Jul 21 2011

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Serbia arrests last war crimes fugitive Goran Hadzic

By Stephanie van den Berg, AFP

11 hrs ago

Serbia has arrested Goran Hadzic, the one-time Croatian Serb rebel leader who is the last remaining fugitive wanted by the UN war crimes court in The Hague, government sources said Wednesday.

Serbian President Boris Tadic is expected to announce the arrest officially at a press conference at 11:00 am (0900 GMT).

Hadzic, 52, is the last of the 161 people indicted by The Hague-based International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) who remained at large.

2 Kadhafi defiant as Libya rebels consolidate gains

By Andrew Beatty, AFP

18 hrs ago

Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi vowed to resist both rebels and NATO air strikes, as the insurgents sought to consolidate gains on one front and readied to push forward on another.

“Millions of people are on my side,” Kadhafi said in a speech broadcast over loudspeakers to partisans in Al-Aziziya, 50 kilometres (30 miles) west of the capital.

“We are in our own home, and we will fight to the last drop of blood to defend our honour, our oil and our riches,” he said.

3 IMF urges euro action as Merkel tempers summit expectations

By Laurent Thomet, AFP

16 hrs ago

German Chancellor Angel Merkel talked down the chances Tuesday that a eurozone summit will deliver the silver bullet to resolve the debt crisis as the IMF pressed leaders to take urgent action.

While senior eurozone finance officials met in Brussels to craft a second Greek bailout for Thursday’s summit, Merkel warned against more far-reaching proposals that have been invoked to master the euro’s year-long crisis.

“If you want to act responsibly, you know that such a spectacular step will not happen, including on Thursday,” Merkel told a news conference after talks in Hanover, northern Germany, with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev.

4 Obama calls new crisis debt talks

By Olivier Knox, AFP

50 mins ago

US President Barack Obama on Wednesday called his top Democratic allies and Republican foes to separate White House talks to hammer out a compromise that would avert a disastrous debt default.

With an August 2 deadline looming, White House spokesman Jay Carney said Obama would accept a short-term deal to raise the debt ceiling but only to buy time as part of a broader arrangement to slash the ballooning US deficit.

“We would not support a short-term extension absent an agreement to a larger deal,” he told reporters, adding “if both sides agree to something significant, we will support the measures needed to finalize the details of that.”

5 Shuttle Atlantis counts down to final landing

By Jean-Louis Santini, AFP

34 mins ago

The shuttle Atlantis made its final laps around the Earth Wednesday as the NASA prepared to bring the curtain down on the 30-year luminary of US human spaceflight.

The shuttle was set to touch down early Thursday at 5:56 am (0956 GMT), 42 years after US astronaut Neil Armstrong became the first person to step foot on the Moon as part of the Apollo 11 mission.

Atlantis’s landing will end an era of US dominance in human space exploration, leaving Russia as the sole taxi to the International Space Station until a replacement US capsule can be built by private industry.

6 Serbia arrests last major war crimes fugitive

By Adam Tanner and Aleksandar Vasovic, Reuters

3 hrs ago

BELGRADE (Reuters) – Serbia arrested the last major war crimes suspect from the 1990s Yugoslav conflicts on Wednesday, closing what its president called a “burdensome” page in the country’s history and boosting its hopes of joining the European Union.

Goran Hadzic, a Croatian Serb wartime leader indicted for crimes against humanity during the 1991-95 Croatian war, was seized by Serb forces in the Fruska Gora national park region about 65 km (40 miles) north of Belgrade.

“We nabbed him while he was about to meet a helper. He had changed his appearance somewhat and had fake papers on him,” an operative familiar with the case told Reuters. “He did not resist arrest, but we were ready for all contingencies.”

7 UK’s Cameron defends his staff over hacking row

By Steve Addison, Reuters

9 hrs ago

LONDON (Reuters) – Prime Minister David Cameron, defending his integrity to parliament in emergency session on Wednesday, said he regretted hiring a journalist at the heart of a scandal that has rocked Britain’s press, police and politics.

But in hours of stormy questioning he seemed to rally his Conservative party behind him and stopped short of bowing to demands that he apologize outright for what the Labor leader called a “catastrophic error of judgment” in appointing as his spokesman a former editor of Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World.

Only if Andy Coulson, who has since resigned, should turn out to have lied about not knowing of illegal practices at his newspaper would the prime minister offer a “profound apology”.

8 Special Report: Murdoch affair spotlights UK’s dirty detectives

By William Maclean, Reuters

4 hrs ago

LONDON (Reuters) – In a small, semi-detached house overlooking a park in the unlovely south London suburb of Croydon, Jorge Salgado-Reyes sits at a glass-topped desk in his living room plying his trade as a private eye.

In the corner, a goldfish glides around a water tank. A flat screen television hangs from the wall alongside replica samurai swords and photographs of landscapes. Black leather sofas line two of the walls.

The phone rings. Salgado-Reyes answers it, jots down a few notes and consults his screen. “A non-molestation order,” he says, referring to a court order he is being asked to monitor.

9 EU warns of economic damage if Greece summit fails

By Luke Baker and Philipp Halstrick, Reuters

4 hrs ago

BRUSSELS/FRANKFURT (Reuters) – EU leaders must find a convincing solution to Greece’s debt crisis at a summit on Thursday or the global economy will pay the price, the head of the European Commission said in an unusually somber warning.

Jose Manuel Barroso delivered the message as officials of the 17-nation currency area and bankers struggled to pin down a package of measures to persuade markets Greece can be saved from default and the rest of the euro zone from contagion.

“Nobody should be under any illusion: the situation is very serious. It requires a response, otherwise the negative consequences will be felt in all corners of Europe and beyond,” Barroso told a news conference.

10 Exclusive: Fed planning for potential default

By Kristina Cooke and Tim Ahmann, Reuters

32 mins ago

PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) – The Federal Reserve is actively preparing for the possibility that the United States could default as a deadline for raising the government’s $14.3 trillion borrowing limit looms, a top Fed policymaker said on Wednesday.

Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank President Charles Plosser said the Fed has for the past few months been working closely with Treasury, ironing out what to do if the world’s biggest economy runs out of cash on August 2.

“We are in contingency planning mode,” Plosser told Reuters in an interview at the regional central bank’s headquarters in Philadelphia. “We are all engaged … It’s a very active process.”

11 White House open to short-term debt extension

By Andy Sullivan and Alister Bull, Reuters

1 hr 21 mins ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The White House shifted gears on Wednesday and signaled that President Barack Obama could support a short-term extension of the U.S. borrowing limits as long as it was part of a broader long-term deficit reduction deal.

The switch came a day after the so-called Gang of Six senators produced an ambitious deficit reduction plan that Obama latched onto as a way to help break through an impasse in an increasingly grim standoff that has threatened the United States’ top-notch credit rating.

“We believe a short-term extension absent an agreement to a larger deal is unacceptable,” White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters. “If both sides agree to something significant, we will support the measures needed to finalize details.”

12 High cancellations depress homes sales

By Lucia Mutikani, Reuters

4 mins 5 secs ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Sales of previously owned U.S. homes hit a seven-month low in June as demand for condominiums fell and contract cancellations surged, dampening hopes the distressed housing market was starting to improve.

The National Association of Realtors said on Wednesday sales fell 0.8 percent last month from May to an annual rate of 4.77 million units, the lowest since November and a decline for a third straight month.

Economists had expected sales to rise to a 4.90 million-unit pace.

13 Special report: With Alzheimer’s in the genes, when do you test?

By Julie Steenhuysen, Reuters

41 mins ago

PARIS (Reuters) – As a boy, Gary Reiswig would take his grandfather by the hand and guide him on walks around the family farm in western Oklahoma.

At 5, Gary knew to avoid the prairie dog town, fearful that his grandfather might stumble over one of the holes that the rodents burrowed into the grassy plain.

Occasionally, his grandfather would stop. His eyes took on an eerie stare that spoke of an empty place — one that once was filled with memories, laughter and toil.

14 Serbia arrests last war-crimes fugitive

By JOVANA GEC, Associated Press

1 hr 15 mins ago

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) – The last fugitive sought by the U.N.’s Balkan war crimes tribunal was seized Wednesday morning as an accomplice delivered him cash in a remote mountain forest, secretly watched by black-masked Serbian secret police chasing a money trail that began with a photograph of a Modigliani painting.

The arrest of Goran Hadzic, former leader of Croatia’s ethnic Serbs, was hailed as the symbolic closure of a horrific chapter in Balkan history, and an important step toward the former pariah state of Serbia joining the European Union.

Less than two months after the capture of Bosnian Serb Gen. Ratko Mladic, who was accused of some of the worst atrocities of the war in the former Yugoslavia, Serbia’s Western-leaning president told his nation that “we have turned a difficult and grim page of our history.”

15 UN: Parts of south Somalia suffering from famine

By KATHARINE HOURELD, Associated Press

1 hr 26 mins ago

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) – Parts of southern Somalia are suffering from famine, a U.N. official said Wednesday, and tens of thousands of Somalis have probably already died in the worst hunger emergency in a generation.

The Horn of Africa is suffering a devastating drought compounded by war, neglect and spiraling prices. Some areas in the region have not had such a low rainfall in 60 years, aid group Oxfam said.

The U.N. needs $300 million in the next two months, said Mark Bowden, the U.N.’s top official in charge of humanitarian aid in Somalia. The last time conditions were this bad was in 1992, when hundreds of thousands of Somalis starved to death. That famine prompted intervention by an international peacekeeping force, but it eventually pulled out after two American Black Hawk helicopters were shot down in 1993.

16 Somalis dying in world’s worst famine in 20 years

By KATHARINE HOURELD, Associated Press

3 hrs ago

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) – Tens of thousands of Somalis are feared dead in the world’s worst famine in a generation, the U.N. said Wednesday, and the U.S. said it will allow emergency funds to be spent in areas controlled by al-Qaida-linked militants as long as the fighters do not interfere with aid distributions.

Exhausted, rail-thin women are stumbling into refugee camps in Kenya and Ethiopia with dead babies and bleeding feet, having left weaker family members behind along the way.

“Somalia is facing its worst food security crisis in the last 20 years,” said Mark Bowden, the U.N.’s top official in charge of humanitarian aid in Somalia. “This desperate situation requires urgent action to save lives … it’s likely that conditions will deteriorate further in six months.”

17 British PM drags opponents into hacking scandal

By PAISLEY DODDS, Associated Press

39 mins ago

LONDON (AP) – Prime Minister David Cameron dragged his political foes into Britain’s phone-hacking scandal Wednesday, as he sought to distance himself from his former aide at the heart of the allegations and denied that his staff had tried to thwart police investigations.

Cameron, who flew back from Africa early to address the emergency session of Parliament, defended his decision to hire former News of the World editor Andy Coulson as his communications chief, saying his work in government had been untarnished.

Coulson was arrested this month in connection with the tabloid’s alleged practice of intercepting the voicemails of celebrities and crime victims to get scoops. Cameron reminded lawmakers Wednesday that he has yet to be found guilty of anything.

18 Minn. governor signs budget, ends state shutdown

By MARTIGA LOHN, Associated Press

4 hrs ago

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) – Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton signed a new budget Wednesday, ending the nation’s longest state government shutdown in the past decade.

Dayton’s signature came just hours after lawmakers gave their own approval to the deal after meeting in special session that started Tuesday afternoon and lasted until early Wednesday morning. All sides formalized an agreement that Dayton struck with leading Republicans late last week.

The two sides argued bitterly over taxes and spending for months. When government shut down July 1, it closed state parks and rest stops, laid off 22,000 state employees, stopped road projects and much more.

19 Fresh White House talks for debt negotiators

By ANDREW TAYLOR, Associated Press

55 mins ago

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Barack Obama summoned top Democratic and Republican lawmakers to the White House Wednesday to resume negotiations on averting a potentially crippling government default, as attention focused on a new bipartisan budget plan emerging in the Senate. But the congressional leaders were meeting separately with Obama, not with each other.

The White House also indicated Obama would be willing to sign a short-term debt limit increase – something he’s opposed – if it’s merely a stop-gap measure to allow time for a broader plan to be put into place. It’s unlikely a broad deficit-cutting measure could be finished by the Aug. 2 deadline to increase the government’s borrowing limit.

The meetings with congressional leaders marked at least a partial resumption of talks that ended last week after five days of Obama huddling with lawmakers from both parties, with little progress to show.

20 Obama calls Democratic leaders to White House

By ANDREW TAYLOR, Associated Press

2 hrs 18 mins ago

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Barack Obama summoned top Democratic lawmakers back to the White House Wednesday to resume negotiations on averting a potentially crippling government default, as attention focused on a new bipartisan budget plan emerging in the Senate.

The White House also indicated Obama would be willing to sign a short-term debt limit increase – something he’s opposed – if it’s merely a stop-gap measure to allow time for a broader plan to get into place, something that likely couldn’t be finished by the Aug. 2 deadline to increase the government’s borrowing limit.

Obama’s meeting with House and Senate Democratic leaders, planned for mid-afternoon Wednesday, marked a partial resumption of talks that ended last week after five days straight of Obama huddling with lawmakers from both parties, with little progress to show for it. Republican officials said they expected a meeting between GOP leaders and the president later in the day.

21 American orders 460 new planes from Boeing, Airbus

By DAVID KOENIG, AP Airlines Writer

1 hr 27 mins ago

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) – American Airlines is buying at least 460 new planes over the next five years from Airbus and Boeing in a record order that breaks Boeing’s exclusive grip on American’s fleet.

American said Wednesday it will buy 260 planes from Airbus, 200 from rival Boeing Co., and take options to buy hundreds more. It expects the new jets to provide much-needed savings in fuel costs. American’s current fleet is among the least fuel-efficient in the industry.

The deal is a major boost for Airbus, which hadn’t won an order from American since the 1980s. Boeing did salvage one of its biggest sales ever – a huge consolation considering that it was in danger of losing the whole order to its European rival.

22 NFL players say they’re not tied to deal deadline


30 mins ago

WASHINGTON (AP) – Cautioning not to assume the lockout will be over by the weekend, NFL Players Association president Kevin Mawae said his group is “not tied” to a deadline for getting a deal done in the next 24 hours.

“We want to go back to work,” Mawae said Wednesday outside NFLPA headquarters, “but we will not agree to a deal unless it’s the best deal for the players.”

If the four-month lockout – the NFL’s first work stoppage since 1987 – is going to end in time to keep the preseason completely intact, the players and owners almost certainly must ratify the deal by Thursday. The St. Louis Rams and Chicago Bears are scheduled to open the preseason Aug. 7 in the Hall of Fame game.

23 Comic-Con kicks off with fans, flicks, costumes

By SANDY COHEN, AP Entertainment Writer

2 hrs 54 mins ago

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Calling all superheroes, zombies, space aliens, comic-book lovers and kids of all ages: Comic-Con is here.

The pop-culture convention, which annually draws thousands of costumed fans to San Diego, begins Thursday, but the die-hards (and those with weekend-long passes) will get a peek at the colorful convention floor on Wednesday night.

Hundreds of exhibitors and more than 130,000 guests are expected to pack the San Diego Convention Center for the sold out, four-day event.

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