Aug 11 2011

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Taliban who downed US helicopter killed: general

By Dan De Luce, AFP

45 mins ago

Taliban insurgents who shot down a US Chinook helicopter in Afghanistan, leaving 30 American troops dead, have been hunted down and killed in an air strike, a US commander said Wednesday.

But the insurgent leader who was the target of the original operation in which the Americans perished remained at large, said General John Allen, commander of NATO-led forces in Afghanistan.

“Did we get the leader that we were going after in the initial operation? No, we did not,” he told reporters by video link from Kabul.

A Complete.  Abject.  Failure.

How do you become the guy who “ask(s) a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?

But the issue, gentlemen, the issue is Terrorism!, and the question is whether or not we will leave that country to the Terrorists!


2 Assad promises relentless battle against ‘terrorists’


19 hrs ago

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad pledged to pursue a relentless battle against “terrorist groups” he claims are behind pro-democracy protests as the death toll from his crackdown on dissent shot up.

World pressure mounted to end the crackdown that has claimed more than 2,000 lives since mid-March, with condemnations from Egypt, Iraq, Russia and the United States as the Turkish foreign minister handed Assad a stern message from Ankara.

“We will not waver in our pursuit of terrorist groups,” Assad told visiting Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, according to state news agency SANA.

3 Eurozone states get moving after ECB, Fed moves

By William Ickes, AFP

4 hrs ago

Urgent action on the eurozone debt crisis picked up Wednesday with emergency budget talks in Rome and Paris after the ECB laid down terms for shoring up Europe’s single currency.

A new round of stock market free-falls underscored fragile sentiment despite a US Federal Reserve statement that forecast low US credit rates for the next two years.

Central banks have a central role in dealing with the trans-Atlantic debt crises, and it was only after the European Central Bank resumed buying public debt, including Italian and Spanish bonds, that pressure eased on Rome and Madrid.

4 England on top against India in third Test

By Julian Guyer, AFP

2 hrs 25 mins ago

England enjoyed an excellent opening day in the third Test against India as they pursued a win that would see them replace the tourists at the head of the ICC’s Test Championship table.

They closed on 84 without loss in reply to India’s modest first innings 224, a deficit of 140 runs, at Edgbaston here on Wednesday.

England captain Andrew Strauss was 52 not out and fellow left-handed opener Alastair Cook 27 not out in front of a sell-out 25,000 crowd at Warwickshire’s headquarters, redeveloped at a cost of £32 million.

5 Rioting spreads as UK’s Cameron vows crackdown

By Stefano Ambrogi and Angus MacSwan, Reuters

2 hrs 13 mins ago

LONDON (Reuters) – Prime Minister David Cameron said Wednesday “a fightback is under way” to restore law and order to Britain’s streets despite rioting, looting and arson by gangs of youths spreading from London to other cities.

Youths fought running battles with police in the northern cities of Manchester and Liverpool as well as in the Midlands overnight Tuesday.

They smashed shop windows, carted off televisions and designer clothes, and torched buildings as police armed with shields and batons struggled to contain the disturbances.

6 Most Americans say U.S. on wrong track: poll

By Steve Holland, Reuters

43 mins ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Economic fears are weighing heavily on Americans, with a large majority saying the United States is on the wrong track and nearly half believing the worst is yet to come, a Reuters/Ipsos poll said on Wednesday.

The poll reflected growing anxiety about the U.S. economy and frustration with Washington after a narrowly averted government default last week, a credit rating downgrade by Standard & Poor’s, a stock market dive and a stubbornly high 9.1 percent jobless rate.

President Barack Obama was politically bruised in the brutal, weeks-long debt debate, and negative views on the economy are worrisome signs for his 2012 re-election bid.

7 What happened on night of deadly Afghanistan helicopter crash?

By Paul Tait, Reuters

6 hrs ago

KABUL (Reuters) – Late last Friday night, special forces troops from the NATO-led coalition launched an operation to capture a Taliban leader in an inaccessible valley southwest of Kabul.

A few hours later 38 troops — 30 of them Americans — lay dead in a transport helicopter destroyed in the worst single incident suffered by foreign forces in 10 years of war in Afghanistan.

Little, if any, information was available soon after the crash, mainly because “a cone of silence had been ordered from the top,” one senior military official said.

8 NATO-led forces kill Taliban who shot down helicopter

By Phil Stewart and Paul Tait, Reuters

1 hr 37 mins ago

WASHINGTON/KABUL (Reuters) – NATO-led forces killed the Taliban militants responsible for shooting down a U.S. helicopter last weekend but not the insurgent leader targeted in the doomed mission, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan said on Wednesday.

The disclosure by General John Allen came during a briefing on the crash that killed 30 U.S. forces — most of them elite Navy SEALs — in the single deadliest incident for the U.S. military in the Afghan war. Eight Afghans were also killed in the crash in a remote valley southwest of Kabul.

Allen acknowledged that the main Taliban leader sought in the August 6 operation was still at large.

9 Syrian forces kill 15 as U.S. imposes sanctions

By Khaled Yacoub Oweis, Reuters

42 mins ago

AMMAN (Reuters) – Syrian forces killed 15 civilians in the city of Homs on Wednesday, an activists’ group said, despite international calls for President Bashar al-Assad to end a bloody crackdown on protests against his rule.

The United States said the world was watching Syria “in horror” and slapped sanctions on a Syrian bank and mobile phone company. Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, who sent his foreign minister to Damascus on Tuesday to urge an end to the bloodshed, said Syria “is pointing guns at its own people”.

At least 1,700 civilians have been killed since the uprising against Assad’s rule erupted in March, rights groups say. Syria says 500 soldiers and police have died.

10 S&P balks at SEC proposal to reveal rating errors

By Sarah N. Lynch, Reuters

8 hrs ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Standard & Poor’s, whose unprecedented downgrade of U.S. debt triggered a worldwide stocks sell-off, is pushing back against a U.S. government proposal that would require credit raters to disclose “significant errors” in how they calculate their ratings.

S&P, which was accused by the Obama administration of making an error in its calculations leading to Friday’s downgrade, raised concern about the proposed new corrections policy and other issues in an 84-page letter to the Securities and Exchange Commission, dated August 8.

The SEC is weighing sweeping new rules designed to improve the quality of ratings after their poor performance in the financial crisis.

11 Analysis: Is China left holding the credit baby?

By Mike Dolan, Reuters

12 hrs ago

LONDON (Reuters) – August’s dramatic financARIS (Reuters) – French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Wednesday ordered his finance and budget ministers to find new ways to prune the public deficit as markets fretted over the country’s strained finances and banks in the wake of a U.S. debt downgrade.

Shares in French banks — among the most exposed to Italian and other peripheral euro zone government debt — tumbled in afternoon trade as fears about the currency bloc’s debt crisis moved back to the forefront of investor concerns.

Sarkozy, who played a leading role in frantic diplomacy over the weekend aimed at halting two weeks of market turmoil, had earlier summoned his top ministers and central bank chief to emergency talks, interrupting the summer recess.ial shock, which is now both feeding off and risks fueling another economic downturn, may well introduce a third phase of the four-year-old global credit crisis — the infection of the ultimate creditors.

12 France eyes more deficit cuts as ratings eyed

By Marc Angrand and Catherine Bremer, Reuters

57 mins ago

ARIS (Reuters) – French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Wednesday ordered his finance and budget ministers to find new ways to prune the public deficit as markets fretted over the country’s strained finances and banks in the wake of a U.S. debt downgrade.

Shares in French banks — among the most exposed to Italian and other peripheral euro zone government debt — tumbled in afternoon trade as fears about the currency bloc’s debt crisis moved back to the forefront of investor concerns.

Sarkozy, who played a leading role in frantic diplomacy over the weekend aimed at halting two weeks of market turmoil, had earlier summoned his top ministers and central bank chief to emergency talks, interrupting the summer recess.

13 Analysis: Debt deal, downgrade add to view of waning U.S. power

By Arshad Mohammed, Reuters

2 hrs 18 mins ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The narrow U.S. escape from default and its credit downgrade have added to a perception that the United States is in decline, a view that could weaken Washington’s influence abroad.

A debate about whether U.S. power is waning has smoldered since at least the 1970s, when the Vietnam War, the Watergate political crisis, two oil shocks and stagflation combined to raise deep questions about the United States’ strength.

While such assessments are partly subjective, the spectacle of Washington waiting until the last moment last week to raise the debt ceiling and of Standard & Poors’ then taking away its coveted AAA credit rating have buttressed the case of those who argue that U.S. power, in relative terms, is declining.

14 Republican tax hardliners on debt super panel

By Kevin Drawbaugh and Donna Smith, Reuters

2 hrs 25 mins ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republicans named their six members Wednesday to a congressional deficit-reduction super committee, including a favorite of the conservative Tea Party movement and other no-new-taxes hardliners.

In a move that could deadlock the 12-member panel over taxes, but perhaps set the stage for changes later, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell named Tea Party ally Patrick Toomey to the panel with Jon Kyl and Rob Portman.

The panel is known as the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction and was established to find $1.5 trillion in additional budget savings over 10 years, but markets have been looking for signs that it may be able to do more.

15 Stocks plunge as attention returns to weak economy

By STAN CHOE, AP Business Writer

39 mins ago

NEW YORK (AP) – Stocks plunged again Wednesday as investors turned their attention back to the weak economy and Europe’s debt problems. Most of the big gains that followed a Federal Reserve pledge to extend super-low interest rates vanished.

The Dow Jones industrial average fell 429 points, or 3.8 percent, to 10,811 in afternoon trading. The average plummeted more than 300 points within minutes of the opening bell and was down as many as 468 points by late morning. The S&P 500 fell 40, or 3.4 percent, to 1,132, and the Nasdaq fell 77, or 3.1 percent, to 2,405.

On Tuesday, the Dow gained 429 points after the Fed said it planned to keep interest rates extremely low at least through the middle of 2013. It was the first time the Fed announced such a timetable. But the day’s gains were likely just a blip caused by computerized trading based on programs that dictate when to buy or sell, some investors and analysts said.

Make that 520 more or less.  #fuckyouwallstreet.

16 Military killed Taliban who downed US helicopter


28 mins ago

WASHINGTON (AP) – International forces killed the Taliban insurgents responsible for shooting down a U.S. helicopter and killing 38 U.S. and Afghan forces over the weekend, but they are still seeking the top insurgent leader they were going after in Saturday’s mission, the top American commander in Afghanistan said Wednesday.

Marine Corps Gen. John Allen told a Pentagon news conference that an F-16 airstrike Monday took out fewer than 10 insurgents involved in the attack on the Chinook helicopter.

In a separate statement Wednesday, the military said the Monday strike killed Taliban leader Mullah Mohibullah and the insurgent who fired the rocket-propelled grenade at the helicopter. The military said intelligence gained on the ground provided a high degree of confidence that the insurgent who fired the grenade was the person killed. It did not provide further details.

17 Airstrike kills insurgents who downed helicopter


16 mins ago

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) – An airstrike by international forces has killed the Taliban insurgents responsible for the downing of a U.S. helicopter this weekend in which 38 U.S. and Afghan troops died, including the militant who launched the fatal rocket-propelled grenade, the military claimed Wednesday.

The claim of success comes amid fears that as U.S. troops begin to leave Afghanistan, the country is far from stable and remains deadly for those forces who remain. As U.S. troops thin out, special operations forces like those that died in Saturday’s helicopter crash are likely to make up a greater part of the American force in Afghanistan.

F-16 fighter jets killed the insurgents responsible on Monday, according to the top American commander in Afghanistan, Marine Corps Gen. John Allen.

Didja ever notice they won’t let Lolita out on her own anymore?

18 Cameron vows ‘fightback’ as Birmingham seethes


2 hrs 2 mins ago

LONDON (AP) – Britain’s prime minister hammered out a tough line against rioters Wednesday, determined to restore order and confidence on Britain’s streets as extra police officers flooded the capital for a second day.

Even as Prime Minister David Cameron promised not to let a “culture of fear” take hold, tensions flared in Birmingham, where a murder probe was opened after three men were killed in a hit-and-run reportedly as they took to the streets to deter potential rioters.

“We needed a fightback and a fightback is under way,” Cameron said in a somber televised statement outside his Downing Street office after a meeting of the nation’s crisis committee. As if to underline his resolve, he underlined “nothing is off the table” – including water cannon, commonly used in Northern Ireland but never deployed in mainland Britain.

Welcome to the class war.

19 Wisconsin GOP’s stand could reverberate elsewhere

By SCOTT BAUER, Associated Press

10 mins ago

MADISON, Wis. (AP) – A stand by Wisconsin Republicans against a massive effort to oust them from power could reverberate across the country as the battle over union rights and the conservative revolution heads toward the 2012 presidential race.

Democrats succeeded in taking two Wisconsin state Senate seats away from Republican incumbents on Tuesday but fell one short of what they needed to seize majority control of the chamber.

Republicans saw it as a big win for Gov. Scott Walker and an affirmation of his conservative agenda, the hallmark of which has been his successful push to strip most collective bargaining rights from public workers.

Don’t Kid Yourself.

20 Syria claims ‘conspiracy’ to justify crackdown

By ELIZABETH A. KENNEDY, Associated Press

2 hrs 14 mins ago

BEIRUT (AP) – Residents of Hama told of indiscriminate shelling by the army, snipers aiming at civilians and corpses piling up in the streets in the wake of a weeklong military siege of the defiant city.

The government, however, claimed it was ridding the city of “terrorists.”

Having blocked nearly all outside witnesses to the violence, President Bashar Assad is stubbornly insisting that terrorists and thugs – not pro-democracy protesters determined to bring him down – are driving the 5-month-old uprising.

Because you’d never see this in a ‘civilized’ country.

21 AP sources: Giuliani courts top NH operatives


11 mins ago

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) – Rudy Giuliani, who ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2008 but failed to win a single state, is quietly working to hire political operatives in New Hampshire for a possible second White House bid.

Representatives for the former New York mayor have contacted veteran New Hampshire campaign strategists in recent days about joining a Giuliani campaign, according to several people with direct knowledge of the effort. These people spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to disclose the information.

They said Giuliani’s team is concerned that Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s all-but-certain campaign could scoop up the few remaining top operatives in the first-in-the-nation primary state, where a host of candidates already have dozens of people on the payroll. One person described Giuliani’s aides as having a sense of urgency.

Beth gets the short leash too.  Also.

22 ‘Amazing’ therapy destroys leukemia in 3 patients

By STEPHANIE NANO, Associated Press

1 hr 7 mins ago

NEW YORK (AP) – Scientists are reporting the first clear success with a new approach for treating leukemia – turning the patients’ own blood cells into assassins that hunt and destroy their cancer cells.

They’ve only done it in three patients so far, but the results were striking: Two appear cancer-free up to a year after treatment, and the third patient is improved but still has some cancer. Scientists are already preparing to try the same gene therapy technique for other kinds of cancer.

“It worked great. We were surprised it worked as well as it did,” said Dr. Carl June, a gene therapy expert at the University of Pennsylvania. “We’re just a year out now. We need to find out how long these remissions last.”

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