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Aug 20 2011

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 25 years on, ‘Graceland’ reigns as world music pioneer

By Michael Mathes, AFP

8 hrs ago

If every generation throws a hero up the pop charts, Paul Simon has been twice anointed, first as a 1960s folk-rock icon, then as world music emissary with “Graceland,” the landmark album he released 25 years ago this month.

Stung by a second failed marriage and looking for a way to boost his flagging career, the singer-songwriter holed up at home on Long Island and was contemplating a new direction when a friend gave him a tape of South African “township jive”.

A smitten Simon ventured to South Africa to catch up with the musicians, spending weeks recording with them as a global movement gelled against the racial segregation system known as apartheid.

2 Afghan forces need help post-pullout: commander

By Katherine Haddon, AFP

16 hrs ago

The commander of NATO’s mission to train Afghanistan’s security forces has warned it will need years of support from foreign powers and the Afghan government to be a long-term success.

Lieutenant-General William Caldwell indicated that several thousand international trainers could be needed to support the mission until at least 2020 in an interview with AFP.

All foreign combat troops will leave Afghanistan by the end of 2014 in a process that started last month and will require the Afghan army and police to play an ever-greater role in fighting the Taliban insurgency.

3 US, Iraq at odds over troop extension

By Dan De Luce, AFP

2 hrs 13 mins ago

US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Friday that Iraq had agreed to keep American troops in the country beyond a 2011 deadline, but Baghdad insisted the issue was still under negotiation.

In an interview with two US newspapers, Panetta said the Iraqis had made up their mind to extend the presence of American troops beyond the year-end withdrawal deadline.

“My view is that they finally did say, ‘Yes,'” Panetta told Stars and Stripes and the Military Times.

4 22 killed as Syria presses crackdown on protest

AFP

5 hrs ago

Syrian forces killed at least 22 protesters as tens of thousands swarmed the streets after Friday prayers, activists said, a day after President Bashar al-Assad pledged that assaults on civilians had ended.

Meanwhile, Russia and Turkey dismissed growing calls led by US President Barack Obama for Assad to quit, offering the embattled Syrian leader rare support despite a damning UN report on his “apparent shoot to kill” policy.

But the European Union was preparing sanctions against Syria’s key oil sector, a European diplomatic source told AFP.

5 Canadian natives try hand at wine-making

By Laurent Vu The, AFP

11 hrs ago

An aboriginal tribe in western Canada’s arid Okanogan Valley is on the cusp of realizing a decades-old dream: becoming North America’s first native winemakers.

On the shores of Lake Osoyoos, near the border between British Columbia and the US state of Washington, the sun is scorching hot, the nights are cool and the soil is dry — perfect conditions for growing wine grapes.

Canadians have been producing Riesling, pinot noir and cabernet varieties here — one of the country’s two main viticulture regions — for 40 years.

6 Canada spurns calls for spending hike

By Michel Comte, AFP

6 hrs ago

Canada’s Finance Minister Jim Flaherty on Friday brushed off opposition calls for increased spending to bolster a shaky economy, vowing instead to “stay the course” and balance the budget.

Canada is “well positioned to face global economic challenges despite renewed uncertainty generated by concerns about the US economic and fiscal situation and the continuing debt problems in Europe,” Flaherty told the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance.

“Canada is the only G7 country to have regained all the output and jobs lost in the global recession,” he said.

7 US men convicted of triple child-slaying set free

By Joseph Krauss, AFP

2 hrs 38 mins ago

Three US men convicted as teenagers of kidnapping, torturing and mutilating three eight-year-old Cub Scouts in May 1993 were set free on Friday after serving nearly 20 years in jail.

The “West Memphis Three” — Damien Echols, Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley — were convicted in a 1994 trial marked by local hysteria over allegations that the grisly killings were part of a Satanic ritual.

The three boys — Steve Branch, Chris Byers, and Michael Moore — were found in a ditch, stripped naked and hog-tied. Byers had bled to death after his penis was cut off and the other two had drowned in the muddy water.

8 Electric chair or injection? Grim choice on US death row

By Guillaume Decamme, AFP

12 hrs ago

Behind a blue curtain, the electric chair patiently waits its turn to take a life, but on this night in a chamber of a Virginia prison, murder convict Jerry Jackson dies by the needle.

“Fifteen days prior to execution, the inmate is asked which execution method he chooses,” explains David Bass at the Greensville Correctional Center.

“He may choose between the electric chair and the lethal injection.” For the most part, Bass says, “they prefer the injection.”

9 Evolution, climate change: Perry not shy on views

By Mira Oberman, AFP

13 hrs ago

Texas governor Rick Perry has said that evolution is a “theory” with “some gaps” — the latest in a string of comments indicating he will not temper his conservative views for his White House bid.

The day before, Perry — who jumped into the race for the 2012 Republican presidential nomination less than a week ago — slammed scientists who he said had “manipulated data” to show that human activity caused global warming.

While his remarks at campaign stops in New Hampshire may win over his party’s base, they may make him a poor candidate to take on Barack Obama, said John Brehm, a political science professor at the University of Chicago.

10 Nine dead in Taliban assault on British Council in Kabul

By Mirwais Harooni, Reuters

2 hrs 25 mins ago

KABUL (Reuters) – Taliban attackers laid siege to a British cultural center in the Afghan capital on Friday, killing at least nine people during an hours-long assault on the 92nd anniversary of Afghanistan’s independence from British rule.

A suicide bomber in car blew himself up in front of the gate of the British Council in Kabul before dawn, and another car packed with explosives detonated moments later while four attackers, three of them men clad in the all-enveloping burqa cloak worn by Afghan women, stormed the compound, police said.

Scores of Afghan and NATO troops surrounded a compound strewn with wooden and metal debris while two helicopters hovered on watch above as the fighting progressed over at least eight hours, interspersed by a total of eight blasts.

11 Libya rebels battle for coastal cities

By Yvonne Bell, Reuters

41 mins ago

ZAWIYAH, Libya (Reuters) – Libyan rebels fought fierce battles in two coastal cities on either side of the capital Tripoli on Friday in a drive to topple Muammar Gaddafi, but met stiff resistance from forces loyal to the long-time leader.

Sustained blasts from rocket-propelled grenades, mortars and anti-aircraft guns rang out in the center of Zawiyah, a city on the coastal highway 50 km (30 miles) west of Tripoli that the rebels entered this week, in a clash that killed at least two.

As they pushed to consolidate control of the city and its strategic oil refinery, rebels in Zawiyah’s central square exchanged heavy fire with Gaddafi forces holed up inside a nearby hospital before driving them out, Reuters witnesses said.

12 Syrian forces kill 20 despite Assad pledge

By Alistair Lyon and Alastair Macdonald, Reuters

7 hrs ago

AMMAN (Reuters) – Syrian forces shot dead 20 protesters on Friday despite a pledge by President Bashar al-Assad that a crackdown was over, activists said as thousands marched across Syria, spurred on by U.S. and European calls for him to step down.

Most of the violence was in the southern province of Deraa where the uprising against Assad erupted in March, triggering a harsh response in which U.N. investigators say Syrian forces may have committed crimes against humanity.

“Bye-bye Bashar; See you in The Hague,” chanted protesters in the central city of Homs, waving their shoes in a gesture of contempt. “We want revenge against Maher and Bashar,” shouted others, referring to the Syria leader and his powerful brother.

13 Murdoch tabloid private eye to reveal hacking orders

By Michael Holden, Reuters

5 hrs ago

LONDON (Reuters) – A private detective jailed for illegally intercepting voicemail messages on behalf of a journalist at one of Rupert Murdoch’s British newspapers has been ordered to reveal who asked him to carry out the phone-hacking.

The demand by London’s High Court will shed further light on how widespread the hacking practice was at the News of the World tabloid and add to the pressure on News International, the British newspaper arm of Murdoch’s News Corp.

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed in 2007 along with the paper’s ex-royal correspondent Clive Goodman for illegally accessing the voicemails of royal aides and five other figures including the model Elle Macpherson.

14 Belgium adds to call for euro bonds, bigger bailout

By Michael Shields and Philip Blenkinsop, Reuters

5 hrs ago

VIENNA/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Pressure on Germany and France to take radical action on the euro zone debt crisis mounted on Friday, as financial markets sagged further and Belgium added its support to calls for the region to issue debt jointly.

Belgian Finance Minister Didier Reynders said the bloc should issue common euro bonds and expand its bailout fund to calm repeated market selloffs of government bonds and bank shares of vulnerable debtor countries.

Germany has led resistance to both proposals. Belgium’s support for bonds promoted by high-debt nations such as Italy and backed by some European Commission officials will not necessarily tip the balance.

15 Wall Street sinks for fourth straight week

By Ashley Lau, Reuters

1 hr 25 mins ago

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Wall Street ended a fourth week of losses on a down note on Friday as most buyers left the market before the weekend on growing fears of another U.S. recession and destabilization in Europe’s financial system.

Investors already reeling from big losses in growth stocks were thumped by a dismal outlook from Hewlett-Packard, which dropped nearly 20 percent, its worst day since the stock-market crash of 1987.

It was the latest discouraging event in a month full of bad surprises ranging from the U.S. credit rating downgrade to a sharp slowdown in world growth. The S&P has lost 13.1 percent so far this month — on track for its worst month since October 2008.

16 Insight: The madness of Wall Street

By Matthew Goldstein, Lauren Tara LaCapra, Jennifer Ablan and Joseph Giannone, Reuters

6 hrs ago

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The best thing to be said of the recent stomach-churning turmoil on Wall Street is that it’s taking place in August, a time of year when many people are lounging at the beach or camping in the woods and not paying attention to stocks.

But for everyone else not on a ‘stockation,’ watching the markets rise and fall like giant ocean swells has been an unnerving experience that some finance professionals worry could reshape investor behavior for months and years to come.

“Everyone felt this was idiotic,” says Susan Kaplan, president of Kaplan Financial Services, referring to last week’s volatility. “Most clients didn’t want to deal with the markets anymore and went back to their summer vacations,” said Kaplan, whose firm manages about $1.3 billion in customer money.

17 HP sinks as investors flee business revamp

By Sinead Carew and Sayantani Ghosh, Reuters

4 hrs ago

NEW YORK/BANGALORE (Reuters) – Shares of Hewlett-Packard slumped by more than 20 percent to a six-year low on Friday as investors wiped about $16 billion off the market value of the world’s biggest PC maker in a resounding rejection of its plan for a major shake-up.

Investors also appeared to lose confidence in Chief Executive Leo Apotheker after a flurry of HP announcements on Thursday including an $11.7 billion acquisition offer, a shuttering of its mobile efforts and the potential spin-off its PC business.

This was on top of disappointing financial guidance for the third quarter in a row. HP may also be risking future PC sales as its customers could flee to rivals like Dell Inc in the uncertainty, one analyst said.

18 20 killed in Syria despite Assad’s pledge to UN

By ZEINA KARAM, Associated Press

4 hrs ago

BEIRUT (AP) – Syrian security forces killed at least 20 protesters Friday despite promises by President Bashar Assad that the military operations against the 5-month-old uprising are over.

The killings, which came as thousands poured into the streets across Syria, suggest the autocratic leader is either unwilling to stop the violence – or not fully in control of his own regime.

Assad, who inherited power from his father in 2000, is facing the most serious international isolation of his rule. On Thursday, the United States and its European allies demanded he step down.

19 Stocks fall as traders worry over weekend

By DANIEL WAGNER, DAVID K. RANDALL, AP Business Writers

47 mins ago

NEW YORK (AP) – A growing belief that the U.S. economy is headed toward recession gave the stock market its fourth straight week of losses.

The anxiety in the market was obvious Friday as the major indexes went from modest gains early in the day to another sharp loss. The Dow Jones industrial average had its 10th move of more than 100 points this month.

“We just don’t know whether we’re going to have a recession,” said John Burke, head of Burke Financial Strategies.

20 FACT CHECK: Recession is culprit in high US debt

By TOM RAUM, Associated Press

1 hr 4 mins ago

WASHINGTON (AP) – It’s the loud and clear consensus of Republicans in Congress and on the presidential campaign trail: Runaway government spending is the problem, not taxes.

But the math isn’t so simple.

The number at the heart of the battle cry of the Republicans and their tea party allies – that federal spending has risen to an alarming 25 percent of the economy – is skewed by recession dynamics.

21 Hewlett-Packard overhaul exposes underdog status

By JORDAN ROBERTSON, AP Technology Writer

1 hr 6 mins ag

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Hewlett-Packard, one of the world’s largest technology companies, finds itself the underdog as it ditches most of its consumer businesses to become more like the well-oiled, corporate-focused machines of rivals IBM and Oracle.

HP will no longer make smartphones and tablet computers and wants to leave the PC business after spending a decade assembling itself into a technology conglomerate by buying such companies as computer maker Compaq Computer for $19 billion in 2002 and smartphone pioneer Palm for $1.8 billion last year.

HP’s stock plunged 20 percent on Friday, a day after the restructuring announcement. That’s a strong signal that investors are doubtful about HP’s ability to thrive without businesses that have helped set it apart from rivals. Even though the PC division that HP wants to sell or spin off is the company’s least profitable, it accounts for nearly a third of revenue.

22 AP: Firms propose trip for protesting Pa. students

By MARK SCOLFORO, Associated Press

1 hr 8 mins ago

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) – Companies involved in employing foreign students who walked off their jobs in protest at a plant that serves the Hershey chocolate manufacturer have developed a plan to send the students on a trip to see some of the United States’ cultural and historical landmarks, although a spokesman for the students reacted coolly to the idea.

Rick Anaya, chief executive of the Council for Educational Travel USA, the nonprofit that helped bring the students to the U.S., said the plan emerged Friday after a two-hour conference call with representatives of the other three companies involved in their employment at a chocolate distribution center just outside Hershey.

“We’re actually doing this on our dime,” Anaya said, including paid time off for the student-workers. “We’re paying for this trip. We’re just fleshing out the details.”

23 Liberals complain about Obama; will it cost votes?

By KEN THOMAS, Associated Press

3 hrs ago

WASHINGTON (AP) – Liberals argue that he caved on the debt ceiling. Unions are upset over his handling of unemployment and labor issues. Hispanics brought the immigration debate directly to his campaign doorstep.

President Barack Obama’s summer of discontent has been marked by rumblings within his Democratic political base over his willingness to fight congressional Republicans and his approach to fixing the economy.

Liberals disappointed with Obama for compromising with the GOP during the debt-ceiling showdown now are calling on him to hold firm against Republicans this fall. They want him to push a bold jobs agenda while drawing a strong line on taxes and protecting Medicare and Social Security.

24 3 men convicted in 1993 Cub Scout slayings go free

By JEANNIE NUSS, Associated Press

1 hr 14 mins ago

JONESBORO, Ark. (AP) – Three men convicted in the nightmarish slayings of three Cub Scouts went free Friday, nearly two decades after they were sent to prison in a case so gruesome it raised suspicions the children had been sacrificed in a Satanic ritual.

Doubts about the evidence against the trio had persisted for years and threatened to force prosecutors to put on a second trial in 2012.

Instead, the so-called West Memphis Three were permitted to plead guilty to murder in exchange for time served, ending a long-running legal battle that had raised questions about DNA and key witnesses – and attracted support from celebrities such as Eddie Vedder.

25 Prosecutors say Clemens should face second trial

By NEDRA PICKLER, Associated Press

33 mins ago

WASHINGTON (AP) – Prosecutors in the Roger Clemens perjury case said Friday they had made an honest mistake in showing jurors inadmissible evidence and that shouldn’t save the baseball star from facing a new trial.

The prosecutors filed arguments disputing Clemens’ position that a second trial would violate his constitutional protection against double jeopardy by making him face the same charges twice.

Clemens had argued the showing of the evidence was a deliberate ploy to invoke a mistrial because the prosecutors’ case was going badly. But the prosecutors say their case remains strong and Clemens wants to “gain an unwarranted windfall from this inadvertent error.”

26 Miami players: Focus is on football, not scandal

By TIM REYNOLDS, AP Sports Writer

5 hrs ago

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (AP) – Two Miami players said Friday they were trying to focus on the coming season and not possible sanctions after a dozen teammates were implicated in a scandal that could alter the future of Hurricanes football,

Center Tyler Horn and running back Mike James were the first Miami players to meet reporters since convicted Ponzi-scheme architect and former university booster Nevin Shapiro claimed that he provided money, prostitutes, cars and gifts to some current and former Hurricanes in a story Yahoo Sports published Tuesday.

The NCAA has been investigating Miami for five months, and the school is bracing for the possibility of stiff penalties at some point.

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