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Jul 27 2011

Evening Edition

Somewhat delayed as the Thunderstorm ate my homework (better than my dog, isn’t it?).

Here’s a kitten on a blanket-

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Florists run empty in Oslo as rose becomes grief symbol

By Katell Prigent, AFP

6 hrs ago

Business has never been so good, but the bumper takings are of little comfort to Norway’s flower sellers as they struggle to keep pace with the demand from a nation in mourning.

A day after a silent “rose march”, which saw more than 100,000 people gather in central Oslo, a rose in their hands, the city’s streets, lamp posts and traffic lights were bedecked with flowers on Tuesday.

A mass of flowers and candles laid in front of the city’s cathedral formed a carpet that stretches onto the road, blocking traffic.

2 UN to start airlifting food to Somalia

By Ella Ide, AFP

21 hrs ago

The UN World Food Programme was set on Tuesday to start airlifting food to Somalia, Ethiopia and Kenya after an emergency meeting in Rome on the drought-stricken Horn of Africa region.

An estimated 3.7 million people in Somalia — around a third of the population — are on the brink of starvation and millions more in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda have been struck by the worst drought in the region in 60 years.

WFP chief Josette Sheeran said her organisation would begin food airlifts to the Somali capital Mogadishu, as well as aid flights to Dolo in Ethiopia on the border with Somalia and to Wajir in northern Kenya, which has been badly hit by drought.

3 US lawmakers war over debt as world warily watches

By Emmanuel Parisse and Tangi Quemener, AFP

3 hrs ago

The White House threatened Tuesday that President Barack Obama would veto a two-step Republican debt deal, amid mounting global fears the world’s top economy is on the brink of default.

As the dollar slid to new lows and stock markets wobbled, the White House raised the stakes as Obama’s Democratic allies and his Republican foes remained deadlocked in a bitter battle to raise the $14.3 trillion debt limit.

With a week to go before the United States hits an August 2 deadline and runs out of funds, Republican House Speaker John Boehner insisted his plan to raise the ceiling in two stages was the only “reasonable approach.”

4 BP rebounds into profit but shares fall

AFP

Mon, Jul 25, 2011

British energy giant BP rebounded into net profit in the second quarter of 2011, aided by high oil prices, after a huge loss last year due to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill disaster, it said on Tuesday.

Earnings after taxation hit $5.62 billion (3.87 billion euros) in the three months to June, BP said in a results statement. That compared with a vast loss of $17.15 billion in the second quarter of 2010.

But BP shares sank 2.45 percent to 463.75 pence in midday trade on London’s falling FTSE 100 index, as investors focused on adjusted earnings which dashed analysts’ expectations.

5 Formula One drivers Button, Hamilton relish Hungary return

AFP

5 hrs ago

McLaren’s former world champion drivers Jenson Button and Lewis Hamilton insisted Tuesday they are both relishing a return to the Hungaroring for this weekend’s Hungarian Grand Prix.

Button will mark his 200th Grand Prix at the site of his first GP victory five years ago, while Hamilton will be looking to keep the momentum going from his German Grand Prix victory on Sunday.

“It’s always fun coming back to Hungary as this is the track at which I won my first Grand Prix, in 2006, and I’ll be celebrating another milestone on Sunday because this is my 200th Grand Prix,” said Button.

6 Special report: Fukushima long ranked most hazardous plant

By Chisa Fujioka and Kevin Krolicki, Reuters

2 hrs 37 mins ago

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant ranked as one of the most dangerous in the world for radiation exposure years before it was destroyed by the meltdowns and explosions that followed the March 11 earthquake.

For five years to 2008, the Fukushima plant was rated the most hazardous nuclear facility in Japan for worker exposure to radiation and one of the five worst nuclear plants in the world on that basis. The next rankings, compiled as a three-year average, are due this year.

Reuters uncovered these rankings, privately tracked by Fukushima’s operator Tokyo Electric Power, in a review of documents and presentations made at nuclear safety conferences over the past seven years.

7 Traumatized Norway tries to return to normality

By Wojciech Moskwa, Reuters

43 mins ago

OSLO (Reuters) – A Norwegian cabinet minister will make a symbolic return on Wednesday to her bomb-damaged office as the nation tries to restore some normality after the massacre perpetrated by a right-winger who his lawyer believes is insane.

Friday’s attacks by Anders Behring Breivik killed 76 and traumatized normally peaceful Norway, which has been struggling to come to terms with his cold-blooded shooting of young people and bomb attack in the heart of Oslo’s government district.

Administration and Church Affairs Minister Rigmor Aasrud will be the first cabinet member displaced by the attack to return to her normal office after the bomb blew a hole through the prime minister’s office and badly damaged other buildings.

8 Elizabeth Warren to leave consumer financial agency

By David Lawder and Dave Clarke, Reuters

1 hr 40 mins ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Elizabeth Warren, the law professor who persuaded the Obama administration to create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, will step down on August 1 from her role setting up the controversial new regulator, the Treasury said on Tuesday.

Warren will return to Harvard Law School and will be succeeded by a close aide and former banker, Rajeev Date.

The agency officially opened its doors for business on July 21 but still does not have a confirmed leader.

9 Home price rise fails to lift housing gloom

By Lucia Mutikani, Reuters

3 hrs ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Prices for new single family homes rose to a five-month high in June even as sales slipped, but recovery for the broader housing market continues to be frustrated by an oversupply of properties.

The Commerce Department said on Tuesday the median sales price for a new home increased 5.8 percent last month to $235,200. Compared to June of last year, prices rose 7.2 percent.

Indications that home prices were starting to stabilize were also evident in the S&P/Case Shiller survey, whose composite index of prices in 20 metropolitan areas was flat in May after a 0.4 percent gain in April.

10 Ford profits despite economy, rising costs

By Bernie Woodall, Reuters

6 hrs ago

DEARBORN, Michigan (Reuters) – Ford Motor Co’s profit held up well in a second quarter marked by the impact of Japan’s earthquake, the shaky U.S. economy and high commodity costs, but the automaker remained cautious about consumer demand going forward.

Ford, the only U.S. automaker that did not accept a government bailout in 2009, has posted a net profit for eight straight quarters. It racked up net losses of $30 billion from 2006 through 2008 when it cut jobs, sold unprofitable brands and reshaped a lineup laden with large SUVs and pickup trucks.

“These results are pretty good considering some of the stumbling blocks in the economy,” said Mirko Mikelic, senior portfolio manager with Fifth Third Asset Management, which owns Ford shares.

11 Is default deadline truly Aug 2? Analysts say no

By Rachelle Younglai, Reuters

59 mins ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Will the sky fall on August 2 if the U.S. Congress fails to raise the debt ceiling?

Not likely, according to analysts, who say that even without the ability to borrow more money, the government could avoid a devastating default for another week or so. That raises the question of how urgently action is needed to increase the nation’s borrowing limit.

For weeks, President Barack Obama and Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner have stressed that the U.S. Treasury will run out of room to borrow funds next Tuesday and have warned of dire consequences if Congress does not raise the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt ceiling in time.

12 Conservative ire threatens GOP debt plan in House

By CHARLES BABINGTON, Associated Press

50 mins ago

WASHINGTON (AP) – Thwarted by conservatives in his own Republican Party, House Speaker John Boehner scrambled Tuesday to secure enough GOP votes to beat a fast-closing Aug. 2 deadline and stave off the potential financial chaos of the nation’s first-ever default.

Even with time running out, the speaker promised to quickly rewrite his debt-ceiling legislation after budget officials said it would cut spending less than advertised. Meanwhile, public head-butting between Democratic President Barack Obama and the Republicans showed no sign of easing. The White House declared Obama would veto the Boehner bill, even if it somehow got through the House and the Democratic-controlled Senate.

For all that, it was the tea party-backed members of Boehner’s own party who continued to vex him, and heavily influence the debt and deficit negotiating terms – not to mention his chances of holding on to the speakership.

13 Hopes for deal rise as debt fears infect markets

By Andy Sullivan and Laura MacInnis, Reuters

35 mins ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A glimmer of hope emerged on Tuesday for a compromise to break the deadlock over the U.S. debt limit as corporate America and the public betrayed growing nervousness over the risks of a credit downgrade and default.

After weeks of acrimony between Republican and Democratic leaders, similarities between rival deficit reduction plans appeared to offer some chance of a deal before an August 2 deadline for Congress to raise the government’s $14.3 trillion borrowing limit.

While most expect a last-minute accord to avert the first default by the United States, the bitter partisan squabbling and absence of a political consensus on long-term deficit reduction has increased the likelihood of an unprecedented downgrade in the gold-plated U.S. credit rating.

14 Americans back mixed solution for debt crisis: Reuters/Ipsos poll

By Steve Holland, Reuters

4 hrs ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Americans overwhelmingly are concerned about the U.S. debt crisis and a majority backs the type of compromise pushed by President Barack Obama, a Reuters/Ipsos poll found on Tuesday.

Showing an intensity of interest among Americans who often ignore the intricacies of policy in Washington, 83 percent of those polled said they were either very or somewhat concerned about the potential for a U.S. debt default on August 2.

The poll found that 56 percent of Americans want to see a combination of government spending cuts and tax increases included in a deal to bring down the U.S. budget deficit and permit a vote to raise the country’s $14.3 trillion debt ceiling.

15 Norway police slammed for slow response to rampage

By SHAWN POGATCHNIK, Associated Press

2 hrs 52 mins ago

OSLO, Norway (AP) – When Anders Behring Breivik launched his assault on the youth campers of Utoya Island, he expected Norway’s special forces to swoop down and stop him at any minute.

Instead, Delta Force police officers made the 25-mile journey by car – they have no helicopter – then had to be rescued by a civilian craft when their boat broke down as it tried to navigate a one-minute hop to the island.

It took police more than 90 minutes to reach the gunman, who by then had mortally wounded 68 people. Breivik immediately dropped his guns and surrendered, having exceeded his wildest murderous expectations.

16 AP IMPACT: Gulf oil industry-gov’t ties persist

By DINA CAPPIELLO, Associated Press

1 hr 15 mins ago

WASHINGTON (AP) – Ties between offshore oil and gas companies and the agency that regulates them are so pervasive that a year after new ethics rules took effect, as many as a third of inspectors in some Gulf of Mexico offices have been disqualified to avoid potential conflicts of interest.

That makes it difficult to hire knowledgeable and independent regulators in a region where oil and gas interests are deeply intertwined in the economy and culture, and where expertise and training needed to do the job often is found in the private sector.

Documents obtained by The Associated Press show that about 1 of every 5 employees of 109 involved in inspections in the Gulf has been recused from some duties because of the risk of coming into contact with a family member or friend working for a company the inspector regulates. Ten people hired since mid-August 2008 were barred for two years from performing work where they could be in a position of policing their previous employer – a company or contractor operating offshore.

17 Ohio health care question cleared for fall ballot

By ANDY BROWNFIELD, Associated Press

4 hrs ago

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – Voters will get the chance to decide whether Ohio can opt out of the national health care overhaul after the state’s top election official said Tuesday that opponents of the federal law have enough signatures to put a constitutional amendment on the Nov. 8 ballot.

Secretary of State Jon Husted determined that supporters of the amendment, which would prohibit Ohio from participating in the federal Affordable Care Act, had gathered 427,000 valid signatures. They had submitted more than 546,000 and needed roughly 358,000 of them validated to make it on to the ballot.

The amendment will find itself on the ballot alongside a measure to repeal a contentious new collective bargaining law. Advocates expect that the two measures will drive people to the polls, which are typically under-visited in off-year elections.

18 Perry’s Texas has jobs, also good luck

By PAUL J. WEBER, Associated Press

1 hr 56 mins ago

SAN ANTONIO (AP) – In Vernon, Calif., billboards and radio ads bought by the city in suburban Los Angeles portray Texas Gov. Rick Perry as some kind of unstoppable, job-lassoing marauder – an image Perry himself would no doubt embrace if he decided to run for president.

“This just in,” begin the radio spots, which started airing in June, “Texas Gov. Rick Perry is urging Vernon’s 1,800 employers to move their 55,000-plus jobs from California to Texas.” Beneath the voiceover, an emergency siren wails.

When it comes to attracting jobs, are Perry and Texas really such a force to be reckoned with?

19 Deal or no deal? US downgrade looking likely

By MATTHEW CRAFT, AP Business Writer

1 hr 25 mins ago

NEW YORK (AP) – Could the U.S. lose its top credit rating even if a deal is reached to raise the debt limit?

Market analysts and investors increasingly say yes. The outcome won’t be quite as scary as a default, but financial markets would still take a blow. Mortgage rates could rise. States and cities, already strapped, could find it more difficult to borrow. Stocks could lose their gains for the year.

“At this point, we’re more concerned about the risk of a downgrade than a default,” said Terry Belton, global head of fixed income strategy at JPMorgan Chase. In a conference call with reporters Tuesday, Belton said the loss of the country’s AAA rating may rattle markets, but it’s “better than missing an interest payment.”

20 NFL’s free-agent frenzy: wild times in NFL

By BARRY WILNER, AP Pro Football Writer

1 hr 36 mins ago

The free agency free-for-all has begun, mostly with obscure names from the college ranks.

It will get wilder.

Contract negotiations for free agents and draft picks started Tuesday, with draftees able to sign right away. The big names among veterans – Nnamdi Asomugha, Santonio Holmes, Matt Hasselbeck – can’t sign until Thursday, but their agents are negotiating deals right now.

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