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Sep 04 2011

The Abbreviated Evening Edition

Apologies for lateness and the very abbreviated news. Since this is an American Holiday weekend and many of us are planning family outing, attending barbecues and celebrating Summer’s last big weekend before beaches and pools close, I won’t bore you with too many details. So here are the top stories that, at least I think deserve some attention.

New Orleans braces for Tropical Storm Lee

by Kathy Finn

(Reuters) – New Orleans, devastated by Hurricane Katrina six years ago, faced a new threat on Saturday from Tropical Storm Lee, which was set to challenge the city’s flood defenses with an onslaught of heavy rain.

The storm was expected to bring up to 20 inches of rain to southeast Louisiana over the next few days, including to low-lying New Orleans, the National Hurricane Center said.

Lee’s tidal surge could spur coastal flooding in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama before drenching a large swath of the Southeast and Appalachian regions next week.

 CIA, MI6 helped Gaddafi on dissidents: rights group

by Yvonne Bell

(Reuters) – Documents found in the abandoned Tripoli office of Muammar Gaddafi’s intelligence chief indicate the U.S. and British spy agencies helped the fallen strongman persecute Libyan dissidents, Human Rights Watch said on Saturday.

The documents were uncovered by the human rights activist group in the abandoned offices of Libya’s former spy chief and foreign minister, Moussa Koussa.

Obama ups pressure over transportation

by Allister Bull

(Reuters) – President Barack Obama, under fire over high unemployment, stepped up pressure on Congress on Saturday to pass transportation legislation he said would protect almost 1 million American jobs.

“Allowing this bill to expire would be a disaster for our infrastructure and our economy,” the president said in his weekly radio address, after a monthly employment report showed the economy created no jobs in August.

Regulator sues major banks over subprime bonds

by Margaret Chadbourn

(Reuters) – A regulator sued 17 large banks and financial institutions on Friday over losses on about $200 billion of subprime bonds, which may hamper a broader government settlement of the mortgage mess left over from the housing crisis.

The lawsuits by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, surprised investors, dragging down bank shares and could add billions of dollars of legal costs at perhaps the worst possible time for the industry.

United States loses video game jobs to Quebec

by Liana B. Baker

(Reuters) – Outside, the sun is shining, but it is dark in the production room where more than 150 Ubisoft artists, animators and engineers are racing to finish the latest edition of “Assassin’s Creed,” one of this holiday’s hotly anticipated games.

They are working not from Ubisoft’s headquarters in Paris or California, but in Montreal, Quebec. And they aren’t alone. Quebec has become the preferred place for some of the biggest names in video games to set up shop.

Euro bond would get weakest member’s rating: S&P

(Reuters) – A joint bond issue by euro zone countries would get the weakest member’s rating if the issue was jointly guaranteed, the head of Standard & Poor’s European sovereign ratings said on Saturday.

S&P was not in talks with the European Union about the idea because that would present a potential conflict of interest, Moritz Kraemer, managing director, EMEA sovereign ratings, told a panel discussion at the Alpbach Forum economic.

WikiLeaks Assange wanted U.S. cables released months ago

by Mark Hosenball

(Reuters) – WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange late last year told associates his website’s entire cache of U.S. diplomatic cables “must somehow” be released, according to a written record of the discussion.

The record — notes of a meeting — describes an intense conversation between Assange and other WikiLeaks activists in November at Ellingham Hall, a mansion in eastern England where he has resided since British courts released him on bail pending a decision on a Swedish extradition request for his questioning about sexual misconduct allegations.

Jobs and politics key to unity in anti-Gaddafi ranks

(Reuters) – One young fighter accidentally shoots himself in the foot as others fire wildly in the air, while a truck narrowly misses bystanders as it careers past.

It’s a typical night of celebration for the men who overthrew Muammar Gaddafi.

Disarming the fighters, intoxicated by victory and imbued with a sense of entitlement, will be a big task for Libya’s new leaders, who will have to find the jobs and political representation for the men after months of war.

Greek PM rules out snap polls, protesters are back

by Angeliki Koutantou

(Reuters) – Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou Saturday ruled out snap elections and said his government would succeed in bringing Greece out of the crisis by the end of his term in 2013.

Thousands of demonstrators returned to the central Athens for the first time after the summer to protest against unpopular austerity measures in exchange for more EU/IMF funds on the day the ruling socialist party met to mark its 37th anniversary.

ECB’s Trichet presses Italy on budget targets by Francesca Landini and Stephen Jewkes

(Reuters) – ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet kept up warnings over Italy’s strained public finances Saturday, telling the struggling center-right government it must act quickly to reassure nervous markets.

Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, hit by a renewed bout of scandal this week, has caused growing alarm over the failure of his divided government to pass clear measures to cut back Italy’s 1.9 trillion euro ($2,726 billion) debt mountain.

Travel Picks: Top 10 BBQ spots for Labor Day holiday

(Reuters) – Picking top barbecue spots is a tad dangerous. The emotions connected to hometown recipes run as deeply as their flavors. Nevertheless online travel adviser Cheapflights (www.cheapflights.com) couldn’t resist taking a stab at where to find finger-licking good beef and pork dishes for the Labor Day holiday. Reuters has not endorsed this list  . . . .

Hmmmm. I know a good Jerk Hut in Brooklyn. I have directions and I just might join you. 😉

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