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Nov 15 2010

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Newly freed Suu Kyi calls for ‘non-violent revolution’

by Hla Hla Htay, AFP

53 mins ago

YANGON (AFP) – Newly freed democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi on Monday called for a “non-violent revolution” in Myanmar as she knuckled down to the task of rebuilding her weakened opposition movement.

Speaking at her party headquarters in Yangon, where she met senior regional members for the first time in years, she told the BBC she was sure democracy would eventually come to her country, although she did not know when.

“I think we also have to try to make this thing happen… Velvet revolution sounds a little strange in the context of the military, but a non-violent revolution. Let’s put it that way,” the 65-year-old said.

2 Suu Kyi back to work and ‘ready for dialogue’

by Hla Hla Htay, AFP

Mon Nov 15, 8:21 am ET

YANGON (AFP) – Myanmar’s newly freed Aung San Suu Kyi was “ready for dialogue” with the regime, her lawyer said Monday, as the democracy icon knuckled down to the task of rebuilding her weakened party.

The 65-year-old spent several hours at her National League for Democracy (NLD) headquarters in meetings with regional party members, ending her first day back at work in years with a trip to a Yangon monastery.

Suu Kyi was freed from house arrest on Saturday, less than a week after a controversial election that cemented the junta’s decades-long grip on power but was widely criticised by democracy activists and Western leaders as a sham.

3 Ireland in talks amid eurozone warning on debt

by Andrew Bushe, AFP

1 hr 53 mins ago

DUBLIN (AFP) – Ireland said Monday it was in contact with its international partners over its debt crisis but denied seeking a bailout as the EU warned that Dublin’s woes were a concern for the whole euro area.

Brussels and Dublin both insisted there were no formal talks despite persistent reports that Ireland was facing pressure to ask for help from a special European Union fund set up after the Greek debt crisis six months ago.

But with fears also mounting over the public finances in Greece and Portugal, Ireland said for the first time that it was in contact with international partners over its problems.

4 Greece admits breach of bailout terms as audit begins

AFP

Mon Nov 15, 11:02 am ET

ATHENS (AFP) – Greece acknowledged Monday it would breach conditions for a new instalment of a 110-billion-euro bailout as the IMF and European Union began an audit of the country’s austerity measures.

Greece’s Socialist government faced a week of tough talks with its benefactors and although bolstered by sweeping successes in local elections on Sunday, the outlook is still overshadowed by gloom on the economic front.

The Eurostat statistics agency issued its final revision of Greece’s accounts for the past four years, triggering a new forecast by Athens that its public deficit in 2010 would reach 9.4 percent of output, well above the 8.1-percent target.

5 Facebook launches new messaging service, includes email

by Glenn Chapman, AFP

1 hr 6 mins ago

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) – Facebook launched a next-generation online messaging service on Monday that includes facebook.com email addresses in a move seen as a shot across the bow of Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg unveiled what he called a “convergent” modern messaging system that “handles messages seamlessly across all the ways you want to communicate” in a single inbox.

The messaging service blends online chat, text messages and other real-time conversation tools with traditional email, which Zuckerberg said had lost favor for being too slow for young Internet users.

6 Haiti polls must go ahead despite cholera: candidates

by Clarens Renois, AFP

1 hr 34 mins ago

PORT-AU-PRINCE (AFP) – As Haiti’s cholera toll neared 1,000 Monday, candidates insisted the health crisis should not derail looming presidential polls with the rebuilding of the quake-hit nation at stake.

Less than a month after the emergence of Haiti’s first cholera outbreak in half a century, the confirmed number of fatalities is at 917 and rising by more than 50 each day on average.

At least 27 deaths have been recorded in the teeming capital Port-au-Prince, including its largest slum Cite Soleil.

7 Annual hajj reaches its peak at Arafat

by Ali Khalil, AFP

Mon Nov 15, 12:25 pm ET

ARAFAT, Saudi Arabia (AFP) – An estimated two million Muslims descended from Mount Arafat on Monday, concluding the highlight of the hajj and beginning their trip back to Mecca to finish the annual pilgrimage.

White-robed pilgrims struggled after sunset to track back from Arafat, site of the Prophet Mohammed’s last sermon, to their first stop in Muzdalifah, while buses bursting with pilgrims stood at a standstill amid huge crowds of people.

On Tuesday, the Eid al-Adha or Feast of Sacrifice, pilgrims perform the symbolic “stoning of the devil” at Mina, a ritual marked in the past by deadly stampedes before the Saudi authorities expanded the site to several levels.

8 Kitajima flops at A.Games, China goldrush continues

by Martin Parry, AFP

Mon Nov 15, 11:36 am ET

GUANGZHOU, China (AFP) – Olympic swimming champion Kosuke Kitajima flopped to finish outside the medals on Monday as the Chinese Asian Games goldrush gathered steam.

The Japanese icon, who clinched double breaststroke gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, was widely expected to win over 100m here but faded badly to finish fourth behind teammate Ryo Tateishi.

It was a stunning upset for Kitajima, who was attempting to win the 100-200m double for the third straight Asiad.

9 Myanmar people overjoyed but worry about Suu Kyi

By Aung Hla Tun, Reuters

Mon Nov 15, 10:05 am ET

YANGON (Reuters) – The release of pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi is still being celebrated in Myanmar but fears about her safety or re-arrest are running high among her adoring supporters.

The Nobel laureate and daughter of the country’s independence hero was released on Saturday after seven years in detention but many are concerned her freedom could be short-lived if the country’s oppressive army rulers decide to wield their power.

“I’m very worried about her security,” said Soe Myint, a taxi driver in Myanmar’s biggest city, Yangon.

10 Obama sees prospect of deals on tax cuts, START

By Alister Bull, Reuters

Sun Nov 14, 7:30 pm ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama said on Sunday he was hopeful of working out a deal with Republicans over tax cuts and of winning ratification of a new nuclear weapons treaty with Russia.

On his way back from a 10-day trip to Asia, Obama looked ahead to a dinner he will host on Thursday with leaders of both parties and said he believed opposition Republicans would “engage constructively.”

“There are going to be some disagreements. There may be some need for compromise,” he told reporters aboard Air Force One as he returned to Washington.

11 South Korea basks in growing global role after G20

By Jeremy Laurence, Reuters

Mon Nov 15, 3:35 am ET

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korea should seize its chance to become a leader in the diplomatic arena by capitalizing on its successful staging of the G20 summit, President Lee Myung-bak said on Monday.

South Korea became the first Asian and non-G8 host of the summit of the world’s 20 largest industrialized and emerged economies, winning praise for hosting a trouble-free event.

While last week’s summit failed to produce very much in the way of concrete targets to address ongoing disputes over global exchange rates, it did herald a shift from the old order to the new — whose camp South Korea belongs.

12 Special Report: Was a Houston energy trader a one-woman Enron?

By Anna Driver and Eileen O’Grady, Reuters

Mon Nov 15, 8:56 am ET

HOUSTON (Reuters) – By the standards of recent financial scandals, Stephanie Rae Roqumore’s alleged $6.8 million natural gas trading scam may be small potatoes, but it raises some big questions.

How could a lone natural gas trader in Houston dupe some of the world’s biggest energy companies for eight years, despite a veritable forest of red flags? After all, the overhaul of trading rules and credit practices in the wake of Enron’s collapse was supposed to make it tougher, if not impossible, to perpetuate such a fraud.

In September, FBI agents raided Roqumore’s suburban Houston home, searching for evidence she scammed at least 11 energy companies. Among the stacks of paperwork seized from the ornate 3,000-square-foot house were bank records for trading firms Roqumore is accused of using to dupe companies including Occidental Petroleum, Royal Dutch Shell Plc’s Coral Energy Resources, Hess Corp and privately-held commodities giant Cargill.

13 Proof of extra dimensions possible next year: CERN

By Robert Evans, Reuters

1 hr 44 mins ago

GENEVA (Reuters) – Scientists at the CERN research center say their “Big Bang” project is going beyond all expectations and the first proof of the existence of dimensions beyond the known four could emerge next year.

In surveys of results of nearly 8 months of experiments in their Large Hadron Collider (LHC), they also say they may be able to determine by the end of 2011 whether the mystery Higgs particle, or boson, exists.

Guido Tonelli, spokesman for one of the CERN specialist teams monitoring operations in the vast, subterranean LHC, said probing for extra dimensions — besides length, breadth, height and time — would become easier as the energy of the proton collisions in it is increased in 2011.

14 BHP kills Potash Corp bid, revives $4.2 billion buyback

By Sonali Paul, Reuters

Mon Nov 15, 1:35 pm ET

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – BHP Billiton scrapped its $39 billion bid for Canada’s Potash Corp and bowed to calls from investors to return cash, a move that came days after regulators blocked the year’s biggest takeover deal.

BHP, conceding defeat for the third straight time on a major proposed merger or acquisition, signaled with its revived $4.2 billion share buyback that it had limited opportunities for other big buys.

The world’s largest miner’s shareholders are eager to hear what further growth prospects the company will chase with its cash pile when BHP Chief Executive Marius Kloppers fronts the group’s annual meeting in Australia on Tuesday.

15 Afghan Taliban reject talks again

By Paul Tait, Reuters

19 mins ago

KABUL (Reuters) – The Taliban in Afghanistan remain utterly opposed to peace talks despite slow progress toward reconciliation, their leader said on Monday after NATO forces suffered their worst losses in months in a spike in violence.

Mullah Mohammad Omar, the secretive, one-eyed leader of the Afghan Taliban, issued a statement just four days before NATO leaders will gather for a summit in Lisbon where Afghanistan will be the top of the agenda.

Violence across Afghanistan was already at its worst since the Taliban were ousted by U.S.-backed Afghan forces in late 2001 but a dramatic increase in attacks in the past four days will be a sobering message for NATO leaders.

16 NATO to stress global role despite Afghan bruising

By David Brunnstrom, Reuters

Mon Nov 15, 6:40 am ET

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – NATO leaders will recommit the alliance to playing a global military role when they meet to agree a new mission statement this week, despite the bruising and demoralizing experience of the war in Afghanistan.

NATO states have been fighting in Afghanistan since 2001, but 150,000 U.S.-led troops have failed to stem a widening Taliban insurgency and more than 2,200 have been killed.

The Afghan mission has been the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation’s largest combat role in its 61-year history and the first outside the region it was created to defend. It has also prompted the biggest questions about its future.

17 Volatile mix of politics and crime plagues Karachi

By Michael Georgy, Reuters

Mon Nov 15, 2:20 am ET

KARACHI (Reuters) – If you want to measure the level of political strife in Pakistan’s financial capital Karachi, take the body count at the morgue.

“There are 30 to 40 bodies some weeks,” said morgue worker Miraj Mohsin. “When just one member of a party is killed, I know the other will respond and there could be many more deaths.”

He held up a tag attached to a victim of Karachi’s notorious targeted killings, often blamed on workers from rival political parties.

18 Ethics panel begins deliberations in Rangel case

By LARRY MARGASAK, Associated Press

6 mins ago

WASHINGTON – Shortly after veteran Rep. Charles Rangel of New York walked out of his ethics trial in protest, a House panel began closed-door deliberations Monday on 13 counts of alleged financial and fundraising misconduct that could bring formal condemnation.

Only recently one of the most powerful members of Congress, Rangel was reduced to pleading in vain for colleagues to give him time to raise money for a lawyer before taking up the charges. The 80-year-old congressman left even before they said no, and the rare proceeding – only the second for this type of hearing in two decades – went on without him.

An ethics committee panel of four Democrats and four Republicans was sitting as a jury in the case late Monday. The official acting as prosecutor said the facts were so clear there was no need to call witnesses, and panel members agreed.

19 Hobbled Dems, eager GOP back for lame-duck session

By JIM ABRAMS, Associated Press

46 mins ago

WASHINGTON – Dejected Democrats and invigorated Republicans returned to the Capitol Monday to face a mountain of unfinished work and greet more than 100 mainly Republican freshmen-elect lawmakers determined to change how they do business.

Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, in line to become speaker when the new Republican-led Congress convenes in January, told GOP newcomers Sunday evening that they may spend their next two years doing just two things: stopping what he called “job-killing policies” and the “spending binge.”

“The American people are sick and tired of the ‘Washington knows best’ mentality. All the power in this town is on loan from the people,” he told the group, which he noted includes seven farmers, six physicians, three car dealers, two funeral home directors, a former FBI agent, a pizzeria owner, an NFL lineman, and an airline pilot.

20 Top Senate Republican joins push to stop earmarks

Associated Press

9 mins ago

WASHINGTON – Cementing a significant challenge to the ways of Congress, the top Republican in the Senate on Monday fell into line behind demands by House leaders and tea party activists for a moratorium on pork-barrel projects known as “earmarks.”

Earmarking is the longtime Washington practice in which lawmakers insert money for home-state projects like road and bridge work into spending bills. Critics say that peppering most spending bills with hundreds or even thousands of such projects creates a go-along-get-along mindset that ensures that Washington spending goes unchecked.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who has long defended the practice, said he’s now heeding the message that voters sent in midterm elections that swept Democrats from power in the House. He said he can’t accuse Democrats of ignoring the wishes of the American people and then be guilty of the same thing.

21 Social Security judges facing more violent threats

By SAM HANANEL, Associated Press

47 mins ago

WASHINGTON – Judges who hear Social Security disability cases are facing a growing number of violent threats from claimants angry over being denied benefits or frustrated at lengthy delays in processing claims.

There were at least 80 threats to kill or harm administrative law judges or staff over the past year – an 18 percent increase over the previous reporting period, according to data collected by the Social Security Administration.

The data was released to the Association of Administrative Law Judges and made available to The Associated Press.

22 Danish astronomer’s remains exhumed in Prague

By KAREL JANICEK, Associated Press

49 mins ago

PRAGUE – Astronomer Tycho Brahe uncovered some of the mysteries of the universe in the 16th century – and now modern-day scientists are delving into the mystery of his sudden death.

On Monday, an international team of scientists opened his tomb in the Church of Our Lady Before Tyn near Prague’s Old Town Square, where Brahe has been buried since 1601. After eight hours of work, they lifted from the tomb a tin box like a child’s coffin in which Brahe’s remains were placed after the only previous exhumation, in 1901.

Brahe’s extraordinarily accurate stellar and planetary observations, which helped lay the foundations of early modern astronomy, are well documented but the circumstances surrounding his death at age 54 are murky.

23 Scientists propose one-way trips to Mars

By NICHOLAS K. GERANIOS, Associated Press

50 mins ago

PULLMAN, Wash. – It’s always cheaper to fly one way, even to Mars. Two scientists are suggesting that colonization of the red planet could happen faster and more economically if astronauts behaved like the first settlers to come to North America – not expecting to go home.

“The main point is to get Mars exploration moving,” said Dirk Schulze-Makuch, a Washington State University professor who co-authored an article that seriously proposes what sounds like a preposterous idea.

At least one moon-walking astronaut was not impressed.

24 Official to AP: Rolls-Royce replacing A380 engines

By MICHAEL WEISSENSTEIN and JANE WARDELL, Associated Press

14 mins ago

LONDON – Rolls-Royce will temporarily replace entire engines that have oil leaks on the world’s largest jetliner after one motor suffered a frightening midair disintegration, an aviation regulator told The Associated Press on Monday.

The official said the British engine-maker would take off faulty engines and replace them with new ones. It will then fix the leaking part and swap the engine back again.

The official, who has been briefed by Rolls-Royce and some of the affected airlines, spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter. Rolls-Royce declined to comment.

25 Muslims on hajj in Saudi Arabia ascend holy mount

By SARAH EL DEEB, Associated Press

Mon Nov 15, 10:05 am ET

MOUNT ARAFAT, Saudi Arabia – Nearly 3 million Muslims performing the annual hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia climbed the rocky desert Mount Arafat on Monday, chanting that they have come to answer God’s call.

The white-robed pilgrims began their ascent at dawn, covering the Mountain of Mercy at Arafat in an endless sea of white as their chants of “Labyek Allah” – or “Here I am, God, answering your calling” – reverberated.

The climb is one of the cornerstones of the pilgrimage, which is required from every able-bodied Muslim at least once in his life. It is the site where Islam’s Prophet Muhammad delivered his farewell sermon, and Muslims believe on this day the doors of heaven open to answer prayers and grant forgiveness.

26 Caterpillar digs deep in $7.6B deal for Bucyrus

By SAMANTHA BOMKAMP, AP Business Writer

1 hr 2 mins ago

NEW YORK – Caterpillar, the world’s largest construction and mining equipment maker, moved aggressively to capitalize on demand in emerging markets Monday with a $7.6 billion buyout of Bucyrus International.

Bucyrus makes surface mining equipment used for coal, copper, iron ore, oil sands and other minerals.

With a grinding economic recovery ongoing in the West, global companies like Caterpillar Inc. have driven further into China, India and Brazil, where the appetite for raw materials used in construction and mining are strong.

27 Myanmar’s Suu Kyi seeks to revive political party

Associated Press

1 hr 22 mins ago

YANGON, Myanmar – Myanmar democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi began the nuts and bolts work of reviving her political movement Monday, consulting lawyers about having her now-disbanded party declared legal again.

Suu Kyi was released over the weekend from 7 1/2 years in detention. On Sunday, she told thousands of wildly cheering supporters at the headquarters of her National League for Democracy that she would continue to fight for human rights and the rule of law in the military-controlled nation.

The 65-year-old Nobel Peace laureate must balance the expectations of the country’s pro-democracy movement with the realities of freedom that could be withdrawn any time by the regime. Although her party is officially dissolved, it has continued operating with the same structure. But without official recognition, it is in legal limbo, leaving it – and her – vulnerable to government crackdowns.

28 US officials: deal close on NATO missile shield

By ROBERT BURNS, AP National Security Writer

49 mins ago

WASHINGTON – The U.S. and its NATO allies are close to an agreement to erect a missile shield over Europe, a project that would give the military alliance a fresh purpose while testing President Barack Obama’s campaign to improve relations with Russia.

The deal is likely to be sealed at a two-day NATO summit starting Friday in Lisbon, Portugal, officials say, as part of what the alliance calls its new “strategic concept” – the first overhaul of its basic mission since 1999.

The summit will include Obama and leaders of the 27 other member countries of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will join a separate NATO-Russia session on Saturday.

29 Government wants to update ADA for cyberspace

By CARLA K. JOHNSON, Associated Press

51 mins ago

CHICAGO – Emergency call centers could be equipped to communicate by text message. Websites might need to be programmed to speak to blind users. Movie theaters might have to install technology to allow the deaf to read captions on small screens mounted at their seats.

These and other proposals will be on the agenda this week as federal officials begin seeking ideas for expanding the Americans with Disabilities Act. Twenty years after the law was adopted, the government wants to move the regulations beyond wheelchair ramps and accessible elevators into cyberspace and personal technology.

The updated regulations could mean sweeping changes across many industries and cost hundreds of millions of dollars.

30 Ala. ex-trooper pleads in civil rights-era slaying

By PHILLIP RAWLS, Associated Press

1 hr 30 mins ago

MARION, Ala. – A former state trooper took a plea deal Monday in the 1965 slaying of a black man that prompted the “Bloody Sunday” march at Selma and helped galvanize America’s civil rights movement.

Indicted for murder more than four decades after the fatal shooting, James Bonard Fowler, 77, pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of second-degree manslaughter and was sentenced to six months in jail.

It was a mixed victory for civil rights era prosecutions. The prosecutor and Jackson family members did not get the murder conviction they sought, but the jail time and an apology from Fowler seemed to help close a painful chapter in U.S. history.

31 Girls sue Pa. school over ‘boobies’-bracelet ban

By MARYCLAIRE DALE, Associated Press

2 hrs 1 min ago

PHILADELPHIA – Two middle schoolers filed a free-speech lawsuit Monday against a Pennsylvania school district that suspended them for wearing the popular “I (heart) boobies!” bracelets.

The American Civil Liberties Union believes the lawsuit is the first in the country over a school’s ban on the $4 bracelets, which are designed to raise breast-cancer awareness among young people. The rubber jewelry has become wildly popular among students, prompting bans across the country.

School officials in Easton argue that the slogan is distracting and demeaning, and that some staff feel it trivializes a serious illness.

32 Ranks of millionaire college presidents grow

By ERIC GORSKI, AP Education Writer

Sun Nov 14, 10:28 pm ET

The club of private college and university presidents earning seven figures is getting less exclusive.

Thirty presidents received more than $1 million in pay and benefits in 2008, according to an analysis of federal tax forms by The Chronicle of Higher Education. More than 1 in 5 chief executives at the 448 institutions surveyed topped $600,000.

Most of the pay packages were negotiated before the full force of the recession. But even if the numbers dip slightly in next year’s survey, executive pay is expected to keep climbing over the long term as colleges compete for top talent. And schools are rewarding executives while raising tuition, exposing themselves to criticism.

33 SF Opera: Domingo, Mattila and eternal youth

By MIKE SILVERMAN, For The Associated Press

Sun Nov 14, 6:29 pm ET

SAN FRANCISCO – One is about a fictional opera singer who possesses the secret of eternal youth. The other stars a real-life tenor who merely seems to.

Both examples of improbable longevity were on display at the San Francisco Opera this weekend. On Friday night, Placido Domingo – a few months shy of 70 – gave his final performance in the title role of Franco Alfano’s “Cyrano de Bergerac.” One night later, Karita Mattila sang the second of six performances of Leos Janacek’s “The Makropulos Case,” about a mysterious diva who has lived more than 300 years.

“Cyrano,” adapted from the play by Edmond Rostand, tells of a poet with a grotesque nose who is secretly in love with the fair Roxanne but uses his gifts to help the handsome Christian win her heart. Christian is killed in battle, and only years later, when Cyrano himself is mortally wounded, does he reveal his feelings.

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