer according to her attorney, is already serving seven to 20 years in prison for pleading guilty but mentally ill to the murder of her live-in boyfriend, James Roden, 45. Another plotter, Kenneth Barnes, 57, is serving 45 years in prison for pleading guilty two years ago to his role, but could have that sentence reduced for testifying against Diehl-Armstrong.

40 UN investigator: Migrants suffer worst racism

By EDITH M. LEDERER, Associated Press

Mon Nov 1, 10:34 pm ET

UNITED NATIONS – Migrants in Europe, the United States and many other parts of the world are subjected to the worst forms of racial discrimination and xenophobia, a U.N. independent investigator said Monday.

Githu Muigai, a Kenyan lawyer, said many other groups are also victims including ethnic minorities attacked because of their minority status, individuals stopped and searched because of their perceived religious or ethnic background, and soccer players insulted because of their color.

He reiterated his opposition to Arizona’s controversial immigration law because it compromises basic international human rights that migrants are entitled to.

41 Appeals court extends life of gay military policy

By LISA LEFF, Associated Press

Mon Nov 1, 7:33 pm ET

SAN FRANCISCO – A federal appeals court on Monday indefinitely extended its freeze on a judge’s order halting enforcement of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, heightening pressure on the Obama administration to persuade the U.S. Senate to repeal the law before a new Congress is sworn in.

A divided three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals granted the U.S. government’s request for a stay while it challenges the trial court’s ruling that the ban on openly gay service members is unconstitutional.

The same panel, composed of two judges appointed by President Ronald Reagan and one appointed by President Bill Clinton, on Oct. 20 imposed a temporary hold keeping “don’t ask, don’t tell” in place.

42 Warnings abound in enforcing immigration job rules

By MANUEL VALDES, Associated Press

Mon Nov 1, 5:12 pm ET

SEATTLE – They cost clothing chain Abercrombie & Fitch $1 million in fines, tripped up Meg Whitman’s campaign for California governor, prompted mass layoffs across the country and have been at the center of countless other workplace immigration disputes.

An obscure federal document called the I-9 form has emerged as a contentious element in the national immigration debate since the Obama administration vowed to go after employers who hire undocumented workers. Employers must fill out and sign the form, which requires them to acknowledge, under penalty of perjury, that they examined documents that allow an employee to work.

The Obama administration a year ago announced plans to ramp up I-9 audits – a shift from the notorious work site raids common under the Bush administration.

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