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Nov 14 2010

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Newly freed Suu Kyi prepares to address supporters

AFP

29 mins ago

YANGON (AFP) – Myanmar’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi is set to rally her many supporters Sunday with a rare political address on her first full day of freedom after release from years of house arrest.

The daughter of Myanmar’s independence hero carries a weight of expectation among her followers for a better future for the nation after almost half a century of military dictatorship.

A crowd of thousands roared its approval on Saturday after the Nobel Peace Prize Winner — who has been locked up for most of the past two decades — appeared after the end of her latest seven-year stretch of detention.

2 Suu Kyi supporters hope, pray for her freedom

AFP

Fri Nov 12, 4:22 pm ET

YANGON (AFP) – Myanmar’s detained democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi could be just hours away from freedom Saturday as her many supporters wait anxiously for the end of her current term of house arrest.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner, still seen as the biggest threat to the junta after almost five decades of military dictatorship, has been locked up for most of the past two decades.

The 65-year-old dissident’s most recent 18-month sentence is due to end on Saturday and the authorities have said her release is imminent, even though some fear the generals may find an excuse to extend it.

3 World leaders hail Suu Kyi’s release

AFP

Sat Nov 13, 11:48 am ET

PARIS (AFP) – World leaders hailed the release of Myanmar’s democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi from years of house arrest Saturday but warned the country’s junta not to restrict her, even as a senior government official insisted she was “completely free”.

US President Barack Obama said that “while the Burmese regime has gone to extraordinary lengths to isolate and silence Aung San Suu Kyi, she has continued her brave fight for democracy, peace, and change in Burma.”

“She is a hero of mine and a source of inspiration for all who work to advance basic human rights in Burma and around the world,” said Obama in a statement, using the country’s former name.

4 Myanmar frees democracy icon Suu Kyi

by Hla Hla Htay, AFP

Sat Nov 13, 11:46 am ET

YANGON (AFP) – Myanmar’s pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi walked free on Saturday after seven years as a prisoner in her own home, calling on a sea of jubilant supporters to unite in the face of repression.

Waving and smiling, the Nobel Peace Prize winner appeared outside the crumbling lakeside mansion where she had been locked up by the military rulers, to huge cheers and clapping from the waiting crowds.

“We must work together in unison,” she told thousands of waiting people, suggesting she has no intention of giving up her long fight for democracy in what is one of the world’s oldest dictatorships.

5 Airbase attacked, 10 killed in Afghan market bombing

by Sardar Ahmad, AFP

1 hr 48 mins ago

KABUL (AFP) – The Taliban launched a pre-dawn attack on a major NATO base in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday, triggering a firefight with foreign and Afghan forces that left eight militants dead.

Another 10 people, including three children, were killed in a motorcycle bombing at a market in a remote area of northern Afghanistan in an attack apparently targeting a local pro-government militia leader.

NATO later announced that three foreign troops were killed in southern Afghanistan after an insurgent attack, without giving further details.

6 Iraqi MPs salvage power-sharing pact after walk-out

by Salam Faraj, AFP

2 hrs 44 mins ago

BAGHDAD (AFP) – Iraqi lawmakers appeared on Saturday to have salvaged a power-sharing deal that gives Nuri al-Maliki a second term as premier, days after a dramatic walk-out from parliament by his former rivals.

The pact, which has looked fragile since being signed on Wednesday, has been lauded by world leaders, including US President Barack Obama, as a step forward in a country without a new government since elections in March.

Leaders from the three main parties to the pact met before a session of parliament on Saturday and agreed to reconcile their differences and address the protests of the Sunni-backed bloc led by former premier Iyad Allawi.

7 Iraq MPs attempt to salvage power-sharing deal

by Prashant Rao, AFP

Sat Nov 13, 9:17 am ET

BAGHDAD (AFP) – Iraqi lawmakers were attempting on Saturday to salvage a frayed power-sharing pact that gives Nuri al-Maliki a second term as premier, after a dramatic walk-out from parliament by his former rivals.

The deal, which has looked fragile since it was signed late on Wednesday, has been lauded by world leaders, including US President Barack Obama, as a step forward in a country without a new government since inconclusive elections in March.

After some 60 MPs from the Sunni-backed bloc of former premier Iyad Allawi stormed out of parliament on Thursday over accusations the agreement was not being honoured, lawmakers from all the major political parties were meeting on Saturday.

8 With Haiti cholera toll rising, so do appeals for aid

by Clarens Renois, AFP

Sat Nov 13, 1:55 pm ET

PORT-AU-PRINCE (AFP) – With the death toll from Haiti’s cholera epidemic nearing 800, international organizations have stepped up appeals for funds to bring in more doctors, medicine and water purification equipment.

The United Nations is asking for 164 million dollars to fight the epidemic, which has gained strength over the past week and spread to Port-au-Prince where 1.3 million people left homeless in a massive quake in January live in makeshift camps.

“We hope we can get this, otherwise all our efforts will be over-run by the epidemic,” Elisabeth Byrs, a spokeswoman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said in Geneva Friday.

9 China rebuffs US pressure at Asian economic summit

by Frank Zeller, AFP

Sat Nov 13, 10:44 am ET

YOKOHAMA, Japan (AFP) – US President Barack Obama on Saturday used a Pacific Rim summit to press China on its flood of exports aided by a cheap yuan, but President Hu Jintao said Beijing would make reforms at its own pace.

The competing visions of the two economic giants were laid out a day after the Group of 20 knocked back US proposals for binding targets to address global trade imbalances and curbs on currency manipulation — proposals effectively aimed at China.

Obama also made an appeal to tear down trade barriers as the 21 members of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum kicked off a summit in Japan, clouded by tensions between its biggest economies.

10 Japan hosts APEC meet in shadow of rows with China, Russia

AFP

Fri Nov 12, 4:32 pm ET

YOKOHAMA, Japan (AFP) – The presidents of the United States, China and Russia were Saturday due to meet with other Pacific Rim leaders for a summit in Japan that threatens to be overshadowed by regional tensions.

US President Barack Obama and China’s Hu Jintao, who flew in after a Group of 20 summit in South Korea, have sparred over currencies and trade, while Japan is embroiled in territorial spats with both China and Russia.

The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, being held under tight security in Yokohama near Tokyo, is meant to push forward trade liberalisation in a region that accounts for more than half of global economic activity.

11 China-US spat hobbles G20 push on world economy

by Jitendra Joshi, AFP

Fri Nov 12, 7:07 pm ET

SEOUL (AFP) – G20 leaders vowed on Friday to avoid currency manipulation and trade protectionism, but bad blood between China and the United States blocked deeper progress in rebalancing the skewed global economy.

After a stormy two-day summit, the leaders of the world’s biggest rich and emerging economies agreed in a declaration to craft “indicative guidelines” to reorient imbalanced trade between surplus and deficit nations.

Due to Chinese-led resistance to binding trade targets, that was far less ambitious than sought by the United States as the world’s richest power nurses a hangover from its worst recession since the 1930s.

12 Eastern Europe’s first science centre wows in Poland

by Mary Sibierski, AFP

Fri Nov 12, 5:52 pm ET

WARSAW (AFP) – Eastern Europe can finally boast its first ultra-modern, multi-million dollar science museum in the Polish capital Warsaw, a city already drawing tens of thousands to Europe’s biggest annual outdoor science fair.

The Copernicus Science Centre is wowing its first visitors with a robot theatre, hands-on laboratories and the promise of a state-of-the-art planetarium next year for star gazers — all features science buffs know well in major museums in the West and Asia.

“Our science centre is the largest and the first such modern facility east of Berlin,” director Robert Firmhofer told AFP.

13 Film on climate change bad boy says ‘Cool It’ over panic

by Nina Larson, AFP

Sat Nov 13, 1:45 pm ET

STOCKHOLM (AFP) – Humanity has what it takes to adapt to global warming and there’s no need to panic: so goes the message in a new documentary on the bad boy of the climate change debate, Bjoern Lomborg.

The towering Dane, who catapulted onto the global stage in 2001 with his book “The Skeptical Environmentalist”, was emphatic in a telephone interview with AFP ahead of the release of the aptly entitled “Cool It”.

“Panic is not a good state of mind if you want to make sound decisions,” said the 45-year-old whose book challenged the mainstream global climate debate, which he says is exaggerating the dangers.

Moron.

14 China ‘lays down gauntlet’ at Asian Games

by Martin Parry, AFP

Sat Nov 13, 1:49 am ET

GUANGZHOU, China (AFP) – The host nation laid down the gauntlet on the opening day of the Asian Games, claiming five gold medals as cricket made its international debut in China.

The sporting extravaganza, the most ambitious Asiad so far with some 10,000 athletes from 45 countries and territories vying for gold in 42 sports, kicked into gear on Saturday after a spectacular ceremony that opened the massive showpiece.

China’s Yuan Xiaochao took the first honours, ensuring his name goes down in the history books as the first gold medal winner in Guangzhou by successfully defending the men’s Changquan title in wushu.

15 Myanmar pro-democracy leader Suu Kyi freed

By Aung Hla Tun, Reuters

2 hrs 19 mins ago

YANGON (Reuters) – Myanmar democracy champion Aung San Suu Kyi walked out of her home to rapturous cheers from thousands of supporters on Saturday after the country’s military rulers released her from seven years of house arrest.

“People must work in unison. Only then can we achieve our goal,” the Nobel Peace Prize-winner said, smiling as she clenched the top of the red-iron gate bordering her crumbling lakeside mansion, her hair pinned with flowers from a supporter.

“When the time comes to talk, do not be quiet,” she added.

16 IMF says Ireland can manage amid EU rescue talks

By Jan Strupczewski and Carmel Crimmins, Reuters

Sat Nov 13, 2:02 pm ET

BRUSSELS/DUBLIN (Reuters) – Ireland can manage on its own, the head of the International Monetary Fund said on Saturday, a day after euro zone sources told Reuters the former “Celtic Tiger” was in talks about a possible EU rescue.

IMF Managing Director Dominique Strauss-Kahn told reporters on the sidelines of an Asia=Pacific conference in Yokohama, Japan, that Ireland had not asked the Fund for aid.

“So far I have not had a request, and I think Ireland can manage well,” he said.

17 Ireland in aid talks with EU, rescue likely: sources

By Jan Strupczewski and Padraic Halpin, Reuters

Fri Nov 12, 2:59 pm ET

BRUSSELS/DUBLIN (Reuters) – Ireland is in talks to receive emergency funding from the European Union and is likely to become the second euro zone country after Greece to obtain an international rescue, official sources said on Friday.

Irish borrowing costs have shot to record highs this week because of concern about the country’s ability to reduce a public debt burden swollen by bank bailouts, and worries that private bond holders could be forced to shoulder part of the costs of any bailout by taking “haircuts” on their holdings.

Government officials in Dublin have denied repeatedly that they plan to tap EU funds, and an Irish finance ministry spokesman said after the Reuters story was published that there were “no talks on an application for emergency funding from the European Union.”

18 French government resigns ahead of reshuffle

By James Regan, Reuters

1 hr 13 mins ago

PARIS (Reuters) – France’s government resigned on Saturday in a procedural move designed to allow President Nicolas Sarkozy to inject some fresh blood into his cabinet and boost his re-election chances in 2012.

Prime Minister Francois Fillon handed in his government’s resignation ahead of a long-awaited ministerial reshuffle expected in the coming days.

“The president has accepted this resignation,” Sarkozy’s office said in a statement after meetings between Sarkozy and Fillon earlier in the day.

19 U.S. and China stick to guns on global balancing at APEC

By Kiyoshi Takenaka and Gleb Bryanski, Reuters

Sat Nov 13, 7:17 am ET

YOKOHAMA, Japan (Reuters) – Cracks between advanced and emerging economies that were papered over by the G20 resurfaced at an Asia-Pacific summit Saturday, with Washington and Beijing returning to their positions on trade and currencies.

U.S. President Barack Obama warned countries such as China against relying too much on exports for growth, and Chinese President Hu Jintao reiterated Beijing’s commitment to a gradual reform of its exchange rate regime.

“One of the important lessons the economic crisis taught us is the limits of depending primarily on American consumers and Asian exports to drive economic growth,” Obama told a forum of Asia-Pacific business leaders.

20 GM has orders for $60 billion in stock: sources

By Clare Baldwin and Soyoung Kim, Reuters

Fri Nov 12, 7:02 pm ET

NEW YORK (Reuters) – General Motors Co’s landmark initial public offering has already garnered $60 billion in orders, six times the amount it had planned to raise, in a sign of healthy investor interest for the massive automaker that was in desperate straits just over a year ago.

The robust demand for shares of GM, the American industrial icon which filed for bankruptcy in June 2009, underscores growing investor confidence the auto industry has come through the punishing downturn of the past two years with sharply lower costs and higher profit potential.

GM’s IPO is expected to price on Wednesday. The shares are expected to start trading on the New York and Toronto stock exchanges on Thursday.

21 Taliban mount series of attacks in Afghanistan

By Rafiq Sherzad, Reuters

Sat Nov 13, 11:52 am ET

JALALABAD, Afghanistan (Reuters) – Taliban fighters attacked a foreign military base at the main airport in eastern Afghanistan on Saturday, one of four incidents in 24 hours that marked a sudden upswing in violence.

Militants mounted attacks in Jalalabad and Kunar in the east and in Kunduz in the north, after an attack in the capital Kabul on Friday, apparently demonstrating their continuing strength despite NATO-led forces stating that they have made gains.

The attacks will send a message to NATO leaders meeting in Lisbon next week that the Taliban remain a formidable enemy. European NATO leaders are under particular pressure because popular support for the drawn-out war is sagging.

22 G20 closes ranks but skims over toughest tasks

By Alex Richardson and David Ljunggren, Reuters

Fri Nov 12, 3:37 pm ET

SEOUL (Reuters) – G20 leaders closed ranks on Friday and agreed to a watered-down commitment to watch out for dangerous imbalances, yet offered investors little proof the world was any safer from economic catastrophe.

After an acrimonious start, developed and emerging nations agreed at a summit in Seoul to set vague “indicative guidelines” for measuring imbalances between their multi-speed economies. But they called a timeout to let tempers cool and left the details to be discussed in the first half of 2011.

European leaders broke away for their own mini gathering in the middle of the summit to discuss a deepening credit crisis in Ireland. Euro zone sources said Ireland is in talks to receive emergency funding from the European Union, in an apparent deja-vu of Greece six months ago.

23 Report cautions Obama on high cost of Afghan war

By David Alexander, Reuters

Fri Nov 12, 2:19 pm ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – An independent task force cautioned President Barack Obama on Friday about the high cost of the Afghanistan war and said he should consider a narrow military mission if his December review finds the current strategy is not working.

The 25-member task force, led by former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and former national security adviser Samuel Berger, said it saw “hopeful signs” in Afghanistan, such as improved training of security forces, but other trends were less encouraging.

“The cloudy picture and high costs raise the question of whether the United States should now downsize its ambitions and reduce its military presence in Afghanistan,” the task force said in a 98-page report.

24 Special Report: The two lives of Angela Merkel

By Andreas Rinke and Stephen Brown, Reuters

Fri Nov 12, 6:59 am ET

BERLIN (Reuters) – German conservative party headquarters is rocking. To the heavy thud of AC/DC, hundreds of young party members throng the foyer of Konrad Adenauer House in Berlin waving posters and talking over the music.

Music over, they listen with rapt attention and regular applause to Germany’s most popular politician — approval rating a record 74 percent — speak about passion and leadership. With Germany taking on a more assured and outspoken role in Europe, its economy moving into what the economy minister has called an “XL recovery”, and no national elections to worry about for three years, there’s every reason for Angela Merkel’s government to bask in the glow of success.

Unfortunately for the German chancellor, neither she nor her Christian Democratic Party (CDU) is the object of the chants and adulation at this rally of young conservatives on a Saturday afternoon in October. Instead, the calls — “KT! KT! KT!” — refer to Merkel’s debonair 38-year-old defense minister from the CDU’s smaller, more conservative Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU). “KT” is Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg — or to give him his full dues, Karl Theodor Maria Nikolaus Johann Jacob Philipp Franz Joseph Sylvester, Baron von und zu Guttenberg. Pictures of Guttenberg and his wife Stephanie, the great-great-granddaughter of the “Iron Chancellor” Otto von Bismarck — architect of German unification in the 19th century — frequently decorate the covers of newspapers and magazines.

25 Private banks keep hiring as rich get richer

By Tommy Wilkes, Reuters

Fri Nov 12, 6:02 am ET

LONDON (Reuters) – Private banks will sharply expand headcount in coming years to capitalize on the growing number of wealthy individuals in Asia, dismissing concerns that aggressive hiring is out of sync with a tentative recovery in revenues.

Hiring sprees this year have taken some firms beyond their pre-crisis staffing levels, as banks believe growth in Asia, and robust revenues elsewhere, will support the expansion.

Citi for instance plans to add between 100 and 200 senior staff to its private bank over the next few years, Dena Brumpton, chief operating officer at its private bank, told Reuters.

26 Myanmar democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi released

Associated Press

23 mins ago

YANGON, Myanmar – Pro-democracy hero Aung San Suu Kyi walked free Saturday after more than seven years under house arrest, welcomed by thousands of cheering supporters outside the decaying lakefront villa that has been her prison.

Her guards effectively announced the end of her detention, pulling back the barbed-wire barriers that sealed off her potholed street and suddenly allowing thousands of expectant supporters to surge toward the house. Many chanted her name as they ran. Some wept.

A few minutes later, with the soldiers and police having evaporated into the Yangon twilight, she climbed atop a stepladder behind the gate as the crowd began singing the national anthem.

27 Supporters await Suu Kyi’s release in Myanmar

Associated Press

Sat Nov 13, 12:57 am ET

YANGON, Myanmar – Supporters of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi gathered near her home and at her party’s headquarters Saturday, hoping to see the Nobel Peace Prize laureate taste freedom after seven years of detention by Myanmar’s ruling generals.

Scores of people holding a vigil were disappointed that she was not given an early release Friday night, but colleagues said an order to set her free had already been signed by Myanmar’s junta. The period of her latest detention expires Saturday.

Jailed or under house arrest for more than 15 of the last 21 years, Suu Kyi has become a symbol for a struggle to rid the Southeast Asian country of decades of military rule.

28 Insurgents attack NATO base in eastern Afghanistan

By RAHIM FAIEZ, Associated Press

12 mins ago

KABUL, Afghanistan – Insurgents wearing suicide vests Saturday stormed a major NATO base in eastern Afghanistan, with six of them dying in a hail of gunfire before they could penetrate the defenses. Ten people including three children died in a separate bombing in the north.

The attacks – in Jalalabad in the east and Kunduz province in the north – show the insurgents’ fighting spirit has not been broken despite a surge of U.S. troops and firepower.

They also demonstrate the guerrillas are capable of striking outside their traditional southern strongholds of Kandahar and Helmand provinces that are the focus of the U.S. surge.

29 Election shows work for Obama to win back voters

By LIZ “Sprinkles” SIDOTI AND JENNIFER AGIESTA, Associated Press

58 mins ago

WASHINGTON – Near the midpoint of his presidency, Barack Obama’s diverse voter coalition reveals giant cracks and he faces major work repairing his standing among independents in states crucial to his re-election chances.

Catholics. Older people. Women. Young adults. They shifted toward Republicans in this month’s elections and failed to support Obama’s Democratic Party as they did in 2008.

Two years before voters render judgment on his tenure, Obama’s most critical task may be winning back those who aren’t affiliated with a party but who hold enormous sway in close contests. National exit polls from the midterm elections show these voters broke heavily for Republicans after helping elect Obama and Democrats in the two previous elections.

30 GOP lawmakers take tough stand on Bush tax cuts

By STEPHEN OHLEMACHER, Associated Press

1 hr 1 min ago

WASHINGTON – Fresh off big victories on Election Day, Republicans in Congress feel empowered in their fight to extend tax cuts that expire in January, including those for the wealthy.

President Barack Obama has said he wants to compromise with Republicans to ensure that tax cuts for middle-income families continue, suggesting he’s open to extending all the tax breaks for a year or two. Republican leaders say it’s a nice gesture by the president, but some key GOP lawmakers want more.

“It should be permanent,” said Sen. Judd Gregg, R-N.H. “We’ve got to get this economy to pick up and if you raise taxes you’re going to stifle the economy significantly. I’m sure that somebody’s explained that to the president.”

31 [Government sells spoils of Madoff’s lavish life ]http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101113/ap_on_bi_ge/us_madoff_auction

By VERENA DOBNIK, Associated Press

37 mins ago

NEW YORK – Anyone wanting to walk in the shoes of fallen financier Bernard Madoff was in luck Saturday: Thousands of belongings from his New York City penthouse, including his used shoes, went on the auction block.

An anonymous bidder paid the highest price of the auction – $550,000 – for a 10.5-carat diamond engagement ring that belonged to Madoff’s wife, Ruth. The winning bid topped the $300,000 minimum pre-sale estimate.

Ruth Madoff’s French diamond earrings fetched the next highest price. Valued at $100,000 to $137,500, they went for $135,000 to an undisclosed buyer.

32 Palin’s TV series a stage for political future?

By RACHEL D’ORO, Associated Press

1 hr 1 min ago

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – “Sarah Palin’s Alaska” portrays the show’s heroine as an adventure-loving wife and mother enjoying a whirlwind of activities amid spectacular settings in her home state. There are no overt clues to her future political ambitions.

However, throughout the first episode of the eight-part TLC documentary series beginning Sunday, Palin’s outdoorsy image against the stunning scenery often plays nicely with her familiar political message.

One telling scene shows Palin and members of her family fishing near a bear and two frolicking cubs. Cut to the Tea Party darling and her self-sufficiency speech. For months, Palin has referred to strong Republican female candidates as “mama grizzlies.”

33 Freshmen arrive for crash-course on Congress

By LAURIE KELLMAN and JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS, Associated Press

21 mins ago

WASHINGTON – Where to live? Whom to hire? What’s a voting card – and where are the bathrooms? More than 100 members of Congress arrive in Washington this coming week for the first time since winning election, trading the loftiness of campaign speeches for mundane lessons in how to do their new jobs.

It’s freshman orientation on Capitol Hill, and the larger-than-usual class of 2010 is getting a crash course on how to navigate the next two years.

Talk of changing the nation’s direction? That’s on the back burner for now. The newly elected House members – 85 Republicans, a meager nine Democrats – need actual directions around their new workplace. The Senate is having its own orientation at the same time.

34 After G-20 rancor, Pac Rim leaders push free trade

By ELAINE KURTENBACH, Associated Press

Sat Nov 13, 7:25 am ET

YOKOHAMA, Japan – Leaders of the world’s three biggest economies – the U.S., China and Japan – all pledged Saturday to push for free trade, apparently putting aside acrimony over currencies that threatens to revive pressure to raise trade barriers.

The promises not to backslide into retaliatory trade tactics came at an annual summit of Pacific Rim leaders, just a day after a divisive summit of the Group of 20 major economies in South Korea.

Speaking to a conference on the sidelines of the summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum in Yokohama, Chinese President Hu Jintao vowed to keep his country’s markets open and seek more balanced trade, while gradually adjusting the value of the Chinese currency – which Washington complains is undervalued.

35 Big stock offerings next week could boost markets

By DANIEL WAGNER, AP Business Writer

Sat Nov 13, 10:28 am ET

WASHINGTON – In the world of new stock offerings, everything about next week is big: The number of deals, the amount of money expected to be raised and the profiles of the companies going public – and now the world’s most populous nation may be getting into the mix.

While there are at least 10 companies lining up to sell new stock to the public next week, automaker General Motors Co. is the star of the show with its plan to sell about $10 billion in stock on Nov. 18. According to a Wall Street Journal report, SAIC Motor Corp., China’s biggest automaker and GM joint-venture partner, may make a $500 million investment in the Detroit company. State-owned SAIC, or Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp., is one of several foreign investors who could buy GM shares as part of an initial public stock offering, the Journal said.

GM and SAIC wouldn’t comment on the report when contacted by The Associated Press.

36 AP source: WH moves to break impasse on arms pact

By DESMOND BUTLER, Associated Press

Sat Nov 13, 7:25 am ET

WASHINGTON – In a bid to win approval of a nuclear arms control treaty with Russia before newly energized Republicans increase their clout in the Senate, the Obama administration is offering to add billions of dollars in funding for the U.S. nuclear arsenal.

A congressional aide briefed on the proposed deal said White House officials outlined it to Republican Sen. Jon Kyl, who is seen as the key to winning enough support to ratify the New START treaty. The aide spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment.

The offer was for a boost of $4.1 billion in funding between 2012-2016 for the nuclear weapons complex that will go to maintaining and modernizing the arsenal and the laboratories that oversee that effort. Of that, $1 billion would cover a deficit in the pension fund for the agency in charge of the stockpile and laboratories.

37 Murkowski confident in re-election chances

By BECKY BOHRER, Associated Press

Sat Nov 13, 7:26 am ET

JUNEAU, Alaska – If wrestling with a variety of spellings for write-in candidate Sen. Lisa Murkowski’s name isn’t enough, officials counting ballots in Alaska’s U.S. Senate race are also dealing with such oddball entries as “Donald Duck,” “Elmo” and “Revolt.”

Those ballots were quickly tossed Friday even as a count showed the Republican incumbent maintaining a healthy 90 percent of the write-in vote.

Saying she feels “pretty good about the direction” the tally is headed, Murkowski expressed confidence that she’ll pull off an improbable write-in victory over Republican nominee Joe Miller.

38 Doctors brace for possible big Medicare pay cuts

By RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR, Associated Press

Sat Nov 13, 12:16 am ET

WASHINGTON – Breast cancer surgeon Kathryn Wagner has posted a warning in her waiting room about a different sort of risk to patients’ health: She’ll stop taking new Medicare cases if Congress allows looming cuts in doctors’ pay to go through.

The scheduled cuts – the result of a failed system set up years ago to control costs – have raised alarms that real damage to Medicare could result if the lame-duck Congress winds up in a partisan standoff and fails to act by Dec. 1. That’s when an initial 23 percent reduction would hit.

Neither Democrats nor newly empowered Republicans want the sudden cuts, but there’s no consensus on how to stave them off. The debate over high deficits complicates matters, since every penny going to make doctors whole will probably have to come from cuts elsewhere. A reprieve of a few months may be the likeliest outcome. That may not reassure doctors.

39 Catholic bishops: More exorcists needed

By RACHEL ZOLL, AP Religion Writer

Sat Nov 13, 12:19 am ET

NEW YORK – Citing a shortage of priests who can perform the rite, the nation’s Roman Catholic bishops are holding a conference on how to conduct exorcisms.

The two-day training, which ends Saturday in Baltimore, is to outline the scriptural basis of evil, instruct clergy on evaluating whether a person is truly possessed, and review the prayers and rituals that comprise an exorcism. Among the speakers will be Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston, Texas, and a priest-assistant to New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan.

“Learning the liturgical rite is not difficult,” DiNardo said in a phone interview before the conference, which is open to clergy only. “The problem is the discernment that the exorcist needs before he would ever attempt the rite.”

40 Republicans near extinction in Hawaii Senate

By MARK NIESSE, Associated Press

2 hrs 30 mins ago

HONOLULU – As the only Republican survivor in Hawaii’s Senate, Sam Slom worries that majority Democrats could ram their proposals into law, sink his legislation or stifle his enthusiastic speeches.

While most of the country experienced a Republican tidal wave on Election day, Slom is the last GOP stalwart in the Hawaii senate. There were two Republicans but Sen. Fred Hemmings didn’t seek re-election and a Democrat took his place.

Republicans grew in the 51-member state House, from six to eight, but still left the state with the most one-sided legislature in the country.

This is what would have happened in Congress if Institutional Democrats weren’t such fucking COWARDS!

41 China to play role in General Motors IPO

By SHARON SILKE CARTY, AP Auto Writer

2 hrs 59 mins ago

DETROIT – Among the banks helping General Motors with its initial public stock offering next week are two identified by initials only: ICBC and CICC.

Americans uncomfortable with U.S. government ownership of General Motors may want to hear more: One of those banks is the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, one of China’s four big central government banks. The other, China International Capital Corp., is a joint venture run primarily by Central Huijin Investment Ltd., an arm of the state, and Morgan Stanley.

This is the first time Chinese government banks have participated in a major U.S.-issued IPO, according to IPO tracking firm Dealogic. The banks are listed as co-managers in the offering, meaning they will sell a portion of the new shares.

42 Va. sturgeon may be key to ancient fish’s recovery

By STEVE SZKOTAK, Associated Press

Sat Nov 13, 12:44 pm ET

HOPEWELL, Va. – Researcher Matt Balazik wears his passion for saving the Atlantic sturgeon on his right arm – a tattoo of the ancient fish – and lives it by counting the bottom-feeding giants in the James River.

The 30-year-old doctoral student is part sturgeon wrangler, part census taker as he patrols the river in a small boat, checking 1,000-foot-long nets for what scientists believe is the last viable reproductive population of Atlantic sturgeon in the Chesapeake Bay. Sturgeon, which have survived virtually unchanged since the time of the dinosaurs, are dwindling worldwide under the influence of human beings.

You hear these monster fish before you see them – Atlantic sturgeon leap out of the water and land with a loud splash, like a log dropped from above.

43 Teachers take charge to save ailing public schools

By CHRISTINA HOAG, Associated Press

Sat Nov 13, 12:31 pm ET

LOS ANGELES – Four years ago, Francis Parkman Middle School was spiraling downward with plummeting enrollment, abysmal test scores and notoriety for unruliness. Then teachers stepped out of the classroom and took charge of the school.

Today, the rechristened Woodland Hills Academy, named for the school’s suburban location north of Los Angeles, is run by a teacher-controlled committee where the principal carries the same weight as a teacher and the district has minimal say in operations.

Test scores are up 18 percent and enrollment has spiked more than 30 percent. The model works, teachers say, because everyone from the principal to the janitor is vested in the outcome. “Everybody has a stake,” said teacher Bruce Newborn. “We all suffer and we all win.”

44 Brother’s transplant gift carries unbearable cost

By PAULINE ARRILLAGA, AP National Writer

Sat Nov 13, 12:06 pm ET

CASTLE ROCK, Colo. – He knows all about the stages of grief. Denial and isolation top the list. But how can he possibly deny all that’s happened? In the mirror, he sees the 14-inch scar across his abdomen. Beneath the scar, lodged below his heart, is a piece of Ryan, his brother.

Journal entry, Aug. 22: “I missed you today Ryan. It hurt so much I felt like my heart had blisters on it. God, why do we need death to reawaken what we should already know?”

The grief comes in waves, sometimes gently washing over him, sometimes crashing down hard and threatening to drown him. When the waves come, and they always do, he may cry or shut himself up in a room and talk to Ryan alone. Or he finds a quiet place and sits down with his laptop. And then he chronicles his agony and shares it with the world, processing his pain in a way that is opposite of isolation, with words that ache as his soul aches.

45 Scalia, Breyer bandy about how to decide cases

By BETSY BLANEY, Associated Press

Fri Nov 12, 10:42 pm ET

LUBBOCK, Texas – One of the most conservative justices on the U.S. Supreme Court and one of the most liberal ones sparred Friday over capital punishment, the direct election of senators and various other constitutional questions during a rare public debate that highlighted their philosophical differences.

Antonin Scalia, 74, the longest-serving current justice, appointed by Republican President Ronald Reagan, and Stephen Breyer, 72, appointed by Democrat Bill Clinton, shared the stage in front of a crowd of thousands during a West Texas event organized by Texas Tech University Law School.

They particularly clashed on the question of capital punishment.

46 AP Interview: Baucus’ dealmaking to be tested

By MATT GOURAS, Associated Press

Fri Nov 12, 7:43 pm ET

MISSOULA, Mont. – The key Senate Democrat who delayed health care reform last year while trying to get Republican buy-in is now facing the uncomfortable reality of his own prediction, leading him to weigh some bipartisan changes to his party’s signature legislation.

U.S. Sen. Max Baucus’ reputation as a dealmaker will be put to the test as he faces resurgent Republicans hostile to legislation that has been associated with him nearly as much as President Barack Obama.

The high-ranking Democrat, who has in the past drawn the ire of party faithful for seeking middle ground with Republicans, can’t escape his prediction last summer that the health care bill needed GOP votes if it was going to last the years. At the time, liberals hammered him for trying to get Republicans on board.

47 Hero pilot criticizes new FAA rules on fatigue

By CHARLES WILSON, Associated Press

Fri Nov 12, 7:21 pm ET

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – The pilot who landed a jetliner safely on the Hudson River last year said Friday that proposed rules aimed at reducing pilot fatigue could end up leaving them more tired than before and endanger passengers’ safety.

Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger spoke to reporters during a book signing at Purdue University in West Lafayette, where he was being feted as a distinguished alumnus.

The Federal Aviation Administration says the new rules set new limits on the amount of time pilots can fly in a day and the level of rest required between flights. Congress mandated the rules after a regional airline crash near Buffalo, N.Y., killed 50 people.

48 Witness: Cop said looters ‘deserved to be shot’

By MICHAEL KUNZELMAN, Associated Press

Fri Nov 12, 5:12 pm ET

NEW ORLEANS – A former New Orleans police officer on trial for gunning down a man outside a strip mall in Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath said after the shooting that looters are “animals” who “deserved to be shot,” a fellow officer testified Friday.

The former officer, David Warren, is charged with fatally shooting 31-year-old Henry Glover before two other officers allegedly burned his body in a car. Prosecutors say Glover wasn’t armed and didn’t pose a threat, but Warren’s lawyers say he thought Glover was a looter reaching for a weapon when he shot him.

Alec Brown, a former officer who left the force in 2008, testified that he and Warren argued about looters while patrolling after the 2005 hurricane. Brown said he defended people taking food, while Warren said looters “were all animals and they deserved to be shot, and that they were all destroying the city.”

2 comments

  1. ek hornbeck
  2. TMC

    early this morning. It had me smiling for most of the day.

    For the last two days there have been a rash of brush fires that have gone to multiple alarms because of threats to homes in the area. Yesterday’s was 5 alarms. Today’s, that involved clusters, went to four. One fire chief, who came in to check on some of the injured firefighters (nothing serious), said that after today there was a suspicion of arson.

    This increases the ER traffic and not just injured firefighters but civilians who want to get closer. There were several of the curious who tripped over hoses or got downwind and exacerbated their asthma or emphysema. Some people just can’t out of the way.

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