Evening Edition is an Open Thread
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1 UK hacking scandal widens with Brown, royal claims
By Robin Millard, AFP
3 hrs ago
|Britain’s phone hacking scandal spiralled Monday amid reports that former premier Gordon Brown and the royals were targeted, as the government dealt a blow to Rupert Murdoch’s bid for pay-TV giant BSkyB.
In a story taking new twists and turns by the hour and shaking the entire establishment, Brown was reportedly hacked by The Sunday Times and The Sun, both stablemates of Murdoch’s doomed News of the World tabloid.
The royal family were meanwhile allegedly targeted by the News of the World, Britain’s biggest selling weekly newspaper, which Murdoch shut down at the weekend amid allegations of widespread illegal phone hacking.
2 European stocks slump
By Charly Triballeau, AFP
4 hrs ago
|European stock markets slumped on Monday, with banks hit by increasing signs that the eurozone debt crisis is spreading to Italy, as EU policymakers headed to an urgent meeting on Greece.
In London, BSkyB shares slumped more than seven percent on turmoil over the British satellite broadcaster’s future.
In late afternoon deals, London’s FTSE 100 index of top shares dropped 1.17 percent to 5,920.66 points, Frankfurt’s DAX 30 shed 2.49 percent to 7,218.78 points and in Paris the CAC 40 index lost 2.84 percent to 3,802.52.
3 Eurozone races to ease contagion fears
By Claire Rosemberg, AFP
18 hrs ago
|Eurozone leaders race to head off fresh worries of debt crisis contagion by seeking to iron out widening differences over the outline of a new Greek rescue package at talks in Brussels on Monday.
Amid signs that contagion is spreading to Italy, finance ministers from the 17-nation area meet from 1300 GMT, with counterparts from the full European Union 27 joining them Tuesday.
Held on the back of a roller-coaster week that saw Italian banks buckle, the talks will focus on the divisive question of possible private-sector involvement in a second bailout of Greece — a deal not expected before September.
4 Mobs storm US, French embassies in Syria
By Louai Beshara, AFP
5 hrs ago
|Angry mobs stormed the American and French embassies in Syria on Monday, after the two Western envoys visited the city of Hama, a flashpoint for protests against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
The foreign ministry in Paris said three French staff were wounded in the embassy attack, while a US official said “no staff were injured.”
Guards at the French embassy had to fire three warning shots, the foreign ministry said.
5 Obama, Republicans still deadlocked on debt deal
By Olivier Knox, AFP
1 hr 22 mins ago
|President Barack Obama on Monday pressed his Republican foes to accept a politically painful compromise on US debt in the face of an August 2 deadline to avert a likely economic calamity.
“I do not see a path to a deal if they don’t budge, period,” Obama warned as top Democratic and Republican lawmakers headed to the White House for a second straight day of crisis talks with no breakthrough in sight.
The president, whose 2012 reelection bid will hinge on voter perceptions of how he has handled the jobs-poor US economy, portrayed himself as seeking a reasonable middle ground for the good of the country.
6 Murdoch delays BSkyB bid; Brown a hacking target
By Kate Holton and Georgina Prodhan, Reuters
10 mins ago
|LONDON (Reuters) – Rupert Murdoch and the British government tried to draw the financial and political sting from a newspaper phone-hacking scandal by referring his $14-billion media takeover to regulators, even as police said former prime minister Gordon Brown appeared to have been a hacking target.
By referring News Corp’s bid for the highly profitable pay-tv operator BSkyB to a lengthy competition probe, the government hoped to shield it from a tide of outrage over allegations that News of the World reporters accessed the voicemails of murder and bomb victims, among others.
But reports continue to emerge that illegal methods extended beyond the paper to other Murdoch publications, and the circle of victims continues to grow.
7 Euro crisis talks struggle, markets hit Italy
By Julien Toyer and Dan Flynn, Reuters
1 hr 52 mins ago
|BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European finance officials struggled to find ways to resolve Greece’s debt crisis on Monday as sharply rising bond yields in Italy, the euro zone’s third largest economy, added to the sense of urgency.
One senior European Union official said the situation had become almost entirely a political rather than an economic crisis, with parties taking firm, irreconcilable positions.
“We’ve painted ourselves into a corner. At this point, either someone — Germany, the ECB (European Central Bank) — has to fundamentally shift position, or everything blows up,” the official, who declined to be named, told Reuters.
8 Assad loyalists storm U.S. and French embassies in Syria
By Khaled Yacoub Oweis, Reuters
2 hrs 27 mins ago
|AMMAN (Reuters) – Several loyalists of President Bashar al-Assad broke into the U.S. embassy in Damascus on Monday and security guards used live ammunition to prevent hundreds from storming the French embassy, diplomats said.
They said the attackers tore down U.S. embassy plaques and tried to break security glass in protests fueled by the government against a visit by U.S. and French ambassadors to the city of Hama, focus of demonstrations against Assad’s rule.
“Four buses full of shabbiha (Alawite militia loyal to Assad) came from Tartous. They used a battering ram to try to break into the main door,” a resident of Afif, the old district where the U.S. embassy is located told Reuters by telephone.
9 China raps U.S. over military drills in disputed seas
By Michael Martina, Reuters
4 hrs ago
|BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s military sharply criticized the United States on Monday for holding military drills in contested waters of the South China Sea, a dispute Beijing has warned Washington not to meddle in.
Chen Bingde, People’s Liberation Army Chief of the General Staff, said that if the United States really wanted peace in the South China Sea, then the timing of its recent military exercises in the region was poor.
“The U.S. has said many times that it does not intend to get involved in the South China Sea dispute, but … is actually sending out the opposite signal,” Chen told a joint news conference with the United States’ top military officer, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen.
10 In Iowa, Bachmann is early favorite for vote
By James B. Kelleher, Reuters
1 hr 51 mins ago
|INDEPENDENCE, Iowa (Reuters) – Only two weeks after announcing she was seeking the 2012 Republican presidential nomination, Tea Party favorite Michele Bachmann is already looking like the candidate to beat in Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses in February.
The Minnesota congresswoman is tapping into the same vein of voter discontent at government spending that drove Republican victories at midterm elections last year.
Bachmann, 55, is running neck-and-neck with Mitt Romney among Republicans in Iowa. But Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, has signaled that he will not campaign hard in the state so he can concentrate his energies elsewhere.
11 Murdoch empire scandal spread to new papers
By GREGORY KATZ, Associated Press
2 hrs 15 mins ago
|LONDON (AP) – The scandal engulfing Rupert Murdoch’s media empire exploded in several directions Monday, with fresh reports of phone hacking attacks against some of the nation’s most powerful figures, including royals and former Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
Adding to the intrigue, Scotland Yard released an unusual statement accusing unidentified individuals of trying to sabotage its sprawling investigation. The police – themselves accused of accepting bribes from Murdoch’s journalists – said somebody was deliberately planting distracting information in the press.
No one, it seems, had been safe from the prying eyes of corrupt journalists.
12 Syrian protesters attack US, French embassies
By BASSEM MROUE, Associated Press
3 mins 47 secs ago
|BEIRUT (AP) – Hundreds of Syrian government supporters attacked the U.S. Embassy in Damascus Monday, smashing windows and spray-painting walls with obscenities and graffiti that called the American ambassador a “dog.” Guards at the French Embassy fired in the air to ward off another group of protesters.
The sharp escalation in tensions followed a visit last week by the American and French ambassadors to the city of Hama, a stronghold of opposition to authoritarian President Bashar Assad. Syrian authorities were angered by the visit and American Ambassador Robert Ford’s harsh criticism afterward of the government crackdown on a four-month-old uprising. Ford’s residence was also attacked on Monday.
The U.S. and France both accused Syrian forces of being too slow to respond and demanded the government abide by its international obligations to protect diplomatic missions and allow envoys freedom of movement. The U.S. formally protested, calling the attacks “outrageous,” and saying protesters were incited by a television station heavily influenced by Syrian authorities.
13 US protests Syria embassy attack
By MATTHEW LEE, Associated Press
16 mins ago
|WASHINGTON (AP) – The United States on Monday formally protested an attack on the U.S. embassy and the American ambassador’s residence in Syria and said it will seek compensation for damage caused when a mob of what it described as about 300 “thugs” breached the wall of the embassy compound before being dispersed by U.S. Marine guards.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton condemned the attacks, as well as another against the French embassy in Damascus, and demanded that Syria uphold international treaty obligations to protect foreign diplomatic missions.
“We demand that they meet their international responsibilities immediately to protect all diplomats and the property of all countries,” she told reporters at the State Department. Earlier, the department summoned a senior Syrian diplomat to register the U.S. complaints in person.
14 In Pakistan, many say aid ‘snub’ dims US sway
By SEBASTIAN ABBOT, Associated Press
1 hr 54 mins ago
|ISLAMABAD (AP) – The decision to suspend more than one-third of American military aid to Pakistan could end up hurting Washington more than Islamabad as the U.S. seeks to navigate an end to the Afghan war and defeat al-Qaida, former Pakistani officials and analysts warned Monday.
Holding back the $800 million in aid is unlikely to pressure Pakistan to increase cooperation with the U.S. and could strengthen those in the government who argue that Washington is a fickle ally who can’t be trusted, they said.
“If you still need the relationship, which clearly the United States does, then it really doesn’t make sense to take action at this time because it leaves the United States with less, not more, influence with the Pakistani military,” said Maleeha Lodhi, a former Pakistani ambassador to the U.S. “Cooperation cannot be coerced by punitive actions.”
15 Cypriot defense min resigns after blast kills 12
By MENELAOS HADJICOSTIS, Associated Press
1 hr 57 mins ago
|MARI, Cyprus (AP) – Dozens of containers of gunpowder seized years ago from an Iranian cargo ship exploded on Cyprus’ main naval base Monday in a massive blast that killed 12 people, wounded 62 and wrecked a major power station, causing extensive blackouts.
The head of the island nation’s navy, Commodore Andreas Ioannides, was killed and its defense minister and military chief resigned. Ioannides’ son claimed top officials had repeatedly ignored his father’s warnings that the gunpowder was stored unsafely. Defense ministry officials would not comment on the allegation.
A Cypriot official said right after the blast that a brush fire had ignited more than 90 containers confiscated in 2009 from a ship heading from Iran to Syria. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter, later said that the fire may have started inside one of the containers.
16 Obama increases pressure on Republicans on debt
By Steve Holland and Andy Sullivan, Reuters
38 mins ago
|WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama on Monday increased pressure on Republican lawmakers to make concessions for a deal to avoid an August 2 debt default and said both sides must “pull off the Band-aid” and make sacrifices.
“If not now, when?” Obama said.
The president met for 90 minutes with top U.S. lawmakers for a second-straight day in the search for a way to break a budget impasse that is holding up a vote on raising the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling, which caps how much money Washington can borrow.
17 No stopgap: Obama demands big deal for debt limit
13 mins ago
|WASHINGTON (AP) – President Barack Obama declared Monday he would reject any stopgap extension of the nation’s borrowing limit, adding fresh urgency for Republicans and fellow Democrats to resolve intense tax and spending disputes and head off economic calamity.
The administration says there must be a deal by Aug. 2 or the U.S. will face its first ever debt default, something that could return the U.S. economy to recession and reverberate in global financial markets.
“If not now, when?” Obama said in a news conference just ahead of his latest bargaining session with congressional leaders at the White House. That meeting lasted about 90 minutes.
18 9th Circuit orders gov’t to state position on DADT
By JULIE WATSON, Associated Press
37 mins ago
|SAN DIEGO (AP) – A federal appeals court that has called for the immediate halt of the military’s ban on openly gay troops issued an order Monday requiring the U.S. government to state whether it will continue to defend the constitutionality of the policy in court.
Monday’s order comes less than a week after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ordered the Obama administration to immediately cease enforcing “don’t ask, don’t tell,” which could speed up its repeal.
The ruling stems from a lawsuit filed by the gay rights organization, the Log Cabin Republicans, against the Department of Justice. The rights group last year persuaded a lower court judge to declare the ban unconstitutional.
19 Astronauts get busy with space station stockpiling
By MARCIA DUNN, AP Aerospace Writer
1 hr 5 mins ago
|CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) – The International Space Station got a year’s worth of groceries in a giant shopping cart on Monday, courtesy of the astronauts on NASA’s final shuttle flight.
Astronauts Sandra Magnus and Douglas Hurley used the space station’s hulking robot arm to hoist the bus-size container out of Atlantis’ payload bay and attach it to the orbiting outpost.
The canister – 21 feet long and 15 feet across – is jammed with nearly 5 tons of household goods, enough to keep the 245-mile-high station and its inhabitants going for another year. Food alone accounted for more than 1 ton. Clothes also were stuffed inside the Italian-built cylinder, named Raffaello, as well as spare parts for the station.
20 Science seeks ways to take sting out of sunburn
By LAURAN NEERGAARD, AP Medical Writer
37 mins ago
|WASHINGTON (AP) – If you’ve hit the beach, chances are you’ve experienced an unfortunate rite of summer: The sunburn. Skin so swollen it hurts to bend. The heat that rises from reddened shoulders. The “ow, ow, ow” from the shower after you’d thought the pain had faded.
For all the creams that promise to soothe, there aren’t super treatments for a sunburn. Dermatologists say the best bet: Some of the same pills you pop for a headache – like the ibuprofen found in Motrin and Advil, or naproxen brands such as Aleve.
If that sounds too simple, well, scientists don’t know exactly what causes this kind of touch-sensitive pain. But research is getting them closer to some answers.
and pure Aloe.
If you’re blistering over more than more than 15% of your body seek medical attention. Hint: The size of a person’s hand print (palm and fingers) is approximately 1% of their total body surface area.
Yes, sun burns can get you a bed in a burn center