Evening Edition is an Open Thread
|From Yahoo News Top Stories|
1 Triple ‘terror’ blasts kill 21 in Mumbai
By Phil Hazlewood, AFP
1 hr 22 mins ago
|Three bombs ripped through India’s commercial capital Mumbai on Wednesday, killing 21 people and injuring more than 100 in the deadliest attack in the city since the 2008 assault by Islamist militants.
The strongest of the coordinated blasts hit busy districts in the south of the city, the same area targeted two and half years ago by Pakistan-based militants who caused mayhem during a 60-hour siege that left 166 people dead.
Home Minister P. Chidambaram, who was on his way to the scene along with forensic experts and anti-terror commandos from New Delhi, told reporters that it was “a coordinated attack by terrorists.”
2 Murdoch pulls BSkyB bid amid UK hacking scandal
By Danny Kemp, AFP
5 hrs ago
|Rupert Murdoch dramatically dropped his bid for control of pay-TV giant BSkyB on Wednesday, bowing to pressure from the British government over the phone-hacking firestorm at his newspaper empire.
Hours before Britain’s three main parties were set to back an extraordinary parliamentary vote calling for the withdrawal of the bid, Murdoch’s US-based News Corp. said it was now “too difficult to progress in this climate”.
Prime Minister David Cameron welcomed the news, saying the Australian-born tycoon should focus on cleaning up his business after the scandal which forced the closure of the News of the World tabloid on Sunday.
3 Egypt September polls delayed: state media
By Mohamed Hossam, AFP
5 hrs ago
|Egypt’s military rulers have decided to hold parliamentary elections scheduled for September up to two months later, a military official told state media on Wednesday.
“It has been decided to hold elections for the People’s Assembly and the Shura Council next October or November,” MENA state news agency quoted the official as saying, in reference to the lower and upper houses of parliament.
The official said the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces — which took power when president Hosni Mubarak was ousted in February — “is committed to its previous announcement that the electoral process would start six months from the constitutional declaration” of March.
4 HIV drugs boost prevention hopes
By Richard Ingham, AFP
7 hrs ago
|Heterosexuals who take daily AIDS drugs reduce the risk of being infected by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) by nearly two-thirds, ground-breaking studies said on Wednesday.
Campaigners hailed what they described as a powerful new weapon in the three-decade war against AIDS.
“This is a major scientific breakthrough which reconfirms the essential role that antiretroviral medicine has to play in the AIDS response,” Michel Sidibe, executive director of the UN agency UNAIDS said.
5 Pressure mounts to avert Eurozone debt contagion
By Claire Rosemberg, AFP
15 hrs ago
|Eurozone leaders mulled convening a crisis summit in coming days as global pressure mounted for a swift and solid response from Europe to stop debt contagion devastating prime economies Italy and Spain.
Ratings agency Moody’s meanwhile cut Ireland’s bonds to junk status and warned of further downgrades as the eurozone economy struggles to pull out of a financial crisis.
As the debt crisis blazed a trail of market damage worldwide, sapping confidence in the euro, finance ministers from the 17-nation eurozone had a sharp wake-up call from former colleague Christine Lagarde, new head of the IMF.
6 US debt default would trigger global ‘crisis’: Bernanke
By Olivier Knox, AFP
1 hr 47 mins ago
|US central bank chief Ben Bernanke warned Wednesday that a US debt default would trigger a “major crisis” in the global economy, as the White House and its Republican foes groped for a budget deal.
“Clearly, if we went so far as to default on the debt, it would be a major crisis,” that would “throw shockwaves through the entire global financial system,” the US Federal Reserve chief told a key congressional committee.
Bernanke sounded the alarm as US President Barack Obama was to welcome his political opponents and his fellow Democrats for a fourth straight day of seemingly stalled talks with an August 2 deadline just three weeks away.
7 USA crush France 3-1 to reach World Cup final
By Diego Reinares, AFP
23 mins ago
|Favourites the United States crushed France 3-1 to advance to the women’s World Cup final here on Wednesday.
Lauren Cheney (9), Abby Wambach (79), and Alex Morgan (82) kept the Americans’ bid for an unprecedented third World Cup title after 1991 and 1999 on track with Sonia Bompastor getting a goal back for France after 55 minutes.
The reigning Olympic champions will play Japan for the title in Frankfurt next Sunday.
8 Japan, USA set for World Cup final showdown
By Odd Andersen, AFP
25 mins ago
|Japan and the United States set up a clash for the biggest prize in women’s football after seeing off European hopefuls Sweden and France by identical 3-1 scorelines in Wednesday’s semi-finals at the World Cup.
Asian hopefuls Japan emphatically beat Sweden in Frankfurt while earlier the United States used their vast experience to get past France in Moenchengladbach.
Despite their nickname Nadeshiko — a pink flower symbolising grace and beauty — the Japanese are proving no pushovers at Germany 2011 having beaten the hosts and two-time defending champions in the quarter-finals, and are now through to their first final.
9 Britain’s Cavendish wins Tour de France 11th stage
By Justin Davis, AFP
4 hrs ago
|British sprint king Mark Cavendish made amends for defeat by German rival Andre Greipel by notching up his 18th career victory in the Tour de France in the race’s 11th stage on Wednesday.
Frenchman Thomas Voeckler, of Europcar, retained the yellow jersey after the 167.5km stage from Blaye-les-Mines to Lavaur, which ended in a group sprint after an early breakaway was caught 4km from the finish.
Voeckler finished the stage with all the yellow jersey favourites to retain his lead of 1min 49sec on Spaniard Luis Leon Sanchez of Rabobank.
10 Three bombs kill at least 21 in Mumbai
By Jui Chakravorty and Rajendra Jadhav, Reuters
1 hr 34 mins ago
|MUMBAI (Reuters) – Three bombs rocked crowded districts of Mumbai during rush hour on Wednesday, killing at least 21 people in the biggest militant attack on India’s financial capital since 2008 assaults blamed on Pakistan-based militants.
India has remained jittery about the threat of militant strikes, especially since the November 2008 attacks which killed 166 people and raised tensions with nuclear-armed arch rival Pakistan.
At least 141 people were wounded on Wednesday and the death toll was at least 21, the Home Ministry said in statements about what it called “terror attacks” centered mainly on Mumbai’s jewelry markets.
11 Murdoch, savaged in parliament, pulls BSkyB bid
By Kate Holton and Georgina Prodhan, Reuters
2 hrs 18 mins ago
|LONDON (Reuters) – Rupert Murdoch withdrew his bid for British broadcaster BSkyB on Wednesday in the face of cross-party hostility in parliament following allegations of widespread criminality at one of his tabloid newspapers.
The move pre-empted by a couple of hours a planned vote in parliament that had all-party support for a non-binding motion urging the Australian-born media magnate to drop a buyout offer which was a major part of his global expansion in television
“News Corp announces that it no longer intends to make an offer for the entire issued and to be issued share capital of … BSkyB not already owned by it,” the U.S.-listed parent of the global media empire said.
12 Pessimism deepens as economic concerns rise: Reuters/Ipsos poll
By John Whitesides, Reuters
5 hrs ago
|WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Americans are deeply pessimistic about the future as economic concerns rise and White House talks on raising the U.S. debt limit sputter, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Wednesday.
The number of Americans who believe the country is on the wrong track rose to 63 percent this month, up from 60 percent in June, with stubbornly high unemployment and prolonged gridlock in Washington dashing hopes of a swift economic recovery.
But voters do not appear to be holding President Barack Obama responsible for the problems so far. Obama’s approval rating held relatively steady at 49 percent, down 1 percentage point from June. His approval rating among independents — a group Obama needs to win re-election — fell to 39 percent from 44 percent.
13 Bernanke "prepared to respond" if economy worsens
By Pedro da Costa and Mark Felsenthal, Reuters
3 hrs ago
|WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Reserve is ready to ease monetary policy further if economic growth and inflation slow much more, chairman Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday, giving a boost to the bruised stock market.
While holding to a view that recent economic softness would eventually pass, he appeared less confident in that projection and more willing to entertain the possibility of another round of stimulus.
“The possibility remains that the recent economic weakness may prove more persistent than expected and that deflationary risks might reemerge, implying a need for additional policy support,” Bernanke told the U.S. House of Representatives Financial Services Committee.
14 Bernanke: U.S. would pay bondholders after August 2
By Deborah Charles and Andy Sullivan, Reuters
1 hr 30 mins ago
|WASHINGTON (Reuters) – If the United States fails to raise the debt ceiling by August 2, it will pay creditors first and stop benefits like Social Security payments, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday.
The central banker’s comments offered the first public indication of how the Obama administration will prioritize its financial obligations after August 2, when the U.S. Treasury says the government would run out of money to pay all of its bills.
“The assumption is that as long as possible, the Treasury would want to try to make payments on the principal and interest to the government debt, because failure to do that would certainly throw the financial system into enormous disarray and have major impacts on the global economy,” Bernanke said.
15 Europe at impasse on Greece, IMF backs investor role
By John O’Donnell and Dina Kyriakidou, Reuters
1 hr 30 mins ago
|BRUSSELS/ATHENS (Reuters) – The IMF joined Germany on Wednesday in pushing for private sector investors to help cut Greece’s debt mountain as the euro zone sought to break an impasse on how and when to grant the country urgent aid.
With Germany hanging back, euro zone officials struggled even to set a date for leaders to meet to agree a way forward, raising fears financial markets might exploit a policy vacuum with a new onslaught on the bloc’s high debtors.
“The principle of having a euro chiefs’ meeting is accepted by the main players, including Germany,” said one EU diplomat, adding that it was likely to happen next week despite earlier signals from Berlin that there was no rush to finalize a second package of aid.
16 Italy political consensus helps calm markets
By James Mackenzie and Deepa Babington, Reuters
5 hrs ago
|ROME (Reuters) – A quick agreement by Italy’s government and opposition to pass a closely watched austerity package helped calm markets on Wednesday, but there were calls for further steps to reductions in the deficit.
Facing a market rout after stocks plunged and borrowing costs hit record highs on Tuesday, government and opposition parties shelved their differences and agreed to ensure quick approval of a four-year, 40 billion euro austerity plan.
“The market remains nervous, very attentive, but we had an Italian reaction that was remarkably fast on budget austerity,” said Deutsche Bank analyst Gilles Moec.
17 Atlantis crew unpacks, rocks out to "Rocket Man"
By Chris Baltimore, Reuters
1 hr 7 mins ago
|HOUSTON (Reuters) – The crew of NASA’s final space shuttle mission restocked the International Space Station with tons of supplies on Wednesday after waking to the music of Elton John.
In media interviews, Atlantis’ crew reflected on the end of the 30-year shuttle program and the series of “lasts” that will end when the spacecraft returns to Earth for a planned landing on July 21.
“I think that after we get back down to the ground, after landing, that it’s going to hit us really hard,” said mission specialist Sandra Magnus. “I think we’re all going to have a really hard time leaving the shuttle.”
18 3 Mumbai bombings minutes apart kill 21, wound 141
By MUNEEZA NAQVI, Associated Press
1 hr 33 mins ago
|MUMBAI, India (AP) – Three coordinated bombings tore through the heart of India’s busy financial capital during rush hour Wednesday, killing 21 people and wounding 141 in the worst terror attack in the country since the 2008 Mumbai siege.
Bloody bodies were strewn in the dirt of Mumbai’s crowded neighborhoods and markets. Doors were ripped off storefronts, motorcycles were charred and a bus stop was shredded. After the blasts in three separate neighborhoods, police set up checkpoints and were put on high alert.
The bombings came just months after peace talks resumed between India and Pakistan, which New Delhi has blamed for past attacks.
19 Afghan leader mourns brother, faces void in south
By MIRWAIS KHAN, Associated Press
1 hr 9 mins ago
|KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (AP) – President Hamid Karzai climbed into his slain half-brother’s grave Wednesday and sobbed alongside the coffin, mourning the loss of the most powerful figure in southern Afghanistan before appointing another brother to take the man’s place.
Ahmed Wali Karzai, the head of the Kandahar provincial council and the president’s most powerful emissary in the south, was shot to death Tuesday by a trusted friend at his mansion in Kandahar.
“My message for them (the Taliban) is that my countrymen, my brothers, should stop killing their own people,” President Karzai said after the funeral, which was attended by thousands of mourners. “It is easy to kill and everyone can do it, but the real man is the one who can save people’s lives.”
20 Murdoch drops bid for British Sky Broadcasting
By JILL LAWLESS, Associated Press
2 hrs 17 mins ago
|LONDON (AP) – Rupert Murdoch’s dream of controlling a British broadcasting behemoth evaporated Wednesday as he withdrew his bid for BSkyB – the latest, biggest casualty of what Prime Minister David Cameron called the hacking “firestorm” sweeping through British politics, media and police.
Cameron appointed a senior judge to lead an inquiry into the phone hacking and police bribery scandal engulfing Murdoch’s British newspapers, and promised it would investigate whether Murdoch’s reporters sought the phone numbers of 9/11 victims in their quest for sensational scoops.
“There is a firestorm, if you like, that is engulfing parts of the media, parts of the police, and indeed our political system’s ability to respond,” Cameron said Wednesday in the House of Commons.
21 Bernanke: Fed would supply more stimulus if needed
By MARTIN CRUTSINGER, AP Economics Writer
1 hr 31 mins ago
|WASHINGTON (AP) – Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Wednesday that the central bank is prepared to provide additional stimulus if the economic lull persists.
Delivering his twice-a-year economic report to Congress, Bernanke laid out three options the central bank would consider. One possibility, he said, was another round of Treasury bond buying. That would make the third such effort since 2009.
The Fed chief’s reassurances helped drive stock prices higher, but it also underscored the fragile state of the economy more than two years after economists said the recession had ended. Unemployment has risen for three straight months and a debt crisis in Greece and other European countries threatens to weaken the global economy.
22 GOP leaders say the nation can’t afford to default
By ANDREW TAYLOR, Associated Press
1 hr 1 min ago
|WASHINGTON (AP) – Hope dimming for a broad debt-limit deal, Congress and the White House scrambled Wednesday to salvage deficit-reduction talks while top congressional Republicans said the nation cannot afford to default on its obligations – for economic reasons and their party’s own good.
Ahead of a fourth negotiating session at the White House in as many days, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell defended his proposal to give President Barack Obama new powers to increase the nation’s borrowing limit without GOP support.
“I refuse to help Barack Obama get re-elected by marching Republicans into a position where we have co-ownership of a bad economy,” McConnell said on a radio talk show, contending that letting the nation go into financial default would give Obama reason to blame Republicans for the negative fallout.
23 Ireland unveils new report on Catholic child abuse
By SHAWN POGATCHNIK, Associated Press
2 hrs 21 mins ago
|DUBLIN (AP) – A new investigation into the Catholic Church’s chronic cover-up of child abuse found Wednesday that a rural diocese and its bishop ignored Irish church rules requiring all suspected molestation cases to be reported to police – and the Vatican encouraged this concealment.
The government, which ordered the probe into 1996-2009 cover-ups in the County Cork diocese of Cloyne, warned that parishes across Ireland could pose a continuing danger to children’s welfare today given Cloyne’s claims to be following church child-protection policy while actually ignoring it.
Justice Minister Alan Shatter pledged to pass a new law making it an imprisonable crime to withhold knowledge of suspected child abuse as he published the investigation into the Cloyne diocese in southwest Ireland.
24 Needles have Clemens DNA, steroids; fakery claimed
By MARK SHERMAN, NEDRA PICKLER, Associated Press
2 hrs 23 mins ago
|WASHINGTON (AP) – Prosecutors said Wednesday that needles and cotton balls Roger Clemens’ former trainer says he used to inject the star pitcher tested positive for Clemens’ DNA and anabolic steroids – evidence the defense said was faked.
Assistant U.S. attorney Steven Durham revealed the results during opening arguments in Clemens’ trial on charges of lying to Congress about using performance-enhancing drugs. Clemens’ attorney Rusty Hardin responded that he won’t dispute the needles contain Clemens’ DNA and steroids, but accused the trainer Brian McNamee of “mixing” it up.
“He manufactured this stuff,” Hardin told jurors. “Roger Clemens’ only crime was having the poor judgment to stay connected with Brian McNamee.”