Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

Now with 54 Top Stories.

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Egypt army backs people’s demands, holds fire

by Charles Onians, AFP

1 hr 1 min ago

CAIRO (AFP) – The all-powerful army came out in support of Egypt’s people on Monday and vowed not to fire on protesters, who are demanding President Hosni Mubarak’s ouster and have called a general strike.

In a political appeal, Egypt’s new Vice President Omar Suleiman went on television to offer an “immediate” dialogue with the opposition.

“President Hosni Mubarak has tasked me with opening immediate talks with the political forces to begin a dialogue around all the issues concerning constitutional and legislative reforms,” he said on state television.

So for Mubarak- Game over dude, game over.

2 Oil hits $101 a barrel as Egypt protests mount

AFP

26 mins ago

NEW YORK (AFP) – Oil prices smashed through $100 a barrel Monday for the first time since the 2008 economic crisis, as traders worried that unrest in Egypt could disrupt oil flows through the Suez Canal.

Oil prices surged to $101 a barrel for London’s main Brent North Sea crude contract, as protesters gathered for a seventh straight day amid threats of a general strike.

Egypt is not a major oil producer, but is home to the vitally important Suez Canal, which carries around 2.4 million barrels of oil a day — roughly equivalent to the daily output of Iraq or Brazil.

3 ElBaradei hails new era on Day Six of Egypt fury

by Samer al-Atrush, AFP

Sun Jan 30, 7:43 pm ET

CAIRO (AFP) – Top dissident Mohamed ElBaradei told a sea of angry protesters in Cairo on Sunday that they were beginning a new era after six days of a deadly revolt against embattled President Hosni Mubarak.

But despite the anticipation of change, Mubarak ordered police back on the streets after they had largely disappeared over the past two days following street battles with protesters. He also extended a curfew in key cities.

Nobel peace laureate ElBaradei, mandated by Egyptian opposition groups including the banned Muslim Brotherhood to negotiate with Mubarak’s regime, hailed “a new Egypt in which every Egyptian lives in freedom and dignity.”

4 Egypt army says demands legitimate, will not shoot

by Jailan Zayan, AFP

2 hrs 34 mins ago

CAIRO (AFP) – The all-poweful army said on Monday Egyptians’ demands were legitimate and vowed not to fire on them as protesters, who are demanding the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak, prepared a general strike and million-strong marches.

In what is seen as a sop, a new cabinet line-up was announced in which widely hated interior minister Habib al-Adly and the previous finance and culture ministers were axed.

But protesters massed in downtown Cairo vowed they would only be satisfied when Mubarak quits, while the key opposition Muslim Brotherhood called for protests to continue until they bring down his creaking regime.

5 Egypt protesters call for ‘million man march’

by Jailan Zayan, AFP

Mon Jan 31, 8:25 am ET

CAIRO (AFP) – A sea of protesters have flooded Cairo on Monday for a seventh day of demonstrations against President Hosni Mubarak’s regime and called for a rolling general strike until the veteran leader stands down.

Protest organisers said Tuesday would see a “march of a million” in the Egyptian capital after a week of revolt in which at least 125 people have been killed, upping the stakes in their bid to topple Mubarak’s creaking regime.

Tens of thousands of protesters carpeted Cairo’s Tahrir square, the epicentre for those calling for an end to the corruption, deprivation and police oppression indelibly associated with Mubarak’s 30-year rule.

6 Big turnout urged as Niger votes for new leader

by Boureima Hama, AFP

Mon Jan 31, 11:58 am ET

NIAMEY (AFP) – Niger’s junta leader called on voters for a massive turnout Monday to close the door on military rule by electing a new, civilian president to head one of the world’s poorest countries.

The Sahel country’s 6.7 million registered voters must choose from among 10 candidates, including three former allies of deposed ex-president Mamadou Tandja and a longtime opponent of the former leader.

The winner will have the task of leading one of the world’s top uranium producers out from under the shadow of the growing threat of Al-Qaeda-linked militants.

7 African leaders agree new I. Coast crisis strategy

by Ben Simon, AFP

35 mins ago

ADDIS ABABA (AFP) – African leaders set a one-month deadline to solve Ivory Coast’s political crisis as they wound up a summit here Monday, vowing also to recognise the outcome of south Sudan’s secession vote.

The two-day African Union summit was dominated by the continent’s latest crises including the uprising in Egypt and the popular revolt in Tunisia that ended the 23-year regime of president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali.

The leaders appointed a five-member panel of heads of state tasked with finding a solution to the leadership crisis in Ivory Coast within a month.

8 EU, US slap new sanctions on Belarus leader, allies

by Alain Jean-Robert, AFP

1 hr 49 mins ago

BRUSSELS (AFP) – The European Union and United States slapped a new raft of sanctions on Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko and his inner circle on Monday as punishment for a post-election crackdown on the opposition.

The announcement triggered a swift vow of retaliation from the regime in Minsk, which promised to respond with “proportionate” but unspecified measures.

Although Belarus freed at the weekend a second opposition candidate who was among hundreds of protesters jailed for crying foul after a presidential election, the move was not enough to earn it a reprieve from the West.

9 WTO delivers verdict on Airbus vs. Boeing

AFP

1 hr 45 mins ago

GENEVA (AFP) – The World Trade Organization delivered a crucial report Monday on the long-running EU-US battle over subsidies to Boeing and Airbus that the European aircraft maker said vindicated the EU complaint.

But Boeing quickly rejected that conclusion, saying the report was a “sweeping rejection” of the European allegations of illegal subsidies.

The WTO provided its confidential report dealing with Airbus’s charges against Boeing to the US and EU governments.

10 China goes rabbit-crazy for Lunar New Year

by Sebastien Blanc, AFP

43 mins ago

BEIJING (AFP) – In stews, as pets or adorning shop windows, rabbits are ubiquitous as millions of Chinese mark the Lunar New Year, hoping for a more tranquil time ahead as the old Year of the Tiger roars its last.

The nation’s 1.3 billion inhabitants will welcome the Year of the Rabbit on the night of February 2-3 in a hugely important family event marked by feasts and a blaze of fireworks.

Occupying the fourth position in the Chinese zodiac, the rabbit is closely linked to the moon and symbolises happiness and good fortune.

11 Clinton tries to break Haiti deadlock

by Lachlan Carmichael, AFP

Sun Jan 30, 6:41 pm ET

PORT-AU-PRINCE (AFP) – US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Haiti on Sunday in a bid to smooth its course towards a final vote after disputed first-round elections plunged the country into uncertainty.

Clinton was to meet President Rene Preval and the three main candidates vying to succeed him in disputed November polls, including his protege, who has been under mounting US-led pressure to step down over fraud allegations.

The top US diplomat told reporters that Washington backed the recommendations of international monitors, who have urged the ruling party presidential candidate, Jude Celestin, to exit the race.

12 Nicotine study opens path for anti-smoking drug

by Marlowe Hood, AFP

Sun Jan 30, 5:25 pm ET

PARIS (AFP) – Scientists have pinpointed a source of nicotine craving in the brain, opening up a new path towards drug treatments to help smokers kick their habit, according to a study released Sunday.

Tobacco kills more than five million people every year and accounts for nearly one-in-10 adult deaths, 90 percent of them due to lung cancer.

In experiments with mice and rats, the researchers mapped the functioning of a gene called CHRNA5 that has been previously fingered in nicotine addiction.

13 ICBC leads charge as Chinese banks go global

by Boris Cambreleng, AFP

Sun Jan 30, 6:52 pm ET

BEIJING (AFP) – ICBC, the world’s largest bank by market value, is proving the most aggressive Chinese bank in expanding abroad, serving Chinese firms that are increasingly active globally after the financial crisis.

Of the country’s “big four” banks, ICBC is leading the way as Chinese lenders restart plans that were put on hold by the global crisis and seize new opportunities left in its wake.

Bank of China fulfilled that role in the 1980s, but times have changed as Chinese firms have been widely encouraged to invest abroad and Beijing seeks to boost the global profile of the yuan, the experts say.

14 Chinese property ‘bubble’ fuels hard landing fears

by Hui Min Neo, AFP

Sun Jan 30, 6:49 pm ET

DAVOS, Switzerland (AFP) – The world business elite raised concerns over China’s property prices at its annual get-together in Davos, with some worrying that if the bubble bursts it could hurt growth.

“Can China deflate its real estate bubble without generating a hard landing in its economy? It’s a serious problem. The Chinese themselves are quite worried about it,” said Nariman Behravesh, an analyst at IHS Global Insight.

“If you look at the ratio of home values relative to GDP, China is about the same level as Japan’s before Japan’s bubble burst,” he warned.

15 African turmoil casts pall over summit

by Ben Simon, AFP

2 hrs 19 mins ago

ADDIS ABABA (AFP) – African leaders on Monday zeroed in on the festering crises in Sudan and Somalia at a summit overshadowed by Egypt’s popular revolt and the leadership crisis in Ivory Coast.

On the second and last day of an African Union (AU) summit in Addis Ababa, they mulled Sudan’s looming partition after a referendum and the chronic instability in Somalia, where they said the interim government had accomplished little.

Underscoring the continuing chaos in the Horn of African country, a government soldier opened fire on a crowd in Mogadishu Monday, killing at least 17 civilians and wounding 56 others.

16 Chirac ‘very well’ despite Alzheimer’s claim

by Roland Lloyd Parry, AFP

Mon Jan 31, 12:01 pm ET

PARIS (AFP) – French former president Jacques Chirac insisted he was in good health on Monday and his wife denied reports he has Alzheimer’s disease, saying he will show up at his corruption trial next month.

A judge meanwhile rebuffed a bid by Chirac’s lawyer to defer the trial, France’s first ever prosecution of a former president.

The weekly Journal du Dimanche had quoted unnamed friends of Chirac, 78, as saying he had memory lapses and that his wife Bernadette feared he had the dementia-causing brain disease Alzheimer’s. He had a minor stroke in 2005.

17 Mubarak offers talks, pushed by army, U.S. and protests

By Samia Nakhoul and Alison Williams, Reuters

37 mins ago

CAIRO (Reuters) – Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak offered talks on sweeping reforms with opponents on Monday, indicating that massive pressure from street protesters, Western allies and his own army are ending his 30 years of one-man rule.

After a week of unprecedented rallies against the poverty, corruption and oppression under the 82-year-old military-backed leader, newly appointed Vice President Omar Suleiman appeared on state television to say Mubarak had asked him to begin dialogue with all political forces on constitutional and other reforms.

It seems unlikely Mubarak could preside for long within any new system that brought free elections to the most populous Arab state. After the fall of Tunisia’s veteran strongman two weeks ago, the shift will send a shockwave throughout the Middle East.

18 Governments and firms evacuate citizens from Egypt

By Victoria Bryan, Reuters

Mon Jan 31, 1:45 pm ET

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Governments, airlines and tour operators worked together on Monday to fly their nationals out of Egypt where protesters pressed their campaign to topple President Hosni Mubarak.

The U.S. State Department said that more than 220 U.S. citizens had been evacuated from Egypt, and that more than 2,400 Americans had requested assistance to leave.

It said it hoped to bring 900 U.S. citizens out of Egypt on Monday with flights departing for Athens, Cyprus and Istanbul. Up to 52,000 Americans are registered with the embassy in Cairo.

19 ElBaradei urges U.S. to abandon Mubarak

By Phil Stewart and David Morgan, Reuters

Sun Jan 30, 7:31 pm ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Egyptian opposition figure Mohamed ElBaradei put pressure on the United States on Sunday to support calls for President Hosni Mubarak to step down, saying “life support to the dictator” must end.

In a series of interviews with U.S. television networks from Cairo, ElBaradei also said he had a mandate to negotiate a national unity government and would soon reach out to the army, at the heart of power in Egypt for more than a half century.

ElBaradei, a Nobel Peace laureate for his work with the U.N. nuclear agency, said it was only a matter of time before Mubarak, who has ruled Egypt for three decades, stepped down. He urged President Barack Obama to take a stand.

20 Europe’s Arabs view Middle East chaos in awe, fear

By Mohammed Abbas, Reuters

Sun Jan 30, 4:11 pm ET

LONDON (Reuters) – Arabs living in Europe say they have watched events unfold in Tunisia and Egypt with a mixture of awe and fear as governments crumble and a breakdown of order threatens their friends and relations.

Egyptians in London spoke of frantic calls from their family in which they were told of armed criminal gangs roaming the streets after massive protests erupted against the government of President Hosni Mubarak.

“My cousin is calling me, shouting SOS. Criminals, gangs are everywhere, breaking into homes. I’m beside myself with worry. I haven’t slept,” said student Raouf Ghali, 41.

21 Judge strikes down healthcare reform law

By Tom Brown, Reuters

56 mins ago

MIAMI (Reuters) – A federal judge in Florida struck down President Barack Obama’s landmark healthcare overhaul as unconstitutional on Monday, in the biggest legal challenge yet to federal authority to enact the law.

U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson, appointed to the bench by Republican President Ronald Reagan, ruled that the reform law’s so-called individual mandate went too far in requiring that Americans start buying health insurance in 2014 or pay a penalty.

“Because the individual mandate is unconstitutional and not severable, the entire act must be declared void. This has been a difficult decision to reach, and I am aware that it will have indeterminable implications,” Vinson wrote.

22 Judge may escalate battle over healthcare reform

By Tom Brown, Reuters

Mon Jan 31, 8:22 am ET

MIAMI (Reuters) – A Florida judge could on Monday become the second U.S. judge to declare President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform law unconstitutional, in the biggest legal challenge yet to federal authority to enact the law.

The judge, Roger Vinson of the U.S. District Court in Pensacola, Florida, was expected to rule on a lawsuit brought by governors and attorneys general from 26 U.S. states, almost all of whom are Republicans. Obama is a Democrat.

The plaintiffs represent more than half the U.S. states, so the Pensacola case has more prominence than some two dozen lawsuits filed in federal courts over the healthcare law.

23 AAR dividend move fuels row over BP’s Rosneft deal

By Tom Bergin and Vladimir Soldatkin, Reuters

Mon Jan 31, 2:33 pm ET

LONDON/MOSCOW (Reuters) – BP’s Russian partners in its joint venture with TNK tightened the screws on the British company to scrap or modify a rival tie-up with state oil group Rosneft by voting against a $1.8 billion dividend payout.

Monday’s move could limit BP’s scope to increase its own dividend and overshadow its 2010 results on Tuesday, when the company is expected to reinstate its payout, which it canceled at the height of its Gulf of Mexico oil spill last summer.

The vote against the TNK-BP dividend also comes a day before a London court is due to hear TNK-BP’s lawsuit seeking an injunction against the BP-Rosneft deal.

24 Macau’s Ho fights for assets, appeals for fresh start

By Alison Leung and Farah Master, Reuters

Mon Jan 31, 8:03 am ET

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Macau casino magnate Stanley Ho has dropped a lawsuit against family members in the latest twist of a dynastic tussle over the ailing octogenarian tycoon’s multi-billion dollar empire.

But in a video recorded on Sunday, Ho said the suspension of legal proceedings was intended to give his family a chance to broker a settlement that would return all the assets that he considered stolen, in order to resolve the standoff.

“I give everyone a chance,” said Ho, chairman of Macau’s biggest casino operator, SJM Holdings, in the video.

25 Pakistani children haunted by images of flood waters

By Michael Georgy, Reuters

Mon Jan 31, 7:40 am ET

MIR HASSAN, Pakistan (Reuters) – Raja Hussain, 10, still sees flood waters roaring toward his farming village most nights. They sound like a high-speed train.

Monsoon floods hit Pakistan six months ago. Yet, those vivid images still haunt the Pakistani child’s nightmares.

“In the dreams I see myself praying to Allah for help,” said Hussain.

26 Egypt military promises no force against protests

By HAMZA HENDAWI and MAGGIE MICHAEL, Associated Press

25 mins ago

CAIRO – Egypt’s military promised Monday not to fire on any peaceful protests and recognized “the legitimacy of the people’s demands,” a sign army support for President Hosni Mubarak may be unraveling. Protesters planned a major escalation, calling for a million people to take to the streets to push Mubarak out of power.

More than 10,000 people beat drums, played music and chanted slogans in Tahrir Square, which has become ground zero of seven days of protests demanding the ouster of the 82-year-old president who has ruled with an authoritarian hand for nearly three decades.

With the organizers’ calling for a march by one million people Tuesday, the vibe in the sprawling plaza – whose name in Arabic means “Liberation” – was intensifying with the feeling that the upheaval was nearing a decisive point. “He only needs a push,” was one of the most frequent chants, and one leaflet circulated by some protesters said it was time for the military to choose between Mubarak and the people.

27 Officials: US hoping Mubarak skips re-election bid

By BRADLEY KLAPPER and MATTHEW LEE, Associated Press

18 mins ago

WASHINGTON – The United States has a vision for Egypt’s transition to real democracy: President Hosni Mubarak ends the state of emergency that has underpinned three decades of iron rule and gives up any lasting ambitions on winning re-election.

Administration officials said Monday that the U.S. government would prefer that Mubarak, 82, not run in presidential voting scheduled for September. But they won’t say that publicly for fear of destabilizing Egypt amid increased signs that the regime may fall.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of diplomacy and the difficult situation the Obama administration finds itself in, torn between pro-democracy protesters and an ally who has backed the U.S. for over three decades on issues from Arab-Israeli peace to counterterrorism.

28 Officials: US hoping Mubarak skips re-election bid

By BRADLEY KLAPPER and MATTHEW LEE, Associated Press

22 mins ago

WASHINGTON – The United States has a vision for Egypt’s transition to real democracy: President Hosni Mubarak ends the state of emergency that has underpinned three decades of iron rule and gives up any lasting ambitions on winning re-election.

Administration officials said Monday that the U.S. government would prefer that Mubarak, 82, not run in presidential voting scheduled for September. But they won’t say that publicly for fear of destabilizing Egypt amid increased signs that the regime may fall.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of diplomacy and the difficult situation the Obama administration finds itself in, torn between pro-democracy protesters and an ally who has backed the U.S. for over three decades on issues from Arab-Israeli peace to counterterrorism.

29 Cairo airport a scene of chaos as foreigners flee

By VICTORIA HAZOU and MENELAOS HADJICOSTIS, Associated Press

1 hr 23 mins ago

CAIRO – Cairo’s international airport was a scene of chaos and confusion Monday as thousands of foreigners sought to flee the unrest in Egypt, and countries around the world scrambled to send in planes to fly their citizens out.

Nerves frayed and shouting and shoving matches erupted as thousands crammed into Cairo airport’s new Terminal 3 seeking a flight home. The airport’s departures board stopped announcing flight times in an attempt to reduce the tension – but the plan backfired, fueling passengers’ anger.

Making matters worse, check-in counters were poorly staffed because many EgyptAir employees had been unable to get to work due to a 3 p.m.-to-8 a.m. curfew and traffic breakdowns across the Egyptian capital.

30 Analysis: The US moral conundrum in Egypt

By STEVEN R. HURST, Associated Press

Mon Jan 31, 11:05 am ET

WASHINGTON – As with Iran 30 years ago, American leaders again are wrestling with the moral conflict between Washington’s demands for democracy among its friends and strategic coziness with dictatorial regimes seen as key to stability in an increasingly complex world, particularly the Middle East.

The turmoil in Egypt – and its potential for grave consequences for U.S. policy throughout the region – was inevitable. The recent WikiLeaks release of U.S. diplomatic reports showed that Washington knew what problems it increasingly faced with the regime of President Hosni Mubarak and his three decades of iron-fisted rule.

As importantly, the U.S. handling of Egyptian uprising, regardless of how it plays out, now has other close American friends in the Middle East – particularly in Saudi Arabia and Jordan – watching closely, looking for foreshadowings of what might be in store for them.

31 Fla. judge strikes down Obama health care overhaul

By MELISSA NELSON, Associated Press

23 mins ago

PENSACOLA, Fla. – A federal judge declared the Obama administration’s health care overhaul unconstitutional Monday, siding with 26 states that argued people cannot be required to buy health insurance.

Senior U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson agreed with the states that the new law violates people’s rights by forcing them to buy health insurance by 2014 or face penalties. He went a step further than a previous ruling against the law, declaring the entire thing unconstitutional if the insurance requirement does not hold up.

Attorneys for the administration had argued that the states did not have standing to challenge the law and that the case should be dismissed.

32 Lesbian students enter to cheers at Minn. school

By CHRIS WILLIAMS, Associated Press

32 mins ago

CHAMPLIN, Minn. – Two lesbian high school students who fought for the right to walk together as part of a royalty court made their entrances Monday to the cheers of hundreds of classmates.

Sarah Lindstrom and Desiree Shelton wore matching black suits with pink ties and held hands as they entered the Snow Days Pep Fest at Champlin Park High School in Minneapolis’ northwest suburbs.

The reaction came as a relief to the couple and school administrators. The district has been stung by criticism of its policies toward homosexuality and the alleged bullying of a gay student who killed himself.

33 Diabetes in pregnancy a risk for mom years later

By LAURAN NEERGAARD, AP Medical Writer

1 hr 48 mins ago

WASHINGTON – A type of diabetes that strikes during pregnancy may disappear at birth, but it remains a big red flag for moms’ future health – one that too many seem to be missing.

Roughly half of women who’ve had gestational diabetes – the pregnancy kind – go on to develop full-fledged Type 2 diabetes in the months to years after their child’s birth.

Yet new research shows fewer than one in five of those women returns for a crucial diabetes test within six months of delivery. That’s the first of the checkups they’re supposed to have every few years to guard against diabetes’ return, but no one knows how many do.

34 Chrysler 4Q loss narrows thanks to new vehicles

By TOM KRISHER, AP Auto Writer

21 mins ago

DETROIT – Chrysler avoided collapse two years ago with the help of a government bailout. Now, lower costs and a fleet of new cars and trucks are moving it closer to profitability.

On Monday, the company posted a fourth-quarter net loss of $199 million, a vast improvement over the $2.7 billion loss a year earlier. Revenue rose 14 percent to $10.8 billion.

It also forecast a profit for 2011.

35 Egyptian protesters are conflicted over US role

By DIAA HADID, Associated Press

Mon Jan 31, 2:24 pm ET

CAIRO – One of the insults flung at President Hosni Mubarak by Egyptian protesters seeking his ouster was: “Mubarak, you coward! You American collaborator!”

Hostility toward the United States is widespread among the crowds in Cairo’s streets, who feel Washington’s alliance with Egypt – along with billions of dollars in military aid through the years – has helped Mubarak’s authoritarian regime keep its grip on power for nearly three decades.

But there’s also a yearning for U.S. support.

36 Axelrod on way out: ‘We’ve learned some lessons’

By BEN FELLER, AP White House Correspondent

Mon Jan 31, 12:10 pm ET

WASHINGTON – David Axelrod, protector of President Barack Obama’s message, picked the right day to show up at a news conference. His boss wasn’t just going off script. He was going off.

Humbled by a poor election for his party, sharply defensive about a tax deal with Republicans, Obama kept talking until he finally refocused on his whole purpose for being president. He spoke about the value of compromising, the merits of thinking long term, the point of leadership being to help people have better lives.

Axelrod looked up from his BlackBerry as if someone had jolted him. “That’s our guy,” Axelrod recalled thinking. “That’s the guy I’ve been working with for almost a decade now.”

37 Gov’t advising Americans to cut down on salt

By MARY CLARE JALONICK, Associated Press

Mon Jan 31, 1:35 pm ET

WASHINGTON – The government is telling half of the U.S. population to drastically cut their daily salt intake.

That’s the advice to consumers – and the food industry – as the government issues new dietary guidelines, which are the recommendations behind the popular food pyramid.

For the first time, the Agriculture and Health and Human Services departments, which issue the guidelines every five years, are telling people who are 51 and older, all African-Americans and anyone suffering from high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease to cut the amount of sodium they eat daily to little more than half a teaspoon.

38 Myanmar’s parliament opens under tight security

By AYE AYE WIN, Associated Press

Mon Jan 31, 8:19 am ET

NAYPYITAW, Myanmar – Myanmar opened its first parliament in more than two decades Monday, an event greeted with cautious optimism by opposition lawmakers despite the military’s tight management of the event.

The military and its allies hold more than 80 percent of the seats in both houses of parliament, ensuring that the army exercises control over the wheels of power, as it has since a 1962 coup deposed the last legitimately elected legislature. A single-party parliament under the late dictator Gen. Ne Win was abolished in 1988 after the army crushed a pro-democracy uprising.

The 440-seat lower house and 224-seat upper house were opened simultaneously at 8:55 a.m. (0225 GMT) in a massive new building in Naypyitaw, the remote city to which the capital was moved from Yangon in 2005. The 14 regional parliaments, whose members were also elected last November, opened at the same time.

39 NFC storms to big lead, takes Pro Bowl 55-41

By BOB BAUM, AP Sports Writer

Mon Jan 31, 7:53 am ET

HONOLULU – A tropical rainstorm moved in from the Pacific and cleared just before the Pro Bowl began on Sunday. What followed was a sloppy show that was not exactly riveting entertainment a week in advance of the Super Bowl.

The NFC’s 55-41 victory, a game not nearly as interesting as that score would indicate, did nothing to repair the tattered image of the NFL’s all-star contest.

New England’s Bill Belichick, the AFC coach and a man of even fewer words than usual, might have come closest to summing up the game with his mumbled cliche, “It is what it is.”

40 Despite China’s might, US factories maintain edge

By PAUL WISEMAN, AP Economics Writer

Mon Jan 31, 6:35 am ET

WASHINGTON – U.S. factories are closing. American manufacturing jobs are reappearing overseas. China’s industrial might is growing each year.

And it might seem as if the United States doesn’t make world-class goods as well as some other nations.

“There’s no reason Europe or China should have the fastest trains, or the new factories that manufacture clean energy products,” President Barack Obama said in his State of the Union policy address last week.

41 Bar manager: Mosque bomb plot suspect vowed blast

By JEFF KAROUB, Associated Press

2 hrs 33 mins ago

DETROIT – Hours before he was arrested on the suspicion he was plotting to blow up a popular Detroit-area mosque, a California man told people at a nearby sports bar that he planned to set off a “big explosion,” bar employees said Monday.

Joe Nahhas, a manager at the J.S. Fields bar in Detroit, told The Associated Press that a man later identified as 63-year-old Roger Stockham ordered a Scotch on Jan. 24 and told him he planned to cause an explosion that would be “here, there, the mosque.”

Nahhas said he called 911 to report the incident, and police have said a tip preceded Stockham’s arrest near the Islamic Center of America in neighboring Dearborn a few hours later.

42 AP Interview: Taurasi denies taking stimulant

By DOUG FEINBERG, AP Basketball Writer

Mon Jan 31, 1:53 pm ET

Diana Taurasi insists she did nothing wrong.

The former Connecticut women’s basketball star says she hadn’t even heard of the banned stimulant modafinil until she found out she had tested positive for it. And no matter what those results showed, Taurasi is adamant that she never used performance-enhancing drugs.

“I’ve never needed anything to help me. Only thing that I’m guilty of is taking too many jump shots,” she told The Associated Press by telephone Sunday night from her parents’ home in Chino, Calif.

43 For bayou Indians, spill threatens a way of life

By CAIN BURDEAU, Associated Press

Mon Jan 31, 6:13 am ET

MONTEGUT, La. – Even before oil began spewing into the Gulf of Mexico last spring, Louisiana’s American-Indian fishing villages were on the brink of collapse because of social change and the dramatic loss of coastal wetlands.

Now, Indians who’ve known nothing but fishing all their lives find their futures tied to the man handing out checks for damages, paid from a multibillion-dollar fund started after the April 20 Gulf spill.

Kenneth Feinberg, the fast-talking East Coast lawyer in charge of BP PLC’s $20 billion compensation fund, met with them for the first time Friday night on the back bayous of south Louisiana at a gymnasium in Montegut, about an hour and a half from New Orleans. Dozens of fishermen showed up in shrimp boots and work clothes, speaking a mixture of French and English.

44 Attorney: Navy officer never told to stop videos

By STEVE SZKOTAK, Associated Press

36 mins ago

RICHMOND, Va. – An officer fired from command of his aircraft carrier for broadcasting raunchy videos to thousands of sailors was never ordered to stop, the officer’s attorney said Monday, disputing the Navy’s claim that it put an end to the “inappropriate content.”

At least five then-senior officers to Capt. Owen Honors were aware of his video productions when he was the No. 2 in command on the nuclear-powered USS Enterprise several years ago, attorney Charles W. Gittins told The Associated Press. Those officers are now admirals.

“I’m confident if somebody said stop, he would have stopped,” Gittins said.

45 White House launches new program for startup firms

By JIM KUHNHENN, Associated Press

1 hr 7 mins ago

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration launched a consolidated effort to spur new start-up businesses Monday, part of the White House’s campaign to emphasize job creation while downplaying new economic spending initiatives that could face congressional opposition.

The new thrust will be led by AOL co-founder Steve Case, giving President Barack Obama’s emphasis on the economy a second prominent business face in two weeks. Last week, the president named General Electric chief executive Jeff Immelt as head of a presidential advisory council on competitiveness.

With unemployment stubbornly stuck above 9 percent, the White House has drafted a series of initiatives designed to put job creation efforts on display. Monday’s announcement, labeled “Startup America” by the White House, focused on innovation and entrepreneurship and combined administration programs already underway with new ideas to leverage private-sector investment in start-up businesses.

46 Rare western gray whale tracked off Canada

DAN JOLING, Associated Press

1 hr 32 mins ago

ANCHORAGE, Alaska – A highly endangered whale that spends summers off Russia has moved into water off British Columbia after crossing the Bering Sea and passing the Aleutian Islands.

The 13-year-old, male western Pacific gray whale dubbed Flex is being tracked by U.S. and Russian researchers.

Its last location was logged Thursday about 400 miles off the coast of British Columbia, said Bruce Mate, director of Oregon State University’s Marine Mammal Institute.

47 Veterans, families of KIA torn over flag proposal

By KRISTEN WYATT, Associated Press

1 hr 45 mins ago

DENVER – The simple banner is designed to honor those who served and died in the military. But a national campaign to add the red-and-white “Honor and Remember” flag to official U.S. flag displays on military holidays is creating painful divisions among veterans and the relatives of loved ones killed in action.

For lawmakers nationwide, the “Honor and Remember” debate forces an uncomfortable question: Who can say what should be done to honor people who died for the country?

The banner – a red-and-white background with a star, an eternal flame and the words “HONOR AND REMEMBER” – was conceived by a Virginia man, George Lutz, who lost his son in Iraq in 2005.

48 Report: Immigration law not enforced consistently

By KATE BRUMBACK, Associated Press

2 hrs 43 mins ago

ATLANTA – Some local law enforcement agencies, particularly in the Southeast, are turning over illegal immigrants who commit even minor offenses to federal authorities for deportation, while others are focused on deporting more violent criminals, according to a report released Monday.

The report by the Migration Policy Institute, a Washington-based nonpartisan think tank, said conflicting messages from the U.S. government and local political pressure may account for the discrepancy.

The study, which examined a program that allows participating local agencies to enforce federal immigration law, found that several agencies in the Southeast were turning over every illegal immigrant taken into custody. An influx of immigrants in the generally conservative region has heightened political tension, the report said. North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee and South Carolina were in the top six in terms of growth rates of foreign-born populations from 1990 to 2009.

49 GOP lawmakers paying price for tough-on-crime laws

By SEAN MURPHY, Associated Press

2 hrs 50 mins ago

OKLAHOMA CITY – When Harry Coates campaigned for the Oklahoma state Senate in 2002, he had one approach to crime: “Lock ’em up and throw away the key.”

Now, Coates is looking for that key. He and other tough-on-crime lawmakers across the country, faced with steep budget shortfalls, are searching anxiously for ways to let inmates out of prison faster and keep more offenders on the street.

Oklahoma’s preferred answer for crime has collided head-on with a budget deficit estimated at $600 million, and prison costs that have increased more than 30 percent in the last decade. For years, lawmakers have pushed each other to lengthen prison sentences and increase the number of criminals behind bars. Not now: This week, new Republican Speaker of the House Kris Steele is expected to unveil a package of proposals that would divert thousands of nonviolent lawbreakers from the prison system and ramp up paroles.

50 Trial for polygamist leader Jeffs postponed again

By PAUL J. WEBER, Associated Press

Mon Jan 31, 2:16 pm ET

SAN ANGELO, Texas – Polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs won’t stand trial in Texas until at least July after hiring a new lawyer, who argued Monday that the “awesome” amount of evidence in the criminal case is too voluminous to prepare a defense anytime soon.

A judge agreed and postponed Jeffs’ trial on charges of having sex with two children at the Yearning for Zion ranch for a second time. The trial was moved from February to July 25, and Jeffs’ new attorney cautioned that he may ultimately request an even later date.

State prosecutors requested that Jeffs stand trial before the end of the year.

51 Gates: Helping world’s poor is a good investment

By DONNA GORDON BLANKINSHIP, Associated Press

Mon Jan 31, 12:49 pm ET

SEATTLE – Bill Gates says he feels a responsibility to speak up for the world’s poorest because they’re likely to be hit hard as economic woes force governments to reduce contributions to foreign aid.

In his third annual letter, issued Monday, the co-chairman of the world’s largest charitable foundation expressed concern about budget cuts to the programs that transfer dollars from rich nations to poor ones, providing medical assistance, food aid, vaccines and other help.

The Microsoft co-founder and chairman says in the 24-page letter that not only is helping the poor with their medical needs and giving them the tools to be self-sufficient the right thing to do, it’s also a good investment.

52 Lawyer for Wis. accuser: Vatican rejected lawsuit

By PATRICK CONDON, Associated Press

Mon Jan 31, 12:24 pm ET

MINNEAPOLIS – The attorney for a man who says he was sexually abused decades ago by a now-deceased priest at a Wisconsin school for the deaf says the Vatican has refused to be served with a lawsuit over the matter.

St. Paul attorney Jeff Anderson, who frequently clashes with the Catholic hierarchy over abuse allegations, said Monday that representatives of his office served the lawsuit late last week at the Vatican’s office of the Assessor for General Affairs, but that it was returned via Federal Express.

Anderson’s client is Terry Kohut, a 61-year-old deaf man from Chicago who alleges the late Rev. Lawrence Murphy molested him for several years starting around 1960 while Murphy worked at a Milwaukee-area school for the deaf. The lawsuit names as defendants the Holy See itself as well as Pope Benedict and two other top cardinals, contending they conspired to keep quiet decades of abuse allegations against Murphy.

53 Funeral pyres an option in Colo. mountain town

By IVAN MORENO, Associated Press

Mon Jan 31, 11:42 am ET

CRESTONE, Colo. – Belinda Ellis’ farewell went as she wanted. One by one, her family placed juniper boughs and logs about her body, covered in red cloth atop a rectangular steel grate inside a brick-lined hearth. With a torch, her husband lit the fire that consumed her, sending billows of smoke into the blue-gray sky of dawn.

When the smoke subsided, a triangle-shaped flame flickered inside the circle of mourners, heavily-dressed and huddling against zero-degree weather.

“Mommy, you mean the world to me and it’s hard to live without you,” called out Ellis’ weeping daughter, Brandi, 18. “It’s hard to breathe, it’s hard to see and it’s hard to think about anything but you.”

54 Pie-makers aim for pizza Super Bowl action

By MICHELLE LOCKE, For The Associated Press

Mon Jan 31, 11:40 am ET

Ready, start, dough!

Super Bowl Sunday is coming and pie-makers across the country are bracing for a pizza reaction.

Turns out this is one of the five big pizza days of the year. The other four? Halloween, the day before Thanksgiving, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, says Jeremy White, editor-in-chief of the trade magazine Pizza Today.

2 comments

    • TMC on 02/01/2011 at 01:50

    I haven’t looked at DK but I bet they are freaking out. Truthfully other than Egypt and my e-mails which are out of control, I haven’t looked at anything.

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