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Jul 22 2011

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Eight killed as Syria quells massive protests

AFP

4 hrs ago

Syrian security forces killed at least eight civilians on Friday as more than 1.2 million protesters swarmed cities in the north and east to protest against President Bashar al-Assad’s rule, activists said.

Activists had called for Friday’s demonstrations on Facebook group The Syrian Revolution 2011, a driving force behind more than four months of anti-regime protests, to show support for the flashpoint city of Homs.

More than 50 people have been killed since Saturday in central Homs, activists have said, accusing the regime of sowing sectarian strife among the city’s Christian and Muslim inhabitants.

2 Serb warcrimes suspect Hadzic heads to The Hague

By Katarina Subasic, AFP

10 hrs ago

Former Croatian Serb leader Goran Hadzic, the last fugitive wanted for war crimes in the former Yugoslavia, was flown out of Serbia Friday to stand trial at the UN court in The Hague.

Hadzic was bundled aboard a plane at Belgrade airport after being granted a final wish to visit his ailing mother and other family members under police escort earlier Friday.

“At this moment his plane is on its way to The Hague,” Serbian Justice Minister Snezana Malovic told a press conference.

3 Eurozone launches vast bid to solve debt woes

By Laurent Thomet, AFP

11 hrs ago

Eurozone leaders broke new ground in their battle to solve the debt crisis, opening the way for a European-style IMF to protect stressed nations as they bailed out Greece.

After weeks for market pressure and pleas from the US and the International Mmonetary Fund to contain the year-long debt drama, the eurozone poured another 159 billion euros ($229 billion) into Greece with private creditor help and deployed a safety net for future crises.

The deal was cheered in Asian and European stock markets in early trade on Friday and gave the euro a boost after weeks of turbulence that sucked Italy and Spain into the debt spiral.

4 Top US Republican: Debt deal ‘not close’

By Olivier Knox, AFP

1 hr 20 mins ago

Republican US House Speaker John Boehner warned Friday that he and President Barack Obama were “not close” to a deal to avert a ruinous early August debt default and forecast a “hot weekend” of talks.

With time running out before August 2, when the cash-strapped government of the world’s richest nation will be unable to pay all of its bills, top economic officials huddled to weigh the implications of an unprecedented default.

But Obama assured a town hall-style audience at the University of Maryland just outside Washington that “the United States of America does not run out without paying the tab.”

5 Libyan Berbers cherish shared history with Jews

By Deborah Pasmantier, AFP

4 hrs ago

For centuries, Jews lived among the Berbers of Yafran, observing the Sabbath at the synagogue of Ghriba, but they suddenly left 63 years ago, and their land in Libya remains untouched.

Every hamlet around Yafran bears the mark of the Libyan Jews, who arrived in the country 2,300 years ago and, until their departure soon after Israel’s creation in 1948, constituted half the city’s population.

Everywhere, the ruins of their homes still cling to the mountainside. Some were lived in, others subsumed by the Berber population. Time has taken its toll, but the houses remain untouched and uninhabited.

6 Webber puts down Nurburgring F1 marker

By Gordon Howard, AFP

4 hrs ago

Mark Webber topped the times for Red Bull at the end of Friday’s two opening practice sessions for this weekend’s German Grand Prix.

The 34-year-old Australian, who won the last race on the circuit in 2009, clocked a fastest time of one minute and 31.770 seconds to outpace Fernando Alonso of Ferrari by one-tenth of a second.

The Spanish two-times champion, who won last year’s German race held at Hockenheim, was himself two-tenths of a second clear of Webber’s team-mate and German defending champion Sebastian Vettel.

7 At Iceland’s Phallological Museum, size is everything

By Nina Larson, AFP

21 hrs ago

From gigantic whale penises to speck-sized field mouse testicles and lampshades made from bull scrotums, Iceland’s small Phallological Museum has it all — and recently put its first human member on display.

“This is the biggest one,” founder and curator Sigurdur Hjartarson told AFP, patting an enormous plastic canister. Inside was a liquid-immersed greyish-white mass as wide as a small tree trunk and as tall as a man.

Weighing 70 kilos (154 pounds) and measuring around 170 centimetres (5 feet 7 inches), the Sperm Whale specimen “is just the front tip,” he explained.

8 Fitch calls default, Greece pledges no let-up on debt

By Ingrid Melander and Patrick Graham, Reuters

3 hrs ago

ATHENS/LONDON (Reuters) – Fitch ratings agency declared Greece would be in temporary default as the result of a second bailout, which Athens said had bought it breathing space.

But the agency pledged to give Greece a higher, “low speculative grade” after its bonds had been exchanged and said Athens now had some hope of tackling its debt mountain, which most economists still expect to force a deeper restructuring in the future.

An emergency summit of leaders of the 17-nation currency area agreed a second rescue package on Thursday with an extra 109 billion euros ($157 billion) of government money, plus a contribution by private sector bondholders estimated to total as much as 50 billion euros by mid-2014.

9 Obama vows "hard choices" on debt as Democrats fume

By Matt Spetalnick and Thomas Ferraro, Reuters

8 mins ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama insisted on Friday he was prepared to make “tough choices” for a sweeping deficit-reduction deal to avert a U.S. default, despite Democrats warning him not to make too many concessions.

With the deadline to raise the debt ceiling now just 11 days away, the Democratic president appealed for compromise by both parties as he and the top Republican in Congress, House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner, pursued a plan for up to $3 trillion in spending cuts.

“I’m willing to sign a plan that includes tough choices I would not normally make, and there are a lot of Democrats and Republicans in Congress who I believe are willing to do the same thing,” Obama said at a town hall-style meeting at the University of Maryland.

10 UK lawmaker asks police to investigate Murdoch

By Keith Weir, Reuters

4 hrs ago

LONDON (Reuters) – News Corp executive James Murdoch could face a police investigation into claims he gave “mistaken” testimony to Britain’s parliament this week, deepening the legal crisis that has engulfed the Murdoch family’s media empire.

Prime Minister David Cameron, criticized for his close ties to senior figures at News Corp, said that Murdoch had “clearly got questions to answer in parliament.”

Police received a letter Friday from opposition legislator Tom Watson asking whether Murdoch was involved in illegal efforts to cover up phone hacking.

11 Verizon iPhone sales dash hopes; shares fall

By Sinead Carew, Reuters

1 hr 58 mins ago

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Verizon Communications may have the iPhone, but the blockbuster smartphone has yet to pay off in its battle against AT&T Inc.

In the second quarter, Verizon Wireless, the No. 1 U.S. mobile service, signed up 1.3 million fewer iPhone customers than AT&T, dashing high hopes of investors who sent its shares down almost 3 percent.

On top of this, Verizon Wireless customers spent less per month than expected as the company changed its data service price plans, further disappointing Wall Street on Friday.

12 Seventeen dead in Norway bomb and gun attack

By Walter Gibbs and Alister Doyle, Reuters

9 mins ago

OSLO (Reuters) – A bomb ripped through Oslo’s central government district on Friday and a gunmen dressed as a policeman then opened fire at a youth camp on a nearby island, killing 17 people altogether, police said.

In the biggest such attack in western Europe since the London transport bombings in 2005, seven died when the bomb exploded on the Norwegian capital in mid-afternoon scattering glass, shattered masonry and twisted steel across the streets.

Shortly afterwards, a gunman opened fire at the youth camp of the ruling political party on Utoeya island, north-west of Oslo. Police said nine or 10 people were killed and they believed the two attacks were linked. The gunman was arrested.

13 Caterpillar profit misses

By Nick Zieminski, Reuters

1 hr 24 mins ago

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Heavy machinery maker Caterpillar Inc disappointed Wall Street with a second-quarter earnings miss on Friday, hurt by higher costs, and its shares fell nearly 6 percent, dragging down the U.S. stock market.

The maker of equipment used in mining and construction also said economic growth in the United States and other developed economies was weaker than expected and reported signs of a slowdown in China.

Although Caterpillar raised its full-year sales and profit forecast, the midpoint of its new range was below analysts’ average estimate. Shareholders also noted a more cautious tone in the company’s economic commentary, closely watched by investors in economically sensitive manufacturing and transport stocks.

14 Norway ripped by Oslo bomb, youth camp shootings

By NILS MYKLEBOST, Associated Press

31 mins ago

OSLO, Norway (AP) – A bomb ripped open buildings in the heart of Norway’s government Friday, and a man dressed as a police officer opened fire at an island youth camp connected to the ruling party. At least seven people were killed in the blast and nine more in the camp shootings, the peaceful nation’s worst violence since World War II.

Oslo police said 9 or 10 people were killed at the camp on Utoya island, where the youth wing of the Labor Party was holding a summer camp for hundreds of youths. Acting Police Chief Sveinung Sponheim says a man was arrested in the shooting, and the suspect had been observed in Oslo before the explosion there.

Sponheim said police were still trying to get an overview of the camp shooting and could not say whether there was more than one shooter.

15 Debt dispute boils: Capitol’s hot, inside and out

By DAVID ESPO, AP Special Correspondent

26 mins ago

WASHINGTON (AP) – Gridlock stubbornly held the high ground in the steamy capital Friday despite the threat of a government default in 11 days’ time. Talks between President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner seemed stuck in limbo, and the Democratic-controlled Senate scuttled legislation drawn to conservatives’ specifications.

As most lawmakers left the sweltering city for the weekend – temperatures soared past 100 degrees and some tempers seemed close behind – there was vague talk but few details of backup plans in both houses of Congress to raise the nation’s 14.3 trillion debt limit before the critical Aug. 2 deadline.

Boehner said he was “frankly not close to an agreement” with Obama in talks to cut deficits by up to $4 trillion and ease the government’s ability to keep borrowing.

16 James Murdoch under threat as UK scandal spreads

By MICHAEL LIEDTKE, RAPHAEL SATTER, Associated Press

10 mins ago

LONDON (AP) – Media scion James Murdoch, his father’s heir apparent, was under fire Friday over claims by former newspaper executives that he misled lawmakers about what he knew, and when, about Britain’s phone-hacking scandal.

The allegation raises questions not only about his succession to the helm of the media empire but what he may have relayed to Rupert Murdoch, the CEO and controlling shareholder. One media expert said that, as far as the leadership was concerned, James was already out of the running.

“When Rupert Murdoch is replaced, we now know it’s not going to be James Murdoch,” newspaper analyst Ken Doctor of Outsell Inc. said. “James Murdoch’s name is now clouded and he is not going to be moving up in News Corp.”

17 Somali militants vow to block aid groups

By ABDI GULED, Associated Press

1 hr 22 mins ago

MOGADISHU, Somalia (AP) – Al-Qaida-linked militants in Somalia vowed to keep most international aid workers out of the country despite a worsening famine and the U.N. warned Friday that 800,000 children could die in the region from starvation.

Frustrated aid groups said they want to deploy more food assistance in Somalia but don’t yet have the necessary safety guarantees to do so. The anarchic country has been mired in conflict for two decades and its capital is a war zone.

The renewed threat from al-Shabab means only a handful of agencies will be able to respond to the hunger crisis in militant-controlled areas of southern Somalia. And the largest provider of food aid – the U.N. World Food Program – isn’t among those being allowed inside.

18 NFL on hold; players study deal OK’d by owners

By HOWARD FENDRICH, AP Pro Football Writer

2 hrs 11 mins ago

WASHINGTON (AP) – The NFL was stuck in a holding pattern Friday as the players studied the owner-approved proposal to end the lockout and tried to determine when – and even whether – to vote on it.

As it is, clubs already were being told not to expect players to begin arriving at facilities Saturday, the day owners said gates would open.

“Now it’s just waiting,” Carolina Panthers general manager Marty Hurney said at an Atlanta hotel where team executives were being briefed on new rules for next season. “Be flexible and wait and see what happens.”

19 Senate rejects House GOP budget-cutting plan

By JIM KUHNHENN, Associated Press

1 hr 29 mins ago

WASHINGTON (AP) – President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner searched on Friday for an elusive debt-limit compromise as the Senate rejected a House plan containing deep spending cuts and for the moment put aside a last-ditch fallback option.

The 51-46 party-line Senate vote, and a decision by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., to cancel weekend Senate sessions, left unresolved the urgent issue of how to lift the nation’s borrowing powers to avoid a first-ever U.S. default on Aug. 3.

The moves also cleared the way for private negotiations between the president, Boehner and other key players.

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