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Jul 05 2011

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 British PM’s Afghan trip marred by soldier death

By Danny Kemp, AFP

1 hr 13 mins ago

British Prime Minister David Cameron was forced Monday to scrap part of a visit to Afghanistan intended to hail improved security after a soldier went missing and was later found dead.

The soldier’s mysterious death in Helmand province, for which the Taliban claimed responsibility, overshadowed Cameron’s announcement that security had improved enough for Britain to soon withdraw a small number of troops.

Cameron arrived in Helmand on Monday morning on a surprise visit but quickly decided to abandon a planned trip to the provincial capital Lashkar Gah, one of a handful of towns earmarked for an early handover to Afghan forces.

2 Post-Galliano Dior embraces eclecticism

By Gersende Rambourg, AFP

48 mins ago

Christian Dior, taking its time finding a successor to John Galliano, firmly distanced itself from the disgraced British designer Monday with an eclectic collection at the Paris haute couture shows.

Four months after firing Galliano over alleged racist slurs, Dior tasked his longtime right-hand man Bill Gaytten to oversee a show inspired by everything from early 1980s Paris nightlife to the architect Frank Gehry.

Not that Galliano — who is in rehab and awaiting a verdict on September 8 after standing trial last month — was far from the minds of guests in the marquee at the rear of the Musee Rodin on the Left Bank.

3 Germany, France flex muscles for group supremacy

By Emmeline Moore, AFP

1 hr 20 mins ago

Germany will be looking to flex their muscles and demonstrate their title credentials when they take on France in their final women’s World Cup group game here on Tuesday.

Both sides are already through to the quarter-finals with six points after two games so the clash between the European rivals will be one for Group A supremacy on front of a sell-out 50,000 crowd.

Despite being the reigning two-time champions and favourites, Germany have proved less impressive than the French so far, and were briefly whistled by the crowd as they struggled to subdue Nigeria 1-0 in Frankfurt.

4 Sangakkara wants politics out of Sri Lankan cricket

By Julian Guyer, AFP

1 hr 59 mins ago

Sri Lanka star Kumar Sangakkara has welcomed the International Cricket Council (ICC) directive requiring all national boards to be elected without political interference.

His call came just days after Sri Lanka’s sports minister said he had forced the national cricket board committee to step down following allegations of financial mismanagement.

Sri Lanka co-hosted the 2011 World Cup and were left with a $69 million bill, with media reports suggesting that mismanagement by Sri Lanka Cricket had been responsible for cost over-runs.

5 Ben Ali gets 15 years in jail over drugs, weapons charges

By Mahmud Turkia, AFP

2 hrs 19 mins ago

A Tunis court on Monday sentenced ousted Tunisian president Zine el Abidine Ben Ali in his absence to 15 years in jail for possession of arms, drugs and archaeological artefacts.

In his second trial since fleeing to Saudi Arabia following a popular uprising in January, Ben Ali was also given a fine of 54,000 euros (78,500 dollars).

The former strongman and his wife Leila Trabelsi had already been sentenced in absentia to 35 years in prison last month for misappropriating public funds after large sums of cash and jewellery were discovered in a police search of their palace.

6 Tunisia’s Ben Ali tried for drugs and weapon cache

By Fethi Belaid, AFP

Mon, Jul 4, 2011

Ousted Tunisian president Zine el Abidine Ben Ali was to be tried in absentia Monday on drugs and weapon charges described as “irrational” by his lawyer who wants more time to defend his client.

The trial, the second involving the ex-leader, had been scheduled to take place last week but was postponed due to a judges strike.

Ben Ali and his wife Leila Trabelsi have already been sentenced to 35 years in prison for misappropriating public funds after large sums of cash and jewellery were discovered in a police search of their palace.

7 Farrar breaks Tour de France duck as Garmin win again

By Justin Davis, AFP

2 hrs 30 mins ago

American Tyler Farrar of Garmin-Cervelo upstaged the hopes of British sprint rival Mark Cavendish on his way to a maiden Tour de France victory on the third stage Monday.

World champion Thor Hushovd of Norway kept possession of the race leader’s yellow jersey as Garmin celebrated their second win on the trot, having won the 23km team time trial at Les Essarts on Sunday.

Cavendish, who has won a record 15 stages in the past three years, had a powerful lead-in to the finale by his dominant HTC-Highroad team.

8 Cycling chiefs call Bruyneel, Vaughters to order

By Doug Pensinger, AFP

4 hrs ago

World cycling chiefs have hit back at professional team managers Johan Bruyneel and Jonathan Vaughters after the pair complained about technical checks on riders’ saddles at the Tour de France.

The saddles of several teams taking part in the race’s team time trial on stage two Sunday were checked by experts from the International Cycling Union (UCI) technical committee.

It emerged that some were deemed not fully horizontal, and thus did not conform to the rules, and were altered by UCI experts minutes prior to the race.

9 No yellow, but Tour starts to look up for Evans

By Justin Davis, AFP

Sun, Jul 3, 2011

Cadel Evans would be the first to admit that, after just two Tour de France stages, it’s far too early to be thinking of victory in the world’s toughest and most exacting bike race.

But the former two-time runner-up boosted his hopes for the second consecutive day Sunday when his BMC team stormed to a second place finish in the team time trial, leaving the Australian 2sec short of pulling on the yellow jersey.

“We’ve been quietly working away, doing our homework and keeping at it,” said the former world road champion, who is now third overall at 1sec behind Thor Hushovd.

10 Peabody, China, Russia to develop Mongolia mine

By Ooluun Batbayar, AFP

3 hrs ago

Mongolia said Monday it has chosen US miner Peabody Energy, China’s Shenhua and a Russian-Mongolian consortium to develop the highly coveted Tavan Tolgoi coal deposit in the south Gobi desert.

Authorities are hoping Mongolia’s nascent mining industry — and the deep-pocketed foreign firms interested in it — can help pull thousands of people out of poverty in the mineral-rich but still undeveloped Asian country.

The Tavan Tolgoi deposit, 270 kilometres (165 miles) from the border with China, contains 6.4 billion tonnes of coal, making it one of the largest coal fields in the world.

11 Yemen protesters blame regime for province seizure

By Jamal al-Jabiri, AFP

4 hrs ago

Tens of thousands of Yemenis protested in the capital Sanaa on Monday, accusing the authorities of plotting a takeover by extremists of the southern province of Abyan.

The demonstrators marched towards the residence of Vice President Abdrabuh Mansur Hadi, chanting slogans accusing the authorities of “facilitating the takeover by Al-Qaeda elements” of Abyan.

A five-strong delegation representing the protesters was blocked by guards outside the residence from meeting the deputy of President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

12 Iraq open to reconciliation with anti-US fighters

By Ammar Karim, AFP

Mon, Jul 4, 2011

Iraq’s government said Monday it would not reconcile with members of Al-Qaeda or anyone who has killed Iraqis, but suggested it was open to talks with those who had fought American forces.

Reconciliation Minister Amir al-Khuzai made the comments at a news conference after US forces, in Iraq since the 2003 US-led invasion, suffered their deadliest month in three years in June.

Fourteen soldiers were killed, most in rocket attacks, as the nearly 50,000 American troops remaining in Iraq prepare to pull out at the end of this year.

13 Lebanon opposition urges PM to back UN Hariri court

By Natacha Yazbeck, AFP

4 hrs ago

Lebanon’s opposition has demanded Prime Minister Najib Mikati announce his full support for a UN-backed court charging Hezbollah members in ex-premier Rafiq Hariri’s murder, ahead of a vote of confidence.

“We demand the prime minister announce openly and clearly his commitment (to the tribunal) before parliament on Tuesday and say that he will take all necessary steps to abide by its decisions, or get out, he and his government,” said a statement read by MP Fuad Siniora, himself a former premier and leading member of the pro-Western opposition.

Three days of parliamentary talks begin on Tuesday, ending with a vote of confidence on Mikati’s government in which Hezbollah and its allies control the majority of seats, including the key telecommunications and justice ministries.

14 Thai military ‘accepts’ opposition landslide

By Boonradom Chitradon, AFP

Mon, Jul 4, 2011

Thailand’s powerful military will respect a landslide election win by allies of Thaksin Shinawatra, who it toppled five years ago, the defence minister said Monday, easing fears of another coup.

Thaksin’s sister Yingluck Shinawatra, a 44-year-old political novice now set to become the kingdom’s first female premier, announced a coalition deal with four smaller parties to bolster her hold on power.

The election and its aftermath is a major test of Thailand’s ability to emerge from a long political crisis triggered by Thaksin’s 2006 overthrow that last year saw the country’s worst civil violence in decades.

15 Thaksin allies seek coalition after Thai poll win

By Pornchai Kittiwongsakul, AFP

Sun, Jul 3, 2011

Allies of Thailand’s fugitive former premier Thaksin Shinawatra will scramble to form a coalition government Monday after a huge poll victory that reshaped the kingdom’s fractured political landscape.

The result is a remarkable comeback for the ex-leader’s supporters after his ouster in a military coup sparked years of turmoil, and his youngest sister Yingluck Shinawatra is set to become Thailand’s first female premier.

With almost all the votes counted, her Puea Thai party had won a clear majority with 263 seats out of 500, well ahead of incumbent Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva’s Democrats on 161, according to the Election Commission.

16 Mass tourism threatening Venice lagoon, say ecologists

By Christophe Simon, AFP

4 hrs ago

An Italian environmental group warned on Monday that mass tourism is slowly eroding the Venice lagoon, which it said is also threatened by major real estate development and an inadequate transport network.

Architect Cristiano Gasparetto said a 1988 study indicated that while the acceptable maximum number of tourists for Venice is 33,000 daily, today the average figure is 59,000.

Alessandra Mottola Molfino, head of the Italia Nostra non-governmental organisation, said the figure “is too high for such a fragile city”.

17 Brussels fights bill shocks for roaming phone charges

By Sophie Estienne, AFP

6 hrs ago

Brussels goes to battle this week over high costs for Europeans in using mobile phones across EU borders, with a new proposal slated to slash expensive roaming bills to almost zero by 2015.

With many disgruntled vacationers each summer returning home to shock bills after calls or phone downloads during holidays in another European Union nation, the European Commission on Wednesday releases a plan for a single phone market.

The aim is to narrow or eliminate altogether the difference between the cost of a domestic call and one made from another country in the 27-nation bloc.

18 Myanmar’s Suu Kyi tests freedom with rare trip

By Hla Hla Htay, AFP

8 hrs ag

Democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi visited an ancient temple city in central Myanmar with her son on Monday, in a tentative first test of her freedom to travel following her release by the junta.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner, whose previously announced plan for a political tour prompted stern warnings from the regime, was greeted at Bagan airport by crowds of journalists and what appeared to be plain-clothes police.

It is the first time Suu Kyi has ventured outside the main city of Yangon where she lives since being freed from seven years of house arrest last November, but politics are not officially on the agenda.

19 India offers veiled warning to nuclear suppliers

By Dibyangshu Sarkar, AFP

11 hrs ago

India has suggested that countries refusing to match nuclear reactor sales with technology transfers could be frozen out of one of the world’s largest reactor markets.

The veiled threat came in a television interview broadcast Sunday, in which Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao was asked about new Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG) guidelines on sensitive uranium enrichment and reprocessing technology.

The guidelines restrict the sale of such technology to countries which, like nuclear-armed India, have not signed up to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

20 Aussies set sights on ‘Quidditch’ world cup

By Remi Noyon, AFP

Mon, Jul 4, 2011

Australians, renowned for their sporting prowess in cricket and rugby, now want to win a world cup for running around on broomsticks — otherwise known as Quidditch.

In J.K Rowling’s hugely successful Harry Potter books and films, Quidditch is a semi-contact sport played by wizards and witches — as popular in their world as football or cricket is in real life.

The final instalment of the series hits movie screens in July, but the crowd-pulling sport of Quidditch has only just arrived in Australia.

21 India police guard temple treasure haul

By Mini Francis, AFP

Sun, Jul 3, 2011

Armed commandoes cordoned off a medieval Hindu temple in south India on Monday after gold coins and precious stones worth billions of dollars were found in its vaults.

The chief minister of southern Kerala state, Oommen Chandy, said local authorities needed to take precautions and had set up a three-tier security ring involving 100 armed police.

Surveillance will be in place around the clock, and security forces are setting up a special control centre and looking at bringing in cameras.

22 Wind of change: Aussie ‘farting camels’ cull under attack

By Joseph Barrak, AFP

Sun, Jul 3, 2011

The world’s association of camel scientists fought back angrily on Monday over Australian plans to kill wild dromedaries on the grounds that their flatulence adds to global warming.

The idea is “false and stupid… a scientific aberration”, the International Society of Camelid Research and Development (ISOCARD) charged, saying camels were being made culprits for a man-made problem.

“We believe that the good-hearted people and innovating nation of Australia can come up with better and smarter solutions than eradicating camels in inhumane ways,” it said.

23 China’s frustrated migrant workers rise up

By Allison Jackson, AFP

22 hrs ago

Migrant worker Yue Yaowei has lived in Beijing for six years but is not recognised as a resident of the Chinese capital — and so cannot get health insurance, buy a car or purchase a house.

“I am under big pressure here,” Yue, 24, told AFP at a duck restaurant in central Beijing where he earns about $400 a month as the head waiter.

“I don’t have much savings after buying clothes, gifts for my family and going out with friends.”

24 Greece wary anti-austerity riots may impact tourism

By Will Vassilopoulos, AFP

Sun, Jul 3, 2011

With television images of anti-austerity rioters clashing with police in Athens, the Greek government hopes the pictures will not affect one of the country’s main moneymakers — tourism.

“Fortunately we do not see many cancellations, but we must be very careful to safeguard tourism and promote Greece’s strong points,” Yiorgos Telonis, chairman of the Hellenic association of travel and tourist agencies (Hatta), told AFP on Sunday.

But Telonis warned of the longterm effects the riots may have and would not rule out more cancellations, especially for hotels located around Syntagma, the capital’s main square where most of the clashes took place last week.

25 Zimbabwe diamonds put Kimberley Process to test

By Fanuel Jongwe, AFP

Sun, Jul 3, 2011

The Kimberley Process could collapse, experts warn, after the group meant to prevent diamonds from financing conflicts decided to allow Zimbabwe to sell gems tainted by army killings.

Kimberley approval was meant to guarantee that stones often given as a symbol of love are not “blood diamonds” used to fund some of Africa’s most brutal civil wars in Sierra Leone and Liberia.

Since 2003, Kimberley has gathered governments, industry and activists into a global regulator that makes decisions by consensus.

26 In Florida, end of space shuttle program hits hard

By Jean-Louis Santini, AFP

Sun, Jul 3, 2011

The booming tourist area and haven for high-tech NASA jobs known as the “Space Coast” is struggling with sadness, bitterness and fear for the future as the US shuttle program draws to a close.

Three decades of human spaceflight driven by the iconic shuttle program have fueled growth in this Atlantic coast beach community, but the end of those glory days are hurtling closer with the final flight of Atlantis on Friday.

The last shuttle mission will trigger the disappearance of some 27,000 jobs either directly or indirectly tied to NASA’s shuttle efforts, according to local officials.

27 Russia gains edge in space race as US shuttle bows out

By Maria Antonova, AFP

Sun, Jul 3, 2011

As the United States winds down its shuttle programme in a symbolic twist in a long-running space rivalry, Russia will gain complete control of access to the International Space Station.

The Russian space agency plays down any triumphalism, but US astronauts will remain dependent on Russia for access to the ISS at least until 2015 and will have to pay for seats in its Soyuz space capsules.

“We cannot say that we have won the space race, but simply that we have reached the end of a certain stage,” the deputy head of the Russian space agency, Vitaly Davydov, said in an interview.

28 As deadline looms, Obama hunts for debt deal

By Olivier Knox, AFP

Sun, Jul 3, 2011

President Barack Obama and his Republican foes face off again next week in talks on reining in runaway US debt, amid a White House warning that they have just weeks to avert an economic meltdown.

“I’m confident that the Democrats and Republicans in Congress can find a way to give some ground, make some hard choices and put their shoulders to wheel to get this done for the sake of our country,” the president said Saturday.

Under pressure from Obama and his Republican foes, the Democratic-led Senate scrapped its cherished week-long break for the July 4 Independence Day holiday in a bid to make progress in the seemingly stalled negotiations.

29 Ex-rebels warn of Sudan conflict over Kordofan

By Simon Martelli, AFP

Sun, Jul 3, 2011

The northern branch of the ex-rebel Sudan People’s Liberation Movement warned on Sunday that the South Kordofan conflict would spread along the country’s new southern border unless Khartoum agreed to a ceasefire.

“There are some voices in Khartoum that are against this framework agreement (signed on Tuesday). Those voices are playing with fire,” the SPLM north’s secretary general Yasser Arman told AFP.

“The only alternative to this agreement is a war, from Blue Nile to Darfur. We don’t want that,” he added.

30 Filipinos fight for US citizenship in Afghanistan

By Ben Sheppard, AFP

23 hrs ago

Darby Ortego, 25, endures gunfire and mine attacks fighting for the United States army in Afghanistan, but this July 4 will be his first as a citizen of the country he serves.

Ortego, who battles insurgents in the violent eastern province of Khost with Bravo Company, 1-26 Infantry, recently attended a naturalisation ceremony at a US base near Kabul ahead of this year’s Independence Day celebrations.

Like thousands of fellow Filipinos, he sees the US military as a fast-track to American citizenship, securing his own future and also helping his family back home.

31 Diesel cars gain traction slowly in US market

By Rob Lever, AFP

23 hrs ago

After many fits and starts, diesel cars are gaining traction in the US market, fueled largely by German carmakers including Volkswagen, which opened a plant in May in Tennessee.

Diesel auto sales in the United States revved higher this year thanks to some temporary factors, including a shortage of hybrid cars because of disruptions from the Japanese earthquake disaster.

US consumers bought an estimated 9,000 diesel cars in May, up 34 percent from a year earlier, according to the research firm Baum & Associates.

32 Syria troops press sweep for dissidents in northwest

AFP

Sun, Jul 3, 2011

The Syrian army made sweeping arrests in a crackdown on dissent in the northwest of the country on Sunday, as troops deployed in the hotbed central city of Hama, an activist said.

The move came as some 100 independent figures met in the capital to discuss a “third way” for Syria, which has been rocked by deadly anti-regime protests for three months.

Troops backed by 97 tanks and personnel carriers advanced late Saturday on Kfar Rumma village and made arrests in the district of Jabal al-Zawiyah, said Rami Abdel Rahman of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

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