Jul 18 2011

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Eurozone leaders race to end split on debt and Greece

By Laurent Thomet, AFP

9 hrs ago

The eurozone rushed on Monday to overcome divisions over a second bailout for Greece in time for a pivotal summit this week and douse the flames of a debt crisis searing bigger nations.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel raised the stakes at the weekend, warning that she would attend the emergency meeting on Thursday only if a deal is on the table.

Germany’s insistence on making the private sector share the pain in a new bailout, even if its means causing a Greek debt default, has put Berlin in deep disagreement with the European Central Bank and other eurozone nations.

2 Libyan rebels claim control of Brega


20 hrs ago

Libya’s rebels claimed control of Brega on Monday, as most pro-Kadhafi troops retreated westward leaving around 150-200 loyalist fighters pinned down inside the oil town, a spokesman said.

“The bulk of (Moamer) Kadhafi’s forces have retreated to Ras Lanuf,” rebel spokesman Shamsiddin Abdulmolah told AFP, referring to another oil hub about 50 kilometres (32 miles) to the west.

Abdulmolah added that the remnants of Kadhafi’s troops were holed up among industrial facilities in Brega with supplies dwindling.

3 Petraeus steps down in Afghanistan

By Claire Truscott, AFP

5 hrs ago

General David Petraeus, the most celebrated military leader of his generation, stepped down as US commander in Afghanistan on Monday after a checkered year at the helm of what is America’s longest war.

At a ceremony in Kabul Petraeus passed the baton to John Allen, a former subordinate who made his name in Iraq by striking tribal alliances considered integral in reversing Al-Qaeda’s momentum after years of appalling violence.

Allen, who was promoted to a four-star general before the handover, becomes the first Marine to serve as head of the US-led war effort in Afghanistan.

4 White House, lawmakers eye debt compromise

By Olivier Knox, AFP

33 mins ago

With just two weeks to avert a ruinous debt default, top US senators worked on a bipartisan back-room compromise Monday as the White House’s Republican foes set up symbolic votes on an austerity plan.

“We’re making progress,” President Barack Obama told reporters a day after unannounced talks at the White House Sunday with Republican House Speaker John Boehner and Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor.

“The lines of communications are being kept open. But there is nothing to report in terms of an agreement or progress,” Boehner communications director Kevin Smith said after confirming the secret meeting.

5 For dementia, common painkillers may work best: study

By Marlowe Hood, AFP

4 hrs ago

Ordinary painkillers such as paracetamol may work better than the risky antipyschotic drugs often prescribed to calm agitation in people with dementia, according to a study released Monday.

Patients with severe dementia showed significantly less agitation when taking ordinary pain medicines than a control group given standard treatment, showed the study, published online by the British Medical Journal.

Extreme aggression and agitation are common symptoms of advanced dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.

6 Japan World Cup glory ‘dream come true’

By Shigemi Sato, AFP

14 hrs ago

Japanese erupted in joy Monday after their team won the women’s World Cup, hailing “a dream come true” and “a miracle” for the country as it battles to recover from March’s huge earthquake and tsunami.

Local media reported extensively on the reactions of people living in shelters after the March 11 disaster in the northeast destroyed homes, left 21,000 people dead or missing and sparked a nuclear crisis.

Katsuo Mori, a 74-year-old man whose home was washed away by the towering tsunami, told Jiji Press news agency: “This will help brighten the atmosphere at the temporary housing complex. It will boost our efforts to hang on.”

7 Summers urges aggressive euro zone crisis response

By JoAnne Allen, Reuters

19 hrs ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Former White House aide Lawrence Summers on Sunday urged Europe to take a more aggressive response to the debt crisis sweeping the region and suggested patience with its approach was running thin.

In an opinion piece published by Reuters, Summers — a Harvard professor and former Treasury secretary under President Bill Clinton — said that if Europe does not get the crisis under control soon, other G20 countries should become more vocal in pressing Europe on doing what they think is best.

“It is to be hoped that European officials can engineer a decisive change in direction but if not, the world can no longer afford the deference that the IMF and non-European G20 officials have shown toward European policy makers over the last 15 months,” Summers wrote.

8 World economy to keep strong but risks abound: Reuters poll

By Andy Bruce, Reuters

1 hr 54 mins ago

LONDON (Reuters) – The world economy should expand steadily this year and next thanks mainly to prospering emerging powers, a Reuters poll showed, but fiscal troubles lurking in Europe and potentially the United States risk blowing this view apart.

The quarterly survey of more than 350 economists from all over the world showed a dimmer outlook for most of the rich-world Group of Seven economies since the last survey in April.

Only Germany, booming thanks to buoyant exports, is expected to post growth averaging more than 3 percent this year. Elsewhere, fiscal austerity in Europe and growing debt fears have soured analysts’ sentiment.

9 No consensus as Europe limps toward Greece summit

By Luke Baker and Paul Taylor, Reuters

49 mins ago

BRUSSELS/PARIS (Reuters) – European government officials and commercial bankers struggled to reconcile competing proposals for a second bailout of Greece Monday, just three days before a summit meeting called to prevent the crisis from spreading through the region.

French government spokeswoman Valerie Pecresse said she believed the summit of the euro zone’s 17 national leaders scheduled for Thursday in Brussels would agree on a rescue of Greece, supplementing a 110 billion euro ($154 billion) bailout launched in May last year.

But after three weeks of preparatory talks, it was unclear how a consensus could be reached on a way for private owners of Greek government bonds — banks, insurers and other investors — to contribute to the bailout by taking cuts in the face value of their holdings.

10 Washington crafts fall-back debt plan as clock ticks

By Thomas Ferraro and Steve Holland, Reuters

37 mins ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – With time running short, the White House said on Monday it was pursuing a last-ditch plan with Congress to raise the U.S. debt ceiling and avert a default that could plunge global financial markets into chaos.

While President Barack Obama insists he is focused on a comprehensive long-term deficit reduction deal, debt talks are stalled and there are just two weeks left until the United States runs out of money to pay its bills.

The vast ideological divide between Obama’s Democrats and Republicans over tax increases and spending on popular social programs has driven a shift in focus in Washington to a backup plan that would give Obama responsibility, and potentially blame, for raising the $14.3 trillion limit on U.S. borrowing.

11 Obama vows fight with pick for consumer agency chief

By Jeff Mason, Reuters

1 hr 12 mins ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama warned the financial industry Monday to stop fighting his administration’s reforms to help consumers as he officially announced his pick to head a financial watchdog agency.

Obama chose a compromise candidate to lead the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau: former Ohio attorney general Richard Cordray, who is not as recognizable as Wall Street critic Elizabeth Warren but who has his own reputation as a consumer advocate.

Cordray’s nomination is expected to face tough resistance in the Senate, as Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell said his party will demand “serious reforms” to the new agency before considering any nominee to head it.

12 New CIA chief Petraeus hands over command in Afghanistan

By Paul Tait, Reuters – 6 hrs ago

KABUL (Reuters) – General David Petraeus, Washington’s new intelligence chief, handed over command of U.S. and NATO-led troops in Afghanistan Monday, a day after a tentative start was made to a gradual process of transferring security to Afghan forces.

Petraeus, credited with reversing a spiral toward civil war in Iraq, took over in Afghanistan a year ago after his predecessor, General Stanley McChrystal, was sacked by President Barack Obama for comments made in a magazine story.

He is leaving the military to take over as director of the Central Intelligence Agency as part of a wider shake-up of senior U.S. security officials and takes over from Leon Panetta, the new U.S. defense secretary.

13 Cameron to fly home as corruption storm builds

By Keith Weir and Peter Griffiths, Reuters

1 hr 18 mins ago

LONDON (Reuters) – David Cameron cut short a trip to Africa and will fly home on Tuesday to defend himself from a scandal that has battered Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, forced British police chiefs to resign and raised doubts about the prime minister’s judgment.

As the head of Scotland Yard’s counter-terrorism unit followed Britain’s top policeman in quitting on Monday to fight corruption allegations, Cameron curtailed an already much abbreviated tour of Africa in order to attend an emergency debate on Wednesday in parliament, which delayed its recess.

Though he faces no challenge yet to his leadership, some of his Conservative supporters began to raise the possibility, albeit remote, that Cameron might face pressure to go himself.

14 London police feel the heat in UK hacking scandal


25 mins ago

LONDON (AP) – Britain’s tabloid phone-hacking scandal enveloped the London police force Monday with the rapid-fire resignations of two top officers amid claims of possible illegal eavesdropping, bribery and collusion. U.K officials immediately vowed to investigate.

Prime Minister David Cameron, feeling the political heat from his own close ties to individuals within Rupert Murdoch’s media empire, cut short his trip to Africa and called an emergency session of Parliament for Wednesday so he could address lawmakers on the scandal.

U.K lawmakers on Tuesday will grill Murdoch, his son James and Rebekah Brooks, the ousted chief executive of Murdoch’s U.K. newspaper arm, in a widely anticipated televised public hearing on the scandal. Lawmakers hope to learn more about the scale of phone hacking by U.K. journalists and who – if anyone – in Murdoch’s empire was aware of what allegedly took place at the now-defunct News of the World tabloid.

15 London police employed 2nd tabloid reporter


1 hr 7 mins ago

LONDON (AP) – British police have confirmed that a second former News of the World employee was employed by Scotland Yard.

The Metropolitan Police said Monday that Alex Marunchak had been employed as a Ukrainian language interpreter with access to highly sensitive police information between 1980 and 2000.

Scotland Yard said it recognizes “that this may cause concern and that some professions may be incompatible with the role of an interpreter” and the matter will be looked into.

16 Sectarian killing spree kills 30 in Syria

By ZEINA KARAM, Associated Press

2 hrs 4 mins ago

BEIRUT (AP) – The discovery of three corpses with their eyes gouged out set off a sectarian killing spree that left 30 people dead in a chilling sign that the Syrian revolt against President Bashar Assad is enflaming long-simmering religious tensions.

The opposition accused the president’s minority Alawite regime of trying to stir up trouble among the Sunni majority to blunt the growing enthusiasm for the four-month-old uprising. The protesters have been careful to portray their movement as free of any sectarian overtones.

The killings over the weekend in the central city of Homs “undermine the peaceful nature of the revolution and serve its enemies who want to turn it into a civil war,” said Rami Abdul-Rahman, the director of the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

17 Gen. Petraeus hands over command in Afghanistan

By PATRICK QUINN, Associated Press

1 hr 43 mins ago

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) – Gen. David Petraeus handed over command of the Afghan war to Marine Gen. John Allen on Monday as the U.S. and its international partners prepare to withdraw over the next few years.

Petraeus, widely credited with turning the tide in Iraq, left to take over the CIA with his signature counterinsurgency strategy having yet to deliver a safer Afghanistan or push the Taliban to reconcile with the country’s Western-backed government.

Allen is known for helping turn Sunni insurgents against al-Qaida in Iraq in one of that war’s most pivotal stages. In Afghanistan, he will be tasked with the overseeing the start of the American troop withdrawal this month even as insurgents step up the violence and attacks on high-profile Afghans, including the assassination last week of President Hamid Karzai’s powerful half brother and the slaying of a close Karzai aid on Sunday.

18 GOP contenders: All together now, I pledge …

By NANCY BENAC, Associated Press

2 hrs 53 mins ago

WASHINGTON (AP) – Republican presidential contenders may be feeling nostalgic for the days when a candidate could focus on just one pledge: the oath of office.

With pledges spreading like kudzu on the campaign trail, candidates this year are being asked – in some cases, pressured – to profess their fealty to a whole host of positions: supporting marriage, opposing taxes, reducing the deficit, fighting abortion and gay rights and more.

And these aren’t just bland statements of support for broad ideals.

19 Tea party takes its turn in debt battle

By ANDREW TAYLOR, Associated Press

1 hr 43 mins ago

WASHINGTON (AP) – The White House weighed in with a veto threat Monday against a tea party-backed plan to let the government borrow another $2.4 trillion, a measure conditioned on big and immediate spending cuts and adoption by Congress of a constitutional amendment to balance the federal budget.

At the same time, President Barack Obama said the two sides are “making progress” after a series of back-channel conversations with Republicans like House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio and Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, with whom Obama met on Sunday morning.

Boehner called the veto threat “unfortunate,” and in a statement Monday said Obama’s threat “should make clear that the issue is not congressional inaction, but rather the President’s unwillingness to cut spending and restrain the future growth of our government.”

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