Aug 08 2011

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 World leaders search for response to US-Euro debt crisis


1 hr 2 mins ago

World leaders searched Sunday for answers to a global debt crisis, hoping to head off a massacre on markets spooked by an unprecedented US rating downgrade and Europe’s swelling malaise.

France and Germany called for full implementation of measures agreed at a eurozone summit in July to safeguard the single currency as markets braced for fresh turmoil this week.

“President (Nicolas) Sarkozy and Chancellor (Angela) Merkel reiterate their commitment to fully implement the decisions taken by the heads of state and government of the euro area and the EU institutions on July 21,” a joint statement said.

2 London braced for further rioting

By James Pheby, AFP

39 mins ago

London police on Sunday maintained an uneasy calm as night fell on the area the day after some of the capital’s worst rioting in years, sparked by the fatal shooting of a local man.

As the sun set Sunday, Scotland Yard reported that youths had vandalised a police car and smashed two windows in Enfield, a suburb three miles north of Tottenham, the area at the centre of the previous night’s disorder.

Additional police resources were deployed in the volatile neighbourhoods on Sunday as the Metropolitan force vowed to avoid a repeat of the earlier scenes of mayhem.

3 In Afghanistan, more and more roadside bombs

By Mathieu Rabechault, AFP

3 hrs ago

The use of roadside bombs in Afghanistan against foreign troops and civilians has reached record highs, with US forces struggling to cut off the flow of Pakistani fertilizer used to build them.

Taliban insurgents battling US and NATO-led forces for nearly a decade are now using a growing number of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) to strike personnel or vehicles along Afghanistan’s dusty roads.

The Pentagon’s Joint IED Defeat Organization (JIEDDO), a specialized body tasked with putting a stop to the use of the often remote-controlled roadside bombs, offered a bleak assessment of the situation now facing foreign forces.

4 Syrian tanks attack northeastern city: activist


14 hrs ago

Syrian army tanks on Sunday launched a pre-dawn assault on Deir Ezzor, the largest city in the country’s northeast, a leading London-based rights activist told AFP.

Tanks entered several areas of the city on the Euphrates river about 450 kilometres (280 miles) from Damascus, and shelling was reported from at least three suburbs, said Syrian Observatory for Human Rights chief Rami Abdel Rahman.

He said about 250 tanks and armoured cars were involved in the offensive, adding: “Shelling has been heard in several areas.”

5 Somali goverment forces warily enter former rebel areas

By Mustafa Haji Abdinur, AFP

3 hrs ago

Somali government forces backed by African Union troops moved cautiously on Sunday into areas of the famine-struck capital abandoned the day before by Shebab rebels, a senior military official said.

A small number of gunmen from the Al-Qaeda affiliated Shebab militia were still in war-torn Mogadishu after their surprise pullout by the bulk of their forces on Saturday morning, with skirmishes breaking out.

“Government troops and the African Union troops moved into several positions, including Mogadishu stadium,” said Yusuf Dhegobadan, a senior government army officer.

6 Asia eyes South America for resources, markets

By Frank Zeller, AFP

1 hr 7 mins ago

When Japanese beverage giant Kirin said this week it would take a large stake in Brazil’s Schincariol, it was the latest example of Asia’s growing thirst for South American markets and resources.

In the same week, China’s JAC Motors said it would invest 900 million dollars in an auto plant in Brazil, a fellow BRIC nation and the continent’s economic powerhouse, lauded widely as a hot investment destination.

China — seeking energy, mineral and food resources worldwide — has overtaken the United States to become Brazil’s largest trading partner and was the biggest investor there last year, injecting about $30 billion.

7 Fresh credit warnings as US lawmakers trade blame

By Joseph Krauss, AFP

31 mins ago

US lawmakers traded blame over the country’s first-ever credit rating downgrade on Sunday as Standard and Poor’s warned that the partisan infighting could result in a further demotion.

The ratings agency docked the United States from a sterling AAA to a AA+ rating on Friday largely because of the failure of bitterly divided US leaders to reach a consensus on containing the country’s spiraling debt.

President Barack Obama’s administration closed ranks in the wake of the unprecedented downgrade, announcing on Sunday that Secretary Timothy Geithner would not step down despite calls for his replacement from some Republicans.

8 ECB eyes decision on Italy bond buys to ease debt

By Andreas Framke and Paul Taylor, Reuters

48 mins ago

FRANKFURT/PARIS (Reuters) – The European Central Bank faced a decision on Sunday whether to buy Italian bonds to try to prevent the euro zone debt crisis from widening, while global policymakers conferred on the twin financial crises in Europe and the United States.

After a week that saw $2.5 trillion (1.52 trillion pounds) wiped off world stock markets, political leaders are under searing pressure to reassure investors that Western governments have both the will and ability to reduce their huge and growing public debt loads.

ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet wants the policy-setting Governing Council to take a final decision on buying Italian paper after Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi announced new measures on Friday to speed up deficit reduction and hasten economic reforms, one ECB source said.

9 Dollar to drop on S&P, flows seen to safe assets

By Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss, Reuters

56 mins ago

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The U.S. dollar is likely to take a further beating against the Swiss franc and Japanese yen on Monday, while global stocks could tumble after the United States lost its top-tier credit rating from Standard & Poor’s.

Losses against the euro, however, could be tempered by the euro zone’s escalating debt crisis as officials there discuss ways to reduce borrowing costs for large euro zone economies Spain and Italy.

The dollar’s fall against the safe-haven Swiss franc and yen could be limited by possible intervention by the Bank of Japan and Swiss National Bank to stem their surging currencies.

10 Fears of more violence after worst London riots for years

By Michael Holden and Adrian Croft, Reuters

1 hr 53 mins ago

LONDON (Reuters) – London braced on Sunday for more violence after some of the worst riots in the British capital for years which politicians and police blamed on criminal thugs but residents attributed to local tensions and anger over hardship.

Rioters throwing petrol bombs rampaged overnight through the deprived district of Tottenham in north London, setting police patrol cars, buildings and a double-decker bus on fire.

“There is Twitter conversations that people are being asked to meet again down in Tottenham, so we are all concerned but clearly we will be much better prepared this evening,” Richard Barnes, London’s Deputy Mayor, told BBC TV.

11 NATO investigates deadly Afghan helicopter crash

By Michelle Nichols, Reuters

10 mins ago

KABUL (Reuters) – NATO tried to determine on Sunday if Taliban insurgents had shot down a troop-carrying helicopter in Afghanistan, killing 38 in the largest loss of life suffered by foreign forces in a single incident in 10 years of war.

In a bloody two days for foreign forces, another four NATO troops were killed in two separate attacks on Sunday by insurgents in the country’s violent east and south, the coalition said.

The majority of foreign troops serving in those regions are American, although some French troops are also based in volatile Kapisa province in the east.

12 Parties rachet up blame game post credit downgrade

By Lucia Mutikani, Reuters

2 hrs 26 mins ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. political parties on Sunday traded blame for the country’s loss of its top-tier AAA credit rating from Standard & Poor’s, raising doubts lawmakers can still find a common ground to solve the country’s debt problem.

S&P on Friday cut the long-term U.S. credit rating by one notch to AA-plus on concerns about the government’s budget deficit and rising debt burden, a decision that put Washington’s dysfunctional politics under the spotlight.

“It’s a partial wake up call. I think this is without question, a Tea Party downgrade,” Democratic Senator John Kerry told NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “This is one of the most telling moments in the history of our country right now.”

13 Analysis: FAA showdown on spending presages larger fight

By John Crawley, Reuters

4 hrs ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A deal in Congress to end a two-week standoff over U.S. aviation funding presaged a larger and more acrimonious fight over labor unions, financing air traffic modernization and other issues this fall.

The impasse over a surprising proposal to cut $16 million in government subsidies to airlines that provide service to rural communities was less about aviation and spending, and more about escalating partisan rancor and overhang from the political wildfire on raising the multitrillion-dollar U.S. debt limit.

Industry insiders, lawmakers and aviation officials all expect the divided climate in Washington to define final negotiations on a long-term legislative blueprint for FAA budgeting and aviation priorities, like modernizing the aging air traffic control system.

14 Verizon unions strike after contract talks fail

By Roy Strom, Sinead Carew and Dhanya Skariachan, Reuters

16 mins ago

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Almost half the workers in Verizon Communications wireline telecommunications business went on strike on Sunday as negotiations for a new labor contract failed.

The strike, involving 45,000 workers, is the first walk-out that Verizon, one of the two big U.S. telephone network operators, has faced since 2000, when about 80,000 workers went on strike for about three weeks.

Verizon and two unions — The Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers — had been in talks since late June but were still far apart when their contract expired Saturday night.

15 Buffett unit offers $3.2 billion for Transatlantic

By Ben Berkowitz and Dhanya Skariachan, Reuters

2 hrs 58 mins ago

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A unit of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc made a $3.24 billion buyout offer for Transatlantic Holdings Inc, topping two existing rival bids for the reinsurer.

Transatlantic’s board said on Sunday it would “carefully consider and evaluate” the $52-per-share offer by Berkshire unit National Indemnity Co.

Berkshire has given the reinsurer time until the close of business on Monday, August 8, to make a formal response to the offer.

16 Oracle, other companies "punk’d" in hacking contest

By Jim Finkle, Reuters

8 mins ago

LAS VEGAS (Reuters) – A weekend contest at the world’s largest hacking convention in Las Vegas showed one reason why big corporations seem to be such easy prey for cyber criminals: their workers are poorly trained in security.

Amid a spate of high-profile cyber assaults on targets ranging from Sony Corp to the International Monetary Fund, one would think that many companies would be paying special attention to security these days.

But hackers taking part in the competition on Friday and Saturday found it ridiculously easy in some cases to trick employees at some of the largest U.S. companies to reveal information that can be used in planning cyber attacks against them.

17 European Central Bank confers on Italy crisis


1 hr 48 mins ago

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) – The European Central Bank held an emergency telephone conference Sunday on how to fend off financial collapse in Italy while officials from rich and developing countries looked for ways to stabilize markets when they reopen after the U.S credit-rating downgrade.

The intense activity on an August weekend underscored how heavy levels of government debt on both sides of the Atlantic have rattled financial markets – and sharpened fears that the global recovery from the 2007-2009 financial crisis could be derailed.

A eurozone official told The Associated Press that central bank officials were to discuss possible purchases of Italian government bonds – a risky move but one that could help drive down bond interest yields that are threatening the heavily indebted country’s finances.

18 Economy, not debt rating, will send markets lower


16 mins ago

NEW YORK (AP) – U.S. investors will have their first chance Monday to react to Standard & Poor’s decision to strip the U.S. government of its top credit rating. But the bigger issues facing Wall Street and stock markets worldwide remain debt-ridden countries in Europe and concerns that the global economy is weakening.

The downgrade of U.S. long-term debt from AAA to AA+ wasn’t unexpected and may have little impact on interest rates. But it’s the kind of news that stock markets don’t need when investors are nervous. As a result, financial analysts interviewed Sunday said they expect markets to be volatile this week – and beyond.

That view was echoed by former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, who appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday. “It is very unlikely that isn’t going to take a while to bottom out,” he said of selling in the markets.

19 London police appeal for calm after riots, looting


1 hr 32 mins ago

LONDON (AP) – British authorities appealed for calm a day after rioting, looting and multiple fires tore through a deprived area of north London, with police monitoring social network sites Sunday to prevent a repeat of the violence.

A peaceful protest against a fatal police shooting of a 29-year-old man in London’s Tottenham area degenerated into a Saturday night rampage, with rioters torching a double-decker bus, destroying patrol cars and trashing a shopping mall in the nearby Wood Green district.

Several buildings were also set ablaze. TV footage showed the double-decker bus in a fireball and mounted police charging through the streets trying to restore order. Police said 26 officers received injuries, most if not all apparently minor, and made 55 arrests, including four Sunday. The majority of arrests were for burglary; other offenses included violent disorder, robbery, theft and handling of stolen goods.

20 London police deploy extra officers after rioting


25 mins ago

LONDON (AP) – Police deployed extra officers on London’s streets and monitored social network sites Sunday to prevent a repeat of the rioting, looting and multiple fires in a deprived area amid community anger over a fatal police shooting.

A peaceful protest against the killing of the 29-year-old man in north London’s Tottenham area degenerated into a Saturday night rampage, with rioters torching a double-decker bus, destroying patrol cars and trashing a shopping mall in the nearby Wood Green district.

“We do have extra resources out tonight on duty across the capital,” police commander Christine Jones said. “We are carefully monitoring any intelligence and ensuring we have our resources in the right places. No one wants to see a repeat of the scenes that we witnessed last night in Tottenham.”

21 SEALs on rescue mission killed in Afghan crash


1 hr 27 mins ago

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) – The 30 American service members – most of them elite Navy SEALs – who died when their helicopter was shot down had rushed to help Army Rangers who had come under fire, two U.S. officials said Sunday.

The heavy loss shows that covert tactics carry huge risks despite the huge success of the SEAL mission that killed Osama bin Laden more than three months ago. Some of the SEALs who died Saturday were from the same unit that killed bin Laden, although none of the men took part in that mission.

The U.S.-led coalition plans to rely more on special operations missions as it reduces the overall number of combat troops by the end of 2014.

22 Activists say Syrian troops kill at least 52

By BASSEM MROUE, Associated Press

4 hrs ago

BEIRUT (AP) – Syrian forces intensified their crackdown on an eastern city Sunday as they try to keep the anti-government uprising from escalating during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The assault and similar operations in at least two other towns killed at least 52 people, according to human rights groups, and the toll looked likely to rise.

The worst violence was in the eastern city of Deir el-Zour, where troops stepped up a siege that had already been going on for days. At least 42 people were killed in a raid on the city that began before dawn, said Abdul-Karim Rihawi, the Damascus-based chief of the Syrian Human Rights League and Ammar Qurabi, who heads the National Organization for Human Rights in Syria.

Amateur video posted online by activists showed what it said were parts of Deir el-Zour with the sound of heavy cracks of gunfire and prayers blaring from loudspeakers. Another video showed Syrian troops on a hill as they positioned an anti-aircraft gun. An activist in the city told The Associated Press the military attacked before dawn from four sides and took control of eight neighborhoods.

23 Iraq PM fires electricity minister

By SINAN SALAHEDDIN, Associated Press

40 mins ago

BAGHDAD (AP) – Iraq’s prime minister has fired his electricity minister, who is under investigation for allegations that he failed to follow government guidelines in the signing of $1.7 billion in deals with two foreign companies to build power stations.

The minister Raad Shalal signed the deals in question with the Canadian Alliance for Power Generation Equipment and German firm Maschinebau Halberstadt. The Canadian company was awarded a $1.2 billion contract in July to build 10 power stations with a total capacity of 1,000 megawatts while the German firm won a $500 million contract.

Iraq’s deputy prime minister, Hussain al-Shahristani, said the deals violated government guidelines because the two companies do not meet the financial and technical capabilities to qualify as manufacturers for this type of project. He claimed the two companies presented false documents about their financial status and technical capabilities and the contracts were annulled on Thursday.

24 45K Verizon workers strike after labor talks fail

By DEEPTI HAJELA, Associated Press

1 hr 15 mins ago

NEW YORK (AP) – Stalled contract negotiations led thousands of workers in Verizon Communication Inc.’s wireline division to go on strike Sunday, potentially affect landline operations as well as installation of services like FiOS, its fiber-optic television and Internet lines.

The contract for the 45,000 employees from Massachusetts to Washington, D.C., expired at midnight Saturday with the company and the workers unable to come to terms on issues including health care costs and pensions.

The dispute does not affect the company’s wireless division. Verizon is the nation’s largest wireless carrier.

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