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Aug 13 2011

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Hamas announces ‘deal’ with US on aid to Gaza

AFP

5 hrs ago

The Palestinian movement Hamas and the US Agency for International Development have reached a compromise to maintain the flow of aid, a senior Hamas official said Saturday.

“We’ve reached a compromise with USAID through the United Nations” to allow the continuation of aid, which was suspended by Washington on Friday, the official of the Islamist movement controlling the Palestinian enclave told AFP.

Hamas, as a result of the agreement, renounces for a “three-month period” its demand to verify the accounts of NGOs financed by the US Agency for International Development in the Palestinian territories, he said.

2 Gunmen kidnap American in Pakistan

By Arif Ali, AFP

2 hrs 57 mins ago

An American aid expert was kidnapped at gunpoint from his house in the Pakistani city of Lahore on Saturday after gunmen stormed through the back door and overpowered his guards, police said.

The US embassy said the man, who police said was in his 60s, had been identified as Warren Weinstein and that he works for a private company.

He was snatched at dawn in the upmarket neighbourhood of Model Town, just two days before he was due to return to the United States after more than four years in the deeply conservative nuclear-armed Muslim country of 167 million.

3 US officials slam report on Pakistan drone war dead

AFP

21 hrs ago

US officials on Friday strongly rejected allegations in an independent study that a covert drone war in Pakistan has killed large numbers of civilians, saying the numbers are “way off the mark.”

US officials slammed the London-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism report’s finding that there had been many more CIA attacks on alleged militant targets and far more civilian deaths than previously reported.

The report said that bombing raids by unmanned aircraft, designed to target Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants, had killed up to 168 children in Pakistan over the last seven years.

4 Obama, world leaders want Syria violence to end now

AFP

34 mins ago

US President Barack Obama joined key British and Saudi allies Saturday in demanding that the Syrian regime “immediately” halt its brutal crackdown on protesters.

During a telephone conversation, Obama and Saudi King Abdullah expressed their “shared, deep concerns about the Syrian government’s use of violence against its citizens,” the White House said in a statement.

“They agreed that the Syrian regime’s brutal campaign of violence against the Syrian people must end immediately.”

5 US court deals blow to Obama health care law

By Stephen Collinson, AFP

11 hrs ago

A US court has dealt a new blow to the health care reform law seen as President Barack Obama’s proudest domestic achievement, declaring its centerpiece provision unconstitutional.

The Eleventh Circuit appeals court, based in Atlanta, ruled Friday that the law’s individual mandate, which requires everyone to own health insurance in America’s mostly private system or pay a penalty, exceeded Congress’s powers.

But the court ruled that the remainder of the health care law, which extended coverage to an extra 32 million people and was a long-held dream of Democrats, was within the bounds of the Constitution.

6 Rick Perry announces his 2012 White House bid

By Matt Tomsic, AFP

43 mins ago

Texas Governor Rick Perry plunged headlong into the 2012 White House race Saturday, pledging to get Americans working again and slamming Barack Obama as a failed president who has heaped “economic disaster” on America.

In his announcement — first online and then minutes later in a speech before hundreds of supporters and conservative conference attendees in South Carolina — Perry said he would issue a “pink slip” to the present occupiers of the White House, who have “prolonged our national misery, not alleviated it.”

“We cannot afford four more years of this rudderless leadership,” Perry said, citing Obama’s inability to bring bitterly divided US lawmakers together over a debt-ceiling deal in time to avoid the country’s first ever credit rating downgrade.

7 Syrian forces kill 3 as tanks enter coastal city

By Dominic Evans, Reuters

55 mins ago

BEIRUT (Reuters) – Syrian troops killed three people as tanks swept into a coastal city on Saturday, activists said, in a crackdown on protests against President Bashar al-Assad which drew criticism from an international Muslim group.

The 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation, adding its voice to growing Arab pressure on Assad, called for an immediate halt to the military campaign against protesters which activists say has killed 1,700 civilians in five months.

U.S. President Barack Obama and Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah repeated their calls for the crackdown to stop.

8 Gaddafi forces, rebels fight over Zawiyah

By Martin Veal and Missy Ryan, Reuters

38 mins ago

NEAR ZAWIYAH/TRIPOLI, Libya, Aug 13 (Reuters) – Libyan government forces and rebels clashed around the western town of Zawiyah on Saturday as the insurgents tried to push closer to the capital Tripoli.

Reporters heard gunfire and skirmishing in the coastal town, about 30 miles west of Tripoli. The highway from the capital to the Tunisian border was blocked there.

The government confirmed fighting in the area but said a rebel attempt to capture Zawiyah had been beaten back.

9 American man kidnapped by assailants in Pakistan

By Chris Allbritton, Mubasher Bukhari and Augustine Anthony, and David Lawder in Washington, Reuters

3 hrs ago

LAHORE, Pakistan (Reuters) – Several assailants broke into a house in Pakistan’s eastern city of Lahore in the pre-dawn hours Saturday, overcame security guards and kidnapped a U.S. man identified as an international development expert, police said.

In Washington, a U.S. State Department spokeswoman identified the man as Warren Weinstein.

Weinstein has been identified as working for J.E. Austin & Associates, an Arlington, Virginia-based consulting firm, on a development project in lawless tribal areas where Pakistani troops have been battling Islamist insurgents for years.

10 Berlin mayor criticizes nostalgia for Berlin Wall

By Erik Kirschbaum, Reuters

6 hrs ago

BERLIN (Reuters) – Berlin’s mayor said on Saturday he was appalled that some Germans were nostalgic for the Berlin Wall and supported a newly fashionable leftist view that there were legitimate reasons for building it in 1961.

At a somber ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of the Berlin Wall’s construction, Mayor Klaus Wowereit, Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Christian Wulff paid tribute to the 136 people killed trying to get over the Wall to West Berlin.

Wowereit said the Wall, toppled in 1989, should serve as a reminder of freedom and democracy around the world. Church bells peeled while trains and traffic came to a standstill at noon across Berlin for a moment of silence for the victims.

11 UK government says must tackle social problems after riots

By Avril Ormsby, Reuters

4 hrs ago

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain needs to tackle deep-seated social problems following riots and looting in English cities this week, the center-right government said on Saturday, and a U.S. street crime expert it has brought in said arrests alone would not solve the problem.

“There are communities that have just been left behind by the rest of the country. There are communities that are cut-off from the economic life-blood of the rest of the country,” Finance Minister George Osborne said.

Prime Minister David Cameron, criticized by some in his Conservative party as being too liberal on crime and punishment, has taken a hard line on rioting in statements this week after returning from his summer holiday and recalling parliament.

12 Italy calls for euro bonds, UK backs fiscal union

By James Mackenzie, Reuters

52 mins ago

ROME (Reuters) – Italian Economy Minister Giulio Tremonti stepped up calls for a more coordinated response to the euro zone debt crisis, including the creation of euro bonds, ahead of a crucial Franco-German summit next week.

Tremonti returned to proposals for jointly-issued bonds that would effectively make individual governments’ debt a common burden, saying they were the “master solution” to the euro zone debt crisis.

“We would not have arrived where we are if we had had the euro bond,” he said on Saturday.

13 Republicans compete in Iowa as Perry jumps in

By John Whitesides, Reuters

12 mins ago

AMES, Iowa (Reuters) – Six Republican presidential hopefuls competed on Saturday in the Iowa straw poll, an unofficial test of campaign strength, as Texas Governor Rick Perry formally launched a White House run that could reshape the 2012 race.

Voters swarmed the straw poll site and lined up early to cast a ballot in the nonbinding mock election that traditionally winnows the Republican field of poor performers and boosts those who do better than expected.

Perry issued a statement formally declaring his candidacy ahead of a speech to a gathering of conservatives in South Carolina, another state with an early nominating contest.

14 Rick Perry launches presidential bid

By Harriet McLeod, Reuters

1 hr 4 mins ago

CHARLESTON, South Carolina (Reuters) – Rick Perry, the conservative governor of Texas, declared himself a candidate for president on Saturday, shaking up the race for the Republican nomination to face Democratic President Barack Obama in 2012.

Perry made the announcement in a statement issued shortly before he was to address a gathering of conservatives in South Carolina to launch his campaign.

“It is time to get America working again,” Perry said in the statement. “That’s why with the support of my family and an unwavering belief in the goodness of America, I declare to you today my candidacy for president of the United States.”

15 Analysis: Glimmers of hope for deficit-cutting panel

By Donna Smith and Richard Cowan, Reuters

13 hrs ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Having said no to taxes for months, Republicans now are saying maybe, in the face of public disgust over a deadlock in the Congress, a near government default and a worsening global economic crisis.

Prompting some hope for a return to fiscal order are the statements and reputations of some of the six Republicans named this week to join with six Democrats on a special committee to end the standoff over the U.S. deficit.

In one of his first interviews after being named to the “Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction,” Representative Dave Camp told Reuters, “I don’t want to rule anything in or out” when the panel starts its work.

16 Established democracies face a summer of despair

By TIM SULLIVAN, Associated Press

1 hr 34 mins ago

The hopes of the Arab Spring have, for some of the world’s most established democracies, given way to a Summer of Despair.

Riots in Britain. Crippling European debt burdens from Greece to Spain. In India, a deluge of corruption scandals that have crippled the world’s largest democracy as it faces widespread malnutrition and a desperate need for land reform.

And let President Barack Obama sum up the recent scene in a United States burdened by a cruel economy, immense debts and often-surreal political bickering that nearly led the nation into default:

“Lord knows we still have a dysfunctional political system in Washington,” he said at a recent fundraiser.

17 Heavy clashes as Libyan rebels enter Zawiya

By KARIN LAUB, Associated Press

5 mins ago

BIR SHAEB, Libya (AP) – Libyan rebels fought their way into the strategic city of Zawiya west of Tripoli on Saturday in their most significant advance in months, battling snipers on rooftops and heavy shelling from Moammar Gadhafi’s forces holding the city.

Zawiya, 30 miles (50 kilometers) from the capital, is a key target for rebels waging a new offensive launched from the mountains in the far west of Libya, an attempt to break the deadlock in combat between the two sides that has held for months in the center and east of the country.

A credible threat from the rebels in the west could strain Gadhafi’s troops, which have been hammered for months by NATO airstrikes. Defending Zawiya is key for the regime but could require bringing in better trained forces who are currently ensuring its hold over its Tripoli stronghold or fighting rebels on fronts further east.

18 Gunmen abduct US man in brazen raid in Pakistan

By K.M. CHAUDHRY, NAHAL TOOSI, Associated Press

17 mins ago

LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) – Gunmen kidnapped an American development expert after tricking his guards and breaking into his house in Pakistan on Saturday, a brazen raid that alarmed aid workers, diplomats and other foreigners who already tread carefully in this country rife with Islamic militancy and anti-U.S. sentiment.

The U.S. Embassy identified the victim as Warren Weinstein. Weinstein is the Pakistan country director for J.E. Austin Associates, a development contractor that has received millions of dollars from the aid arm of the U.S. government, according to a profile on LinkedIn, a networking website.

Police declined to speculate on the motive, and no group immediately claimed responsibility. But kidnappings for ransom are common in Pakistan, with foreigners being occasional targets. Criminal gangs are suspected in most abductions, but Islamic militants, are believed to also use the tactic to raise money.

19 GOP candidates face early test in 2012 campaign

By MIKE GLOVER, PHILIP ELLIOTT, Associated Press

18 mins ago

AMES, Iowa (AP) – Thousands of Iowa Republicans munched on barbecue and mingled with presidential hopefuls on a college campus where they began voting Saturday in the first test to see how the candidates trying to unseat President Barack Obama are faring with the GOP base.

Results from the straw poll in this leadoff caucus state were due out just hours after Texas Gov. Rick Perry entered the race.

“I full well believe I’m going to win,” Perry told South Carolina voters on a conference call about an hour before he kicked off the campaign with a speech in Charleston.

20 Texas Gov. Perry jumps into 2012 Republican race

By BETH FOUHY, JIM DAVENPORT, Associated Press

5 mins ago

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) – Texas Gov. Rick Perry joined the Republican presidential field Saturday and told supporters he would make the federal government “as inconsequential in your lives as I can” by reducing taxes and easing regulations.

Perry announced his plans before an overflow crowd at the conservative RedState Gathering in South Carolina, an important early primary state. His entry came hours before the release of results from a straw poll in Iowa where the crowded field of candidates was competing. Perry’s name wasn’t on the ballot, though it could be written in.

Shortly before the speech, Perry launched a campaign website and held a conference call with state activists. “I full well believe I’m going to win,” he told them.

21 Obama sets sights on rural America to talk jobs

By KEN THOMAS, Associated Press

13 mins ago

WASHINGTON (AP) – Trading Washington’s hot house for states critical to his re-election prospects, President Barack Obama is headed to the Midwest after a summer of discontent over a protracted debt showdown with Republicans and the downgrade in the nation’s credit rating.

Obama’s bus tour, his first as president, begins Monday and will take him to prairie communities in Minnesota and through Iowa and Illinois, with stops in the farmland and rural towns that launched his first White House bid.

The former Illinois senator is expected to tell audiences that he agrees with their frustrations about a dysfunctional federal government.

22 SF transit blocks cellphones to disrupt protest

By TERRY COLLINS, Associated Press

27 mins ago

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – A decision by San Francisco Bay Area transit officials to cut off cell phone service at some of its stations to thwart a planned protest drew angry response Saturday from one transit board member who said she was shocked that officials acted as “this type of censor.”

Bay Area Rapid Transit officials have said they shut down power Thursday evening to cellular towers for stations stretching from downtown to the San Francisco’s airport after learning protesters planned to use mobile devices to coordinate its demonstration.

“I’m just shocked that they didn’t think about the implications of this. We really don’t have the right to be this type of censor,” said Lynette Sweet, who serves on BART board. “In my opinion, we’ve let the actions of a few people affect everybody. And that’s not fair.”

23 Internet war of words breaks out in Miss. killing

By HOLBROOK MOHR, Associated Press

19 mins ago

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) – Authorities call it a hate crime by two white teens against a middle-aged black man, “murder by physically assaulting and purposefully using a 1998 Ford F-250 to run over James Craig Anderson.”

Defense lawyers insist the incident had nothing to do with race. One of the teen’s attorneys said the group was on a beer run that morning, not out looking for a black man to assault, as prosecutors claim.

Regardless of whether race had anything to do with the killing, that’s how it’s being seen by many who live far away from Mississippi’s capital. Stoked in part by security camera footage showing Anderson being run over, people across the country have begun to sound off on social media pages created for and against the defendants, filling them with shrill, often hateful comments.

24 Huge diamond forfeited in Ohio to be auctioned

By LISA CORNWELL, Associated Press

12 mins ago

CINCINNATI (AP) – A large yellow diamond – known as the “Golden Eye” – seized in a federal drug and money-laundering investigation in northeast Ohio is going on the auction block with the minimum starting bid set at $900,000.

The 43.51-carat diamond belonged to a northeast Ohio businessman who was convicted of money laundering and conspiracy. Prosecutors said he tried to sell to an undercover FBI agent the diamond and an estate once owned by boxer Mike Tyson, all for $19.5 million and a boat.

The gem – about an inch long, almost ¾-inch wide and nearly ½-inch deep – was seized in the sting operation and forfeited to the federal government.

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