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Jun 06 2011

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Syria says 120 police killed, activists see mutiny

AFP

32 mins ago

DAMASCUS (AFP) – One hundred and twenty policemen were killed by “armed gangs” in northwest Syria, state television said on Monday, as the authorities warned of a firm response.

Activists who spoke to AFP in Cyprus disputed the official account, speaking instead of a mutiny in the town of Jisrash Shugur, where security forces had been carrying out operations for three days.

“The armed groups are committing a real massacre. They have mutilated bodies and thrown others into the Assi river,” the state broadcaster said. “They have burned government buildings.”

AFP

2 Saleh to return as Yemen youths urge power transfer

by Hammoud Mounassar, AFP

Mon Jun 6, 11:51 am ET

SANAA (AFP) – President Ali Abdullah Saleh is to return to Yemen within days following surgery in Riyadh for bomb blast injuries, his deputy said on Monday, even as protesters demanded a swift power transfer.

“His excellency is making a strong recovery and will return home in the coming days,” Vice President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi said at a meeting of the ruling General People’s Congress, quoted by Saba state news agency.

Hadi said he had spoken to Saleh by telephone.

3 Yemen dissidents urge swift action in Saleh absence

by Hammoud Mounassar, AFP

Mon Jun 6, 4:43 am ET

SANAA (AFP) – Yemeni dissidents called on Monday for a swift power transfer as the opposition vowed to block the return of President Ali Abdullah Saleh whose party insists he will be back after surgery in Saudi Arabia.

Saleh, hurt by an explosion as he prayed at a mosque inside the presidential compound, is convalescing in Riyadh after undergoing two successful operations on Sunday as thousands took to streets in Sanaa to celebrate his departure.

A youths’ committee which has been a key player behind an uprising against Saleh’s nearly 33 years of autocratic rule called on Monday for immediate steps to ensure a power transfer.

4 NATO hits Kadhafi intelligence HQ

by Imed Lamloum, AFP

21 mins ago

TRIPOLI (AFP) – NATO air raids targeted the military intelligence headquarters of Moamer Kadhafi’s battered regime on Monday, ahead of a visit to Libya by an envoy from Russia which has raised concerns about the scope of the military campaign.

Royal Air Force Tornado and Typhoon warplanes hit the military intelligence HQ in Tripoli early on Monday, Major General Nick Pope, spokesman for the Chief of Defence Staff, said in London.

“The strike complemented other allied air missions conducted against other key regime targets in Tripoli during the course of last night,” he said in a statement.

5 Attacks kill five US soldiers, 20 Iraqis

by Prashant Rao, AFP

Mon Jun 6, 11:49 am ET

BAGHDAD (AFP) – Attacks killed five American soldiers and 20 Iraqis on Monday, the deadliest day for US forces in Iraq in more than two years, just months before all of them must withdraw.

The violence raises major doubts over Iraqi security capabilities ahead of a year-end deadline for the US pullout, with Washington pressing Baghdad to decide soon whether or not it wants an extended American military presence.

“Five US service members were killed Monday in central Iraq,” said a brief US army statement. The names and details of the deceased are being withheld until next of kin can be informed, it added.

6 IMF backs Britain’s economic policy

by Frederic Pouchot, AFP

Mon Jun 6, 11:20 am ET

LONDON (AFP) – The International Monetary Fund on Monday backed the British government’s policy of cutting public spending to slash a massive structural deficit.

The IMF said economic growth was shrinking but gave firm backing to the year-old coalition government’s austerity programme, despite domestic calls for the pace of the cuts to be slowed.

In its annual report on the British economy, the IMF said weak economic growth and a rise in inflation over recent months had been “unexpected” and raised the question “whether it is time to adjust macroeconomic policies”.

7 Initial E. coli tests on sprouts negative

AFP

Mon Jun 6, 12:08 pm ET

BERLIN (AFP) – The source of a killer bacteria remained elusive on Monday after Germany announced that initial tests on suspected organic sprouts had proved negative, while the outbreak’s death toll grew to 23.

The probes were carried out on a farm in the northern state of Lower Saxony after regional agriculture minister Gerd Lindermann said a link had been found to the main areas hit by the E. coli outbreak.

Results available from 23 of the 40 samples of seeds, water, ventilation and work surfaces tested indicated they were free of the bacteria responsible for 23 deaths and more than 2,000 people falling ill, the state’s agriculture ministry said.

8 Germany probes sprouts as killer bacteria source

by Yannick Pasquet, AFP

Mon Jun 6, 8:45 am ET

BIENENBUETTEL, Germany (AFP) – Germany on Monday probed locally grown sprouts as the likely source for a bacterial outbreak that has killed 22 people, as the European Union called urgent talks on the crisis.

The state agriculture ministry of Lower Saxony in northern Germany said it would issue results of the latest tests carried out at a small local organic farm suspected of producing the contaminated sprouts later Monday.

Klaus Verbeck, who runs the farm in Bienenbuettel, some 80 kilometres (50 miles) south of Hamburg, told the Neue Osnabruecker Zeitung he uses no fertilisers for growing a variety of sprouts and had no idea how they might have been contaminated.

9 Oil prices skid amid rumors of OPEC output hike

AFP

6 mins ago

NEW YORK (AFP) – Oil prices fell Monday amid worries about a faltering global economic recovery and speculation that the OPEC may raise supply.

New York’s main contract, WTI light sweet crude for delivery in July, finished the trading session at $99.01 a barrel, a loss of $1.21 from Friday’s closing level.

In London, Brent North Sea crude for July delivery shed $1.36 to settle at $114.48 a barrel.

10 Cook sets up victory shot against Sri Lanka

by Julian Guyer, AFP

45 mins ago

LONDON (AFP) – England gave themselves a chance to win their Test series against Sri Lanka with a match to spare after losing skipper Andrew Strauss for a duck at Lord’s here on Monday.

The hosts, at stumps on the fourth day of the second Test, were 149 for two in their second innings — a lead of 156 — with Alastair Cook 61 not out.

Cook, under skies brightened by the Lord’s floodlights, helped England recover from none for one after Strauss’s exit and together with Jonathan Trott (58) put on 117 for the second wicket.

11 Exit polls hand victory to Peru’s leftist Humala

by Sophie Nicholson, AFP

Sun Jun 5, 7:33 pm ET

LIMA (AFP) – Leftist ex-military man Ollanta Humala prepared for Peru’s presidency Sunday, as exit polls gave him a lead of over five points against Keiko Fujimori, the heir to a jailed authoritarian ex-president.

Humala, a 48-year-old former lieutenant colonel who just lost out in the 2006 election, would win between 52.5 and 52.7 percent, according to polls from CPI, Ipsos-Apoyo and Datum institutes as voting closed at 4:00 pm (2100 GMT).

Humala’s rival, populist right-wing lawmaker Keiko Fujimori, 36, would win between 47.3 and 47.5 percent, the pollsters showed.

12 Leftist Humala claims victory in Peru presidency

by Sophie Nicholson, AFP

Mon Jun 6, 7:29 am ET

LIMA (AFP) – Leftist ex-military man Ollanta Humala has claimed victory in Peru’s presidential runoff after a tight, polarized campaign against Keiko Fujimori, daughter of a jailed former strongman.

“We’ve won the elections in Peru,” Humala shouted over a cheering crowd of supporters in central Lima late Sunday, many waving red and white Peruvian flags, as final results trickled in.

Official results showed his slight lead over his right-wing rival Fujimori creep upwards after quick counts by three polling companies predicted it would be between two and 4.4 percent.

Reuters

13 Greece starts austerity push as nation seethes

By Harry Papachristou and Lefteris Papadimas, Reuters

Mon Jun 6, 12:58 pm ET

ATHENS (Reuters) – Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou started a campaign on Monday to secure a new international bailout by imposing years of austerity on a nation already seething over corruption and economic mismanagement.

Unease is growing within Papandreou’s ranks about the consequences of waves of budget cuts demanded under successive deals with the European Union and IMF — and this could turn into alarm after at least 80,000 Greeks crammed a central Athens square to vent their anger over the nation’s dire state.

As the government struggles to prevent Greece from defaulting on its debt, the Socialist cabinet began discussing the medium-term economic plan which will impose 6.4 billion euros of extra savings in the rest of this year alone.

14 Left-winger Humala wins Peru election, markets plunge

By Teresa Cespedes and Caroline Stauffer, Reuters

Mon Jun 6, 12:26 pm ET

LIMA (Reuters) – Left-wing former army commander Ollanta Humala won Peru’s presidential election and vowed the poor will share in the country’s new wealth but financial markets plummeted on fears that he will ruin the economy.

Humala claimed victory on Sunday night as results from 89 percent of ballot boxes gave him a narrow but growing lead of more than 2.7 percentage points over right-wing lawmaker Keiko Fujimori, the daughter of jailed former President Alberto Fujimori.

Exit polls and quick counts from Sunday’s election put Humala clearly ahead and his lead in the official returns was expected to grow as more votes came in from poor, rural areas.

15 Yemenis begin what many hope is post-Saleh era

By Mohammed Ghobari and Jason Benham, Reuters

Mon Jun 6, 6:30 am ET

SANAA/RIYADH (Reuters) – Yemenis celebrated on Monday what many hope will be a new era without President Ali Abdullah Saleh, now recuperating in Saudi Arabia after an operation to remove shrapnel from his chest a day earlier.

A tenuous truce was holding in Sanaa after two weeks of fighting between Saleh’s forces and a powerful tribal federation which killed more than 200 people and forced thousands to flee.

Saleh’s exit to regional heavyweight Saudi Arabia, could facilitate efforts to prise him out of power after nearly 33 years in charge of the Arab world’s poorest country.

16 German farm chief cannot understand E.coli inquiry

By Brian Rohan, Reuters

Mon Jun 6, 4:38 am ET

BIENENBUETTEL, Germany (Reuters) – The head of a German farm facing an inquiry over a deadly E.coli outbreak was quoted on Monday as saying he could not understand accusations that bean sprouts grown at his farm could be to blame.

Klaus Verbeck, managing director of the “Gaertnerhof Bienenbuettel,” told the Neue Osnabruecker Zeitung that no fertilizers are used to produce his bean sprouts and that there are no animals on his organic farm.

German officials said on Sunday his bean sprouts could be behind an E.coli outbreak that has killed 22 and made more than 2,200 people ill across Europe. The farm has been shut, produce recalled and further test results are due on Monday.

17 Portugal PSD wins vote, strong right government seen

By Andrei Khalip, Reuters

Mon Jun 6, 4:13 am ET

LISBON (Reuters) – Portugal’s center-right PSD party was expected to work fast on Monday to form a majority coalition government with its traditional allies, the rightist CDS-PP, to implement the country’s bailout program.

PSD’s convincing victory on Sunday — with 39 percent of the vote — ended months of political uncertainty following the collapse of the minority Socialist government in March when it failed to pass its latest austerity package in parliament.

Submerged in an acute debt and political crisis, Portugal received a 78-billion-euro bailout last month from the European Union and IMF, whose terms include higher taxes, spending cuts and privatizations that will weigh on the economy.

AP

18 Syria says 120 forces dead in tense northern town

By ZEINA KARAM, Associated Press

31 mins ago

BEIRUT – Armed men attacked Syrian security forces in a tense northern city on Monday, Syrian officials said, and 120 policemen and security forces were killed in a region where the army has carried out days of deadly assaults on protesters calling for the end of President Bashar Assad’s rule. The government vowed to respond “decisively,” setting the stage for a new crackdown.

Communications were cut to the area around Jisr al-Shughour on Monday and the details of the attack were impossible to verify, but there have been unconfirmed reports in the past by residents and activists of Syrians fighting back against security forces and even mutinous troops.

Adnan Mahmoud, the chief government spokesman, acknowledged that Syrian forces had lost control of some areas for “intermittent periods of time” and promised that the army would restore security in the area.

19 Germany backtracks on sprouts as E. coli source

By JUERGEN BAETZ and DAVID RISING, Associated Press

30 mins ago

HAMBURG, Germany – First they pointed a finger at Spanish cucumbers. Then they cast suspicion on sprouts from Germany. Now German officials appear dumbfounded as to the source of the deadliest E. coli outbreak in modern history, and one U.S. expert called the investigation a “disaster.”

Backtracking for the second time in a week, officials Monday said preliminary tests have found no evidence that vegetable sprouts from an organic farm in northern Germany were to blame.

The surprise U-turn came only a day after the same state agency, Lower Saxony’s agriculture ministry, held a news conference to announce that the sprouts appeared to be the culprit in the outbreak that has killed 22 people and sickened more than 2,330 others across Europe, most of them in Germany, over the past month.

20 Were ancient human migrations two-way streets?

By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID, AP Science Writer

34 mins ago

WASHINGTON – The worldwide spread of ancient humans has long been depicted as flowing out of Africa, but tantalizing new evidence suggests it may have been a two-way street.

A long-studied archaeological site in a mountainous region between Europe and Asia was occupied by early humans as long as 1.85 million years ago, much earlier than the previous estimate of 1.7 million years ago, researchers report in Tuesday’s edition of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Early human Homo erectus is known to have occupied the site at Dmanisi later. Discovering stone tools and materials from a much earlier date raises the possibility that Homo erectus evolved in Eurasia and might have migrated back to Africa, the researchers said – though much study is needed to confirm that idea.

21 Jobs emerges from leave to unveil synching service

By MICHAEL LIEDTKE and MARCUS WOHLSEN, Associated Press

35 mins ago

SAN FRANCISCO – Apple CEO Steve Jobs briefly emerged from a medical leave Monday to unveil a free service that lets customers share calendar entries, songs and other files among their devices more easily.

The company also announced new software to make Mac computers behave more like mobile devices and Apple’s mobile devices more like rival smartphones.

Jobs received a standing ovation as he appeared at Apple Inc.’s annual developers’ conference, his second major public appearance since he went on medical leave in January for unspecified reasons and duration.

22 Santorum enters White House race warning of Obama

By KEVIN BEGOS and PHILIP ELLIOTT, Associated Press

37 mins ago

SOMERSET, Pa. – Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, a blunt talker who is popular among social conservatives, plunged into the 2012 Republican presidential sweepstakes Monday, saying he wants to protect American freedoms under threat from President Barack Obama.

Once the No. 3 Republican in the ranks of the Senate GOP leadership, Santorum charged that Obama has worked to undermine Americans’ liberties and has imposed a national health care plan that saps individual choice. He accused Obama of spending billions of dollars that will add to the debt of future generations and said the president lacks faith in the nation’s potential.

“I’m ready to lead. I’m ready to do what has to be done for the next generation, with the courage to fight for freedom, with the courage to fight for America,” Santorum said, speaking the sun-splashed steps of a county courthouse in western Pennsylvania. “That’s why I’m announcing today that I’m running for president of the United States of America.”

23 Usually a job engine, localities slow US economy

By PAUL WISEMAN, AP Economics Writer

2 mins ago

WASHINGTON – In a healthy economic recovery, states and localities start hiring, expand services and help fuel the nation’s growth.

Then there’s the 2011 recovery.

The U.S. economy is moving ahead, however fitfully. Yet state and local governments are still stuck in recession. Short of cash, they cut 30,000 jobs in May, the seventh straight month they’ve shed workers. Rather than add to U.S. economic growth, they’re subtracting from it.

24 US pushes for Yemen solution as Saleh vows return

By AHMED AL-HAJ, Associated Press

43 mins ago

SANAA, Yemen – With the wounded president out of Yemen, the United States and Saudi Arabia scrambled Monday to arrange a power transfer ensuring an end to his decades-long rule. But a top official said President Ali Abdullah Saleh, recovering in Saudi Arabia, would return home within days, a step almost certain to re-ignite violence.

A return by Saleh would likely spark new, intensified fighting between his forces and opposition tribesmen determined to topple him. Both sides’ fighters are deployed in the streets of the capital, and a cease-fire brokered by Saudi Arabia only a day earlier was already starting to fray, with clashes killing at least six.

Saleh was rushed late Saturday to the Saudi capital for treatment after being wounded in a rocket attack on his palace amid two weeks of fighting in Sanaa. His departure raised cheers from protesters who have been turning out in the streets by the hundreds of thousands since February demanding his ouster. To them, it seemed inevitable he would be unable to come back.

25 Rocket barrage kills 5 US soldiers in Baghdad

By REBECCA SANTANA, Associated Press

1 hr 59 mins ago

BAGHDAD – Five American soldiers died Monday when a barrage of rockets slammed into a base in a Shiite neighborhood of Baghdad – the largest, single-day loss of life for U.S. forces in Iraq in two years.

The attack follows warnings from Shiite militants backed by Iran and anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr that they would violently resist any effort to keep American troops in Iraq past their year-end deadline to go home.

Although American casualties have dropped considerably in the two years since U.S. troops pulled back from Iraq cities, Shiite militias have begun hammering U.S. bases and vehicles with rockets, rocket-propelled grenades and roadside bombs over the past three months.

26 HRW says Libya rebels detain pro-Gadhafi civilians

By HADEEL AL-SHALCHI and DIAA HADID, Associated Press

1 hr 6 mins ago

BENGHAZI, Libya – Libya’s rebels have arbitrarily detained dozens of civilians suspected of supporting ruler Moammar Gadhafi and at least one has died after apparently being tortured while in custody, Human Rights Watch said Monday.

Since the uprising started in mid-February, rebels have seized control of much of the country’s east and scrambled to set up an administration in their de facto capital of Benghazi. Rebels also hold the western city of Misrata and smaller towns in the western mountains.

Both sides have taken prisoners in the fighting.

27 Wis. justices hear arguments in union law case

By TODD RICHMOND, Associated Press

1 hr 20 mins ago

MADISON, Wis. – Conservative justices on the Wisconsin Supreme Court questioned a Madison judge’s authority to block the state’s polarizing union rights law as they listened Monday to arguments on whether they should rule in a lawsuit challenging the plan.

Dane County Circuit Judge Maryann Sumi ruled last month that Republican lawmakers violated Wisconsin’s open meetings law when they met without proper public notice to revise Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s bill stripping public employees of most of their collective bargaining rights.

State attorneys have asked the Supreme Court to step in, overturn Sumi’s decision and declare the law in effect. They say the judge lacked the authority to insert herself into the legislative process and stop the law from taking effect.

28 Hundreds marching 5 days to save W.Va. mountain

By VICKI SMITH, Associated Press

2 hrs 13 mins ago

BLAIR, W.Va. – On this steep-sided mountain in West Virginia’s southern coalfields, hundreds will retrace the steps of miners who waged the nation’s largest armed uprising since the Civil War, hoping 90 years later to protect the site of that bloody battle.

The protesters will retell the story of the 7,500 to 10,000 unionizing coal miners who fought for principles that helped shape today’s U.S. labor laws – and, they hope, keep Blair Mountain from becoming just another barren, flat-topped strip mine.

Much of the coal-rich mountain is owned by two energy companies fighting efforts to put it on the National Register of Historic Places. Such a designation wouldn’t automatically stop mining, but it could complicate and slow down the review process.

29 Fla. couple threatens bank with foreclosure

By TAMARA LUSH, Associated Press

2 hrs 30 mins ago

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – Months after Bank of America wrongly foreclosed on a house Warren and Maureen Nyerges had already paid for, they were still fighting to get reimbursed for the court battle.

So on Friday, their attorney showed up at a branch office in Naples with a moving truck and sheriff’s deputies who had a judge’s permission to seize the furniture if necessary. An hour later, the bank had written a check for $5,772.88.

“The branch manager was visibly shaken,” attorney Todd Allen said Monday, recalling the visit to the bank last week. “At that point I was willing to take the desk and the chair he was sitting in.”

30 EPA awarding $76 million for cleanups in 40 states

By JOHN FLESHER and KATHY BARKS HOFFMAN, Associated Press

Mon Jun 6, 1:46 pm ET

LANSING, Mich. – Federal grants will help clean up and redevelop 214 polluted sites such as abandoned gas stations and shuttered factories in 40 states, Environmental Protection Agency chief Lisa Jackson said Monday.

Three tribal nations also will receive federal money under the EPA’s “brownfield” program, which is designed to spur growth in cities where contaminated industrial and commercial sites have been a drag on the economy while contributing to joblessness and crime, agency officials said.

The grants will help “make our communities cleaner, healthier and more prosperous places to raise a family and start a business,” Jackson said during a news conference near the site of a former power plant in Lansing that a previous grant helped restore. An insurance company turned the historic brick building towering over the Grand River into new offices, saving Art Deco touches and attaching a new glass office building.

31 An inner city school fights to save its orchestra

By MARTHA IRVINE, AP National Writer

Mon Jun 6, 1:07 am ET

CHICAGO – The violin isn’t pretty, but its scratched frame has been well-loved by the girl who cradles it now, and those who played it before her. Her mother calls it her daughter’s “soul mate.”

The instrument doesn’t belong to Nidalis Burgos. It is on loan from her school, where the seventh-grader packs it up each weekday to bring it home.

She practices anywhere she can – in her bedroom, in the kitchen, on her back porch so she can hear the sound reverberate off the brick apartment buildings that line the alley. Usually, she warms up with “Ode to Joy,” her mother’s favorite song, and a fitting theme for a girl who truly seems to love playing.

32 Gay couples seek green cards despite likely denial

By AMY TAXIN, Associated Press

Mon Jun 6, 12:22 am ET

CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. – Faced with losing the life they’ve built together in the dusty California desert town of Cathedral City, Doug Gentry and Alex Benshimol are making a last-ditch effort to stave off the looming threat of deportation.

To a large degree, the couple is stuck. While the American information technology consultant and Venezuelan pet groomer wed at a romantic Connecticut ceremony last year, the federal government won’t recognize the marriage between the two men – and as a result, won’t approve their application for a green card.

But the couple, and others facing a similar predicament, are still trying. The men don’t expect to actually obtain a green card any time soon and have already been shot down once but hope filing an application might convince an immigration judge to at least refrain from deporting Benshimol while the fiery legal debate over the country’s same-sex marriage laws simmers.

33 Texas, Perry wrestle with higher education unrest

By PAUL J. WEBER, Associated Press

Sun Jun 5, 7:18 pm ET

AUSTIN, Texas – When barbecue research is second-guessed in Texas, the turmoil in higher education must be getting serious.

Responding to soaring tuitions and sagging graduation rates, a conservative policy foundation and Republican Gov. Rick Perry have stirred a tempest on Texas campuses by questioning whether college professors are making good use of their state money and suggesting an assortment of efficiencies. The foundation, for example, is asking whether there’s a need for more critiques of Shakespeare and other esoteric research that doesn’t generate money.

Academics and politicians don’t get along in the best of times. But with tuition increasing and budgets tight, the so-called “Seven Breakthrough Solutions,” created by the right-leaning Texas Public Policy Foundation, has opened a new debate over the balance between academic freedom and reasonable cost-benefit analysis.

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