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Aug 18 2011

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 US moral authority undercut by war on terror

By Lachlan Carmichael, AFP

18 hrs ago

The 9/11 attacks prompted an outpouring of international sympathy and support for the United States, but Washington’s subsequent “war on terror” undercut the superpower’s moral authority.

Ten years later, analysts say, America has not fully recovered its standing as a steadfast defender of liberty and fierce protector of the rule of law, handing Osama bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda at least a partial victory.

Critics accused president George W. Bush of riding roughshod over civil liberties, signing off on torture, extraordinary rendition and warrantless surveillance as he waged his “war on terror” no matter what the cost.

2 US recently carried out two air strikes in Iraq: general

AFP

23 hrs ago

US forces carried out two air strikes in June against militants targeting American troops, including one against an Iranian-backed militia, a spokesman for the military mission said Tuesday.

The comments marked the first time the US military had acknowledged calling in air power recently against militants in Iraq, as American troops prepare to withdraw from the country by the end of the year under a security pact.

Confirmation of the air strikes underscored warnings from Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who had vowed in a visit to Baghdad last month that American forces were ready to act unilaterally to hit back at insurgents with Iranian backing.

3 FBI probes threats against Syrians in US: dissidents

By Lachlan Carmichael, AFP

4 hrs ago

The FBI is investigating allegations that Syria is intimidating or threatening dissidents abroad, according to US-based Syrians who say federal agents have questioned them.

Three dissidents who met with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton here two weeks ago told AFP that FBI agents raised concerns about their welfare and asked who might be behind the campaign.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation declined to comment. “We just don?t comment on our investigations,” a spokesperson said.

4 US credit crisis shocks Chinese consumers

By Pascale Trouillaud, AFP

17 hrs ago

Spurred on by state media which have let rip at the “debt-riddled” United States, the Chinese have listened with wide-eyed amazement to tales of American people living well beyond their means.

The US credit crisis has brought to light a fundamental difference between thrifty consumers in China — the largest foreign holder of US debt — and their credit-loving US counterparts.

After Standard & Poor’s downgraded Washington’s top notch credit rating this month, some Chinese have shown scorn for Americans they see as spending money before they earn it.

5 Iowa no easy harvest for Obama in 2012

By Stephen Collinson, AFP

19 hrs ago

Once, Iowa highlighted Barack Obama’s soaring potential, but now the fabled swing state is a lens for his liabilities and challenges as he begins to ask voters for a second term in the White House.

Obama and the first-in-the-nation nominating state that set a rookie senator on the road to the presidency in 2008 will be forever be linked in US election lore.

But Iowa’s cooling affections for the president reflect how different his 2012 reelection bid will be amid economic malaise and a Republican barrage.

6 Obama to outline jobs, deficit plan in September

By Stephen Collinson, AFP

5 hrs ago

US President Barack Obama will launch a two-pronged plan to create jobs and trim the deficit in a September counter-attack against Republicans he accuses of derailing the recovery.

Obama will lay out the initiative in a major speech as soon as lawmakers return to Washington after the Labor Day holiday, seeking to reignite growth, cut high unemployment and ease his own precarious political plight.

A senior Obama aide said one plan includes a commitment for deficit reduction that goes beyond a $1.5 trillion mandate of a congressional super committee tasked with cutting spending.

7 Vatican releases confidential papers on abuse case

AFP

1 hr 30 mins ago

The Vatican on Wednesday took the unprecedented decision to release confidential files about an abuse case in the United States in an attempt to defend itself against accusations of a cover-up.

The documents are a response to a high-profile lawsuit revolving around the sovereign immunity status of the Vatican in relation to the case of a now-deceased priest, Father Andrew Ronan, in the US state of Oregon.

The unnamed plaintiff said he was abused by Ronan in 1965 when he was 17.

8 US approves new drug against skin cancer

By Kerry Sheridan, AFP

2 hrs 43 mins ago

A breakthrough drug that could extend survival in some patients with advanced skin cancer was approved on Wednesday by US regulators, offering the first new treatment for melanoma in 13 years.

Zelboraf was given the nod by the US Food and Drug Administration more than two months early, after a global clinical trial showed it could work better than chemotherapy by targeting a gene mutation found in about half of patients.

While the drug, made by Genentech, a US subsidiary of the Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche, is far from a cure for people with metastatic melanoma, its approval was hailed as “a really big deal” by research advocates.

9 Libya rebels battle for refineries in east and west

By Michael Georgy, Reuters

58 mins ago

ZAWIYAH, Libya (Reuters) – Rebels to the west and east of Libya’s increasingly isolated capital fought forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi Wednesday for control of oil facilities vital to winning the six-month-old civil war.

In Zawiyah, 50 km (30 miles) west of Tripoli, they assaulted a coastal oil refinery to try to drive the last Gaddafi forces out and tighten their noose around the capital.

A rebel spokesman said a pipeline to Tripoli was cut. There was no word on the outcome of their assault after nightfall.

10 India protests swell as Anna Hazare fasts

By Arup Roychoudhury and Matthias Williams, Reuters

7 mins ago

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Protests swelled across India Wednesday in support of a self-styled Gandhian anti-corruption campaigner fasting to the death in jail, with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s struggling government at a loss over how to end the standoff.

Singh, 78, who is widely criticized as out of touch, dismissed the fast by Anna Hazare as “totally misconceived,” sparking outrage as lawmakers cried “shame.”

“It is a wake-up call for all of us unless we put our house in order. The people of this country are becoming restless,” said Arun Jaitley, a leader of the opposition Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party.

11 New evidence points to cover-up at Murdoch tabloid

By Kate Holton and Georgina Prodhan, Reuters

2 hrs 48 mins ago

LONDON (Reuters) – New evidence of hacking at Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World points to a four-year cover-up by the company, and intensifies focus on Prime Minister David Cameron’s judgment in hiring an ex-editor who may now face criminal prosecution.

A letter written in 2007 by ex-royal reporter Clive Goodman says former editor Andy Coulson, who went on to become Cameron’s spokesman, banned talk in editorial meetings of phone-hacking but not the practice itself, which Goodman said was common.

If true, Goodman’s allegations would mean that Coulson lied not only to Britain’s parliament but also under oath as a witness in a 2010 criminal trial, when he repeatedly denied that there was a culture of phone-hacking at the News of the World.

12 Britain’s tough justice alarms campaigners

By Mohammed Abbas, Reuters

2 hrs 40 mins ago

LONDON (Reuters) – Tough prison sentences such as four years for trying to organize a riot via Facebook have triggered alarm in Britain that the government’s crackdown over last week’s unrest may be too harsh.

Britain’s Conservative Party, which leads a coalition government, has promised tough action following four nights of violence in London and other cities to mend what it has described as Britain’s broken society.

Civil liberties groups, legal experts and some politicians however say that disproportionate sentencing could only fuel a sense of injustice.

13 Merkel and Sarkozy offer no miracle cure for euro

By Noah Barkin, Reuters

4 hrs ago

BERLIN (Reuters) – New Franco-German proposals to boost fiscal convergence in the euro zone got a cool response from other member states on Wednesday and failed to convince investors the bloc’s debt crisis was closer to being solved.

Traditional German ally Austria criticised plans announced by Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Tuesday to move toward an “economic government” in which euro states agree to give up sovereignty over economic policy.

And Ireland reacted skeptically to a pledge by Berlin and Paris to press ahead with a harmonization of their corporate tax rates in hopes that other euro members would follow suit.

14 U.S. stocks falter, Treasuries, Swiss franc gain

By Herbert Lash, Reuters

55 mins ago

NEW YORK (Reuters) – World equities faltered on Wednesday, pulled down by a fall in U.S. technology stocks and resurgent skittishness after Swiss measures to halt the franc’s rise frustrated investors seeking harsher steps.

The turn in sentiment was marked by a sharp reversal in the U.S. Treasury market, where prices for the benchmark 10-year note shot up, pushing its yield down to 2.17 percent. Gold pared early gains but signs of rising inflation and a lack of solution to the euro zone debt crisis underpinned bullion.

The U.S. dollar, meanwhile, dropped across the board, hurt by sharp losses versus the franc, which strengthened even after the Swiss National Bank announced a series of measures to halt the currency’s steady appreciation.

15 Fed hawks at odds on reasoning for dissents

By Ann Saphir, Reuters

1 hr 13 mins ago

MIDLAND, Texas (Reuters) – Three U.S. Federal Reserve officials on Wednesday offered sharply differing reasons for opposing the Fed’s move to freeze interest rates for two years, suggesting there is no unified revolt within Fed ranks over policy.

Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher, speaking for the first time since he and two others dissented last week on the U.S. central bank’s promise to keep interest rates near zero for the next two years, said his main worry was not the possibility that easy monetary policy could send prices spiraling higher.

“I believe what is restraining our economy is not monetary policy but fiscal misfeasance in Washington,” Fisher, known as an inflation hawk, told a community forum in Midland, Texas. Businesses “simply cannot budget or manage for the uncertainty of fiscal and regulatory policy.”

16 Wholesale prices boosted by tobacco and trucks

By Lucia Mutikani, Reuters

1 hr 1 min ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. wholesale prices outside of food and fuel rose at the fastest pace in six months in July as costs for tobacco and light trucks jumped, but weak consumer demand was seen keeping inflation in check at the factory gate.

Both producer and consumer inflation rose earlier this year as food and energy prices rose as revolutions in the Middle East pushed up oil prices, but underlying or core inflation, excluding food and energy costs, remained subdued.

The Federal Reserve, which focuses on core inflation trends, last week promised to keep interest rates near zero for the next two years to stimulate growth, saying the outlook for inflation over the medium-term was subdued.

17 Exclusive: Lehman shelves asset management plan

By Caroline Humer, Reuters

50 mins ago

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc will not turn its asset management unit into a long-term business after creditors of the bankrupt investment bank objected.

LAMCO, or the Legacy Asset Management Co, instead will continue on its path to liquidate Lehman assets over the next few years to pay back creditors, and no longer will look for a partner to manage the business, Chief Executive Bryan Marsal said.

“Under the current governance, as long as it is in bankruptcy, a LAMCO partnership will not be pursued,” said Marsal, who is overseeing the world’s biggest bankruptcy.

18 Obama to unveil economic plan in September speech

By Alister Bull, Reuters

1 hr 58 mins ago

ATKINSON, Ill (Reuters) – President Barack Obama said on Wednesday he will propose a plan in September to jump-start the U.S. economy as he struggles to convince skeptical voters that he has something new to offer.

Obama, with his approval ratings falling, is set to propose short-term measures to boost hiring and call on a congressional panel to deliver more than the $1.5 trillion in savings its members seek by November 23, partly through increased tax revenue.

“When Congress gets back in September, my basic argument to them is this: we should not have to choose between getting our fiscal house in order and jobs and growth. We can’t afford to do just one or the other, we’ve got to do both,” Obama said at a town-hall style meeting in Illinois.

19 Turkey PM compares Syrian leader to Gadhafi

By BASSEM MROUE, Associated Press

2 hrs 18 mins ago

BEIRUT (AP) – Turkey’s prime minister compared Syria’s president to Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi on Wednesday, as Damascus defied international calls to end the crackdown on a 5-month-old uprising.

President Bashar Assad has unleashed tanks, ground troops and snipers in an attempt to retake control in rebellious areas. The military assault has escalated dramatically since the start of the holy month of Ramadan in August, killing hundreds and detaining thousands.

“We made our calls (to Gadhafi) but unfortunately we got no result,” Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday. “The same thing is happening with Syria at the moment.”

20 Obama to lay out new jobs plan in Sept. speech

By BEN FELLER, AP White House Correspondent

2 hrs 24 mins ago

WASHINGTON (AP) – Seeking to jolt the economy, President Barack Obama will propose new ideas to create jobs and help the struggling poor and middle class in a major speech after Labor Day. And then he will try to seize political advantage by spending the fall pressuring Congress to act on his plan.

Obama’s plan is likely to contain a mix of tax cuts, jobs-boosting construction projects and steps to help the long-term unemployed, a senior administration official told The Associated Press. The official emphasized that Obama’s proposals would be fresh ones, not a rehash of plans he has pitched for many weeks and still supports, like his idea of an “infrastructure bank” to finance construction jobs.

On a related front, Obama will also present a specific plan to cut the staggering national debt and to pay for the cost of his new short-term economic ideas. His version will challenge the new “supercommittee” of Congress to go beyond its goal of $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction.

21 Perry says he doesn’t believe in global warming

By STEVE PEOPLES, Associated Press

26 mins ago

BEDFORD, N.H. (AP) – GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry told New Hampshire voters Wednesday that he does not believe in manmade global warming, calling it a scientific theory that has not been proven.

“I think we’re seeing almost weekly, or even daily, scientists that are coming forward and questioning the original idea that manmade global warming is what is causing the climate to change,” the Texas governor said on the first stop of a two-day trip to the first-in-the-nation primary state.

He said some want billions or trillions of taxpayer dollars spent to address the issue, but he added: “I don’t think from my perspective that I want to be engaged in spending that much money on still a scientific theory that has not been proven and from my perspective is more and more being put into question.”

22 Texas ag losses forecast at record $5.2 billion

By BETSY BLANEY, Associated Press

15 mins ago

LUBBOCK, Texas (AP) – Texas cattle producers could take several years to fully recover from the drought blistering the state, which agriculture officials estimated Wednesday has caused a record $5.2 billion in livestock and crop losses since last fall.

Officials say producers in the nation’s leading cattle state have sent more animals than usual to auction, because there’s nothing for them to graze on. That means fewer animals available to buy down the road, and they’ll cost more because there will be fewer around.

It will also take time before ranchers will have new animals to sell, said Texas AgriLife Extension Service drought specialist Travis Miller.

23 New Noah’s Ark in Ky. aims to prove truth of Bible

By DYLAN T. LOVAN, Associated Press

2 hrs 48 mins ago

HEBRON, Ky. (AP) – Tucked away in a nondescript office park in northern Kentucky, Noah’s followers are rebuilding his ark. The biblical wooden ship built to weather a worldwide flood was 500 feet long and about 80 feet high, according to Answers in Genesis, a Christian ministry devoted to a literal telling of the Old Testament.

This modern ark, to be nestled on a plot of 800 acres of rolling Kentucky farmland, isn’t designed to rescue the world’s creatures from a coming deluge. It’s to tell the world that the Bible’s legendary flood story was not a fable, but a part of human history.

“The message here is, God’s word is true,” said Mike Zovath, project manager of the ark. “There’s a lot of doubt: ‘Could Noah have built a boat this big, could he have put all the animals on the boat?’ Those are questions people all over the country ask.”

24 Hackers gain access to transit police union site

By PAUL ELIAS, Associated Press

17 mins ago

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Hackers launched another online attack Wednesday against a California transit agency that found itself in the middle of a debate about free speech after it turned off cell phone service in its stations last week to thwart a potential protest.

This time, hackers gained access to the website of the union that represents Bay Area Rapid Transit police and posted personal information on more than 100 officers.

The officers’ home and email addresses were leaked along with their passwords.

25 NCAA: We’ve been investigating Miami for 5 months

By STEVEN WINE, AP Sports Writer

36 mins ago

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) – The NCAA said Wednesday it has been investigating the relationship between a convicted Ponzi scheme artist and the University of Miami for five months, and the allegations – if true – show the need for “serious and fundamental change” in college sports.

Former booster Nevin Shapiro, now serving 20 years in federal prison, claims he treated players with sex parties, nightclub outings, cars and other gifts. Shapiro told Yahoo Sports he provided improper benefits to 72 football players and other athletes at Miami from 2002 to 2010.

“If the assertions are true, the alleged conduct at the University of Miami is an illustration of the need for serious and fundamental change in many critical aspects of college sports,” NCAA president Mark Emmert said in a statement.

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