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Jul 26 2011

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Norway mass-killer seeks show-trial celebrity

By Roddy Thomson, AFP

19 hrs ago

Norwegian mass killer Anders Behring Breivik appears before an Oslo judge on Monday, seeking show-trial celebrity as the once placid Nordic nation mourns the 93 weekend victims lying in city morgues.

The 32-year-old self-styled white ‘Jihadist’ will make his first appearance in a downtown court around 1:00 pm (1100 GMT), for arraignment over a bombing and shooting spree that marked the country’s worst violence since World War II.

The key initial decision to be taken by the judge is whether to order the hearing staged behind closed doors — away from prying media eyes the world over.

2 Aid reaches drought-ravaged Somalia

AFP

Sun, Jul 24, 2011

The International Red Cross said Sunday it had handed out 400 tonnes of food in drought-hit parts of rebel-held southern Somalia as the UN prepares to host emergency talks on the crisis in the region.

“The distribution look place in the Bardera district and passed without incident, with the knowledge of the authorities and the recipients,” ICRC spokesman Yves Van Loo told AFP in Nairobi.

It is the first ICRC-led food drop direct to locals in Shebab-controlled zones since 2009, he said, adding that further food drops will take place in the coming days.

3 Physicists closing in on ‘God particle’

AFP

4 hrs ago

Experiments at the world’s biggest atom smasher have yielded tantalising hints that a long-sought sub-atomic particle truly exists, with final proof likely by late 2012, physicists said Monday.

“We know everything about the Higgs boson except whether it exists,” said Rolf Heuer, director general of the European Organisation for Nuclear Research (CERN).

“We can settle this Shakespearean question — to be or not to be — by the end of next year,” he told journalists at a web-cast press conference at CERN headquarters in Geneva.

4 Moody’s downgrades Greek debt rating

AFP

10 hrs ago

Moody’s credit rating agency downgraded Greek debt by three notches on Monday and warned that the eurozone rescue was almost certain to trigger another two-notch cut to default status.

Moody’s, taking a similar line to the Fitch agency on Friday, said that once old debt had been replaced with new bonds on easier terms under the rescue scheme, it would assess the new instruments and issue a new notation.

A default rating could have unforeseeable domino effects on financial markets, but the ISDA organisation which oversees CDS default insurance contracts said the rescue terms would probably not trigger payout clauses.

5 IMF urges swift lifting of US debt limit

By Veronica Smith, AFP

3 hrs ago

The International Monetary Fund on Monday warned the United States to lift its debt ceiling swiftly for the sake of the US and global economy.

But, with US politicians battling over a plan to slash the deficit, the IMF executive board called on authorities to only gradually reduce spending, to avert “a disruptive loss in fiscal credibility.”

“The federal debt ceiling should be raised expeditiously to avoid a severe shock to the US economy and world financial markets,” IMF economists said in a report on the US economy.

6 US default prospects stalk global stock markets

AFP

3 hrs ago

Global stock markets mostly fell on Monday amid growing concern of a US default after debt-ceiling talks broke down in Washington over the weekend.

The European debt crisis discouraged risk-taking with details of how private investors will participate in the second rescue of Greece still unknown.

World markets had largely surged last week on news of a eurozone deal, but sentiment was shaken early Monday after Moody’s ratings agency downgraded Greek debt — and warned the new bailout was almost certain to trigger a cut to default status.

7 NFL stars back at work as new deal reached

AFP

23 mins ago

Player representatives unanimously agreed to a new 10-year contract with club owners on Monday that ensured the National Football League season will start as planned after the NFL’s longest shutdown.

“Football is back and that’s great news,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said. “It has been a long time coming.”

Player representatives for all 32 National Football League teams unanimously voted Monday to approve a new contract with club owners, setting the stage for the end of the NFL’s longest work stoppage, a lockout that began last March.

8 England win first Test against India

By Julian Guyer, AFP

4 hrs ago

James Anderson took five wickets as England thrashed India by 196 runs to win the first Test at Lord’s here on Monday.

Victory gave England a 1-0 lead in a four-match series which if they win it by two Tests will see them replace India at the top of the ICC’s Test Championship table.

India, needing what would have been a Test record fourth innings victory total of 458, were bowled out for 261.

9 Norway mass killer jeered on way to court hearing

By Jon Hemming, Reuters

7 hrs ago

OSLO (Reuters) – At least 100,000 people rallied in Oslo and tens of thousands more marched in cities across Norway on Monday in a nationwide expression of grief and unity over the massacre of 76 people by Anders Behring Breivik.

Breivik told a judge in a closed hearing on Monday his bombing and shooting rampage aimed to save Europe from a Muslim takeover, and said that “two more cells” existed in his group.

Police said they could not rule out the possibility that others were involved in Friday’s attacks and they revised down the death toll to 76 from 93: eight dead in a bomb blast in Oslo and 68 at a Labour Party youth camp on Utoeya island.

10 Moody’s warns Greek default almost certain

By Ingrid Melander and George Georgiopoulos, Reuters

3 hrs ago

ATHENS (Reuters) – Moody’s cut Greece’s credit rating further into junk territory on Monday and said it was almost certain to slap a default tag on its debt as a result of a new EU rescue package.

It was the second rating agency to warn of a default after euro zone leaders and banks agreed last week that the private sector would shoulder part of the burden of a rescue deal that offers Greece more cash and easier loan terms to keep it afloat and avoid further contagion.

“The announced EU program along with the Institute of International Finance’s statement implies that the probability of a distressed exchange, and hence a default, on Greek government bonds is virtually 100 percent,” Moody’s said in a statement.

11 Analysis: Trichet loses face but leaves ECB a winner

By Paul Carrel, Reuters

6 hrs ago

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – On the face of it he buckled.

Just two weeks after he insisted publicly “we say no to selective default,” European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet agreed to a deal forged by the leaders of Germany and France that will result in exactly that.

Was he bullied into a U-turn? Another about-turn would look terrible for the ECB, which compromised its principles in May last year by agreeing to buy government bonds despite saying four days earlier it was not even discussing the option.

12 News Corp’s UK political meetings to be published

By Olesya Dmitracova, Reuters

4 hrs ago

LONDON (Reuters) – Ministers in Britain’s coalition government, criticized for being too close to Rupert Murdoch’s scandal-hit News Corp, face more scrutiny this week when details of their meetings with the company’s executives are published.

News Corp executive James Murdoch is also under pressure over his handling of a phone-hacking scandal that has hit the Murdoch family’s media empire and could jeopardize his own position at the company.

British police are considering a request from opposition Labor politician Tom Watson to investigate claims that the 38-year-old son of News Corp head Rupert Murdoch gave “mistaken” testimony to a parliamentary hearing last week.

13 RIM adjusts to new reality by slashing 2,000 jobs

By Alastair Sharp, Reuters

5 hrs ago

TORONTO (Reuters) – BlackBerry maker Research In Motion plans to cut about 11 percent of its workforce as it struggles to keep pace with Apple and Google in the mobile market it once dominated.

The Canadian company’s shares sunk 3 percent after the Monday announcement of 2,000 job cuts, a month after RIM said would reduce headcount for the first time in almost a decade.

The company, which described the cost reduction as “a prudent and necessary step” for its long-term success, said it would inform employees who will lose their jobs this week.

14 Airlines raise fares as taxes lapse

By Karen Jacobs, Reuters

46 mins ago

ATLANTA (Reuters) – Many U.S. airlines have raised fares in recent days to take advantage of a lapse in U.S. ticket tax collection after Congress failed last week to fully fund the Federal Aviation Administration budget, but passengers are not likely to notice any price difference.

The expiration of the FAA reauthorization on Friday means some aviation taxes are no longer being collected. These include a 7.5 percent sales tax on U.S. air transportation and a 7.5 percent sales tax on the purchase of air miles, said fare watcher FareCompare.com. Additionally, taxes on jet fuel are also reduced.

“Friday evening we adjusted prices so the bottom line price of a ticket remains the same as it was before prior to the expiration of federal excise taxes, etc.,” American Airlines spokesman Tim Smith said by email.

15 Chrysler and union aim for deal without arbitration

By Bernie Woodall and Deepa Seetharaman, Reuters

2 hrs 3 mins ago

AUBURN HILLS, Michigan (Reuters) – Chrysler Group LLC and the United Auto Workers union expect to reach a deal on a new labor contract without resorting to arbitration, officials for the company and union said on Monday.

In the four years since the two sides last negotiated a labor contract, the Detroit automakers were pushed into crisis by collapsing vehicle demand and the financial convulsion of 2008. Both General Motors Co and Chrysler, now majority-owned by Italy’s Fiat SpA, were bailed out by the Obama administration.

Chrysler and the union would prefer to avoid arbitration as that process would increase the chance for an imposed settlement that neither side finds palatable.

16 NFL players and owners reach deal to end lockout

By Julian Linden, Reuters

2 hrs 25 mins ago

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The National Football League (NFL) and players have agreed to terms Monday to end their four-month-old lockout and ensure America’s most popular sport will go ahead as planned next season.

The players must still ratify their decision with a formal vote once the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) reforms, but that is now just a formality after the feuding sides agreed to a multi-billion dollar, 10-year deal.

“The board of player representatives and the executive committee of the players association unanimously recommended the approval of the deal,” NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith told reporters in Washington.

17 Amid dueling debt plans, Obama to address nation

By Andy Sullivan and Richard Cowan, Reuters

20 mins ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Top lawmakers rolled out dueling debt plans on Monday that offered little prospect for compromise, increasing the threat of a ratings downgrade and national default, as President Barack Obama prepared to address Americans on the impasse.

Little more than a week before the August 2 deadline to raise the $14.3 trillion U.S. debt ceiling, Republican and Democratic leaders traded blame in an acrimonious standoff as they pursued separate budget proposals, with no clear path to bring them together.

The stalemate rattled investors worldwide, sending stocks and the dollar down and pushing gold to a record high, but falling far short of the panicky sell-off that some politicians in Washington had feared after weekend talks broke down.

18 Challenging Obama, House GOP unveils new debt bill

By DAVID ESPO, AP Special Correspondent

16 mins ago

WASHINGTON (AP) – In a blunt challenge to President Barack Obama, House Republicans drafted legislation Monday to avert a potentially devastating Aug. 2 government default – but along lines the White House has already dismissed. U.S. and world financial markets shrugged off the uncertainty.

“This is a city where compromise is becoming a dirty word,” Obama lamented as congressional leaders groped for a way out of a looming crisis.

In stinging remarks a short while later on the Senate floor, the Republican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, urged the president to reconsider his position rather “than veto the country into default.”

19 Norway rampage culprit calm, held in isolation

By BJOERN AMLAND, SARAH DiLORENZO, Associated Press

14 mins ago

OSLO, Norway (AP) – The self-described perpetrator of Norway’s deadly bombing and shooting rampage was ordered held in isolation at a hearing Monday after calmly telling the court that two other groups of allies stand ready to join his murderous campaign.

Anders Behring Breivik has admitted bombing Norway’s capital and opening fire on a political youth group retreat on an island near the capital. He told authorities that he expects to spend the rest of his life in prison. Saying he wanted to save Europe from Muslim immigration, he entered a plea of not guilty that will guarantee him future court hearings and opportunities to address the public, even indirectly.

Police believe Breivik acted alone, despite his grand claims in a 1,500-page manifesto that he belonged to a modern group of crusaders. But they have not completely ruled out that he had accomplices.

20 Norway rampage culprit calm, expects life in jail

By IAN MacDOUGALL, LOUISE NORDSTROM, Associated Press

2 hrs 21 mins ago

OSLO, Norway (AP) – The self-described perpetrator of the mass killings in Norway told authorities there that he expects to spend the rest of his life in prison but two other cells in his terror network could still launch attacks, officials said Monday.

Anders Behring Breivik has admitted bombing Norway’s capital and opening fire on a political youth group retreat, but he entered a plea of not guilty, saying he acted to save Europe from Muslim immigration.

Prosecutor Christian Hatlo told reporters that Breivik was very calm and “seemed unaffected by what has happened.” He said Breivik told investigators during his interrogation that he never expected to be released.

21 AP-GfK Poll: Worries about debt rising once again

By CONNIE CASS, Associated Press

1 hr 56 mins ago

WASHINGTON (AP) – Just last fall, Americans were feeling better about their personal finances. Now they’re starting to worry more about how they’ll pay off debts as they feel the nation’s economic recovery wobbling.

With Congress deadlocked over how to deal with the national debt, household debt is causing stress for nearly half the country, according to a new Associated Press-GfK poll. One in five adults worries about debt most or all of the time. If they bought something on a credit card in the past month, more than a third say they won’t pay it off when the bill comes.

The increased stress represents a reversal from last fall’s AP-GfK poll, which found increasing confidence about personal finances. Debt-related stress is up 17 percent from that November survey, bumping such worries back up to levels seen in 2009 and in the spring of last year.

22 Gay weddings continue as opponents sue over NY law

By CAROLYN THOMPSON, Associated Press

1 hr 45 mins ago

NIAGARA FALLS, New York (AP) – Opponents of New York’s gay marriage law filed the first lawsuit challenging the measure, an anticipated salvo that came Monday as dozens of same-sex couples exchanged vows in a group ceremony overlooking Niagara Falls a day after the first gay weddings.

A representative of New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms and a rabbi said in a lawsuit filed in state court that New York’s Senate violated its own procedures and the state’s open meetings law when it approved the bill last month.

The lawsuit claims that the Senate prevented lawmakers who opposed the bill from speaking and that the Senate didn’t follow procedures that require a bill to go through appropriate committees before a full Senate vote.

23 Players vote to OK deal to end NFL lockout

By BARRY WILNER, HOWARD FENDRICH, AP Pro Football Writers

51 mins ago

WASHINGTON (AP) – Now it can be said with certainty: Get ready for some football!

NFL players voted to OK a final deal Monday, days after the owners approved a tentative agreement, and the sides finally managed to put an end to the 4½-month lockout, the longest work stoppage in league history.

“This is a long time coming, and football’s back,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said, “and that’s the great news for everybody.”

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