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May 05 2011

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Libya’s Misrata pounded as ICC eyes crimes

by W.G. Dunlop, AFP

17 mins ago

TRIPOLI (AFP) – Moamer Kadhafi’s forces pounded Misrata’s lifeline port Wednesday, as the International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor said “thousands” have died in the insurrection against the Libyan strongman.

The United States appealed to Kadhafi’s regime to stop attacking the port and to allow international organisations to send in humanitarian aid and evacuate civilians from the rebel-held city.

A rebel spokesman said loyalist shelling killed at least five people in the port, from which the International Organisation of Migration (IOM) said a ship managed to evacuate about 800 people, including stranded migrants and wounded.

AFP

2 Car bomb hits Libya rebel HQ in Benghazi

by Dominique Soguel, AFP

Tue May 3, 7:50 pm ET

BENGHAZI, Libya (AFP) – A car bomb exploded near the headquarters of Libya’s rebels in their eastern bastion of Benghazi on Tuesday night, wounding two people and fraying nerves in the recently peaceful city.

In the capital Tripoli three loud explosions were heard early Wednesday as jets flew overhead, days after the regime said Libyan strongman Moamer Kadhafi narrowly escaped a NATO air strike that killed one of his sons.

The explosion in Benghazi took place about 200 metres (yards) from a seafront headquarters of insurgents fighting to overthrow Kadhafi.

3 Kadhafi regime mulls new deadline for rebel city

by W.G. Dunlop, AFP

Wed May 4, 9:07 am ET

TRIPOLI (AFP) – Moamer Kadhafi’s government was mulling extending on Wednesday a deadline for rebels in Libya’s third city Misrata to lay down their arms after the deputy foreign minister said scores had surrendered.

A rebel spokesman said at least five people were killed the same day as pro-Kadhafi forces shelled Misrata port, where a ship docked to evacuate 1,000 migrants and casualties, the International Organisation for Migration said.

As military heads of NATO’s 28 member states gathered for a two-day meeting in Brussels, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said the aim of the Western alliance’s air campaign was to weaken but not to kill Kadhafi.

4 Tanks mass in Syrian hotspot town: activist

AFP

1 hr 12 mins ago

DAMASCUS (AFP) – Scores of tanks massed Wednesday at a Syrian town that has been a hotbed of protests for seven weeks, activists said as UN chief Ban Ki-moon urged President Bashar al-Assad to end a deadly crackdown.

Around 100 tanks and troop transports converged on Ar-Rastan, the rights activist told AFP after anti-regime protesters pledged to press ahead with their “revolution” despite sweeping arrests by Assad’s regime.

“Reinforcements continue to mass at the northern entrance to Ar-Rastan and, according to our estimates, there must be 100 tanks and troop transports on the highway between Homs and Hamah near Oronte reservoir,” said the activist.

5 Syria protesters vow to stay firm on ‘revolution’

AFP

Wed May 4, 12:54 pm ET

DAMASCUS (AFP) – Anti-regime protesters pledged to press ahead with their “revolution” on Wednesday despite sweeping arrests by Syrian authorities, as France called for sanctions against President Bashar al-Assad.

The vow came as around 150 students held a brief sit-in at the university in the besieged southern flashpoint town of Daraa, as activists said more than 1,000 people had been arrested across the country so far this week.

“We must continue our peaceful revolution throughout Syria until we achieve the freedom we demand,” said the committee coordinating the anti-government protests in a string of cities.

6 Portugal third eurozone economy on lifeline

by Thomas Cabral, AFP

1 hr 11 mins ago

LISBON (AFP) – Portugal is now the third eurozone country to take up rescue crutches, with the opposition signalling Wednesday it will go along with a 78-billion-euro EU-IMF deal to avoid debt default.

“The government has reached a good agreement that defends Portugal,” outgoing Prime Minister Jose Socrates announced on television late on Tuesday, but the country got a rough ride on Wednesday when it had to pay sharply increased rates to borrow money.

A deadline looms on June 15, six weeks away, when Portugal must redeem old loans of nearly 5.0 billion euros ($7.3 billion) and avert default. The country now joins Greece and Ireland as eurozone members on financial life support from the EU, ECB and IMF.

7 Portugal reaches deal on 78 bn euro EU-IMF bailout: PM

AFP

Tue May 3, 7:02 pm ET

LISBON (AFP) – Eurozone member Portugal has reached a “good agreement” on a three-year bailout package worth 78 billion euros from the EU and IMF, outgoing Prime Minister Jose Socrates said Tuesday.

“I would like to announce to the Portuguese people that the government has reached agreement today with the representatives of international institutions on the programme of financial aid to our country,” Socrates said in a televised address.

“The government has reached a good agreement that defends Portugal,” he said.

8 EU-IMF rescue deal for Portugal hangs on terms

by Thomas Cabral, AFP

Wed May 4, 10:56 am ET

LISBON (AFP) – Portugal is now the third eurozone country to take up rescue crutches, with the opposition signalling Wednesday it will go along with a 78-billion-euro EU-IMF deal to avoid debt default.

“The government has reached a good agreement that defends Portugal,” outgoing Prime Minister Jose Socrates announced on television, but the country got a rough ride on Wednesday when it had to pay sharply increased rates to borrow money.

A deadline looms on June 15, six weeks away, when Portugal must redeem old loans of nearly 5.0 billion euros ($7.3 billion) and avert default. The country now joins Greece and Ireland as eurozone now on financial life support from the EU, ECB and IMF.

9 Pakistan says world shares bin Laden blame

by Sajjad Tarakzai, AFP

1 hr 27 mins ago

ABBOTTABAD, Pakistan (AFP) – Pakistan said Wednesday the world must share the blame for failing to unearth Osama bin Laden as a furore swelled over how the slain Al-Qaeda kingpin had managed to live undisturbed near Islamabad.

Following the killing of bin Laden by US commandos in a raid on his sprawling villa, Washington revealed that Pakistan was kept in the dark to avoid tipping off the mastermind behind the September 11, 2001 attacks.

A Pakistani intelligence official said one of bin Laden’s children, now in custody with a Yemeni wife of the Al-Qaeda leader, saw her father shot dead.

10 NASA’s Dawn probe closes in on giant asteroid

AFP

Tue May 3, 5:27 pm ET

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The Dawn space probe is closing in on its first target, the massive asteroid Vesta, almost four years after its journey began in September 2007, NASA said Tuesday.

Dawn is on a long-haul mission to unlock the secrets of the solar system by studying the two largest asteroids orbiting the sun, Vesta and Ceres — a trip that will carry it three billion miles by the time it is over.

It will be about three more months before the spacecraft gets close enough to begin orbiting the huge proto-planet, but NASA said it is eager to get to work.

11 US sues Deutsche Bank for mortgage fraud

AFP

Tue May 3, 4:21 pm ET

NEW YORK (AFP) – The US Justice Department sued German giant Deutsche Bank Tuesday for more than $1 billion for mortgage fraud, saying the bank illegally obtained government insurance for substandard mortgages during the US housing boom.

Deutsche Bank and its subsidiary MortgageIT “repeatedly lied to be included in a government program to select mortgages for insurance by the government,” the Justice Department complaint said.

“While Deutsche Bank and MortgageIT profited from the resale of these government-insured mortgages, thousands of American homeowners have faced default and eviction, and the government has paid hundreds of millions of dollars in insurance claims, with hundreds of millions of dollars more expected in the future,” it said.

12 Owners say Formula One not for sale

AFP

Wed May 4, 8:45 am ET

LONDON (AFP) – Formula One’s owners said the sport was not “currently for sale” on Wednesday after Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. and Italy’s Exor confirmed they were considering a joint bid.

Private equity company CVC confirmed in a statement it had received an enquiry from News Corp and Exor, and that the companies had acknowledged Formula One was privately owned and not on the market.

“CVC can confirm that it has recently received an approach from the Exor News Corporation consortium,” the statement read.

13 Georgians cherish anarchic traditional ‘rugby’ game

by Irakli Metreveli, AFP

Wed May 4, 3:59 am ET

SHUKHUTI, Georgia (AFP) – A huge scrum of men surges across the village of Shukhuti, crashing through fences and gardens as hundreds battle for victory in ex-Soviet Georgia’s anarchic traditional version of rugby.

With no rules and no holds barred, the game — known as Lelo — is only played once a year and only in this rural hamlet, where the local men hurl themselves into the churning melee of bodies with little regard for their own safety.

“Lelo is our national heritage and we must cherish it,” explained one of the players, taxi driver Robinzon Kobalava.

14 Europe bids to ‘halt’ biodiversity loss

by Roddy Thomson, AFP

Wed May 4, 3:58 am ET

BRUSSELS (AFP) – Europe set new targets to halt a mainly man-made loss of species costing billions each year as campaigners called for tougher environmental demands on farmers.

“It’s our natural capital that we are spending too fast — and we all know what happens when we borrow beyond our means,” said European Union environment commissioner Janez Potocnik.

In the EU, around one in four species are considered “threatened with extinction,” he said. Worldwide, species and natural habitats are lost at “alarming rates… up to 1,000 times the natural rate.”

Reuters

15 ICC prosecutor seeks 3 arrest warrants on Libya

By Louis Charbonneau, Reuters

2 hrs 28 mins ago

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The International Criminal Court prosecutor will request three arrest warrants for his investigation into killings of pro-democracy demonstrators in Libya and said on Wednesday states should prepare for arrests.

Russian and South African delegates sharply criticized the NATO-led operations to protect civilians and enforce a no-fly zone and suggested the ICC should not limit its investigation to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi’s government.

The U.N. Security Council referred the Libyan violence to the ICC in February. ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo is investigating Gaddafi, some of his sons and aides over what he called a “pre-determined plan” to attack protesters.

16 Desperate Libyans stranded in Misrata rescue

By Lin Noueihed, Reuters

Wed May 4, 11:33 am ET

TRIPOLI (Reuters) – An aid ship defied lethal shell-fire to rescue African and Asian migrant workers from the besieged port of Misrata on Wednesday but was forced to leave behind hundreds of Libyans desperate to flee the fighting.

Aid workers had earlier scrambled to embark the migrants, along with journalists and the wounded, on the ship bound for rebel-held Benghazi as the Misrata port came under heavy fire from forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi.

“The bombing has caused so many casualties among Libyans and people of other nationalities waiting for evacuation,” Gemal Salem, a rebel spokesman told Reuters. “So far we have five killed and ambulances are rushing to the scene.”

17 Data signals weakness in recovery in April

By Leah Schnurr, Reuters

Wed May 4, 1:20 pm ET

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Signs of weakness in the U.S. economic recovery mounted as reports on Wednesday showed a sharp slowdown in the vast services sector and less hiring by private companies in April.

Economists expressed disappointment ahead of a key labor market report on Friday that is also expected to show payroll growth eased last month.

Higher gasoline prices and slower economic growth in the first quarter likely weighed on the world’s biggest economy and tempered hiring.

18 Rajaratnam jury restarts, asks for more phone taps

By Grant McCool and Jonathan Stempel, Reuters

48 mins ago

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The jury in Raj Rajaratnam’s insider trading trial started to consider the case anew after one panelist was excused for medical reasons and replaced, while the ailing hedge fund founder was absent from court.

Wednesday’s replacement of juror No. 2 by an alternate could change the dynamic and decision-making of a panel that had deliberated for six days.

U.S. District Judge Richard Holwell in New York ordered the panel to start over with deliberations. Soon after the jury restarted, it asked to re-hear recordings of 12 phone taps that are at the heart of the government’s case against Rajaratnam, founder of the Galleon Group hedge fund.

19 Euro zone takes third debt crisis patient into care

By Luke Baker, Reuters

Wed May 4, 10:17 am ET

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Portugal and Greece talked up the benefits of Lisbon’s decision to accept a multi-billion euro bailout from the European Union and IMF on Wednesday, but the outlook for both countries and Ireland remains highly uncertain.

Portugal’s caretaker Prime Minister Jose Socrates announced late on Tuesday he had reached preliminary agreement with the EU, IMF and the European Central Bank for a three-year package of support, including help for Lisbon’s banks.

Portuguese government officials said the aid would total 78 billion euros, with 12 billion of that going to Portugal’s banks. But a senior euro zone source said the range EU officials were working with was still 75-90 billion euros, depending on how much the banks ended up needing.

20 Portugal faces slump, opposition seen backing bailout

By Sergio Goncalves, Reuters

Wed May 4, 1:18 pm ET

LISBON (Reuters) – Portugal’s main opposition party signaled after meeting European and IMF officials Wednesday it was likely to back a 78-billion-euro bailout that is expected to consign the economy to two years of recession.

Caretaker Prime Minister Jose Socrates announced late on Tuesday that Lisbon had reached a three-year bailout agreement with the European Union and International Monetary Fund after weeks of negotiations, becoming the third euro zone country to secure foreign assistance, after Greece and Ireland.

A euro zone source said the financial aid package is expected to total between 75 and 90 billion euros, depending how much assistance Portugal’s banks need.

21 Portugal banks to get 12 billion euros under aid plan

AFP

Wed May 4, 10:45 am ET

LISBON/LONDON (Reuters) – Portugal’s banks will get up to 12 billion euros ($17.8 billion) to recapitalize under a rescue plan, enabling them to rebuild their balance sheet strength gradually, an official source said.

The source close to the bailout process told Reuters banks would have to raise their core Tier 1 capital ratio — a gauge of higher quality capital that mainly comprises equity and retained earnings — to 9 percent at the end of this year and to 10 percent by the end of 2012.

To get to 9 percent the top five banks would need about 2 billion euros and require about double that to get to 10 percent, according to Reuters estimates.

22 UK electoral reform set to fail, coalition divided

By Keith Weir, Reuters

Wed May 4, 10:09 am ET

LONDON (Reuters) – Britons appeared set to reject electoral reform in a referendum that has provoked angry exchanges within the year-old coalition government and raised doubts about its durability.

A ComRes poll for Wednesday’s Independent newspaper showed 66 percent of Britons are against changing the way members of parliament are elected, against 34 percent who want to move to the Alternative Vote (AV) system.

The referendum, to be held on Thursday along with local elections, has exposed rifts in the Conservative-led government.

23 Glencore lists fraud, criminal case among IPO risks

By Clara Ferreira-Marques and Quentin Webb, Reuters

Wed May 4, 1:23 pm ET

LONDON (Reuters) – Commodity trader Glencore, set to list this month in one of London’s largest-ever offerings, has detailed its involvement in a Belgian criminal probe as it outlines risks to investors, including fraud and corruption.

Glencore said in a prospectus on Wednesday, ahead of its planned $11 billion listing, that its subsidiary Glencore Grain Rotterdam, a former employee and a current employee had been charged in a criminal case in Belgium.

Glencore said the criminal investigation was probing a public official, the European Commission’s Directorate General for Agriculture and others for “violation of professional secrecy, corruption of an international civil servant and criminal conspiracy.”

24 Bin Laden killing highlights perils deep inside Pakistan

By Michael Georgy, Reuters

Wed May 4, 8:31 am ET

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – It is saddled with a feckless government, dogged by poverty and corruption and now, with the revelation that the world’s most-wanted man was holed up in its backyard, Pakistan looks more like a failed state than ever.

Pressed into an alliance with the United States in its “war on terror” days after the September 11, 2001, attacks, nuclear-armed Pakistan has never been able to shake off doubts about its commitment to the battle against Islamist militancy.

When U.S. Special Forces killed Osama bin Laden in a dramatic helicopter raid on Monday, it turned out that — contrary to popular imagination — the al Qaeda leader had not been hiding in a mountain cave along the violence-plagued border between Pakistan and Afghanistan, an area U.S. President Barack Obama once described as “the most dangerous place in the world”.

25 Levee detonation lowers river, triggers new lawsuit

By Mary Wisniewski, Reuters

Tue May 3, 11:08 pm ET

CHARLESTON, Missouri (Reuters) – The effort to protect river towns in Illinois and Kentucky from rising floodwaters by blowing open a levee and inundating more than 100,000 acres of Missouri farmland appeared to be slowly working on Tuesday.

The controversy surrounding the extraordinary demolition continued, with farmers affected by it filing suit.

Dick Durbin, a Democratic Senator from Illinois, also cautioned that the endangered river towns, including Cairo at the southern-most tip of Illinois, were “not out of the woods yet.”

26 Detroit automakers post solid April sales gains

By Bernie Woodall and Ben Klayman, Reuters

Tue May 3, 6:26 pm ET

DETROIT (Reuters) – GM, Ford and Chrysler showed much faster sales growth rates in April than Toyota and most other Japanese brands, in a sign that supply disruptions as a result of Japan’s March 11 earthquake are hitting Japanese manufacturers hardest.

Detroit automakers were also helped by the spike in gasoline prices to near $4 a gallon which fed consumer hunger for more fuel-efficient cars.

“An American resurgence seems to be occurring,” said Edmunds.com senior analyst Michelle Krebs.

AP

27 AP IMPACT: Libyan rebels held city despite odds

By BEN HUBBARD, Associated Press

Wed May 4, 11:55 am ET

MISRATA, Libya – Tripoli Street is a bullet-scarred wasteland – littered with charred cars and tanks, its cafes and offices shattered. Yet for Misrata’s civilians-turned-fighters, the boulevard is a prized trophy, paid for in blood, won with grit and guile.

It took five weeks of fierce street battles – on rooftops, in alleyways – for Misrata’s inexperienced rebels to wrest control of their city’s commercial heart from forces loyal to Libyan ruler Moammar Gadhafi. Up against armored units and professional sniper squads, they turned bottles, tires and trailer trucks into tools of war.

When they finally succeeded in pushing government forces out of Libya’s third-largest city in late April, it was the greatest head-to-head military victory yet in the uprising that threatens Gadhafi’s 42-year hold on power. The opposition controls much of eastern Libya, but Misrata is the only city in the west rebels have managed to hold.

28 Prosecutor to seek arrest of 3 Libyans

By EDITH M. LEDERER, Associated Press

1 hr 52 mins ago

UNITED NATIONS – The International Criminal Court prosecutor said Wednesday that he will seek arrest warrants in the coming weeks against three Libyans who appear to bear “the greatest criminal responsibility” for crimes against humanity by Moammar Gadhafi’s security forces in the current uprising.

Luis Moreno-Ocampo told the U.N. Security Council that he is also investigating allegations of war crimes, and at a press conference later he didn’t rule out future cases stemming from rebel or NATO attacks.

He said the evidence his office has collected on alleged crimes against humanity establishes “reasonable grounds” to believe that widespread and systematic attacks are being committed against civilians by Moammar Gadhafi’s security forces.

29 States ask US court to overturn health overhaul

By GREG BLUESTEIN, Associated Press

11 mins ago

ATLANTA – More than two dozen states challenging the health care overhaul urged a U.S. appeals court on Wednesday to strike down the Obama administration’s landmark law, arguing it far exceeds the federal government’s powers.

The motion, filed on behalf of 26 states, urges the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta to uphold a Florida federal judge’s ruling that the overhaul’s core requirement is unconstitutional. The judge, U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson, said Congress cannot require nearly all Americans to carry health insurance.

Allowing the law to go forward, the states argued in the 69-page filing, would set a troubling precedent that “would imperil individual liberty, render Congress’s other enumerated powers superfluous, and allow Congress to usurp the general police power reserved to the states.”

30 Sony was victim of sophisticated cyber-attack

By JOELLE TESSLER, AP Technology Writer

4 mins ago

WASHINGTON – The data breach that hit Sony’s PlayStation Network resulted from a “very carefully planned, very professional, highly sophisticated criminal cyber-attack designed to steal personal and credit card information for illegal purposes,” a Sony executive said.

In a letter to members of the House Commerce Committee released Wednesday, Kazuo Hirai, chairman of Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC, defended the company’s handling of the breach.

Sony first disclosed the attack last week and said it may have compromised credit card data, email addresses and other personal information from 77 million user accounts. On Monday, Sony said data from an additional 24.6 million online gaming accounts also may have been stolen.

31 Suit against PC renter raises privacy questions

By JOE MANDAK, Associated Press

Wed May 4, 6:31 am ET

PITTSBURGH – You didn’t pay your bill. We need our computer back. And here’s a picture of you typing away on it, the computer rental company told a client as it tried to repossess the machine.

Those allegations appear in a federal lawsuit alleging that the firm, Atlanta-based Aaron’s Inc., loaded computers with spyware to track renters’ keystrokes, make screenshots and even take webcam images of them using the devices at home. The suit filed by a Wyoming couple Tuesday raises anew questions of how invasive custodians of technology should be in protecting their equipment.

Computer privacy experts said Aaron’s, a major furniture rental chain, has the right to equip its computers with software it can use to shut off the devices remotely if customers stop paying their bills, but they must be told if they’re being monitored.

32 Minn. man who helped coax 2 to suicide gets jail

By AMY FORLITI, Associated Press

8 mins ago

FARIBAULT, Minn. – A former nurse who helped persuade two people he met online to kill themselves was sentenced Wednesday to nearly a year in jail, a punishment tailored to force him to return to jail each year for a decade to spend the anniversaries of his victims’ deaths behind bars.

William Melchert-Dinkel was convicted of two counts of aiding suicide under a rarely used Minnesota law. Prosecutors said he posed online as a suicidal nurse and encouraged a Canadian woman and a British man to commit suicide.

Judge Thomas Neuville’s sentence was less than the maximum 15 years Melchert-Dinkel could have gotten for each count. Neuville officially sentenced Melchert-Dinkel to six-and-a-half years in prison – but stayed execution of that sentence, meaning Melchert-Dinkel will go to prison only if he violates terms of his probation, which includes the jail time. He’ll be on probation for 15 years.

33 AP NewsBreak: Geronimo’s tribe seeks apology

By SUSAN MONTOYA BRYAN, Associated Press

6 mins ago

The leader of Apache warrior Geronimo’s tribe is asking President Barack Obama for a formal apology for the government’s use of the revered figure’s moniker as a code name for Osama bin Laden.

Fort Sill Apache Tribal Chairman Jeff Houser sent a letter to the president Tuesday, saying equating the legendary Apache warrior to a “mass murderer and cowardly terrorist” was painful and offensive to all Native Americans.

The letter was posted Wednesday morning on the Oklahoma tribe’s website.

34 APNewsBreak: Feds suing more abortion activists

By ROXANA HEGEMAN, Associated Press

1 hr 21 mins ago

WICHITA, Kan. – The Justice Department under President Barack Obama has taken a harder line against anti-abortion activists accused of trying to block access to clinics, suing at least a half-dozen of them under a federal law that lay mostly dormant during the Bush administration.

The law, written to protect people who seek or provide abortions, was revived after Obama took office and in the wake of the 2009 slaying of Kansas abortion provider George Tiller, who was shot to death moments before Sunday services were to begin at his Wichita church.

Since Obama’s inauguration, federal lawsuits have been filed against a woman who blocked a car from entering a clinic in West Palm Beach, Fla.; a Texas man who threw his body across the door of a patient waiting area in San Antonio; and a Pennsylvania man who posted on the Internet the names and addresses of abortion providers and extolled his readers to kill them.

35 Despite economic growth, India lets its girls die

By MUNEEZA NAQVI, Associated Press

40 mins ago

MORENA, India – The room is large and airy, the stone floors clean and cool – a welcome respite from the afternoon sun. Until your eyes take in the horror that it holds. Ten severely malnourished children – nine of them girls.

The starving girls in this hospital ward include a 21-month-old with arms and legs the size of twigs and an emaciated 1-year-old with huge, vacant eyes. Without urgent medical care, most will not live to see their next birthday.

They point to a painful reality revealed in India’s most recent census: Despite a booming economy and big cities full of luxury cars and glittering malls, the country is failing its girls.

36 Intel redesigns transistors for faster computers

By JORDAN ROBERTSON, AP Technology Writer

2 hrs 33 mins ago

SAN FRANCISCO – Intel Corp. said Wednesday that it has redesigned the electronic switches on its chips so that computers can keep getting cheaper and more powerful.

The switches, known as transistors, have typically been flat. By adding a third dimension – “fins” that jut up from the base – Intel will be able to make the transistors and chips smaller. Think of how skyscrapers address the need for more office space when land is scarce.

The company said the new structure will let chips run on less power. That gives Intel its best shot yet at cracking the growing markets for chips used in smartphones and tablet computers. Intel has been weak there because its current chips use too much power.

37 Twins’ Liriano throws no-hitter against White Sox

By RICK GANO, AP Sports Writer

Wed May 4, 6:31 am ET

CHICAGO – In his decade-long professional career, Francisco Liriano had never thrown a shutout or even a complete game. Not at any level, not in any league.

So much for those old stats. Now, he’s Mr. No-Hitter.

The struggling Minnesota lefty pitched the first no-hitter in the majors this season, hanging on Tuesday night for a most unlikely gem and a 1-0 win over Chicago White Sox.

38 APNewsBreak: Gray wolves go back to state control

By MATTHEW BROWN, Associated Press

1 hr 27 mins ago

BILLINGS, Mont. – The Obama administration on Wednesday moved to lift Endangered Species Act protections for 5,500 gray wolves in the Northern Rockies and Great Lakes, drawing the line on the predators’ rapid expansion over the last two decades.

Public hunts for hundreds of wolves already are planned this fall in Idaho and Montana.

Conservationists have hailed the animal’s recovery from near extinction last century as a landmark achievement – one that should be extended to the Pacific Northwest and New England.

39 House leaders seek political points in Yucca fight

By CRISTINA SILVA, Associated Press

Wed May 4, 6:32 am ET

LAS VEGAS – Yucca Mountain is a wild expanse of desert brush, red mountains and extracted rock 100 miles outside of Las Vegas where deer, coyote and antelope roam isolated fields and human visitors must pass background checks before they are allowed past heavily guarded fences.

Republicans claim this stark landscape is the nation’s best hope for a national nuclear waste dump.

But with Democrats running the White House and Senate, the Yucca Mountain nuclear site has been shuttered with no chance of reopening.

40 NY warming to 1st indoor tanning ban for children

By MICHAEL GORMLEY, Associated Press

1 hr 12 mins ago

ALBANY, N.Y. – Fulfilling the “Jersey Shore” mantra of G.T.L. – gym, tanning, laundry – may soon be a lot harder for teenagers in New York as the state tries to become the first to ban indoor tanning for all minors.

The industry considers a bill before the Legislature to be another “nanny state” assault on their business, and the proposal comes at the height of the indoor tanning season for teens: prom time.

The American Cancer Society has named the bill as one of its top priorities for the legislative session.

41 Pet? Companion animal? Ethicists say term matters

By KATHY MATHESON, Associated Press

1 hr 40 mins ago

PHILADELPHIA – Are you the “owner” of a dog or cat? Maybe you should consider yourself a “human caregiver” instead. And Fido and Fluffy? Perhaps they should be “companion animals,” not just “pets.”

Such vocabulary shifts will help elevate the discourse about other species and, in turn, improve our treatment of them, according to the new Journal on Animal Ethics.

The foreword in the peer-reviewed academic publication, which was first published last month, even suggests getting rid of terms like “critters,” “beasts” and “wild animals,” along with phrases such as “drunk as a skunk” and “eat like a pig.”

42 APNewsBreak: New trial for ex-cop in La. cover-up

By MICHAEL KUNZELMAN, Associated Press

Wed May 4, 1:23 pm ET

NEW ORLEANS – A federal judge on Wednesday ordered a new trial for a former New Orleans police officer convicted of writing a false report on a deadly police shooting after Hurricane Katrina, saying new evidence “casts grave doubt” on his guilt.

U.S. District Judge Lance Africk ruled that Travis McCabe deserves a second trial because the newly discovered evidence – a different copy of the report that McCabe is accused of doctoring – surfaced after his December 2010 convictions. Africk, who threw out those convictions Wednesday, said he believes the jury probably would have acquitted McCabe if it had been presented with the newly discovered narrative report.

“As this court instructed the jury prior to its deliberations, there are no winners or losers here. Only justice prevails,” Africk wrote.

43 NH Senate rejects changes to anti-bullying law

By KATHY McCORMACK, Associated Press

Wed May 4, 12:37 pm ET

CONCORD, N.H. – New Hampshire’s Senate voted unanimously on Wednesday to reject changes to the state’s anti-bullying law that received strong support from the House, such as limiting school responsibility in dealing with off-campus incidents.

Senators said the current law is only months old and that schools have just put policies into place to handle bullying. Senators agreed the law needs further study before any changes are made.

Many states have been moving in this direction of extending school involvement to off-campus bullying, but some New Hampshire lawmakers wanted to restrict the boundaries to school grounds. The House passed a bill in March that would remove the off-campus provision and make other changes. The Senate’s rejection leaves the measure’s future in doubt.

44 Fiat back in US with economical 500

By ANN M. JOB, For The Associated Press

Wed May 4, 11:55 am ET

The 2012 Fiat 500 hatchback is the newest and arguably the cutest small car in the United States, with federal government fuel mileage ratings that are at the top of the subcompact class.

The four-passenger, two-door 500, which is the first Fiat to be sold by the automaker in this country since 1983, is rated at 30 miles per gallon in city driving and 38 mpg on the highway with standard manual transmission.

This is a higher rating than Toyota’s littlest car here, the Yaris, as well as any Mini Cooper model, which also are subcompacts. The 500 ties the subcompact 2011 Ford Fiesta, fitted with optional special fuel economy package, in combined city/highway mileage of 33 mpg.

45 Researchers sub feathers for petroleum in plastic

By MICHAEL J. CRUMB, Associated Press

Wed May 4, 7:36 am ET

DES MOINES, Iowa – Researchers have developed ways to substitute chicken feathers for petroleum in some plastic products, and at least two companies are working to bring items ranging from biodegradable flower pots to office furniture to market.

The substitution would allow the U.S. to cut back on its oil use, however slightly, and give poultry producers another market for the more than 3 billion pounds of leftover chicken feathers they have each year, the developers and others said. The challenge, they added, is coming up with products that manufacturers and consumers want at a price that’s right.

“What works in the lab and what works commercially are two different things,” said Sonny Meyerhoeffer, whose company began selling flower pots made partially from feathers last fall.

46 Feds sue Deutsche Bank, alleging mortgage fraud

By LARRY NEUMEISTER, Associated Press

Tue May 3, 11:33 pm ET

NEW YORK – The federal government sued Deutsche Bank Tuesday, saying the bank committed fraud and padded its pockets with undeserved income as it repeatedly lied so it could benefit from a government program that insured mortgages.

The lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Manhattan seeks to recover hundreds of millions of dollars in insurance claims that the government has had to pay when homeowners defaulted on their mortgages. The lawsuit also asked for punitive damages. The government said the bank made substantial profits between 2007 and 2009 from the resale of the risky mortgages, leaving the government to foot the bill for loans that defaulted. The mortgage insurance is issued by the Federal Housing Administration.

The lawsuit said the bank carried out the fraud through its subsidiary, MortgageIT, which employed more than 2,000 people at branches in all 50 states. Deutsche acquired MortgageIT in 2007.

47 Lawyers say focus on race infected Arpaio’s sweeps

By JACQUES BILLEAUD, Associated Press

Tue May 3, 7:51 pm ET

PHOENIX – Records show top deputies in Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s office circulated offensive jokes about Mexicans at a time when the department faces a lawsuit alleging officers in Arizona’s Maricopa County routinely racially profile immigrants during traffic stops.

One email from someone in the sheriff’s office that was included in a flurry of lawyers’ filings late last week had an attachment with a joke and image that reinforced stereotypes of drinking by Mexicans. Several officers also distributed an email making fun of Mexican accents, while another officer circulated a photo of a mock driver’s license for a fictional state called “Mexifornia” with a photo depicting stereotypical Mexican facial features.

Lawyers for the handful of Latinos who filed the lawsuit also zeroed in on Arpaio in the court filings, saying he passed along letters from people calling for racial profiling to some of his top managers, including an official in charge of selecting the location of his immigration patrols.

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