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Jul 06 2011

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 British PM backs calls for phone hacking inquiry

By Alice Ritchie, AFP

Wed, Jul 6, 2011

British Prime Minister David Cameron backed calls for a public inquiry into phone hacking Wednesday after a tabloid targeted relatives of murdered children and possibly victims of the London bombings.

But he said police should first complete its probe of the “absolutely disgusting” allegations concerning the News of the World, the top-selling Sunday newspaper owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News International.

In his first statement on the affair, Murdoch condemned the claims as “deplorable and unacceptable” and said his company would “fully and proactively co-operate with the police”.

2 Thousands fete Dalai Lama on birthday in US

By Shaun Tandon, AFP

11 mins ago

Thousands of people flocked to a Washington arena Wednesday to celebrate the 76th birthday of Tibet’s spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, who urged followers to mark the occasion by practicing compassion.

The Verizon Center in the US capital’s Chinatown was transformed into little Tibet, with vendors selling handicrafts from the Himalayan land and intricate mandalas hanging incongruously underneath advertisements for fast food.

Tibetan monks and nuns folded their hands with reverence and American supporters broke into an impromptu song of “Happy Birthday to You” as the Dalai Lama came on stage to mark the start of a 10-day ritual known as a kalachakra.

3 Tempest-from-hell seen on Saturn

By Carolyn Porco, AFP

1 hr 26 mins ago

Imagine being caught in a thunderstorm as wide as the Earth with discharges of lightning 10,000 times more powerful than normal, flashing 10 times per second at its peak.

Now imagine that this storm is still unfolding, eight months later.

One of the most violent weather events in the Solar System began to erupt on Saturn last December and is still enthralling astronomers, the British journal Nature reported on Wednesday.

4 Syria troops kill more than 20 in flashpoint Hama

AFP

3 hrs ago

Syrian troops killed more than 20 people in an assault on the flashpoint central city of Hama that prompted US calls for an immediate pullback, human rights activists said on Wednesday.

Troops also wounded more than 80 people as they pushed through improvised roadblocks put up by residents after massive anti-government protests in the city of some 800,000 people, the National Organisation for Human Rights said.

It said at least 22 people were killed on Tuesday, while the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said later on Wednesday that at least 23 had been killed in 24 hours.

5 China raises rates, shrugs off slowing growth

By Kevin Yao and Aileen Wang, Reuters

6 hrs ago

BEIJING (Reuters) – China raised interest rates for the third time this year on Wednesday, making clear that taming inflation remains a top priority even as the growth pace of its vast economy gently eases.

The 25-basis-point increase in lending and deposit rates underscored China’s quiet confidence that the world’s second-biggest economy is resilient enough to endure tighter monetary policy and is not threatened by the hard landing that some investors fear.

Analysts suggested China was close to, or even at the end, of a cycle of rate rises and the latest move was a pre-emptive strike before another big jump in inflation in data next week heightens depositors’ worries about low yields.

6 Cantor floats tax compromise for debt deal

By Andy Sullivan and Jeff Mason, Reuters

12 mins ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A top Republican floated a tax compromise on Wednesday that could revive hopes for a budget deal as President Barack Obama warned the United States could spiral back into recession if an agreement is not reached soon.

Rep Eric Cantor, the No. 2 official in the Republican-led House of Representatives, said that his party could agree to close some tax breaks in a trillion-dollar budget deal as long as they were offset with tax cuts elsewhere.

“Any discussion about loopholes must be accompanied by offsetting tax cuts,” Cantor said at a news conference one day before he and other congressional leaders meet with Obama at the White House.

7 Murdoch defends papers as Cameron pledges hacking probe

By Kate Holton and Jodie Ginsberg, Reuters

1 hr 35 mins ago

LONDON (Reuters) – Rupert Murdoch promised full cooperation on Wednesday to resolve a scandal shaking his media empire after British Prime Minister David Cameron promised an inquiry into what he called “disgusting” phone hacking by a newspaper.

Responding in parliament to allegations that the News of the World eavesdropped on voicemail for victims of notorious crimes, including child murders and suicide bombings, Cameron said he was “revolted” and would order inquiries, probably into both the specific case and more widely into Britain’s cut-throat media.

The opposition, keen to highlight Cameron’s own ties to Murdoch and to two former editors at the eye of the storm, noted that any inquiry would not start, let alone finish, for months if not years. Critics accused the Conservative government of trying to bury the embarrassment of the long-running saga.

8 Analysis: Worries on debt ceiling bubble beneath surface

By Steven C. Johnson, Reuters

2 hrs 23 mins ago

NEW YORK (Reuters) – As the standoff over raising the government’s borrowing limit enters its final month, it’s becoming harder for investors to avoid thinking the unthinkable: the world’s most trusted borrower could soon renege on its debt.

The U.S. Treasury says it will be forced to default on its obligations if Congress does not raise the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling, which caps how much it can borrow, by August 2.

The Treasury has not specified which bills it wouldn’t pay, but the prospect of its missing interest or principal payments on any outstanding debt is a terrifying one for Wall Street.

9 Lagarde vows more clout for emerging markets at IMF

By Lesley Wroughton, Reuters

4 hrs ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Christine Lagarde, the IMF’s new chief, pledged on Wednesday to push ahead with reforms to give fast-growing emerging markets greater sway at the global lender.

At a news conference on her second day as International Monetary Fund managing director, Lagarde acknowledged an array of immediate issues confronting the Fund, including Europe’s debt crisis, but she also said she was focused on the need for the IMF to change with the times.

Institutions like the IMF must better reflect the shifting balance of power in the global economy, she said, adding the idea of creating a top-ranking post at the IMF to give a higher profile to emerging markets was “not a bad idea.”

10 EU slams ratings agencies after Portugal downgraded

By Gilbert Reilhac and Annika Breidthardt, Reuters

21 mins ago

STRASBOURG, France/BERLIN (Reuters) – European politicians accused credit rating agencies on Wednesday of anti-European bias after Moody’s downgrade of Portugal’s debt to “junk” cast new doubt on EU efforts to rescue distressed euro zone states without debt restructuring.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso said the decision to cut Lisbon’s rating by four notches so soon after it became the third country to receive an EU/IMF bailout was fuelling speculation in financial markets.

The cost of insuring all weaker euro zone states’ debt against default rose after Moody’s announced the downgrade on Tuesday.

11 Clemens trial selecting jury; judge raps Hill

By MARK SHERMAN, NEDRA PICKLER, AP

1 hr 11 mins ago

WASHINGTON (AP) – Roger Clemens’ perjury trial opened Wednesday with both sides raising the prospect of calling a roster of former baseball stars as witnesses and the judge angrily criticizing Congress for withholding an audiotape of Clemens’ deposition at the heart of the case.

Clemens is accused of lying under oath to the House Government Reform Committee in 2008 when he denied ever using performance-enhancing drugs during his record-setting career as a major league pitcher. The trial began with an intensive jury selection process expected to last into next week.

Prosecutors and the defense read the panel a list of people who may be called as witnesses or mentioned at the trial that included some of the biggest names in baseball, including those who have been at the center of the steroid scandal such as Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro and Jose Canseco. The list also included baseball commissioner Bud Selig, New York Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman, former Yankees manager Joe Torre, former players union director Donald Fehr and several other officials and teammates from the four major league teams Clemens played for.

12 Teachers in middle of debate over immigrant kids

By BRETT ZONGKER, Associated Press

1 hr 37 mins ago

WASHINGTON (AP) – When an award-winning journalist recently revealed he’s an illegal immigrant, two of the key players in his tale turned out to be educators who helped keep his secret. It’s the kind of story teachers and principals scattered across the country know well.

With some 11 million illegal immigrants in the U.S., educators increasingly find themselves caught between their obligation to educate each child and conflicting guidance, or simply no direction at all, about whether to help such students beyond the classroom.

Law officers and lawmakers in some states want schools to help spot illegal immigrants. Federal authorities remind school officials that every child is entitled to an education. National education groups echo that but recommend that schools avoid getting involved when it comes to students’ citizenship issues.

13 Riots erupt in Egyptian city over police trials

By MAGGIE MICHAEL, Associated Press

21 mins ago

CAIRO (AP) – Hundreds of Egyptian protesters lobbed rocks at the security headquarters and set fire to police cars for a second day Wednesday in a flashpoint city as growing impatience over delays in trying former regime officials and police accused of killing protesters threatened to plunge the nation back into crisis.

In a bid to defuse rising anger, the Interior Ministry announced that hundreds of high-ranking police officers will be sacked for their role in the harsh crackdown on anti-government protests earlier this year that left nearly 850 people dead. Interior Minister Mansour el-Essawi said in a statement that it will be the largest shake up in the history of his ministry.

Justice for those who killed demonstrators has become a rallying point for the protest movement, nearly five months after Hosni Mubarak was ousted in an uprising after a nearly three-decade rule marred by complaints of widespread corruption and police abuse.

14 US pullout from Afghanistan starting slowly

By ROBERT BURNS, AP National Security Writer

19 mins ago

WASHINGTON (AP) – The pullout of major U.S. combat units from Afghanistan may not start until the peak fighting season ends in late fall, U.S. military officials said Wednesday, although 800 National Guard soldiers will go home this month.

Details of the U.S. drawdown are still being worked out, but thus far the only major combat unit designated to depart Afghanistan and not be replaced is a Marine infantry battalion set to leave in late fall, officials said. That means the military could retain virtually all its current combat power until the fighting goes into a seasonal lull and still meet President Barack Obama’s order to reduce the force by 10,000 by year’s end.

It is possible, though unlikely, that new U.S. commanders arriving in Kabul this month will speed up the drawdown.

15 Spreading phone hacking scandal touches UK nerves

By GREGORY KATZ, Associated Press

32 mins ago

LONDON (AP) – Britain’s phone hacking scandal intensified Wednesday as the scope of tabloid intrusion into private voice mails became clearer: Murder victims. Terror victims. Film stars. Sports figures. Politicians. The royal family’s entourage.

Almost no one, it seems, was safe from a tabloid determined to beat its rivals, whatever it takes.

The focal point is the News of the World – now facing a spreading advertising boycott – and the top executives of its parent companies: Rebekah Brooks, chief executive of News International, and her boss, media potentate Rupert Murdoch.

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