Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Australia sets carbon tax to fight climate change

By Madeleine Coorey, AFP

11 hrs ago

Australia announced plans on Sunday to tax carbon pollution at Aus$23 (US$24.74) per tonne to help battle climate change, as it moved towards creating the region’s biggest emissions trading scheme.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard said there would be a fixed price on carbon pollution, blamed for global warming, from next year before an emissions trading scheme was introduced in 2015.

“We have had a long debate about climate change in this country,” Gillard said in a rare televised address to the nation.

2 Obama gears up for high-stakes debt talks

By Mandel Ngan, AFP

4 hrs ago

President Barack Obama meets Sunday with his top Republican foes in a high-stakes effort to forge a budget deal and stave off a potentially catastrophic US debt default in early August.

Republicans are refusing to raise America’s $14.29 trillion debt limit unless Obama agrees to curb the budget deficit, including cuts to government-funded programs to help the poor and the elderly.

Democrats are agreeing to try and save some $4 trillion over the next decade as part of the deal but say the Republicans are not meeting them half way by allowing tax reforms to spread the burden off the middle-class.

3 Murdoch in Britain as crisis threatens BSkyB deal

By Sam Reeves, AFP

1 hr 26 mins ago

Media baron Rupert Murdoch flew into London on Sunday to take personal charge of the phone-hacking scandal that felled his News of the World tabloid as calls mounted for the government to block his BSkyB bid.

Murdoch’s News Corp. media empire is set to take full control of satellite broadcaster BSkyB but Labour leader Ed Miliband on Sunday led fresh calls for the proposed deal to be delayed until an ongoing police investigation is completed.

Reading a copy of the last edition of Britain’s biggest-selling weekly, Murdoch was whisked into the headquarters of publisher News International, which produced News of the World, in a chauffeur driven car.

4 Panetta in Iraq as another US soldier killed

By Mathieu Rabechault, AFP

1 hr 54 mins ago

US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta arrived in Baghdad on Sunday to urge Iraqi leaders to act against Iran-backed Shiite militias, as another American soldier was killed in the south of the country.

Panetta, who took office 10 days ago, flew in after visiting Afghanistan and was also to urge Iraqi leaders to decide soon on whether they want US troops beyond the scheduled pullout at the end of this year, a senior US defence official said.

About 46,000 US troops remain in Iraq, down from a high of 170,000 after the 2003 US-led invasion. They are scheduled to leave in less than six months unless a deal is reached between Baghdad and Washington.

5 Atlantis docks at space station for last time

By Kerry Sheridan, AFP

21 mins ago

The shuttle Atlantis docked at the orbiting International Space Station for one last hitch-up Sunday, on its final space voyage before the entire 30-year US shuttle program shuts down for good.

The shuttle docked at 11:07 am (1507 GMT), just over an hour after the spacecraft performed its habitual slow backflip so that the ISS crew could take pictures of Atlantis’s heat shield before clasping onto the lab, NASA said.

Hatches opened between the two spacecraft at 12:47 pm (1647 GMT), and the four Atlantis astronauts floated across to greet their ISS crewmates with hugs and smiles.

6 Sweden, USA advance to World Cup semi-finals

By Odd Andersen, AFP

1 hr 1 min ago

Sweden and the United States booked the final two tickets to the Women’s World Cup semi-finals on Sunday as the Brazil side of FIFA’s five-time World Player of the Year Marta were eliminated.

The United States needed a tense 5-3 penalty shootout to get past Brazil in Dresden after the match ended 2-2 after extra-time, and will next meet France for a place in the final.

Earlier Sweden, the only unbeaten team left in the tournament, outclassed Australia 3-1 in Augsburg and next play Japan, who eliminated two-time winners Germany on Saturday.

7 USA beat Brazil on penalties to reach semi-finals

By Ryland James, AFP

2 hrs 10 mins ago

Two-time winners the USA beat Brazil 5-3 on penalties in dramatic fashion to advance to the semi-finals of the women’s World Cup on Sunday after the tie had been locked 2-2 in extra time.

US defender Alex Krieger hit the winning penalty after her goalkeeper Hope Solo had earlier saved from Brazil’s Daiane to give her side the advantage in the shoot-out.

On the final whistle, American striker Abby Wambach had kept her side in the quarter-final with a dramatic header in the 122nd minute to level the scores after Brazil play-maker Marta had scored in the 92nd minute.

8 Obama faces new obstacles in high-stakes debt talks

By Steve Holland and Tabassum Zakaria, Reuters

3 hrs ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama will seek “the biggest deal possible” in talks on Sunday aimed at averting a debt default after Republicans shied away from a $4 trillion deficit-reduction deal because it would raise taxes.

Obama and the top U.S. Republican, House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner, are to meet with other congressional leaders at 6 p.m. EDT (2200 GMT) at the White House for high-stakes deliberations with an August 2 deadline looming larger.

Failure to seal a deal by August 2 could mean the first-ever default on the nation’s financial obligations, which the White House and private economists warn could push the United States back into recession and trigger global financial chaos.

9 Boehner says debt talks scaled back over tax rift

By Caren Bohan and Andy Sullivan, Reuters

10 hrs ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A broad $4 trillion deal on U.S. deficit reduction appeared out of reach on Saturday as Republican leader John Boehner cited a rift with the White House on taxes and proposed pursuing a more modest package.

“Despite good-faith efforts to find common ground, the White House will not pursue a bigger debt-reduction agreement without tax hikes,” Boehner, the speaker of the House of Representatives and the top Republican in Congress, said in a statement.

“I believe the best approach may be to focus on producing a smaller measure.”

10 Murdoch meets UK executive embroiled in scandal

By Paul Sandle, Reuters

2 hrs 29 mins ago

LONDON (Reuters) – Media baron Rupert Murdoch flew into London on Sunday to tackle a phone-hacking scandal that has sent tremors through the British political establishment and may cost him a multi-billion dollar broadcasting deal.

Murdoch, 80, swept into his London headquarters in the front passenger seat of a car, holding up the final edition of the best-selling News of the World, the newspaper he bought in 1969 that became the foundation stone of his international media empire, which he closed last week in a bid to stem the crisis.

Murdoch later travelled across the city to his London home where he was joined by his embattled newspaper group chief executive Rebekah Brooks, and then crossed the road to a hotel

11 New defense chief Panetta in Iraq, to press on drawdown

By Phil Stewart, Reuters

1 hr 20 mins ago

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Leon Panetta arrived in Iraq on Sunday on his first trip there as U.S. defense secretary, saying he would press Baghdad on the future U.S. military presence and to go after militants attacking U.S. forces with Iranian rockets.

The United States is scheduled to withdraw all its remaining 46,000 troops from Iraq by the end of this year, under the terms of a bilateral security pact — despite U.S. and Iraqi military concerns about expected gaps in security.

Panetta, fresh from a trip to Afghanistan, made hopeful remarks to Congress last month that Iraq’s government might eventually ask some U.S. forces to remain beyond 2011. But he was cautious in his comments to reporters in Afghanistan just before departing for Iraq.

12 U.S. withholds $800 million in aid to Pakistan: White House

By Jim Wolf, Reuters

3 hrs ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States is withholding some $800 million in military assistance to Pakistan in a show of displeasure over its cutback on U.S. trainers, limits on visas for U.S. personnel and other bilateral irritants, the Obama administration said on Sunday.

Pakistani authorities have “taken some steps that have given us reason to pause on some of the aid which we’re giving to the military,” White House Chief of Staff William Daley said on ABC television’s “This Week with Christiane Amanpour.”

As a result, “We’ll hold back some of the money that the American taxpayers have committed to give,” he said, adding this amounted to about $800 million, or more than a third of the $2 billion given to Pakistan for security assistance.

13 Exclusive: EU calls emergency meeting as crisis stalks Italy

By Luke Baker, Reuters

2 hrs 35 mins ago

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European Council President Herman Van Rompuy has called an emergency meeting of top officials dealing with the euro zone debt crisis for Monday morning, reflecting concern that the crisis could spread to Italy, the region’s third largest economy.

European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet will attend the meeting along with Jean-Claude Juncker, chairman of the region’s finance ministers, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and Olli Rehn, the economic and monetary affairs commissioner, three official sources told Reuters.

Van Rompuy’s spokesman Dirk De Backer said: “It’s a coordination, not a crisis meeting.” He added that Italy would not be on the agenda and declined to say what would be discussed.

14 Connecticut becomes first state to mandate paid sick time

By Lauren Keiper, Reuters

2 hrs 5 mins ago

BOSTON (Reuters) – Connecticut became the first state in the nation this month to mandate paid sick days for workers, a move advocates say could be a catalyst for similar campaigns in 20 other cities and states considering such a benefit.

Bartenders, librarians, dental hygienists and other service workers in Connecticut are poised to earn paid sick time at the start of 2012.

While San Francisco and Washington, D.C. currently guarantee paid sick days for workers, with some minor variations in the laws, Connecticut is the first state to follow their lead.

15 Atlantis docks at space station on last mission

By Irene Klotz, Reuters

3 hrs ago

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) – U.S. space shuttle Atlantis arrived at the International Space Station on Sunday to deliver a last batch of supplies to the orbiting outpost on the final flight of the U.S. shuttle program.

Commander Chris Ferguson gently eased Atlantis into its parking slip on the station’s Harmony node at 11:07 a.m. EDT as the spacecraft soared 230 miles over the Pacific Ocean.

“Welcome to the International Space Station for the last time,” station flight engineer Ron Garan radioed to the crew.

16 Rupert Murdoch swoops into UK tabloid offices


59 mins ago

LONDON (AP) – Rupert Murdoch touched down in London on Sunday to take charge of his media empire’s phone-hacking crisis as his best-selling Sunday tabloid, the News of the World, published its last. The scandal lives on despite his sacrifice of the 168-year-old paper at the heart of it.

The scrapping of the News of the World has not tempered British anger over improprieties by journalists working for Murdoch, and his $19 billion deal to take full control of satellite broadcaster British Sky Broadcasting remains in jeopardy.

The 80-year-old News Corp. CEO was seen reading the paper’s last issue in a red Range Rover as he was driven to the east London offices of his U.K. newspaper division, News International. Later, at his London apartment, he met with News International’s chief executive, Rebekah Brooks, who led News of the World when its reporters committed some of the most egregrious ethical lapses.

17 President Obama not giving up on big debt deal

By LAURIE KELLMAN, Associated Press

2 mins 5 secs ago

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Barack Obama is pressing congressional leaders to accept a $4 trillion debt reduction deal that Republicans have rejected for its tax increases and Democrats dislike for its cuts to programs for seniors and the poor, administration officials said hours before talks resumed Sunday.

Yet they left room for negotiations on a more modest approach.

“He’s not someone to walk away from a tough fight,” White House chief of staff William Daley said. “Everyone agrees that a number around $4 trillion is the number that will … make a serious dent in our deficit.” But embedded among the tough words was rhetoric that acknowledged the “big deal’s” prospects had become uncertain at best.

18 Tough line: US suspends military aid to Pakistan

By DOUGLAS BIRCH, Associated Press

2 hrs 13 mins ago

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Obama administration’s decision to suspend $800 million in aid to the Pakistan’s military signals a tougher U.S. line with a critical but sometimes unreliable partner in the fight against terrorism.

President Barack Obama’s chief of staff, William Daley, said in a broadcast interview Sunday that the estranged relationship between the United States and Pakistan must be made “to work over time,” but until it does, “we’ll hold back some of the money that the American taxpayers are committed to give” to the country’s powerful military forces.

The suspension of U.S. aid, first reported by the New York Times, followed a statement last week by Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, that Pakistan’s security services may have sanctioned the killing of Pakistani journalist Saleem Shahzad who wrote about infiltration of the military by extremists. His battered body was found in June.

19 Panetta in Iraq to see officials, commanders

By ROBERT BURNS, AP National Security Writer

1 hr 31 mins ago

BAGHDAD (AP) – From one war front to another Sunday, Pentagon chief Leon Panetta hopped from a U.S. outpost in Afghanistan’s southern desert to Baghdad, where he sought to encourage Iraqi leaders to decide soon whether they want a residual American military force beyond year’s end.

He refused to say whether the Obama administration wants the extension, but he expressed concern at a spike in U.S. deaths caused by what American officials believe are sophisticated explosive devices made in Iran.

Panetta prepared for talks Monday with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and other senior members of a government politically divided more than a year after national elections. Iraq has gone that long without defense or interior ministers, whose departments are responsible for the military and police.

20 Shuttle’s last hookup: Hugs, kisses and emotion

By MARCIA DUNN, AP Aerospace Writer

36 mins ago

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (AP) – As the miles melted between Atlantis and the International Space Station, the emotions grew – in orbit and on the ground.

At Mission Control on Sunday, lead flight director Kwatsi Alibaruho declared “this is it” as he gave the OK for the final docking in space shuttle history. Flashbacks to the shuttle’s very first space station docking – with Russia’s Mir in 1995 – flooded his mind as he viewed the shuttle on the screens. He was a NASA trainee back then.

About 240 miles (386 kilometers) above the Pacific, the station’s naval bell chimed a salute – one of many landmarks, or rather spacemarks, of this final two-week shuttle mission that are being savored one by one.

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