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Nov 16 2010

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Britain compensates former Guantanamo detainees

AFP

1 hr 10 mins ago

LONDON (AFP) – Britain said Tuesday it had agreed a settlement with 16 former Guantanamo Bay detainees who claim British agents colluded in their torture abroad, but insisted it was not an admission of guilt.

Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke did not reveal the amount of compensation nor the identity of those involved, but media reports suggest it stretches to millions of pounds (dollars, euros) and recipients include former Guantanamo prisoner Binyam Mohamed.

“The government has now agreed a mediated settlement of the civil damages claims brought by detainees held at Guantanamo Bay,” Clarke told parliament.

2 UN troops step up Haiti security after clashes

by Clarens Renois, AFP

Tue Nov 16, 11:56 am ET

PORT-AU-PRINCE (AFP) – Nepalese peacekeepers boosted security Tuesday after protests left two Haitians dead and 20 people injured amid mounting anger over a cholera epidemic that has claimed more than 1,000 lives.

Violence flared Monday when hundreds of protestors clashed with UN troops in the northern city of Cap Haitien angrily accusing Nepalese peacekeepers of being the source of the cholera outbreak.

Two Haitians died, including one believed to have been shot by a UN peacekeeper, and 14 were injured, police and security sources told AFP. Six UN peacekeepers were also hurt, they said.

3 Crunch Ireland debt talks open in Brussels

by Roddy Thomson, AFP

1 hr 34 mins ago

BRUSSELS (AFP) – Crucial talks on how to resolve Ireland’s crippling debt problems, which the EU president warned threaten the bloc’s very future, began Tuesday with Dublin insisting it had not asked for help.

The European Commission said it was holding discussions with the IMF and the European Central Bank to find a solution to the Irish banking crisis, which has blown a huge hole in the country’s public finances.

Defiant Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen resisted the intense pressure, telling parliament in Dublin that discussions were about seeing how “irrational” markets could be “taken out of the equation” after Irish government bond yields, or interest rates, shot through the roof.

4 EU in talks with IMF as Irish bailout looms

by Roddy Thomson, AFP

2 hrs 13 mins ago

BRUSSELS (AFP) – The European Union on Tuesday signalled that the IMF could be called in to help the bloc resolve a banking crisis in Ireland that has revived fears for the future of the euro.

The EU’s executive commission is holding talks with the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank to resolve the Irish banking crisis, European economic affairs chief Olli Rehn said.

“The Irish sovereign (debt) is funded well until the middle of next year,” Rehn told reporters ahead of a meeting of eurozone finance ministers to discuss a way out of the crisis in Ireland.

5 EU says survival at risk as ministers face Irish crisis

by Roddy Thomson, AFP

Tue Nov 16, 7:35 am ET

BRUSSELS (AFP) – The European Union raised the stakes over the Irish debt crisis on Tuesday, saying the future of the eurozone and EU are at risk as ministers head for talks on an increasingly probable rescue.

With pressure threatening Portugal but Spain insisting it is safe from contagion, Ireland signalled it might accept help and an Irish newspaper said this would focus on a rescue for its stricken banks.

Irish Finance Minister Brian Lenihan indicated he will accept targeted eurozone support to prop up lenders amid pressure from the European Central Bank and certain political partners.

6 France warns of deadly diabetes drug

by Roland Lloyd Parry, AFP

Tue Nov 16, 12:51 pm ET

PARIS (AFP) – France’s government Tuesday warned patients to see their doctor if they took a diabetes drug that is believed to have killed 500 people over three decades before it was banned a year ago.

The alert targets Mediator, a drug for overweight people with diabetes that was also used as an appetite suppressant until it was banned in November 2009 over fears it was linked to heart trouble.

“Our message to all those who took Mediator is that they must see a doctor — particularly those who took it for three months over the past four years,” new Health Minister Xavier Bertrand told a news conference.

7 Thailand extradites ‘Merchant of Death’ to US

by Anusak Konglang, AFP

Tue Nov 16, 1:01 pm ET

BANGKOK (AFP) – A suspected Russian arms dealer dubbed the “Merchant of Death” was flown out of Thailand Tuesday to face trial in the United States following a long legal battle and fierce opposition from Moscow.

Escorted by dozens of armed police commandos and with snipers deployed along the route, Viktor Bout was whisked from a maximum security Bangkok prison to a waiting US government plane before his wife had a chance to say goodbye.

His sudden departure came shortly after the Thai cabinet approved his handover in a move that prompted fresh fury from Moscow, which had vowed to do all it could to bring Bout home.

8 Pilgrims stone ‘devil’ as Muslims celebrate Eid

by Ali Khalil, AFP

2 hrs 35 mins ago

MINA, Saudi Arabia (AFP) – A human tide of pilgrims, put at nearly 2.8 million, descended Tuesday on the Mina valley carrying bags of pebbles to symbolically stone Satan on the third day of the hajj, as Muslims worldwide marked the Eid al-Adha festival.

Small pebbles whizzed above heads as hundreds of thousands of pilgrims rushed to stone Jamarat al-Aqaba, at 30 metres (100 feet) the longest of three walls said to symbolise the devil, also referred to as Ibleess by Muslims.

Pilgrims who are taking part in this year’s hajj, the world’s largest annual pilgrimage, had arrived overnight at Mina, a tent town in western Saudi Arabia that comes to life five days a year, after returning from rituals marking the high point of the hajj at nearby Mount Arafat on Monday.

9 New Facebook message system takes aim at Google, Yahoo!

by Glenn Chapman, AFP

Tue Nov 16, 6:25 am ET

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) – Facebook launched a next-generation online messaging service 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 on Monday 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.

10 China goldrush steams on at Asian Games

by Martin Parry, AFP

Mon Nov 15, 6:22 pm 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.

11 ‘Etiquette Angels’ raise spirits at Asian Games

by Peter Stebbings, AFP

Mon Nov 15, 5:53 pm ET

GUANGZHOU, China (AFP) – Forty days of intensive training, up to eight sessions a day of non-stop gruelling practice — nothing was spared to ensure the “Etiquette Angels” elevated the Asian Games to celestial heights.

Just ask Ding Ling, whose hopes of becoming a “Miss Etiquette” for the Beijing Olympics in 2008 were dashed as she was only 16 at the time.

Not to be deterred, Ding tried again.

12 Irish rebuff bailout call in euro zone crisis

By Jan Strupczewski and Julien Toyer, Reuters

1 hr 1 min ago

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Ireland said it was discussing stabilization measures with its European partners on Tuesday and ways to cut its heavily indebted banks’ funding costs in what a top EU official called a “survival crisis” for the euro zone.

A euro zone source said finance ministers of the 16-nation currency area meeting in Brussels would declare support for Dublin’s austerity measures and express readiness to help financially, if it asks for aid, but would not announce any practical measures.

In Dublin, Prime Minister Brian Cowen rebuffed calls to request a bailout, saying the government was fully funded until mid-2011, and insisted that only the banks may need help.

13 Thailand extradites Russian arms suspect to U.S.

By Pracha Hariraksapita and Ambika Ahuja, Reuters

Tue Nov 16, 5:31 am ET

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Thailand extradited on Tuesday suspected Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout to the United States to face terrorism charges, ending a two-year wrangle between the former Cold War foes.

The 43-year-old former Soviet air force officer, dubbed the “Merchant of Death,” was flown out of Bangkok on a small, chartered U.S. aircraft shortly after Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and his cabinet cleared the extradition.

Bout had been fighting extradition since his March 2008 arrest in Bangkok in a U.S.-led sting operation.

14 U.S. soldier charged in Afghan murder declares innocence

By Laura L. Myers, Reuters

49 mins ago

TACOMA, Washington (Reuters) – The youngest of five U.S. soldiers accused of murdering unarmed Afghan civilians stood up in military court on Monday to declare his innocence as defense lawyers moved to open grisly photographic evidence in the case to public scrutiny.

“I want to tell you, soldier to soldier, that I did not commit murder,” Private First Class Andrew Holmes, 20, from Boise, Idaho, said as he rose from his chair to face the court’s presiding officer. “I am innocent.”

The declaration capped nine hours of testimony from fellow soldiers and criminal investigators presented during the so-called Article 32 hearing at Joint Base Lewis-McChord near Tacoma, Washington, to determine whether Holmes should stand trial in a court-martial.

15 Haiti rioters attack U.N. troops, one protester killed

By Joseph Guyler Delva, Reuters

Tue Nov 16, 4:15 am ET

PORT-AU-PRINCE (Reuters) – Protesters in Haiti, blaming United Nations troops for a cholera epidemic that has killed hundreds of people, attacked U.N. peacekeepers in two cities on Monday.

One protester was shot dead in the clashes and six U.N. peacekeepers were injured.

The U.N. mission blamed the violence in Cap-Haitien and Hinche on political agitators it said were bent on stirring up unrest ahead of presidential and legislative elections set for November 28 in the earthquake-hit Caribbean country.

16 "No pain, no gain," BHP says after failed deals

By Sonali Paul and Rebekah Kebede, Reuters

Tue Nov 16, 3:45 am ET

PERTH, Australia (Reuters) – Global miner BHP Billiton is still interested in big acquisitions and does not regret spending $875 million pursuing three major deals that collapsed in the past two years, its chairman said on Tuesday.

“For me, the juice is worth the squeeze on every one of those,” Jac Nasser told reporters after BHP’s annual shareholders meeting in the Australian city of Perth. “No pain, no gain.”

Nasser was speaking a day after BHP withdrew a $39 billion bid for top fertilizer maker Potash Corp after Canada blocked the offer.

17 Special Report: The two lives of Angela Merkel

By Andreas Rinke and Stephen Brown, Reuters

Tue Nov 16, 7:16 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.

18 Obama’s hopes for Russia nuclear pact fade

By DESMOND BUTLER, Associated Press

13 mins ago

WASHINGTON – In a blow to President Barack Obama, chances faded Tuesday for Senate approval of a major nuclear arms treaty with Russia this year, tripping up one of the administration’s top foreign policy goals: improving relations with Moscow.

Obama has been pushing to get enough Republican support for a vote before the Democratic majority shrinks by six in January, and was optimistic just over the weekend about sealing perhaps his most significant foreign policy achievement.

Part of the task included winning over Sen. Jon Kyl, the leading Republican senator on the New START agreement, who has demanded more funds for the U.S. nuclear arsenal as a condition for approving the treaty. The White House proposed adding $4.1 billion to modernize the arsenal and officials traveled to Kyl’s home state to sell the pact, according to a congressional aide. But the senator wasn’t sufficiently impressed.

19 Top Senate Republican joins push to stop earmarks

By LAURIE KELLMAN, Associated Press

Tue Nov 16, 12:40 pm ET

WASHINGTON – Congress’ most unapologetic fan of big-money politics is backing a ban on pork-barrel earmarks and avoiding an early battle with conservatives in his own party who had threatened to force a vote on the matter.

But the switch by Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell may not have averted an effort to put senators on the record for or against earmarks. Missouri Democrat Claire McCaskill, long an opponent of earmarks, said Tuesday she would join Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., in trying to force a vote on extending the ban on the practice through 2013.

Such a vote would put senators of both parties on the spot. Asked whether she was concerned that Democrats would look out-of-touch if they tried to stand in the way, McCaskill replied, “Yes.”

20 Bush breaks ground on presidential center in Texas

By JAMIE STENGLE, Associated Press

2 hrs 43 mins ago

DALLAS – Former President George W. Bush, joined by former administration officials including a noticeably thinner former Vice President Dick Cheney and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, broke ground Tuesday on his presidential center.

More than 3,000 people, including friends, supporters and former administration officials attended the event under a giant white tent at Dallas’ Southern Methodist University. Outside, there were around 100 protesters joined by a handful of counter-protesters.

“It is hard to believe there is this much excitement about shoveling dirt,” quipped Bush.

21 Stocks sink on fears of Asia slowdown, Irish debt

By DAVID K. RANDALL, AP Business Writer

53 mins ago

NEW YORK – Stocks are falling to their lowest level in a month as worries mount over a slowdown in China and a debt crisis in Ireland.

Asian markets led a global sell-off Tuesday after South Korea raised interest rates and investors worried that China would follow suit.

European officials scrambled to stop Ireland’s debt troubles from turning into another meltdown, six months after a bailout of Greece.

22 GM IPO price increase is good news for taxpayers

By TOM KRISHER, AP Auto Writer

2 hrs 36 mins ago

DETROIT – Fueled by strong investor demand, General Motors is setting a higher share price for Thursday’s initial public stock offering. The increase boosts the automaker’s market value to $50 billion and moves its largest owner, the U.S. government, closer to recouping all the money it spent saving GM from ruin.

But even with the increase, GM’s value is still short of what the government needs to recoup the whole bailout.

During the past two weeks, investor interest in GM has risen as the company’s executives flew across the globe making sales pitches to big investors. The company has made profits for three straight quarters and thinks earnings could increase even more if the U.S. auto market rebounds from a 30-year low last year. Demand for GM stock is so heavy that one person briefed on the IPO said orders are seven times the number of common shares that are up for sale.

23 APNewsBreak: US investigation comes to France

By JOHN LEICESTER and SAMUEL PETREQUIN, AP Sports Writers

59 mins ago

LYON, France – U.S. investigators interviewed French anti-doping officials at Interpol headquarters Tuesday as part of a probe into allegations of drug use by cyclists, including Lance Armstrong, a French official told The Associated Press.

The investigation shifted its focus to France, with an American delegation seeking information from police officials and the national anti-doping agency (AFLD) that has stored some of Armstrong’s samples from the Tour de France. Armstrong won cycling’s storied race seven straight times, from 1999 to 2005.

Francoise Lasne, director of the AFLD lab, and testing director Jean-Pierre Verdy were heard as witnesses Tuesday at Interpol, an official with knowledge of the meeting told the AP. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly on the case.

24 Thailand extradites alleged arms dealer Bout to US

By GRANT PECK, Associated Press

Tue Nov 16, 1:27 pm ET

BANGKOK – Thailand extradited accused Russian arms trafficker Viktor Bout to the U.S. on Tuesday to face terrorism charges, siding with Washington in a tug of war with Moscow over whether to send him to stand trial or let him go home.

The Cabinet approved Bout’s extradition Tuesday after a long legal battle, and police said the 43-year-old was put aboard a plane that departed Bangkok at about 1:30 p.m. (0630 GMT; 1:30 a.m. EST) in the custody of eight U.S. officials.

In New York, a law enforcement said Bout was expected to arrive there around 9 p.m. EST Tuesday (0200 GMT Wednesday). The official, speaking on condition of anonymity because of security concerns, declined to name the airport.

25 Pilots among those dismayed at scanners, pat-downs

By MICHAEL TARM, Associated Press

Tue Nov 16, 4:58 am ET

CHICAGO – Airport security stops one airline pilot because he’s carrying a butter knife. Elsewhere, crews opt for pat-down searches because they fear low-level radiation from body scanners could be harmful. And in San Diego, one traveler is told he can’t fly at all when he likens an intrusive body search to sexual harassment.

Annoyance at security hassles has been on the rise among airline crews and passengers for years, but the widespread use of full-body image detectors this year and the simultaneous introduction of more intrusive pat-downs seems to have ramped up the frustration.

As passengers have simmered over being forced to choose scans by full-body image detectors or rigorous pat-downs inspections, some airline pilots are pushing back. Much of the criticism is directed at the Transportation Security Administration.

26 Walmart drug plan for seniors may not be best deal

By RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR, Associated Press

Tue Nov 16, 12:08 pm ET

WASHINGTON – Consumer alert: A new Medicare drug plan with the lowest upfront cost in the country may not be for everyone, experts say.

Medicare’s open enrollment season just started, and the plan from insurer Humana and retail giant Walmart is getting attention. At $14.80, the monthly premium is the lowest of any national plan, about half the average. And Humana and Walmart are advertising savings of more than $450 a year for the typical Medicare recipient.

But experts say if you can’t get to a Walmart easily and need costly, cutting-edge medications, it could be a disappointment. You could face copayments as high as 50 percent for drugs purchased at local independent drugstores, “non-preferred” pharmacies as far as the plan goes.

27 Cholera backlash fuels anti-UN protests in Haiti

By JONATHAN M. KATZ, Associated Press

Tue Nov 16, 5:00 am ET

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – Anti-U.N. riots spread to several Haitian cities and towns, as protesters blaming a contingent of Nepalese peacekeepers for a deadly outbreak of cholera barricaded roads and exchanged gunfire with U.N. soldiers in clashes that lasted late into the night.

The protests left at least one person dead, a demonstrator who was shot by a U.N. peacekeeper during an exchange of gunfire in Quartier Morin, near Haiti’s second-largest city of Cap-Haitien, the United Nations mission said. It said it was investigating the shooting but asserted the soldier acted in self-defense.

The 12,000-member force reported that at least six U.N. personnel were wounded in protests at Hinche in the central plateau, while local Radio Metropole reported that at least 12 Haitians were injured in Cap-Haitien.

28 Suit attacks conditions at Miss. juvenile lockup

By SHELIA BYRD, Associated Press

27 mins ago

JACKSON, Miss. – A federal lawsuit claims guards at a Mississippi juvenile lockup have smuggled drugs to inmates, had sex with some of them and denied others medical treatment and basic educational services.

The Southern Poverty Law Center, the American Civil Liberties Union and Rob McDuff, a Jackson attorney, filed the complaint Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Jackson on behalf of 13 plaintiffs against the Walnut Grove Youth Correctional Facility. The Justice Department also is investigating.

“These young men live in barbaric conditions,” said Sheila Bedi, the law center’s deputy legal director. “I have done prisons conditions work for almost 10 years, this is the most violent, corrupt abusive prison I’ve come across.”

29 Can less mean more in college application race?

By ERIC GORSKI, AP Education Writer

41 mins ago

One recent afternoon, Kimberly Pollock visited the college counseling office at the Derryfield School, a small independent day school set on 84 wooded acres in Manchester, N.H. It had come time to talk number of applications, and the senior honors student was starting to wonder about her list.

At other elite high schools around the country – the kinds of places that, like Derryfield, boast crew teams and dignified crests and annual tuition north of $25,000 – students are applying to 12, 15, even 20 colleges this fall, fueling a high-stress admissions arms race that shows no signs of slowing.

Even Kimberly’s supportive mother, a nurse at a Harvard-affiliated hospital, succumbed to the pressure. Her bedroom is crammed with books on how to craft the perfect essay and talk to the dean.

30 1 officer fired, 3 suspended in man’s shooting

By JONATHAN J. COOPER, Associated Press

58 mins ago

PORTLAND, Ore. – A Portland police officer was fired and three others were suspended in connection with the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man by a white police officer, officials said Tuesday.

The discipline follows 10 months of protests and tension between police and black leaders over the death of Aaron Campbell, 25, who was shot in the back Jan. 29 as he ran away from police.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson has called Campbell’s death an “execution.”

31 Analyst: DeLay PAC listed donations as corporate

By JUAN A. LOZANO, Associated Press

1 hr 26 mins ago

AUSTIN, Texas – A forensic accountant testified in Tom DeLay’s money laundering trial Tuesday that the former U.S. House majority leader’s political action committee referred to $190,000 it raised as corporate campaign contributions, which are illegal in Texas.

But attorneys for DeLay told jurors that the corporate money reference was simply a labeling mistake and no corporate funds went to Texas candidates.

Prosecutors allege $190,000 was illegally funneled through DeLay’s PAC to Texas GOP candidates in 2002, and ultimately helped send more Republicans to Congress. DeLay, a once powerful but polarizing Texas congressman, has long denied any wrongdoing. He could face up to life in prison if convicted.

32 With divided Congress, tough road for ed reform

By CHRISTINE ARMARIO, Associated Press

Tue Nov 16, 3:22 am ET

The Obama administration has pushed an ambitious education agenda in the last two years, sending $100 billion to states thorough the stimulus package and spurring reform in many locations through the Race to the Top competition.

But none of the major initiatives pushed by President Barack Obama and Education Secretary Arne Duncan have been bipartisan. Most were approved through large spending bills that Republicans opposed.

Politicians and experts say the big Republican gains in Congress will serve as a roadblock to further Democrat-led education reform efforts, including a likely decrease in big-ticket spending as the GOP seeks greater fiscal restraint.

33 Mich. teacher ejects student for anti-gay remarks

By JEFF KAROUB, Associated Press

Tue Nov 16, 3:03 am ET

DETROIT – Howell High School economics teacher Jay McDowell says he didn’t like where the discussion was going after a student told his classmates he didn’t “accept gays,” so McDowell kicked the boy out of class for a day.

In return, the teacher was kicked out of his Michigan school for a day – suspended without pay for violating the student’s free speech rights.

The incident has sparked intense debate in Howell, about 45 miles northwest of Detroit, over defending civil rights without trampling on the First Amendment. It’s gained far wider attention since the Livingston County Press & Argus released video of a 14-year-old gay student from another city defending McDowell at a Howell school board meeting.

34 Foreclosure mess could threaten banks, report

By MARCY GORDON, AP Business Writer

Tue Nov 16, 12:29 am ET

WASHINGTON – The disarray stemming from flawed foreclosure documents could threaten major banks with billions of dollars in losses, deepen the disruption in the housing market and hurt the government’s effort to keep people in their homes, according to a new report from a congressional watchdog.

Revelations that several big mortgage issuers sped through thousands of home foreclosures without properly checking paperwork already has raised alarm in Washington. If the irregularities are widespread, the consequences could be severe, the Congressional Oversight Panel said in a report issued Tuesday. The full impact is still is unclear, the report cautions.

Employees or contractors of several major banks have testified in court cases that they signed, and in some cases backdated, thousands of certifying documents for home seizures. Financial firms that service a total $6.4 trillion in mortgages are involved, according to the new report. Big banks including Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Ally Financial Inc.’s GMAC Mortgage have suspended foreclosures at some point because of flawed documents.

35 NJ lawmakers advance tougher anti-bullying law

By ANGELA DELLI SANTI, Associated Press

Mon Nov 15, 6:48 pm ET

TRENTON, N.J. – Sixteen-year-old Matthew Zimmer told lawmakers at a hearing Monday on toughening New Jersey’s anti-bullying law that he withdrew from his public high school to escape being tormented because he’s gay.

The Bergen County teen said his teachers sometimes took part in the bullying – one outed him during a class – and neither they nor the principal ever disciplined the tormenters. Zimmer attended the same high school as Tyler Clementi, an 18-year-old Rutgers University freshman who jumped off the George Washington Bridge this fall after his tryst with another man was broadcast online.

Senate and Assembly panels approved the measure Monday, and the bill now moves to the full House and Senate.

36 US officials: deal close on NATO missile shield

By ROBERT BURNS, AP National Security Writer

Mon Nov 15, 5:35 pm ET

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.

37 Government wants to update ADA for cyberspace

By CARLA K. JOHNSON, Associated Press

Mon Nov 15, 4:22 pm ET

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.

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