Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Russia, Qatar triumph at World Cup vote

by Rob Woollard, AFP

2 hrs 1 min ago

ZURICH (AFP) – Russia and the tiny Gulf state of Qatar scored stunning victories in the battle for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups here Thursday after an acrimonious bidding war tainted by allegations of corruption.

In a historic conclusion to two years of frenzied lobbying, world football chief Sepp Blatter revealed the surprise winners following a secret ballot of 22 FIFA executive committee members in Zurich.

The announcement means the World Cup will be staged in two countries which have never hosted the event before following the 2014 tournament in Brazil.

2 FA condemn pitch invasion on eve of 2018 vote

by Julian Guyer, AFP

Wed Dec 1, 7:38 pm ET

LONDON (AFP) – English football chiefs pressed for the “stiffest available sanctions” for those involved in a pitch invasion following Birmingham’s League Cup win over Aston Villa on Wednesday that threatened to tarnish their bid to stage the 2018 World Cup.

Just a day before delegates from world football governing body FIFA vote in Zurich on both the 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosts, there was a scene that Birmingham boss Alex McLeish said was a return to the “Dark Ages” of the 1980s when English football was synonymous with fan violence.

It was a further public relations problem for England bid bosses after the fall-out from a BBC television ‘Panorama’ programme broadcast Monday that made allegations of corruption within FIFA.

3 Tension, acrimony as World Cup vote looms

by Rob Woollard, AFP

Thu Dec 2, 7:40 am ET

ZURICH (AFP) – Voting to decide the scandal-tainted race for the 2018 and 2022 World Cup hosts was just hours away here Thursday as the final day of campaigning witnessed fresh acrimony.

Years of intense campaigning and frenzied politicking will reach its climax when 22 members of world governing body FIFA’s executive committee hold a secret ballot to choose the hosts for the two tournaments.

FIFA delegates were to begin voting behind closed doors at 2:00pm local time (1300 GMT) after hearing final pitches from 2018 bidders England, Russia, Spain/Portugal and Netherlands/Belgium at FIFA headquarters.

4 WikiLeaks chief faces new arrest warrant

by Igor Gedilaghine, AFP

Thu Dec 2, 1:01 pm ET

STOCKHOLM (AFP) – Sweden said Thursday it would issue a fresh arrest warrant for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as new revelations from his website’s expose of US diplomatic cables saw Russia branded a “mafia state”.

While the elusive whistleblower laid low, his British lawyer insisted police knew his whereabouts and it emerged that an initial warrant was defective.

After the Supreme Court in Stockholm refused to hear an appeal by Assange against the initial warrant over allegations of rape and molestation, Swedish police said they would issue a new one as a result of a procedural error.

5 Tempers rise over WikiLeaks revelations

by Shaun Tandon, AFP

Wed Dec 1, 6:18 pm ET

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The United States on Wednesday faced a storm of anger from foreign governments who were scrutinized in leaked cables as President Barack Obama named an expert to start undoing the damage.

Under pressure, Amazon booted activist website WikiLeaks from its servers, forcing it onto European Web hosts. WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange hid from view after Interpol called for his arrest on rape allegations.

While many countries initially took WikiLeaks’ release of secret cables in stride, a growing number of foreign leaders voiced outrage upon learning that US diplomats privately doubted their intentions, abilities or integrity.

6 Violence clouds I.Coast vote results

by David Youant, AFP

1 hr 29 mins ago

ABIDJAN (AFP) – Opposition leader Alassane Ouattara was named winner of Ivory Coast’s violence-marred presidential election Thursday, but authorities close to incumbent Laurent Gbagbo branded the result invalid.

World powers sharpened their warnings to the country’s leaders to settle the dispute peacefully as the electoral commission declared Ouattara the winner but was slapped down by the state’s Constitutional Council, the final arbiter of the results.

Bloodshed erupted ahead of the announcement when security forces shot dead eight people at a local headquarters of Ouattara’s RDR party in a largely pro-Gbagbo district of Abidjan, witnesses said.

7 Ouattara named winner of I.Coast election

by Christophe Koffi, AFP

Thu Dec 2, 12:57 pm ET

ABIDJAN (AFP) – Ivory Coast’s electoral commission Thursday named former prime minister Alassane Ouattara winner of the country’s disputed and violence-marred presidential election.

Ouattara won 54 percent of the vote in the November 28 runoff election while President Laurent Gbagbo had 46 percent, senior commission official Auguste Miremont told AFP, citing provisional official figures.

Chaotic scenes had prevented results being announced on Tuesday amid accusations of cheating by both sides, though the United Nations mission said the election was sound overall.

8 Eight killed in I.Coast election violence

by Christophe Koffi, AFP

Thu Dec 2, 12:31 pm ET

ABIDJAN (AFP) – Soldiers shot dead eight supporters of Ivory Coast presidential candidate Alassane Ouattara, sparking an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on Thursday to discuss the worsening crisis.

Violence erupted as Ouattara and President Laurent Gbagbo were locked in a stand-off over results of the hotly contested presidential vote, following pre-election violence that left at least seven dead.

The UN Security Council held an emergency meeting on Thursday to discuss the crisis in the wake of the shootings and a call by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on the Ivory Coast to release the poll results without delay or interference.

9 US space agency finds new form of life… on Earth

by Kerry Sheridan, AFP

2 hrs 12 mins ago

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Bacteria that thrive on arsenic have been scooped from the depths of a California lake, a discovery that redefines the building blocks of life and offers new hope in the search for extraterrestrial beings.

Not only do the bacteria survive on arsenic, they also grow by incorporating the element into their DNA and cell membranes, said the study funded by the US space agency NASA and published Thursday in the journal Science.

The findings add a new dimension to what biologists consider the necessary elements for life, currently viewed as carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulfur.

10 Obama reverses oil drill expansion after BP spill

by Karin Zeitvogel, AFP

Thu Dec 2, 9:54 am ET

WASHINGTON (AFP) – President Barack Obama on Wednesday reversed a March decision to expand offshore oil exploration to the Atlantic Ocean and eastern Gulf of Mexico, but allowed deepwater drilling to continue in the part of the Gulf hit by the BP disaster.

The move, announced by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, would ban until beyond 2017 oil and gas exploration in areas where there is currently no drilling activity, such as the eastern Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida, and the mid- and southern Atlantic Ocean.

Drilling in the Arctic, where only one company, Shell, has applied for a permit to drill a well, would proceed with “the utmost caution,” said Salazar.

11 ECB extends bank loans, holds fire on bond buying

by William Ickes, AFP

Thu Dec 2, 1:03 pm ET

FRANKFURT (AFP) – The European Central Bank on Thursday disappointed markets hoping for dramatic action to tackle the eurozone debt crisis that claimed Ireland as its most recent victim and now threatens Spain.

The ECB left its key interest rate at a record low of 1.0 percent but said it would extend cheap emergency funding for the commercial banks through the first quarter of 2011.

Crucially, the ECB said it would also continue to buy government bonds to help ease pressure on a growing list of eurozone countries — Belgium, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain — but gave no indication it would increase its purchases, as the markets had hoped.

12 Qantas threatens Rolls-Royce as probe reveals engine problem


Thu Dec 2, 10:48 am ET

SYDNEY (AFP) – Australian carrier Qantas laid the ground on Thursday to sue Rolls-Royce after air safety officials probing an A380 engine blast reported a potentially “catastrophic” problem with the turbine.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau said a misaligned component had thinned the wall of an oil pipe in the engine, causing “fatigue cracking” that prompted leakage and a fire “central to the engine failure” on November 4.

“This condition could lead to an elevated risk of fatigue crack initiation and growth, oil leakage and potential catastrophic engine failure from a resulting oil fire,” the ATSB said, noting it was “understood to be related to the manufacturing process”.

13 Qantas prepares to sue Rolls-Royce over engine blast


Thu Dec 2, 6:32 am ET

SYDNEY (AFP) – Australian carrier Qantas laid the ground on Thursday to sue Rolls-Royce after air safety officials probing an A380 engine blast reported a potentially “catastrophic” problem with the turbine.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau said a misaligned component had thinned the wall of an oil pipe in the engine, causing “fatigue cracking” that prompted leakage and a fire “central to the engine failure” on November 4.

“This condition could lead to an elevated risk of fatigue crack initiation and growth, oil leakage and potential catastrophic engine failure from a resulting oil fire,” the ATSB said, noting it was “understood to be related to the manufacturing process”.

14 Eurozone braces for ECB liquidity moves

by William Ickes, AFP

Thu Dec 2, 8:30 am ET

FRANKFURT (AFP) – Financial markets were in a high state of alert on Thursday, awaiting a European Central Bank meeting expected by many to signal action to tame the eurozone debt crisis now threatening Spain.

Economists said many in the markets think the ECB could now maintain or even boost cheap funding for banks rather than continue winding down in a key stimulus measure, as it expected to do earlier.

Rumours said “the ECB will announce some big and bold moves on its government bond purchase programme,” UniCredit fixed income strategist Luca Cazzulani told AFP.

15 Climate talks hit bump as Lula expects no result

by Richard Ingham and Claire Snegaroff, AFP

Thu Dec 2, 7:08 am ET

CANCUN, Mexico (AFP) – World climate talks struck a sour note on their third day Wednesday as Japan was accused of weakening the campaign for a post-2012 treaty by retreating from the landmark Kyoto Protocol.

With negotiators laboring to unblock a complex, interlinked two-track process, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva meanwhile predicted the 12-day meeting “won’t result in anything.”

“No big leader is going, only environment ministers at best. We don’t even know if foreign ministers are going. So there won’t be any progress,” Lula, who himself decided not to travel to Mexico, told reporters in Brasilia.

16 Deficit-cutting plan advances in uphill climb

By Donna Smith and Kevin Drawbaugh, Reuters

38 mins ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two more lawmakers pledged on Thursday to support a plan to slash the U.S. budget deficit drawn up by the co-chairmen of a presidential commission, but the plan still faced long odds of moving to Congress.

With anxiety over government debt roiling markets in Europe and driving global capital into U.S. Treasury bonds, Republican Senators Tom Coburn and Mike Crapo said they will vote for the bold proposal at a decisive commission meeting on Friday.

But Republican Representative Paul Ryan said on Thursday he will vote against the plan, saying it does too little to tackle health care costs and relies too much on tax increases.

17 House takes symbolic vote on taxes, talks go on

By Kim Dixon, Reuters

16 mins ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The House of Representatives, in the waning days of Democratic control, on Thursday passed an extension of Bush-era tax cuts for the lower and middle class in a symbolic vote that would let tax cuts for the wealthiest expire.

The measure, which passed 234 to 188, is expected to die in the Senate, where Republicans have the votes to block it. Twenty Democrats voted against the House bill and three Republicans voted for it.

Most Democrats say Republicans are jeopardizing low tax rates for middle- and lower-income class taxpayers to ensure low taxes for the wealthiest Americans.

18 Lawyer for WikiLeaks’ Assange denies warrant valid

By Stefano Ambrogi and Patrick Lannin, Reuters

1 hr 37 mins ago

LONDON/STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – The lawyer acting for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange denied on Thursday that Sweden had issued a valid European arrest warrant for alleged sex crimes, despite Stockholm’s insistence that legal difficulties with the warrant were resolved.

Swedish police earlier said technical problems hindering the arrest of the 39-year-old Australian had been ironed out, and a newspaper report said he was in Britain.

But in an interview with Reuters, his London lawyer Mark Stephens, who would not divulge his whereabouts because of death threats against him, said no warrant valid under Swedish, European or international law had been issued.

19 ECB reported buying bonds in euro zone debt crisis

By Sakari Suoninen and Marc Jones, Reuters

Thu Dec 2, 11:42 am ET

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – The European Central Bank resisted pressure on Thursday to commit to a major bond-buying program to contain the euro zone debt crisis, but traders said the ECB had been quietly buying bonds anyway.

ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet said the bank had decided at its monthly policy meeting to keep interest rates on hold and it extended its liquidity safety net to support vulnerable euro zone banks.

He made no mention of increasing the ECB’s government bond buying program, despite calls to do so after an 85 billion euro ($110.7 billion) EU-IMF rescue of Ireland failed to dispel fears that Portugal or Spain may need a bailout.

20 Senator McCain says too soon to end military ban on gays

By Phil Stewart and Thomas Ferraro, Reuters

1 hr 30 mins ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A top Republican warned on Thursday it might be too soon to end the U.S. military’s ban on gays, as the party geared up to block President Barack Obama’s bid to repeal the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy this year.

“I am not saying this law should never change. I am simply saying that it may be premature to make such a change at this time, and in this manner,” said Senator John McCain, addressing the U.S. defense secretary and top military officer as they appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee.

McCain and some fellow Republicans on the committee also caste doubt on the conclusions and methodology of a Pentagon study released two days ago that predicted little impact if the 17-year-old policy were ended.

21 Russia, Qatar take World Cup to new lands

By Paul Radford, Reuters

Thu Dec 2, 2:09 pm ET

ZURICH (Reuters) – FIFA gave its ultimate recognition to emerging markets on Thursday by awarding the 2018 and 2022 editions of the prestigious and lucrative World Cup soccer finals to Russia and Qatar, both new hosts.

Russia won the right to put on the 2018 World Cup, the first time it will have been staged in Eastern Europe after 10 editions in the western half of the continent.

Qatar, which has never qualified for the World Cup finals, will stage the 2022 tournament, a first both for the Middle East and for an Arab country. It will also be the smallest nation ever to host the World Cup.

22 Tiny Qatar brings 2022 World Cup to Middle East

By Regan E. Doherty, Reuters

Thu Dec 2, 11:44 am ET

DOHA (Reuters) – Summer temperatures which can soar to above 50 degrees Celsius and a concern about lack of infrastructure did not deter FIFA Thursday from awarding the 2022 World Cup to the tiny Gulf state of Qatar.

The Middle East has never before hosted a major global sporting event and analysts said Qatar’s win would do much to boost the region’s global profile.

FIFA were likely to have been swayed by Qatar’s hefty financial prowess with money no object for the world’s largest exporter of liquefied natural gas.

23 Deficit panel recalibrates, seeks more support

By Kevin Drawbaugh and Donna Smith, Reuters

Wed Dec 1, 4:23 pm ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A presidential commission trying to balance the U.S. budget on Wednesday softened a proposed tax overhaul to win broader support for its bold plan to slash the $1.3 trillion federal deficit.

The plan faced an uphill struggle to win sufficient backing to trigger a congressional vote. Even if that happens, analysts predict Congress won’t take substantive steps to reduce the deficit this year.

Changes made to the plan included dropping a proposal to kill the popular mortgage interest tax deduction, as had been recommended on November 10. The revised version proposed a limited, 12 percent mortgage interest tax credit.

24 WikiLeaks shows U.S. concern at Berlusconi-Putin tie

By James Mackenzie, Reuters

2 hrs 28 mins ago

ROME (Reuters) – U.S. diplomats voiced concern over Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s ties to Russian leader Vladimir Putin and the grip of energy interests on Rome’s foreign policy, according to cables made public by WikiLeaks.

The whistle-blowing website had previously given a flavor of the U.S. view of Berlusconi, described in extracts as Putin’s “mouthpiece,” but what appears to be a full cable from the U.S. embassy in Rome, published on Thursday, gives a lengthier depiction of Italy as in thrall to Moscow.

The WikiLeaks revelations have increased pressure on Berlusconi, weakened by months of scandals and party infighting. He faces a no-confidence vote in parliament this month which could topple his center-right government.

25 U.S. cables lift mask on Putin’s "corrupt autocracy"

By Guy Faulconbridge, Reuters

Thu Dec 2, 12:37 pm ET

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Vladimir Putin rules Russia by allowing a venal elite of corrupt officials and crooked spies to siphon off cash from the world’s biggest energy producer, according to a picture painted by leaked U.S. diplomatic cables.

The stars of the U.S. Foreign Service cast “alpha-dog” Putin as Russia’s paramount leader, presiding over a system where greed and oil money decide everything. Laws mean nothing.

U.S. diplomats speculate about Putin’s personal wealth and repeat Moscow rumors that the former KGB spy has assets abroad and links to Russia’s lucrative oil export trade.

26 WikiLeaks founder said in UK, Sweden rejects appeal

By Patrick Lannin and Michel Rose, Reuters

Thu Dec 2, 8:14 am ET

STOCKHOLM/LONDON (Reuters) – Swedish police said on Thursday that technical problems hindering the arrest of Julian Assange, the founder of whistleblowing website WikiLeaks, had been overcome, and a British newspaper said he was in Britain.

A Swedish court upheld an arrest order for the 39-year-old Australian for alleged sexual crimes, refusing to let him appeal a lower court’s ruling. He denies the allegations.

A spokesman for WikiLeaks said Assange had received assassination threats and had to remain out of the public eye.

27 Geithner and lawmakers seek deal on Bush-era tax cuts

By Kim Dixon and Jeff Mason, Reuters

Wed Dec 1, 9:15 pm ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s top economic advisers sought to break a deadlock over taxes with congressional leaders on Wednesday, haggling over how to extend Bush-era rates while the country struggles with sky-high debt.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, who is leading talks for the White House along with budget director Jack Lew, said congressional Republicans and Democrats held a “civil, constructive discussion,” but declined to give specifics.

Obama expressed confidence a deal could be reached.

28 Heading off tax increases; resolution taking shape


4 mins ago

WASHINGTON – A critical compromise to head off a year-end tax increase for millions of Americans took shape in private talks between the White House and congressional Republicans Thursday, and an extension of unemployment benefits for many others appeared likely to become part of any deal.

The Obama administration sought to expand the package with other provisions that officials said would accelerate the nation’s sluggish economic recovery. They included a tax break providing as much as $400 for individual working people and $800 for couples – even if they pay nothing to the IRS.

Two days after he and newly empowered Republicans exchanged pledges of cooperation at the White House, President Barack Obama expressed optimism about the prospects for agreement in time for enactment by year’s end.

29 The noose tightens around WikiLeaks’ Assange


1 min ago

LONDON – The law is closing in on Julian Assange. Swedish authorities won a court ruling Thursday in their bid to arrest the WikiLeaks founder for questioning in a rape case, British intelligence is said to know where in England he’s hiding, and U.S. pundits and politicians are demanding he be hunted down or worse.

The former computer hacker who has embarrassed the U.S. government and foreign leaders with his online release of a huge trove of secret American diplomatic cables suffered a legal setback when Sweden’s Supreme Court upheld an order to detain him – a move that could lead to his extradition.

Meanwhile, Assange continues to leak sensitive documents. Newly posted cables on WikiLeaks’ website detailed a host of embarrassing disclosures, including allegations that Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi accepted kickbacks and a deeply unflattering assessment of Turkmenistan’s president.

30 U.S. wants to lift protections for wolf and grizzly

By Laura Zuckerman, Reuters

Wed Dec 1, 9:04 pm ET

SALMON, Idaho (Reuters) – The Obama administration is seeking to lift Endangered Species Act protections from two of the most iconic symbols of the American West, the gray wolf and grizzly bear, in moves likely to spark fierce resistance from environmentalists.

The administration intentions emerged in an interview on Wednesday with two top-ranking officials from the Interior Department, whose agency, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, oversees federal safeguards for the bulk of imperiled species.

Both the grizzly and gray wolf occupy the figurative pinnacle of the greater Yellowstone ecosystem encompassing parts of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. Previous efforts to remove them from the U.S. endangered species list have met with staunch opposition in court from wildlife conservation groups.

31 Deficit-cutting plan picks up 2 Republicans

By ANDREW TAYLOR, Associated Press

41 mins ago

WASHINGTON – Two of the Senate’s most conservative Republicans on Thursday swung behind a deficit-slashing plan whose politically painful spending cuts include raising the Social Security retirement age. Their backing gives the proposal from leaders of President Barack Obama’s debt commission momentum as it heads for a vote.

The support from Sens. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma and Mike Crapo of Idaho means the controversial plan to cut the deficit by almost $4 trillion over the coming decade is likely to win a majority of the panel’s 18 members Friday and could provide a path for a deficit-cutting deal next year.

It is still likely to fall short of the 14 votes needed to send it to Congress for consideration. Nonetheless, even some panel members opposed to the plan – such as future House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis. – view it as a credible first step.

32 McCain faults military gays study, wants ban kept

By ANNE FLAHERTY, Associated Press

43 mins ago

WASHINGTON – Senate Republicans led by a doubting John McCain dug in their heels Thursday against allowing gays to serve openly in the military, clashing with the Pentagon’s top leaders and dimming Democrats’ hopes to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell” this year.

In tense exchanges with Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen, McCain and other Republicans dismissed a Pentagon study on gays as biased and said objections by combat troops were being ignored.

McCain blamed politics for pushing the matter forward during wartime, and he predicted soldiers and Marines would quit in droves if they had to serve next to gays open about their sexual orientation. He scoffed at testimony by Gates and Mullen, who said concerns among some combat troops could be addressed through time and training.

33 Microbe found that can use arsenic as nutrient

By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID, AP Science Writer

44 mins ago

WASHINGTON – The discovery of a strange bacteria that can use arsenic as one of its nutrients widens the scope for finding new forms of life on Earth and possibly beyond. While researchers discovered the unusual bacteria here on Earth, they say it shows that life has possibilities beyond the major elements that have been considered essential.

“This organism has dual capability. It can grow with either phosphorous or arsenic. That makes it very peculiar, though it falls short of being some form of truly ‘alien’ life,” commented Paul C. W. Davies of Arizona State University, a co-author of the report appearing in Thursday’s online edition of the journal Science.

Six major elements have long been considered essential for life – carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulfur.

34 Qatar selected as 2022 World Cup host

By RAF CASERT, AP Sports Writer

45 mins ago

ZURICH – The tiny desert nation of Qatar beat out the United States as the 2022 World Cup host, with FIFA brushing aside doubts about blistering heat to bring soccer’s showcase event for the first time to the Middle East.

The 22 voters on FIFA’s executive committee, some accused of corruption in the weeks leading up to their meeting, picked Russia to stage the 2018 tournament, another first-time host. Both votes were taken Thursday and the results announced minutes apart.

Qatar (GUH’-tur), an oil-rich nation that has been independent since 1971, has a population of about 1.7 million – 500,000 less than Houston. At 4,416 square miles, it is smaller than Connecticut.

35 Mercury busts charts; 2010 in top 3 hottest years

By ARTHUR MAX, Associated Press

11 mins ago

CANCUN, Mexico – A scorching summer that killed thousands in Russia and exceptionally mild winters in the Arctic were among extreme weather events that have put 2010 on track to be one of the three hottest years on record, U.N. experts said Thursday.

The data from the World Meteorological Organization show that the last decade was the warmest ever, part of a trend that scientists attribute to man-made pollution trapping heat in the atmosphere.

Europeans and some Americans may think it was chilly this year, but their unusually cold winters were more than balanced by searing temperatures from Canada to Africa and the Indian subcontinent, said Michel Jarraud, WMO’s secretary-general.

36 Manufacturing flaw possible in superjumbo engine


Thu Dec 2, 12:36 pm ET

SYDNEY – Australian investigators on Thursday identified the source of an oil leak that caused a superjumbo engine to blow apart in mid air last month, and said a suspected manufacturing defect in the Rolls-Royce engine was to blame.

They warned airlines the potential flaw could cause engine failure.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau recommended the three airlines that use Rolls-Royce’s massive Trent 900 engines on their A380s go back and conduct more checks now that it had pinpointed the problem area. Three airlines fly a total of 20 the Airbus planes.

37 Obama restores eastern Gulf drilling ban

By MATTHEW DALY, Associated Press

Thu Dec 2, 5:36 am ET

WASHINGTON – BP’s oil well in the Gulf of Mexico is dead, but the political fallout is very much alive.

The Obama administration said it won’t open up new areas of the eastern Gulf and Atlantic seaboard to drilling, reversing a decision to hunt for oil and gas that the president himself announced three weeks before the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history.

“We are adjusting our strategy,” Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said Wednesday.

38 Clinton: US will consider keeping Kyrgyzstan base

By ROBERT BURNS, AP National Security Writer

Thu Dec 2, 10:19 am ET

BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan – The United States will reconsider its military presence in the Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan once it winds down its combat mission in Afghanistan in 2014, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said Thursday.

She offered no indication whether the Obama administration hopes to maintain a presence at the Manas air base, which plays a central role in moving troops and supplies to support the war effort in Afghanistan. Russia has objected to having the U.S. military set up so close to its borders.

Speaking to students and civic leaders in a Kyrgyz TV interview, Clinton noted that the U.S. and its NATO partners agreed last month in Lisbon, Portugal, to begin turning over control to local Afghan authorities in 2011, with a goal of completing that transition by the end of 2014.

39 Chefs become teachers at Harvard science class

By GLEN JOHNSON, Associated Press

2 hrs 56 mins ago

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Dan Barber’s culinary skills have earned him a James Beard “Outstanding Chef” award. The food at his New York restaurant Blue Hill also was the centerpiece for a Manhattan date night between President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama.

Yet it’s his focus on cultivating flavor before foodstuffs even reach his kitchen that put him in an unusual setting recently.

Trading his chefs whites for a loosened tie and sport coat, Barber stood in the well of a Harvard University science hall, delivering a guest lecture as part of the hottest course on campus this fall: Physical Universe 27, or, “Science and Cooking: From Haute Cuisine to Soft Matter Science.”

40 What’s message in billboard touting Vicki Kennedy?

By GLEN JOHNSON, AP Political Writer

Thu Dec 2, 2:43 pm ET

BOSTON – The billboard-sized photo of Vicki Kennedy beside one of the major highways entering Boston is impossible to overlook.

The question is, what message is it sending?

Is it merely touting, as the sign reads, the attendance of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy’s widow at a mayoral event on immigrants and diversity? Or is it part of a low-wattage effort to maintain Vicki Kennedy’s profile for a possible 2012 campaign against the man who succeeded her husband, Republican Sen. Scott Brown?

41 Town that Disney built has 1st killing since start

By TAMARA LUSH, Associated Press

Thu Dec 2, 11:54 am ET

CELEBRATION, Fla. – Celebration, Disney’s master-planned, picture-perfect central Florida community, has never reported a homicide in its 14-year existence – until this week.

Residents of the town five miles south of Walt Disney World woke up Tuesday to the sight of yellow crime-scene tape wrapped around a condo near the Christmas-decorated downtown, where Bing Crosby croons from speakers hidden in the foliage. A 58-year-old neighbor who lived alone with his Chihuahua had been slain over the long Thanksgiving weekend, Osceola County sheriff’s deputies said.

The community’s famous friendliness is what brought investigators to Matteo Giovanditto’s body: Neighbors hadn’t seen him for days, so they filed a missing person’s report, then went into his condo a day later and found him.

42 Chicago shutters infamous public housing complex

By KAREN HAWKINS, Associated Press

Thu Dec 2, 12:11 am ET

CHICAGO – For decades, Chicago’s infamous Cabrini-Green high-rises – with their fenced-in balconies and horrific high-profile crimes – were a symbol of the failure of public housing in America.

Their closure this month ends an ugly era. But for the last of the Cabrini residents moving out, the shuttering also marks the start of an uncertain time. While some families who have already left the complex are faring better, it’s still difficult to track whether the plan to overhaul Chicago’s public housing is improving the lives of those low-income families relocated.

More than 1,700 families have been moved from Cabrini-Green since the Chicago Public Housing Authority’s sweeping “Plan for Transformation” started in 2000. With just one building set to fall, a federal judge has given the two remaining families at Cabrini’s last high-rise until Dec. 10 to move out.

43 Remains of 6 killed by rogue Afghan cop come home

By ANNE GEARAN, AP National Security Writer

Wed Dec 1, 9:39 pm ET

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. – Several of President Barack Obama’s top national security advisers stood on a silent, windy tarmac Wednesday night to watch as the bodies of six U.S. soldiers killed by a rogue Afghan policeman returned to U.S. soil.

The six were killed in Afghanistan on Monday when the border policeman turned his gun on his American trainers as the group headed to shooting practice. The gunman was killed in the shootout in Nangarhar province near the Pakistan border.

The Taliban claimed responsibility, saying the officer had enlisted as a sleeper agent to have an opportunity to kill foreigners.

44 Ill. Senate approves civil unions for gay couples


Wed Dec 1, 8:30 pm ET

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – Gay rights advocates celebrated Wednesday as the Illinois Legislature voted to legalize civil unions, although some wondered whether the measure that the governor is expected to sign will make it easier or harder to someday win approval of same-sex marriage.

The state Senate approved the legislation 32-24, sending it to Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn. It passed despite complaints from some senators that civil unions threaten the sanctity of marriage or increase the cost of doing business in Illinois.

After Quinn signs the measure, gay and lesbian couples will be able to get official recognition from the state and gain many of the rights that accompany marriage – the power to decide medical treatment for an ailing partner, for instance. Illinois law will continue to limit marriage to one man and woman, and the federal government won’t recognize the civil unions at all.

45 Holidays about survival as jobless benefits end

By TOM BREEN, Associated Press

Wed Dec 1, 7:42 pm ET

Shawn Slonsky’s children know by now not to give him Christmas lists filled with the latest gizmos. The 44-year-old union electrician is one of nearly 2 million Americans whose extended unemployment benefits will run out this month, making the holiday season less about celebration than survival.

“We’ll put up decorations, but we just don’t have the money for a Christmas tree,” Slonsky said.

Benefits that had been extended up to 99 weeks started running out Wednesday. Unless Congress approves a longer extension, the Labor Department estimates about 2 million people will be cut off by Christmas.

46 Yogurt in, soda out: Army revamps training diet

By ALAN SCHER ZAGIER, Associated Press

Wed Dec 1, 6:04 pm ET

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. – At Army training sites across the nation, the mess hall is beginning to look different. Milk and juice dispensers are replacing soda fountains, and whole grains are being substituted for white bread and pasta.

The military increasingly believes that producing quality recruits starts at the dinner table during basic training, so it has started a more emphatic effort to change their eating habits. Color-coded labels point the way to healthy items, and drill sergeants stand watch over the chow line, calling out soldiers who don’t put enough fruit on their plates.

Many new soldiers have never given much thought to their diets – a problem that reflects the poor food choices of a nation with more and more obese people.


    • TMC on 12/03/2010 at 00:57

    taking interest in diets of the troops. I wonder who watches what the drill sergeant eats?

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