Apr 26 2011

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Nearly 500 Taliban flee in daring Afghan jailbreak

by Mamoon Durrani, AFP

Mon Apr 25, 10:43 am ET

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AFP) – Almost 500 Taliban fighters and commanders escaped from a prison in an audacious jailbreak in southern Afghanistan which the government admitted Monday was a security “disaster”.

The Taliban said it sprung the inmates out of the prison in Kandahar through a one-kilometre tunnel that took five months to dig, and claimed all those who escaped belonged to the militia, including over 100 commanders.

The daring breakout in the Taliban’s heartland, the second from the prison in three years, threatens to undermine recent gains claimed by NATO forces in the area after a US-led troop surge, just as the annual fighting season begins.

Yup, sure are winning now.


2 WikiLeaks reveals US blunders at Guantanamo

by Dan De Luce, AFP

Mon Apr 25, 12:30 pm ET

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The United States has botched the handling of inmates at Guantanamo, holding men for years without reliable evidence while releasing others who posed a grave threat, according to leaked secret documents.

The trove of classified files released by the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks showed US officials struggling with often flawed evidence and confused about the guilt or innocence of detainees held at the prison at the US naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, media reported Monday.

Hundreds of inmates who turned out to have no serious terror links were held without trial, based on vague or inaccurate information, including accounts from unreliable fellow detainees or statements from men who had been abused or tortured, the New York Times quoted the documents as saying.

You know, defending liberty and freedom and women’s rights from those evil nasty Taliban/Al Queda types whom our brave General Petreus is defeating with his breathtakingly successful Counter Insurgency strategy.

3 NATO bombs hit Kadhafi office, rebels advance in Misrata

by Imed Lamloum, AFP

Mon Apr 25, 12:49 pm ET

TRIPOLI (AFP) – NATO bombs wrecked Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi’s office in his immense Tripoli residence on Monday, while rebels in besieged Misrata said they had pushed loyalist forces out of the city.

Heavy explosions shook central Tripoli shortly after midnight as warplanes roared over the city.

A Libyan official accompanying journalists shortly afterwards at Kadhafi’s compound said 45 people were wounded, 15 seriously, in the bombing. He said he did not know whether more victims were under the rubble.

See!  Our ever so brave unmanned democracy drones are on the march!

4 25 dead in Daraa crackdown, Syria says troops ‘invited’


46 mins ago

DAMASCUS (AFP) – Syrian troops backed by tanks rolled into the southern flashpoint of Daraa at dawn on Monday, killing at least 25 people, witnesses said, as the army insisted it was invited in to rid the town of terrorists.

A leading Syrian rights activist accused the regime of opting for the “military solution” to crush six weeks of dissent, and witnesses said troops also launched assaults on the Damascus suburbs of Douma and Al-Maadamiyeh.

The United States, which has repeatedly condemned Syria’s repression, was considering sanctions against Damascus, an official said in Washington, while the UN rights chief slammed Syria’s “disregard” for human life.

If there there are big money oil interests involved.

5 Deadly bomb blasts rock Nigerian city

by Aminu Abubakar, AFP

Mon Apr 25, 11:39 am ET

KANO, Nigeria (AFP) – Bomb blasts have killed at least three people in northeast Nigeria, police said Monday, the latest unrest to hit Africa’s most populous nation after presidential elections and ahead of state governorship polls.

Police also said at least 15 were wounded, adding they suspected the Islamist sect known as Boko Haram was behind the attacks on Easter Sunday night at a hotel tavern and transport hub in Maiduguri, as well as a third one on Monday morning.

It was unclear whether the blasts were linked to the unrest that swept across Nigeria’s north last week, leaving more than 500 dead according to a local rights group.

And unless the people involved are blacks.

6 White House lashes oil firms ahead of earnings


1 hr 32 mins ago

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The White House on Monday lashed out at US energy giants expected to announce bumper quarterly profits this week, even as Americans see wallets hit by rising prices at the pump.

President Barack Obama’s administration poured more fuel on a delicate political debate, which is certain to be a key issue and driver of voter sentiment as his 2012 reelection campaign gathers pace.

Obama is pushing for four billion dollars of government subsidies paid to giant firms to be diverted to investment in clean energy development, which he says is key to weaning America from oil produced in volatile regions of the world.

For which we receive their patriotic gratitude.

7 Delhi Commonwealth Games chief arrested


Mon Apr 25, 11:40 am ET

NEW DELHI (AFP) – Indian police Monday arrested the chief organiser of the 2010 Delhi Commonwealth Games and are set to charge him after a probe into allegations of widespread corruption at the scandal-tainted event.

Suresh Kalmadi will be “produced before a special judge” on Tuesday and formally charged on several conspiracy counts relating to the awarding of commercial contracts, said Dharini Mishra, spokeswoman for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Late Monday, India’s ruling Congress party suspended Kalmadi, who is a member of the lower house of parliament.

Corruption only happens in other places.

8 Misrata fighting rages on despite Tripoli vow

by Marc Bastian, AFP

Sun Apr 24, 7:15 pm ET

MISRATA, Libya (AFP) – The most powerful explosions to hit the Libyan capital in weeks of fighting shook downtown Tripoli early Monday after a day of heavy violence in the besieged third city of Misrata.

AFP journalists said the Tripoli explosions came at 2210 GMT Sunday in several districts of the capital, which has been the target since Friday of intensive NATO raids.

On Sunday, grad rockets exploded in Misrata, where at least 12 were reported killed in fresh fighting, despite a vow by the Libyan regime to halt its fire in the western port city where the humanitarian situation has stirred international concern.

9 Runaway ex-Pakistan wicketkeeper returns

by Khurram Shahzad, AFP

Mon Apr 25, 11:36 am ET

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AFP) – Runaway former Pakistan wicketkeeper Zulqarnain Haider returned home from Britain on Monday after receiving government assurances about the safety of his family.

Haider, who turned 25 on Saturday, fled the Pakistan team’s hotel in Dubai on November 8 for the United Kingdom after saying he had received demands that he fix a one-day match against South Africa under the threat of death.

He arrived by plane in Islamabad on Monday and was escorted by security officials to Interior Minister Rehman Malik’s office where he met the minister, who had guaranteed his safety.

10 Japan auto giants see home output plunge post-quake

by Mike Patterson, AFP

Mon Apr 25, 7:18 am ET

TOKYO (AFP) – Japan’s leading automakers said Monday that domestic production plummeted in March after the massive quake and tsunami, which shut off parts supplies and led to widespread power shortages.

Toyota, Nissan and Honda all reported massive falls in output due to the disaster and ratings agency Standard & Poor’s revised from “stable” to “negative” its outlook for the trio.

Toyota, the world’s biggest automaker, said production in Japan plunged 62.7 percent year on year in March, putting it in danger of falling this year from the global top spot it claimed from General Motors in 2008.

11 US knew Guantanamo detainees were innocent: WikiLeaks

by Olivia Hampton, AFP

Mon Apr 25, 7:16 am ET

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The United States held hundreds of inmates who were either totally innocent or low-risk for years and released dozens of high-risk Guantanamo inmates, according to leaked classified files.

The new leaks reveal that inmates were held without trial on the basis of often seriously flawed information, such as from mentally ill or otherwise unreliable co-detainees or statements from suspects who had been abused or tortured, The New York Times reported.

In another revelation, a top detainee reportedly claimed that a nuclear bomb has been hidden somewhere in Europe to be detonated if Al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden is ever caught or killed.


12 New home sales rebound but market still seen weak

By Lucia Mutikani, Reuters

33 mins ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Sales of new U.S. homes rose in March and the number of new properties on the market was its lowest since the 1960s, but further gains will be hampered by the broader property glut.

Single-family home sales rose 11.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 300,000, the Commerce Department said on Monday, up from a near record low pace of 270,000 in February when harsh winter weather hit the economy.

Analysts had expected a 280,000-unit rate in March.

13 Some signs of life in housing, credit drought goes on

By Nick Carey, Reuters

Mon Apr 25, 2:15 am ET

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Like an increasing number of well-heeled Americans, the Hodgsons decided it was time to buy a new home, even if most of the U.S. housing market remains in the dumps.

After years in an apartment building, “we were just tired of sharing space with other people,” says Cari Hodgson, 32. “It was time to have space of our own.”

She and her commodities trader husband sold the condo and recently bought a $1.2 million, five-bedroom home in Chicago’s north side, sealing the deal with the kind of big down-payment that is heating up the high-end of the U.S. property market.

14 Jury deliberates Rajaratnam’s fate in insider case

By Jonathan Stempel and Grant McCool, Reuters

11 mins ago

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The fate of hedge fund manager Raj Rajaratnam went to the jury on Monday in Wall Street’s biggest insider-trading trial in two decades, a case that featured FBI phone taps and former friends who testified against him.

Jury deliberations began just after midday on Monday in the Manhattan federal court trial.

Prosecutors accuse Rajaratnam, the founder of the Galleon Group hedge fund, of running a complex web of highly placed tipsters, including hedge fund colleagues and executives at public companies, between 2003 and March 2009. He made $63.8 million illegally, the prosecutors said.

15 Special Report: Is Buffett’s teflon finally wearing off?

By Ben Berkowitz, Reuters

Mon Apr 25, 8:09 am ET

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Aside from maybe the odd cheeseburger stain on his tie, nothing much sticks to Warren Buffett.

Whether his underlings are convicted of helping insurance companies inflate results or a major company he helps oversee is sanctioned for accounting shenanigans, his admirers don’t seem to care. Or at least, they haven’t historically.

But with a key Buffett lieutenant resigning under a cloud recently, some sophisticated investors are no longer willing to overlook the obvious. For all the shareholders who still consider Buffett the epitome of American capitalism, there are others who wonder whether the time may be near for Buffett to take a graceful bow and exit the stage.

16 Air strike flattens building in Gaddafi compound

By Lin Noueihed, Reuters

1 hr 36 mins ago

TRIPOLI (Reuters) – NATO forces flattened a building inside Muammar Gaddafi’s Bab al-Aziziyah compound early on Monday, in what his officials said was a failed attempt on the Libyan leader’s life.

NATO said the attack was on a communications headquarters used to coordinate attacks on civilians. A Libyan spokesman said Gaddafi was unharmed and state television showed pictures of him meeting people in a tent, which it said were taken on Monday.

Firefighters were still working to extinguish flames in part of the ruined building a few hours after the attack, when foreign journalists were taken to the scene in Tripoli.

17 Libyan mountain refugees tell of fearsome assault

By Tarek Amara, Reuters

1 hr 36 mins ago

DEHIBA-WAZIN BORDER CROSSING (Reuters) – Refugees fleeing Libya’s Western Mountains told of heavy bombardment by Muammar Gaddafi’s forces as they try to dislodge rebels clinging to a precarious hold in remote Berber towns.

The capture of the Dehiba-Wazin border crossing by rebels last week has let refugees flee in cars, as well as on foot along rocky paths, swelling the numbers sheltering in southern Tunisia to an estimated 30,000 people.

While the world’s attention has been on the bloody siege of the western rebel stronghold of Misrata and battles further east, fighting is intensifying in the region known as the Western Mountains.

18 Syria sends tanks into Deraa where uprising began

By Khaled Yacoub Oweis and Suleiman al-Khalidi, Reuters

1 hr 6 mins ago

AMMAN (Reuters) – Syrian troops and tanks poured into Deraa on Monday, seeking to crush resistance in the city where a month-long uprising against the autocratic 11-year rule of President Bashar al-Assad first erupted.

A prominent activist said at least 18 people were killed in the first reported use of tanks inside a population center since peaceful pro-democracy demonstrations began in the southern city, close to the border with Jordan, on March 18.

The White House, deploring “brutal violence used by the government of Syria against its people,” said President Barack Obama’s administration was considering targeted sanctions to make clear that “this behavior is unacceptable.”

19 Saleh defiant, day after agreeing to handover plan

By Mohamed Sudam and Mohammed Ghobari, Reuters

Sun Apr 24, 8:42 pm ET

SANAA (Reuters) – Yemen’s veteran president Ali Abdullah Saleh has struck a defiant tone in an interview, a day after his government said he had accepted a Gulf Arab plan to hand over power within weeks.

Saleh has faced down three months of street protests as well as pressure to go from his main backers Saudi Arabia and the United States, and opposition groups fear his verbal acceptance of the plan may be no more than a tactic.

“We are going to stick to constitutional legitimacy. We won’t accept ‘constructive chaos’,” he told BBC Arabic television Sunday, using language that some fear means he intends to see out his presidential term to September 2013.

20 Guantanamo documents name Pakistan ISI as al Qaeda associate

By Chris Allbritton, Reuters

Mon Apr 25, 12:30 pm ET

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – The U.S. military classified Pakistan’s top spy agency as a terrorist support entity in 2007 and used association with it as a justification to detain prisoners in Guantanamo Bay, according to leaked documents published on Sunday that are sure to further alienate Pakistan.

One document (http://link.reuters.com/tyn29r), given to The New York Times, say detainees who associated with Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate “may have provided support to al-Qaida or the Taliban, or engaged in hostilities against US or Coalition forces.”

The ISI, along with al Qaeda, Hamas and Hezbollah and Iranian intelligence, are among 32 groups on the list of “associated forces,” which also includes Egypt’s Islamic Jihad, headed by al Qaeda deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri.

21 Auto production faces bigger hit after Japan quake

By James Topham, Reuters

1 hr 58 mins ago

TOKYO (Reuters) – Toyota Motor Co may slip to No. 3 in the automaker production rankings behind General Motors and Volkswagen due to Japan’s earthquake and nuclear crisis, which slashed local output by almost two-thirds in March alone.

A shortage of parts in the wake of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami has savaged Japan’s auto sector supply chain, while damage to a major nuclear plant has disrupted power supplies.

Investors expecting overseas rivals to benefit from a prolonged slump in Japanese output pushed up shares in South Korea’s Hyundai Motors and associate Kia Motors to record highs on Monday.

22 Uncertainty reigns as quake-hit Japan Inc posts results

By Isabel Reynolds, Reuters

Mon Apr 25, 1:17 am ET

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s largest companies are likely to paint a bleak picture for this year’s profits when they start announcing earnings this week, if they offer any guidance at all.

More than a month after Japan’s devastating earthquake and tsunami on March 11, firms are still struggling with unraveled supply chains and sluggish consumer demand, making predicting future profits difficult if not impossible.

Investors in Japan, used to companies providing guidance for a full year ahead, will be forced to rely increasingly on the number crunching of equity analysts, who themselves are struggling to form a clear picture of future demand.


23 Taliban tunnel more than 480 out of Afghan prison

By MIRWAIS KHAN and HEIDI VOGT, Associated Press

1 hr 37 mins ago

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan – During the long Afghan winter, Taliban insurgents were apparently busy underground.

The militants say they spent more than five months building a 1,050-foot tunnel to the main prison in southern Afghanistan, bypassing government checkpoints, watch towers and concrete barriers topped with razor wire.

The diggers finally poked through Sunday and spent 4 1/2 hours ferrying away more than 480 inmates without a shot being fired, according to the Taliban and Afghan officials. Most of the prisoners were Taliban militants.

24 Leaked files reveal new info on Gitmo detainees

By ADAM GOLDMAN, Associated Press

Mon Apr 25, 4:09 am ET

WASHINGTON – Secret documents about detainees at the Guantanamo Bay prison reveal new information about some of the men that the United States believes to be terrorists, according to reports about the files released by several American and European newspapers. The U.S. government criticized the publication as “unfortunate.”

The military detainee assessments were made public Sunday night by U.S. and European newspapers after the WikiLeaks website obtained the files. The records contain details of the more than 700 detainee interrogations and evidence the U.S. had collected against these suspected terrorists, according to the media outlets.

It’s not clear if the media outlets published the documents with the consent of WikiLeaks.

25 Syria uses army to crush revolt; at least 11 dead


17 mins ago

BEIRUT – In a sharp escalation of Syria’s crackdown on dissent, thousands of soldiers backed by tanks poured Monday into the city where the five-week-old uprising began, opening fire indiscriminately on civilians before dawn and killing at least 11 people, witnesses said. Bodies were scattered in the streets and activists said the death toll could rise.

The offensive into the southern city of Daraa was planned in comprehensive detail: electricity, water and mobile phone services were cut. Knife-wielding security agents conducted house-to-house sweeps, neighborhoods were sectioned off and checkpoints set up – suggesting Syria planned to impose military-style control on the city and other areas in the country.

“They have snipers firing on everybody who is moving,” said a witness who spoke to The Associated Press by telephone, asking that his name not be used out of fear for his own safety.

26 NATO strike on Gadhafi HQ raises pressure on him


24 mins ago

TRIPOLI, Libya – The latest NATO airstrike on Moammar Gadhafi’s compound that reduced parts of it to a smoldering ruin of broken concrete slabs and twisted wires Monday stepped up pressure on the increasingly embattled Libyan leader who is struggling to hold onto the western half of the country.

A Libyan government spokesman denounced the bombing as a failed assassination attempt, saying the 69-year-old leader was healthy, “in high spirits” and carrying on business as usual.

A separate airstrike elsewhere in Tripoli targeted Libyan TV and temporarily knocked it off the air, a government spokesman said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief reporters.

27 Yemen troops kill 2 in new clashes with protesters

By AHMED AL-HAJ, Associated Press

2 hrs 1 min ago

SANAA, Yemen – Forces loyal to Yemen’s embattled president opened fire on protesters demanding his ouster Monday, killing two and wounding dozens at various protests, activists said.

The latest violence came as a Gulf Arab proposal for President Ali Abdullah Saleh to step down appears increasingly doomed, raising prospects of more bloodshed and instability in a nation already beset by deep poverty and conflict.

Yemen’s unrest erupted over two months ago, inspired by uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt. The near-daily protests against Saleh, the country’s ruler of 32 years, have demanded he relinquish power immediately.

28 With 12,000 still missing, Japan keeps searching

By TOMOKO A. HOSAKA, Associated Press

Mon Apr 25, 11:24 am ET

SHICHIGAHAMAMACHI, Japan – A line of somber soldiers walked methodically through a drained swamp Monday, with each step sinking their slender poles into the muck beneath.

If one hit a body, he would know.

“Bodies feel very distinctive,” said Michihiro Ose, a spokesman for the Japanese army’s 22nd infantry regiment.

29 500-year-old book surfaces in Utah

By BRIAN SKOLOFF, Associated Press

2 hrs 44 mins ago

SALT LAKE CITY – Book dealer Ken Sanders has seen a lot of nothing in his decades appraising “rare” finds pulled from attics and basements, storage sheds and closets.

Sanders, who occasionally appraises items for PBS’s Antiques Roadshow, often employs the “fine art of letting people down gently.”

But on a recent Saturday while volunteering at a fundraiser for the small town museum in Sandy, Utah, just south of Salt Lake, Sanders got the surprise of a lifetime.

30 Texas may strip away transgender marriage rights

By JIM VERTUNO, Associated Press

Mon Apr 25, 11:13 am ET

AUSTIN, Texas – Two years after Texas became one of the last states to allow transgendered people to use proof of their sex change to get a marriage license, Republican lawmakers are trying to roll back the clock.

Advocates for the transgendered say a proposal to bar transgendered people from getting married smacks of discrimination and would put their legally granted marriages in danger of being nullified if challenged in court.

One of the Republican sponsors of the legislation said he’s simply trying to clean up the 2009 law in a state that bans same-sex marriage under the constitution.

31 Top organizer of India’s Commonwealth Games jailed

By KATY DAIGLE, Associated Press

2 hrs 5 mins ago

NEW DELHI – The spiraling investigation into India’s troubled Commonwealth Games landed its chief organizer behind bars on Monday – a long-anticipated arrest after months of allegations and cries of corruption over the event.

India had hoped the two-week international sporting competition in October would highlight its rapid development and boost its role on the world stage. Instead, it was deeply embarrassed by accusations of graft, construction delays and cost overruns as the games’ budget ballooned by billions of dollars beyond the $412 million price tag organizers initially estimated.

Reports about filthy athletes’ accommodations, unfinished construction projects and security woes further battered the country’s image and encouraged scorn against the organizing committee chief, Suresh Kalmadi, who had promised a spectacle to rival the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

32 Dialed In is out front on AP’s final Derby list


1 hr 18 mins ago

A combination of major upsets and minor injuries have turned what appeared to be a strong Kentucky Derby field into a wide-open affair.

One-time top contender Uncle Mo finished third in the Wood Memorial as the 1-10 favorite, and is recovering from a gastrointestinal infection. His Derby status remains questionable.

The Factor wasn’t one in the Arkansas Derby, finishing seventh as the 4-5 top choice.

33 Murder trial for evangelist’s security head starts

By JIM SUHR, Associated Press

1 hr 11 mins ago

WATERLOO, Ill. – A former Marine who was having an affair spent months sending himself threatening emails before strangling his wife and two sons and spraying the crime scene with red paint to make it look like they were killed by a stalker, a prosecutor told jurors at the opening of the man’s trial Monday.

But a defense attorney for Christopher Coleman disputed what prosecutors have acknowledged is largely circumstantial evidence, saying Coleman experienced a “common type of marital problems” and the emails could have been sent by someone who knew his passwords and set him up.

Prosecutors claim Coleman killed his family because he feared his affair with his wife’s longtime friend would cost him his $100,000-a-year job as the security chief for a Missouri-based ministry with global reach and travel perks. His case, with its mix of religion, adultery and violence, has tantalized much of the St. Louis region since he was arrested in May 2009 and has been so closely watched that court officials had to set up a sort of lottery to dole out seats for the trial.

34 Pastor free on bond in Vt. lesbian-custody case

By JOHN CURRAN, Associated Press

2 hrs 27 mins ago

BURLINGTON, Vt. – A Christian missionary charged with helping a woman take her 9-year-old daughter to Central America during a custody dispute with her former lesbian partner was allowed Monday to remain free on $25,000 bond.

A judge released 34-year-old Amish-Mennonite pastor Timothy David Miller to the custody of a friend and said Miller – who’s accused of helping arrange passage for the woman and child – could have contact with his wife but that they’re not to discuss the case, since she may be a witness.

Miller is charged with aiding in the removal of a child from the U.S. and retaining a child with intent to obstruct parental rights.

35 Ill housing markets trump ideology for many in GOP

By ALAN FRAM, Associated Press

Mon Apr 25, 2:03 pm ET

WASHINGTON – Shutting down Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac should fit seamlessly into the Republican drive to shrink government. After all, keeping the ailing mortgage giants afloat has cost taxpayers $150 billion and many in both parties want private lenders to finance a bigger share of the nation’s $11.3 trillion residential mortgage market.

But House and Senate Republicans pushing bills to phase out both federally run companies are learning how fear, politics and old-fashioned lobbying can trump ideology.

Even in the GOP-run House, leading proponents of doing away with Fannie and Freddie aren’t predicting victory. As a precaution, they’re advancing eight bills taking bite-sized swipes at the issue. In the Democratic-led Senate, a sister measure by 2008 presidential candidate Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., faces long odds, and the Banking Committee’s top Democrat and Republican are wary of quickly reshaping the market for financing home purchases.

36 NY jury begins deliberations in insider case

By TOM HAYS and LARRY NEUMEISTER, Associated Press

Mon Apr 25, 1:37 pm ET

NEW YORK – A jury considered the fate of a hedge fund founder accused of making tens of millions of dollars through insider trading after a judge reminded them that they can rehear any of the dozens of taped conversations between the defendants and his friends.

Deliberations began at noon Monday as the trial of Raj Rajaratnam entered its eighth week. Before they were sent away, jurors were instructed on the law by U.S. District Judge Richard J. Holwell, who said they could choose to listen to the secretly taped conversations that prosecutors say represented the first extensive use of wiretaps in an insider trading case.

The conversations have given jurors a colorful dose of the go-big-or-go-home mentality at Wall Street firms, including the Galleon Group offices where the 53-year-old Rajaratnam made his name and enough money to be listed for a time among the world’s richest billionaires.

37 Farms get individualized maps to avert emergencies

By LINDSEY TANNER, AP Medical Writer

Mon Apr 25, 3:13 am ET

CHICAGO – In a rural health educator’s dream vision for farm country, the flat fertile landscape will be dotted with little black plastic tubes strapped to power poles at each farmstead.

The sealed cylinders look fairly innocuous, but the contents inside are like gold for emergency responders – detailed computer-generated maps of each farm, specifying precise locations for flammable chemicals and fuels, power turnoff switches, grain bins, water supplies and precious livestock.

In fires, explosions, accidents and other farm emergencies, being able to quickly locate these items could prevent or reduce property damage, injuries and even deaths to farmers and rescuers.

38 Pa. official: End nears for wastewater releases

By DAVID B. CARUSO, Associated Press

Mon Apr 25, 2:41 am ET

Pennsylvania’s top environmental regulator says he is confident that the natural gas industry is just weeks away from ending one of its more troubling environmental practices: the discharge of vast amounts of polluted brine into rivers used for drinking water.

On Tuesday, the state’s new Republican administration called on drillers to stop using riverside treatment plants to get rid of the millions of barrels of ultra-salty, chemically tainted wastewater that gush annually from gas wells.

As drillers have swarmed Pennsylvania’s rich Marcellus Shale gas fields, the industry’s use and handling of water has been a subject of intense scrutiny.

39 Letters trace Civil War for writer’s forebears

By ALLEN G. BREED, AP National Writer

Mon Apr 25, 12:28 am ET

BOSTON – Alone in his hotel room after a solemn dinner with his brother, the newly enlisted Army surgeon took up pen and paper to make the first installment on his promise.

“I have a few moments,” he wrote to his wife, just 10 miles up the coast in Lynn. “I am in such a whirl that I can hardly think much less write.”

Just four days earlier, on April 12, 1861, Confederate artillery had fired on Fort Sumter in Charleston Harbor, igniting the Civil War. On April 15, President Abraham Lincoln issued an urgent appeal “to all loyal citizens,” seeking 75,000 volunteers to quell the rebellion.

40 NY’s Easter parade tradition both elegant and zany

By VERENA DOBNIK, Associated Press

Sun Apr 24, 11:41 pm ET

NEW YORK – Bonnets both elegant and zany took center stage at this year’s Easter Parade on Fifth Avenue – along with spirited talk about Christ’s resurrection and gay marriage.

It was “a real New York spectacle,” said John Leone, a Long Island electrician who came Sunday with his native Ecuadorean wife and two young daughters – and their over-the-top hats.

Victoria Leone, 7, and her 8-year-old sister, Valentina, wore huge white domes, fashioned from pastel Froot Loops and marshmallow Peeps attached to white plaster that had been shaped around a balloon.

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