May 17 2011

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Kadhafi arrest warrant sought after truce offer

by Jan Hennop, AFP

36 mins ago

THE HAGUE (AFP) – The International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor applied Monday for a warrant for Moamer Kadhafi’s arrest for crimes against humanity, a day after the Libyan strongman’s regime offered a truce in return for a halt to NATO-led air strikes.

NATO-led aircraft meanwhile launched fresh raids on an outlying suburb of the capital Tripoli, destroying a radar base, the state news agency JANA and residents said.

ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo said warrants were also sought for one of Kadhafi’s sons, Seif al-Islam, and intelligence head Abdullah Senussi for crimes against humanity.


2 IMF chief denies sexual assault charges

by Sebastian Smith, AFP

5 mins ago

NEW YORK (AFP) – IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn denied Monday sexually assaulting a New York hotel chambermaid, but the judge turned down his $1 million bail offer and ordered him to remain behind bars.

The stunning fall from grace of one of the most powerful men in the world played out in a packed Manhattan courtroom where the 62-year-old Strauss-Kahn shared a worn, wooden defendants’ bench with hoodlums and drug-users.

The grim charges against the flamboyant and outspoken head of the International Monetary Fund were published in court documents prescribing up to 25 years in prison for each of the two gravest allegations.

3 Endeavour blasts off on next-to-last shuttle flight

by Jean-Louis Santini, AFP

2 hrs 35 mins ago

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (AFP) – The space shuttle Endeavour blasted off Monday toward the International Space Station on the penultimate flight for the US shuttle program.

The six-member crew of astronauts including five Americans and one Italian, Roberto Vittori, is delivering a potent physics experiment to probe the origins of the universe during the 16-day mission, which will include four spacewalks.

On a cloudy morning, as many as 500,000 onlookers crowded into coastal viewing spots in Brevard County, the area around Florida’s Kennedy Space Center, with the US shuttle program set to end later this year after the final flight by Atlantis.

4 Greece edges closer to securing better bailout terms

by Roddy Thomson, AFP

1 hr 4 mins ago

BRUSSELS (AFP) – Greece moved closer to securing better bailout terms on Monday as European finance ministers, playing down the absence of arrested IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn, explored scenarios to ease Athens’ debt burden.

Ministers from the 27-nation European Union indicated they could grant Greece more time to make repayments on last year’s bailout, provided Athens steps up reform measures.

They also backed the debt-laden eurozone’s third rescue package in 12 months — the 78-billion-euro ($111-billion) bailout of Portugal.

5 Vatican issues new anti-paedophilia guidelines


Mon May 16, 9:30 am ET

VATICAN CITY (AFP) – Priests suspected of child abuse sex crimes should be turned over to the authorities and face legal action, the Vatican said Monday in a letter to bishops on anti-paedophilia guidelines.

The letter laid out provisional procedures for sex abuse crimes committed by priests and gave bishops a year to deliberate the proposals in the wake of a scandal that has spread across the globe and struck the Catholic Church to its core.

“Sex abuse of minors is not just a canonical delict but also a crime prosecuted by civil law… (and) the prescriptions of civil law regarding the reporting of such crimes to the designated authority should always be followed,” it said.


6 ICC prosecutor targets Gaddafi as NATO steps up raids

By Aaron Gray-Block and Joseph Logan, Reuters

Mon May 16, 12:24 pm ET

THE HAGUE/TRIPOLI (Reuters) – A war crimes prosecutor on Monday sought an arrest warrant for Muammar Gaddafi accusing him of killing protesters against his 41-year rule as NATO stepped up air strikes on Libyan forces.

Luis Moreno-Ocampo, International Criminal Court prosecutor, also asked judges, who must now see if there is enough evidence to issue warrants, for the arrest of Gaddafi’s son Saif al-Islam and his spy chief brother-in-law Abdullah al-Senussi.

In the uprising, civilians were attacked at home, protests were suppressed using live ammunition, heavy artillery was used against funeral processions and snipers deployed to kill people leaving mosques after prayers, the prosecutor said.

7 Nasdaq, ICE withdraw NYSE bid, cite regulators

By Phil Wahba and Paritosh Bansal, Reuters

Mon May 16, 11:17 am ET

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Nasdaq OMX Group Inc and IntercontinentalExchange withdrew their hostile $11.3 billion bid for rival NYSE Euronext on Monday, citing opposition from U.S. antitrust regulators.

The withdrawal of the offer removes a major hurdle to NYSE Euronext’s plans to sell itself to Deutsche Boerse AG for $9.9 billion.

The deal with Deutsche Boerse must still win regulatory and shareholder approval in Europe and the United States, but investors said the odds of the merger going through now had improved substantially.

8 Ryan pushes spending cuts as U.S. hits debt limit

By Andy Sullivan and Ann Saphir, Reuters

29 mins ago

WASHINGTON/CHICAGO (Reuters) – The United States reached the legal limits of its borrowing authority on Monday as a top Republican increased his party’s demand for deep spending cuts as part of any increase.

The remarks by Representative Paul Ryan, the top budget writer in the House of Representatives, underscored the divisions that Republicans and Democrats will have to overcome in order to raise the $14.3 trillion debt limit and avoid a default that would roil markets across the globe.

The Treasury Department said it was dipping into federal pension funds to pay the country’s bills, one of several emergency measures that should stave off a default until early August.

9 Euro zone backs Portugal aid, private sector role eyed

By Jan Strupczewski and Ingrid Melander, Reuters

1 hr 54 mins ago

BRUSSELS/ATHENS (Reuters) – Euro zone finance ministers approved a 78 billion euro bailout for Portugal on Monday but as a condition of the deal insisted that Lisbon ask private bondholders to maintain their exposure to its debt.

It was the first time a euro zone country has explicitly sought voluntary pledges from private creditors not to sell down their debt holdings and reflects growing pressure on EU leaders to broaden out the burden of bailouts from taxpayers to the banks that hold so-called peripheral euro debt.

Finland, which must secure parliamentary approval of the bailout for it to go ahead, had insisted on some form of private sector involvement as well as the launch of an ambitious privatization program by Portugal.

10 Endeavour soars off on second-to-last shuttle flight

By Irene Klotz, Reuters

Mon May 16, 1:20 pm ET

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) – U.S. space shuttle Endeavour blasted off on Monday on the next-to-last flight in NASA’s shuttle program, carrying a potentially revolutionary physics experiment to the International Space Station.

The flight is the 25th and final one for the spacecraft Endeavour, which was expected to reach the orbital outpost on Wednesday. NASA plans one more mission to the station, using the sister shuttle Atlantis, in July, before ending the shuttle program.

Endeavour’s last mission is being commanded by Mark Kelly, a four-time shuttle veteran who is married to U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who is recovering from a January 8 assassination attempt that killed six people and injured 12 others.

11 Black box data from crashed Air France jet said to be intact

By Tim Hepher, Reuters

Mon May 16, 9:22 am ET

PARIS (Reuters) – Investigators have pulled data from the black boxes of an Air France jet which crashed in the Atlantic in 2009, boosting efforts to explain what caused the disaster and killed all 228 people on board.

France’s BEA air crash investigation agency said on Monday it had managed to transfer all the information stored in devices hauled from the seabed two weeks ago, almost two years after the Airbus A330 vanished in an equatorial storm.

The transfer — carried out at the weekend and filmed in front of investigators from four countries and French judicial officials — is the most important breakthrough yet in efforts to find out what caused the mysterious crash.

12 Strauss-Kahn sex case throws open French election

By Catherine Bremer and Jon Boyle, Reuters

Mon May 16, 12:16 pm ET

PARIS (Reuters) – Sex charges against the man tipped to be France’s next president have thrown open the 2012 election, improving Nicolas Sarkozy’s chances of winning a second term and leaving the left scrambling for a new star candidate.

Even if Dominique Strauss-Kahn is eventually cleared of charges that include attempted rape, few believe he can now run as the Socialist Party’s candidate in an April election the left is determined to win after 16 years in opposition.

His removal from the field would be a boon for conservative Sarkozy, whose ratings are so bad that polls show he risks being knocked out in the first round of voting.

13 Canada banks’ TMX bid tops LSE

By Pav Jordan, Reuters

Mon May 16, 9:35 am ET

TORONTO, May 15 (Reuters) – A group of Canadian banks and pension funds are hoping their C$3.6 billion ($3.7 billion) offer for TMX Group will keep the nation’s largest stock market from falling into foreign hands, but questions remained on Sunday whether that is reason enough to succeed.

The C$48 per share offer for TMX from a consortium calling itself the Maple Group Acquisition Corp topped a $3 billion friendly bid for the exchange operator from the London Stock Exchange.

Maple Group includes banks that have opposed the LSE deal, arguing it would put control of TMX into foreign hands and threaten Toronto’s growing status as a world financial center.

14 Gunmen kill Saudi diplomat in Pakistan’s Karachi

By Faisal Aziz and Sheree Sardar, Reuters

Mon May 16, 6:50 am ET

KARACHI/ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Gunmen on motorcycles shot and killed a Saudi diplomat in the Pakistani city of Karachi on Monday, police and the Saudi ambassador said, the second attack on the mission since the killing of Osama bin Laden increased tension in the region.

Pakistan’s Taliban claimed responsibility, and warned the United States against attacking its close ally al Qaeda.

Al Qaeda has waged a bloody campaign to topple the royal family and government of Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of its leader bin Laden. The group has also vowed to avenge his killing by U.S. special forces in a Pakistani military town on May 2.

15 Blackwater founder builds foreign force in UAE: report


Sun May 15, 6:26 pm ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The crown prince of Abu Dhabi has hired the founder of private security firm Blackwater Worldwide to set up an 800-member battalion of foreign troops for the United Arab Emirates, the New York Times said Sunday.

The Times said it obtained documents that showed the unit being formed by Erik Prince’s new company Reflex Responses with $529 million from the UAE would be used to thwart internal revolt, conduct special operations and defend oil pipelines and skyscrapers from attack.

The newspaper said the decision to hire the contingent of foreign troops was taken before a wave of popular unrest spread across the Arab world in recent months, including to the UAE’s Gulf neighbors Bahrain, Oman and Saudi Arabia.

16 Army shelling kills 7 in Syrian protest town: group

By Khaled Yacoub Oweis, Reuters

Sun May 15, 4:46 pm ET

AMMAN (Reuters) – At least seven Syrian civilians were killed Sunday when Syrian troops shelled the town of Tel Kelakh near the border with Lebanon to quell a pro-democracy uprising, an activists’ protest group said.

The town, just a few miles (km) from Lebanon’s northern border, is the latest focus of an intensified crackdown by Syrian troops and tanks, sent to quell demonstrations against the rule of President Bashar al-Assad.

The shelling on Tel Telakh concentrated on al-Burj, Ghalioun, Souk and Mahata neighborhood, the Local Coordination Committees said in a statement, adding wounded people had little access to care because the main hospital in the town was sealed by security forces and the main road to Lebanon blocked.


17 Trump says no to presidential run

By DAVID BAUDER and BETH FOUHY, Associated Press

1 hr 55 mins ago

NEW YORK – After months of flirting with politics, Donald Trump said Monday he won’t run for president, choosing to stick with hosting “The Celebrity Apprentice” over a bid for the Republican nomination.

The reality TV star and real estate mogul made his announcement at a Manhattan hotel as NBC, which airs his show, rolled out its fall lineup.

“I will not be running for president as much as I’d like to,” Trump said.

18 Endeavour soars on 2nd-to-last space shuttle trip

By MARCIA DUNN, AP Aerospace Writer

Mon May 16, 12:21 pm ET

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Endeavour blasted off on NASA’s next-to-last shuttle flight, thundering through clouds into orbit Monday morning as the mission commander’s wounded wife, Gabrielle Giffords, watched along with an exhilarated crowd estimated in the hundreds of thousands.

“Good stuff, good stuff,” Giffords was quoted as saying by her chief of staff as Endeavour took flight for the final time. Husband Mark Kelly, the shuttle’s skipper, had red tulips presented to her afterward. She wore his wedding ring on a silver chain while he carried hers with him.

NASA is winding down its 30-year-old shuttle program before embarking on something new. The liftoff generated the kind of excitement seldom seen on Florida’s Space Coast on such a grand scale – despite a delay of more than two weeks from the original launch date because of an electrical problem.

19 Vatican suggests bishops report abuse to police

By NICOLE WINFIELD, Associated Press

19 mins ago

VATICAN CITY – The Vatican told bishops around the world Monday that it is important to cooperate with police in reporting priests who rape and molest children and asked them to develop guidelines for preventing sex abuse by next May.

But the letter from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith made no provision to ensure the bishops actually follow the guidelines, and victims groups immediately denounced the recommendations as “dangerously flawed” because they stress the exclusive authority of bishops to determine the credibility of abuse allegations.

The letter marks the latest effort by the Vatican to show that it is serious about rooting out pedophiles from the priesthood, a year after the sex abuse scandal exploded on a global scale with thousands of new victims coming forward in Europe and beyond.

20 War crimes prosecutor seeks arrest of Gadhafi

By DIAA HADID and MIKE CORDER, Associated Press

1 hr 36 mins ago

TRIPOLI, Libya – The International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor sought arrest warrants Monday for Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, his son and the country’s intelligence chief for authorizing the killing of civilians in a crackdown on anti-government rebels.

Gadhafi’s government denied the allegations.

The call for the inquest was the first such action in the Netherlands-based court linked to the Arab uprisings. It opened another potential front against Gadhafi’s regime even as the autocratic leader stands firm against widening NATO airstrikes and rebels with growing international backing.

21 US Navy drones: Coming to a carrier near China?

By ERIC TALMADGE, Associated Press

Mon May 16, 7:31 am ET

YOKOSUKA, Japan – The U.S. is developing aircraft carrier-based drones that could provide a crucial edge as it tries to counter China’s military rise.

American officials have been tightlipped about where the unmanned armed planes might be used, but a top Navy officer has told The Associated Press that some would likely be deployed in Asia.

“They will play an integral role in our future operations in this region,” predicted Vice Adm. Scott Van Buskirk, commander of the U.S. 7th Fleet, which covers most of the Pacific and Indian oceans.

22 INFLUENCE GAME: Helmet bill stokes lobbying effort

By FREDERIC J. FROMMER, Associated Press

Mon May 16, 12:13 pm ET

WASHINGTON – A major football helmet manufacturer has sharply increased its Washington lobbying this year, responding to a congressional push to come up with new safety standards for children’s football helmets.

Riddell, which makes helmets for both kids and adults and is the official helmet of the NFL, spent $80,000 in the first quarter of this year lobbying on new legislation that could lead to federal regulation of youth football helmets. The company, which has come under criticism from one of the bill’s sponsors for claiming that its product reduces concussions, had spent almost nothing on lobbying last year.

At the same time, the group that sets voluntary standards for helmets, the National Operating Committee on Standards for Athletic Equipment, last month hired a Washington lobbyist for the first time since the group’s establishment in 1969. The group is funded by license fees paid by manufacturers.

23 Obama working to rebuild grassroots army

By KEN THOMAS, Associated Press

Mon May 16, 6:31 am ET

PHILADELPHIA – President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign is barely a month old, but Camille Gervasio and other volunteers nationwide already are hard at work.

“Are you with us? Are you in?” Gervasio asks into her iPhone, dialing through a call sheet resting on her laptop to line up supporters for an election 18 months away.

In call centers like this one on the eighth floor of an office building, the president’s backers are trying to take advantage of a head start over the still-forming Republican field and the benefits of incumbency to rebuild a grassroots effort that mobilized millions of voters in 2008.


24 Levees, floodwalls require round-the-clock watch

By KEVIN McGILL, Associated Press

12 mins ago

NEW ORLEANS – All along the swollen Mississippi River, hundreds of thousands of lives depend on a small army of engineers, deputies and even prison inmates keeping round-the-clock watch at the many floodwalls and earthen levees holding the water back.

They are looking for any droplets that seep through the barriers and any cracks that threaten to turn small leaks into big problems. The work is hot and sometimes tedious, but without it, the flooding that has caused weeks of misery from Illinois to the Mississippi Delta could get much worse.

“I volunteered for this,” said jail inmate Wayne McClinton, who was helping with the sandbagging effort in northern Louisiana’s Tensas Parish. “It’s a chance to get out in the air, to do something different. It’s not boring like prison is.”

25 Gunmen kill Saudi diplomat in southern Pakistan


Mon May 16, 8:12 am ET

KARACHI, Pakistan – Gunmen on a motorbike shot and killed a Saudi diplomat as he was driving in Pakistan’s largest city on Monday, just days after two hand grenades were tossed at the Arab state’s consulate building, police in Karachi said.

The police believe the primary motive was sectarian tension between Islam’s Sunni and Shiite branches. But the attack also follows the killing of Saudi-born Osama bin Laden in an American raid on May 2.

Al-Qaida is a fierce opponent of the Saudi regime and has sworn revenge for the death of bin Laden. But no one immediately claimed responsibility for the diplomat’s slaying.

26 Branstad says Iowa GOP welcomes all candidates

By MIKE GLOVER, Associated Press

Mon May 16, 1:30 pm ET

DES MOINES, Iowa – Gov. Terry Branstad urged Republican presidential candidates Monday to participate in Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses, saying the state party covers the “full spectrum” of views and isn’t dominated by evangelical Christians.

The call Branstad put out at his weekly news conference came in response to a weekend commentary published in the New Hampshire Union Leader by former New Hampshire Republican Party Chairman Fergus Cullen. He claims the Iowa party has become so dominated by evangelicals that some potential candidates will be tempted to largely skip the state.

Branstad, who defeated Republican Bob Vander Plaats, a leading voice of the evangelical movement, to win the Republican nomination for governor last year, disagreed.

27 NJ crime increases raise issue of police layoffs

By DAVID PORTER, Associated Press

Sun May 15, 12:31 pm ET

NEWARK, N.J. – They ranged in age from 24 to 70 and are linked solely by the way their lives ended, in gunfire on Newark’s streets.

Jose Arroyo and Jamal Hedamy, innocent bystanders killed in separate shootings. James Conn, targeted and shot in the street at an hour when most people were arriving home from work or sitting down to dinner.

The killings over the long Easter weekend brought Newark’s murder total to 28 in 2011, a 65 percent increase over the 17 killed in the same period a year ago and double the number for the first four months of 2009, according to statistics from the county prosecutor’s office.

28 NY honoring 1st Union officer killed in Civil War

By CHRIS CAROLA, Associated Press

Sun May 15, 11:40 am ET

MECHANICVILLE, N.Y. – Col. Elmer Ellsworth and James Jackson died within feet of one another, yet the perspectives reflected in historical markers to the two men are as far apart as the 333 miles separating one tribute from the other.

Ellsworth’s monument in this Hudson River city doesn’t mention Jackson and Ellsworth’s name doesn’t appear on the plaque adorning the corner of the suburban Washington, D.C., building where Jackson’s hotel once stood and where both men died 150 years ago this month.

The monument marks the grave of Ellsworth, long recognized as the first Union officer to die in the Civil War. The plaque hails Jackson as the South’s first martyr of the conflict.

29 Libyan combat stymies moves on antiaircraft threat

By STEPHEN BRAUN, Associated Press

Sun May 15, 5:11 am ET

WASHINGTON – The fierce combat in Libya has unleashed a once-hidden arsenal of portable anti-aircraft missiles that the government fears could easily be siphoned off to terror groups, giving rise to a potential threat to commercial aviation that the U.S. is only beginning to confront, government officials and arms experts said.

The fears are compounded by suspicions that Libyan government and opposition forces are both deploying fighters with ties to terrorists and mercenaries. With more than 20,000 missile launchers estimated in Libya, there have been unconfirmed reports that some anti-aircraft weapons have already been funneled to North African militants, but amid the vast caches wielded by both sides, there is no solid evidence yet that terrorists have them.

Troops loyal to Moammar Gadhafi and opposition fighters have made frequent use of Russian-built anti-aircraft weapons in the two-month-long civil war, including aging 30-year-old shoulder-fired models to advanced truck-mounted missile launchers, according to battlefront accounts and an array of combat photographs and video.

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