Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

Now with 48 stories.

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 NASA twin spacecraft to map the inner Moon

By Kerry Sheridan, AFP

1 hr 36 mins ago

The US space agency plans to launch two unmanned spacecraft Thursday that will chase each other around the Moon as they use gravity measurements to draw an unprecedented map of its inner workings.

Known as the GRAIL mission, or Gravity Recovery And Interior Laboratory, the satellites will launch together on a single Delta II rocket as early as 8:37 am Thursday (1237 GMT), when the launch window opens.

Researchers hope GRAIL will answer some of the mysteries about the far side of the moon, which humans have never explored, and also shed light on how other rocky planets like Earth, Venus, Mars, and Mercury may have formed.

2 US astronaut shortage ‘poses risks’

By Kerry Sheridan, AFP

5 hrs ago

The United States does not have enough astronauts to meet the changing needs of human spaceflight in the coming years, warned a report Wednesday by a non-profit group that advises on science policy.

The shrinking American astronaut corps poses risks to the US investment in human spaceflight and NASA should take steps to boost the size of its space-flying crew, the National Research Council said in its report.

“Viewed as a supply chain, astronaut selection and training is very sensitive to critical shortfalls,” said committee co-chair Frederick Gregory, former commander of three shuttle missions.

3 Libya’s NTC demands Niger stop Kadhafi crossing border

By Dominique Soguel, AFP

4 hrs ago

Libya’s new leaders were on Wednesday urgently seeking Niger’s help in preventing Moamer Kadhafi, his family or his troops from crossing the border, as the hunt for the fugitive strongman intensified.

New regime forces, meanwhile, were poised to battle loyalist troops still holding out in their remaining strongholds of Bani Walid, southeast of Tripoli, Sabha in the deep south and the coastal city of Sirte, Kadhafi’s hometown.

Kadhafi’s sole remaining media mouthpiece, Mishan al-Juburi, owner of the Syria-based Arrai Oruba television, said the defeated leader was still in Libya, along with his son Seif al-Islam.

4 Libya combs priceless ruins for war damage

By Andrew Beatty, AFP

2 hrs 40 mins ago

Libyan archaeologists are beginning to inspect the country’s priceless historical sites, hoping part of their cultural heritage and economic future has not been ruined by war.

“It is the first time I go there since the war, Kadhafi’s troops were inside and I want to know what happened,” said Fadel Ali Mohammed, Libya’s freshly appointed minister for antiquities.

Setting out from the Tripoli hotel that has become his temporary home, the 62-year-old — a doctor in archaeology and Greek philology — begins the drive west to Sabratha, one of Libya’s most treasured archaeological sites.

5 Syria accused of ‘crimes against humanity’


7 hrs ago

France accused Syria of “crimes against humanity” on Wednesday, as activists said regime forces killed at least 12 people, including nine in a tank-backed raid on the flashpoint city of Homs.

“The Syrian regime has committed crimes against humanity,” French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said during talks in Moscow with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.

“The way it (the Syrian regime) suppressed the popular protests is unacceptable,” he said, expressing hope that Russia would change its stance and back UN condemnation of the crackdown.

6 Police witness charged in Mubarak trial

By Samer al-Atrush, AFP

3 hrs ago

A police officer in court as a witness in ousted president Hosni Mubarak’s trial was charged with giving “false testimony” on Wednesday, following accusations in the Egyptian media of a cover-up.

The chief judge at the trial said he has summoned high-profile witnesses including military ruler Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi to testify behind closed doors for reasons of “national security.”

Prosecutor Mostafa Suleiman said police captain Mohammed Abdel Hakim was charged with giving “false testimony in favour of the accused” in the case over the killing of hundreds of protesters in Egypt’s January-February revolution.

7 Delhi High Court ‘terror’ bomb kills 11

By Abhaya Srivastava, AFP

14 mins ago

A powerful bomb hidden in a briefcase ripped through a crowd outside New Delhi’s High Court on Wednesday, killing 11 people and injuring 76, many of them petitioners waiting for legal hearings.

The device was placed near an entrance gate reception area, where more than 100 people were queueing for passes to the court complex, located in the heart of the Indian capital.

It was the first major attack on Indian soil since triple blasts in Mumbai on July 13 killed 26 people. It has still not been established who carried out those bombings.

8 FAO chief warns of threats to global food security


3 hrs ago

FAO chief Jacques Diouf on Wednesday warned that pressure on the world’s soil resources and land degradation were threatening global food security.

Diouf called for “a renewed international effort to assure sufficient fertile and healthy soils today and for future generations”.

He was speaking at the start of a three-day meeting of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to launch a new Global Soil Partnership for Food Security and Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation.

9 US economy growing at slow pace: Fed report


59 mins ago

The US economy continues to grow slowly, with patches of weaker activity, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday in a report ahead of a key monetary policy meeting this month.

Recent stock market swings and rising economic uncertainty have dampened confidence, the Fed said in its latest Beige Book report.

The report, a collection of anecdotal economic data from the bank’s 12 regional districts, was based on comments taken between mid-July through August 26.

10 Indian outsourcers seek revenues from ‘smart work’

By Penny MacRae, AFP

1 hr 33 mins ago

For advertising executive Govind Nair, working in India’s outsourcing industry for a California telecoms firm means burning the candle at both ends for his customers.

“They try to be considerate. They know there’s a 12-and-a-half-hour time difference between India and San Francisco but we still end up getting up early and going to bed late,” Nair, 30, says.

Such hours are becoming increasingly routine for many young Indian professionals as they liaise with counterparts in the United States and other Western countries on high-end “smart work” projects.

11 Libya sends envoy to Niger, seeking Gaddafi

By Emma Farge and Abdoulaye Massalatchi, Reuters

1 hr 8 mins ago

BENGHAZI, Libya/AGADEZ, Niger (Reuters) – Libya’s new leaders sent envoys to Niger on Wednesday to try to prevent Muammar Gaddafi and his entourage evading justice by fleeing across a desert frontier toward friendly African states.

“We’re asking every country not to accept him. We want these people for justice,” Fathi Baja, the head of political affairs for the National Transitional Council, told Reuters in Benghazi, saying the ousted strongman may be close to the Niger or Algerian borders, waiting for an opportunity to slip across.

“He’s looking for a chance to leave,” Baja said.

12 Italy Senate okays austerity plan, moves to chamber

By James Mackenzie, Reuters

2 hrs 6 mins ago

ROME (Reuters) – The Italian Senate on Wednesday approved the government’s widely criticized austerity program aimed at staving off financial crisis in a vote of confidence called by Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.

The plan, which has been radically overhauled on several occasions under pressure from the European Central Bank and the European Union, now passes to the Chamber of Deputies, where Berlusconi has a slimmer but still stable majority.

It is expected to be definitively approved in the next few days.

13 Analysis: Beleaguered Berlusconi hangs on for now

By James Mackenzie and Francesca Landini, Reuters

2 hrs 1 min ago

ROME (Reuters) – Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s parliamentary majority should allow him to see off the growing army of critics who want to see him gone, leaving his struggling government hanging on, at least for the moment.

The premier, who turns 75 later this month, is in a corner facing scandal, mass street protests, unruly coalition partners, an increasingly disillusioned business establishment and, worst of all, a hostile bond market.

Having entered politics in 1994 pledging to transform Italy with the business acumen he used to build his vast media empire, he now depends on the European Central Bank to buy Italian bonds to stop a 1.9 trillion euro debt pile sliding out of control.

14 German court reins in Berlin on euro crisis

By Noah Barkin, Reuters

6 hrs ago

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s top court handed the country’s parliament a greater say over euro zone bailouts on Wednesday, in a closely-watched ruling that could hamper Berlin’s ability to act swiftly to counter a debt crisis that has plagued the currency bloc for two years.

The Constitutional Court in the southern city of Karlsruhe rejected, as expected, a series of lawsuits aimed at blocking German participation in emergency loan packages. Chancellor Angela Merkel hailed that decision as validation of her much-criticized euro zone policy.

But the court also said her government must get approval from parliament’s budget committee before granting such aid and appeared to rule out more radical solutions floated by Germany’s European partners for solving the crisis, such as joint euro zone bonds.

15 U.S. urges end to Sudan fighting, new clashes break out

By Ulf Laessing, Reuters

1 hr 13 mins ago

KHARTOUM (Reuters) – The United States on Wednesday urged Sudan and armed opposition groups to end fighting in the Blue Nile border state and warned Khartoum the violence was hurting its chances of repairing relations with Washington.

But shortly after U.S. Special Envoy to Sudan, Princeton Lyman, spoke to reporters in Khartoum, Sudanese state media reported new fighting in Blue Nile where 50,000 have fled clashes, according to the United Nations.

The Sudanese army fought with armed groups near Bau south of the state capital Damazin and inflicted “heavy losses” on them, an army spokesman told state news agency SUNA. Several soldiers had been killed and injured.

16 Obama to propose $300 billion jobs package: reports

By Alister Bull, Laura MacInnis, Matt Spetalnick, Joanne Allen, David Morgan, and Jeff Mason, Reuters

3 hrs ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama, facing waning confidence among Americans in his economic stewardship, plans some $300 billion in tax cuts and government spending as part of a job-creating package, U.S. media reported on Tuesday.

The price tag of the proposed package, to be announced by Obama in a nationally televised speech to Congress on Thursday, would be offset by other cuts that the president would outline, CNN reported, citing Democratic sources.

Bloomberg News said the plan would inject more than $300 billion into the economy next year through tax cuts, spending on infrastructure, and aid to state and local governments.

17 Obama jobs speech venue part of election strategy

By Tim Reid and Caren Bohan, Reuters – 9 mins ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s use of a rare joint session of Congress to deliver a jobs speech on Thursday reflects a political strategy to try to blame Republicans for an economy at risk of sliding back into recession.

The choice of venue — the Republican-controlled House of Representatives — is aimed at sending a clear message to voters that if his plan to reduce high unemployment is blocked by Congress, it is Republicans and not the White House standing in the way of job growth.

With unemployment stubbornly high and most Americans unhappy with his handling of the economy, Obama’s speech is part of a 2012 election strategy to shift some of the blame for the struggling economy onto Congress and to portray it as obstructionist.

18 Republicans ask Obama to send Congress trade pacts

By Doug Palmer, Reuters

1 hr 36 mins ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Nearly a dozen Republican senators on Wednesday urged President Barack Obama to quickly send Congress three long-delayed trade deals that they said would help put Americans back to work.

“If the president really cares about jobs, he will send up the agreements immediately,” Senator Rob Portman told reporters, referring to deals with South Korea, Panama and Colombia signed more than four years ago.

With Obama set to outline his ideas for reducing high U.S. unemployment in a speech on Thursday night, Senator Mike Johanns urged the president to announce that he will send the pacts to Congress this week.

19 Analysis: Obama pitch on roads an uphill prospect

By John Crawley, Reuters

2 hrs 12 mins ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama’s call to boost transportation spending will be a hard sell to a divided Congress, which must urgently address near-term infrastructure needs to simply save jobs, not create them.

Obama will promote in a speech on Thursday more robust investment in road and bridge construction as part of a comprehensive agenda to upgrade infrastructure and revive a stalled economy defined by 9.1 percent unemployment.

While he won a 2009 economic stimulus package that included $30 billion for roads and $8 billon for rail, his $50 billion plan for highway, bridge, rail projects went nowhere in 2010 when Congress was controlled by his fellow Democrats.

20 Drilling could add 1 million jobs: Oil-funded study

By Ayesha Rascoe, Reuters

28 mins ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The United States could create more than 1 million jobs by 2030 by expanding offshore drilling, limiting federal regulation of shale gas development and quickly approving a Canadian oil sands pipeline, according to a study commissioned by an oil industry group.

The study’s bottom line would depend on some major policy shifts by President Barack Obama and Congress, and comes ahead of a key speech by Obama on his plan to boost U.S. employment as the country struggles to regain its economic footing.

The study was conducted by consulting firm Wood Mackenzie, and paid for by the American Petroleum Institute, and the findings were released on Wednesday. The consultants found that 1.4 million new jobs could be created through more oil and natural gas development.

21 Analysis: Mortgage cases target people, not just banks

By Jonathan Stempel, Reuters

51 mins ago

NEW YORK (Reuters) – By suing 131 individuals in its effort to recover losses on $200 billion of mortgage debt that went sour, the federal agency overseeing mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac is doing one thing that the government has largely left alone.

It is trying to hold actual people, not just companies, responsible for their roles in the global financial crisis.

The 18 lawsuits by the Federal Housing Finance Agency, including 17 filed last week and one in July, signal a change from prior federal efforts to punish banks and bankers for their roles in the financial crisis.

22 Harrisburg may avoid default; Pa. looks at control

By Edith Honan, Reuters

1 hr 6 mins ago

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A deal by the debt-laden Pennsylvania state capital of Harrisburg appeared on Wednesday to have avoided a default on its September 15 debt payment, an official said.

The Harrisburg Parking Authority plans to refinance its debt in the next week, freeing up money to make an advance lease payment to the city, which Harrisburg would use to make the debt payment as well as to pay city employees, Corky Goldstein, an authority board member said.

Meanwhile, the state legislature is taking steps to set up a receivership to solve the city’s long-term fiscal crisis.

23 Analysis: Exits show how few women make it to CEO in U.S.

By Scott Malone, Reuters

2 hrs 13 mins ago

BOSTON (Reuters) – For advocates of gender equality, this week’s ouster of two of Corporate America’s most powerful women served as a reminder of how little progress U.S. companies have made in promoting women to executive positions.

In particular, Yahoo Inc’s decision to fire Chief Executive Carol Bartz — by phone, no less — pointed out how few women had made it to the top of companies tracked in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index.

That roster dropped to 17, a little more than 3 percent of the total, after Bartz’s exit. The news came late on Tuesday, the same day that Bank of America Corp removed Sallie Krawcheck as head of its global wealth and investment management business.

24 ACLU sues over Florida drug tests for aid applicants

By Michael Peltier, Reuters

22 mins ago

TALLAHASSEE, Florida (Reuters) – A new Florida law that requires low-income parents to pass drug tests before receiving public aid constitutes an illegal search, the American Civil Liberties Union of Florida said Wednesday after suing to block it.

By mandating tests for people who are not suspected of drug use, the law violates the constitutional ban on unreasonable searches and seizures, ACLU representatives and a 35-year-old Navy veteran who refused to take the test said in a conference call with journalists.

“The new law assumes that everyone who needs a little help has a drug problem,” said Luis Lebron, a University of Central Florida accounting student who is the lead plaintiff in the class action lawsuit. “It’s wrong and unfair. It judges a whole group of people on their temporary economic situation.”

25 U.S. food insecurity reduced, but still affects millions: USDA

By Molly O’Toole, Reuters

2 hrs 8 mins ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The percentage of U.S. households where adults sometimes go hungry or are unable to put enough food on the table declined last year, United States Department of Agriculture figures released on Wednesday showed.

In 2010, 5.4 percent, or 6.4 million households, had “very low food security,” defined as a reduction of food intake by at least one household member and a disruption of eating patterns because the household lacked resources for food.

The data was announced in the USDA report, “Household Food Security in the United States in 2010.”

26 Drugs better than stents at preventing 2nd stroke

By Julie Steenhuysen, Reuters

1 hr 12 mins ago

CHICAGO (Reuters) – Inserting an artery-opening device into the brain to improve blood flow and prevent a second stroke likely does more harm than managing high-risk patients with drugs and lifestyle changes, researchers said on Wednesday

Stroke patients in a large study who were treated with drugs and a brain stent had more than twice the rate of strokes and death in the month after surgery compared with those treated with drugs alone, researchers said.

The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, looked to see if adding Stryker Corp’s Wingspan stenting system to medication management improved survival in high-risk patients but found that it did not.

27 Many self-harm patients don’t get psych evaluation

Genevra Pittman, Reuters

1 hr 12 mins ago

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Doctors in the emergency room often don’t evaluate the mental health of patients who’ve cut or otherwise hurt themselves before sending them home, a new study shows.

As many as half of patients who aren’t admitted to the hospital leave without a psychiatric checkup, and an equal proportion of them don’t get follow-up therapy in the next month, researchers found.

Yet those people have higher rates of suicide and are especially vulnerable soon after a self-harm incident, according to researchers led by Dr. Mark Olfson, a psychiatrist at Columbia University in New York.

28 Nutrient powder may fight anemia in kids

By Genevra Pittman, Reuters

1 hr 13 mins ago

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) – Sprinkling a vitamin- and mineral-packed powder onto young kids’ food may help prevent anemia in countries where many people don’t get enough iron, according to a new report.

Kids with the extra nutrients, including iron, zinc and vitamin A, were about 30 percent less likely to be anemic and 50 percent less likely to be iron deficient, researchers found.

Their work sums up data from past studies of anemia and iron deficiency in babies and toddlers who received the vitamin boost compared with those who didn’t.

29 Players revolt over playing in the rain at U.S. Open

By Julian Linden, Reuters

1 hr 22 mins ago

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The U.S. Open was in danger of spilling into a third week after play was suspended for the second day in a row Wednesday due to rain and Rafa Nadal led a player revolt against the “dangerous” conditions.

Attempts by organizers to clear the backlog of matches from Tuesday’s washout were thwarted when New York’s fickle weather turned foul and play was suspended after just 16 minutes because of light rain and mist that made the Flushing Meadows courts slippery.

U.S. Tennis Association (USTA) officials hoped to push ahead with the matches but leading players, including defending men’s champion Nadal, joined forces to tell them they would only go back on when the courts were completely safe.

30 Confusion in Libya over Gadhafi’s whereabouts

By RYAN LUCAS, Associated Press

3 hrs ago

TRIPOLI, Libya (AP) – A Tripoli military official said Wednesday that Moammar Gadhafi is cornered and the days before he is captured or killed are numbered, but another senior defense official contended that Libya’s new rulers have no idea where the fugitive former leader is.

The comments are the latest in a series of conflicting statements on the most pressing question still haunting the North African nation – where is Gadhafi?

The ousted leader, who ruled Libya for nearly 42 years, hasn’t been seen in public for months, and has released only audio messages trying to rally his supporters and lash out at his opponents. He went into hiding after opposition fighters swept into Tripoli on Aug. 21. The former rebels are still battling regime loyalists in three Gadhafi strongholds – Bani Walid, Sabha and Sirte.

31 US says no decision on keeping troops in Iraq

By LARA JAKES, Associated Press

1 hr 18 mins ago

BASRA, Iraq (AP) – The Obama administration favors keeping a smaller military force in Iraq beyond this year than U.S. commanders believe is necessary, officials said Wednesday, although even a relatively tiny U.S. contingent may be too big for White House advisers who are worried about the slumping U.S. economy and the president’s re-election chances.

U.S. officials in Iraq and in Washington said the matter is still under discussion and no decisions have been made.

Two U.S. officials said Wednesday the administration is proposing a residual military force of about 3,000 to continue training Iraqi security forces after Dec. 31, the deadline for all U.S. troops to leave under a security agreement negotiated in 2008. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations; one said the residual force could be as big as 5,000.

32 Obama’s best jobs plan might be status quo

By PAUL WISEMAN, AP Economics Writer

1 hr 41 mins ago

WASHINGTON (AP) – First, do no harm. Economists say the most important part of the jobs plan President Barack Obama will unveil Thursday night is the renewal of two measures already in place – a cut in Social Security taxes and emergency aid for the unemployed.

His new proposals, like spending more for transportation projects and cutting taxes for companies that hire the unemployed, probably wouldn’t add many jobs, they say. Not soon, anyway.

“These are not bold, new, big programs,” says Nariman Behravesh, chief economist with IHS Global Insight. “You put everything together, it’s going to be pretty small.”

33 Top House Republican vows no disaster aid hold-up

By ANDREW TAYLOR, Associated Press

1 hr 21 mins ago

WASHINGTON (AP) – A top Republican said Wednesday that the GOP-controlled House will act quickly on any disaster aid request by President Barack Obama and that help for victims of Hurricane Irene and earlier disasters doesn’t necessarily have to be paid for with spending cuts elsewhere in the budget. The Democratic leader of the Senate said the chamber will soon vote on billions of dollars in disaster aid.

The comments by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid came amid increasing concern that the government’s main disaster aid account is running dangerously low and could run dry before the Sept. 30 end of the budget year. On Tuesday, White House budget director Jacob Lew informed lawmakers that the administration will soon up its request for disaster aid for next year to $6.6 billion and is considering asking for even more money via emergency funding legislation to make sure the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s disaster account doesn’t run out this month.

The welter of disaster-related activity also included action by the Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday to approve $6 billion for FEMA’s disaster fund and another $1 billion for Army Corps of Engineers projects in the wake of massive flooding along the Missouri and Mississippi rivers.

34 2 Texans trade barbs in GOP presidential race

By PHILIP ELLIOTT, Associated Press

3 hrs ago

WASHINGTON (AP) – A Texas-sized rivalry is brewing in the Republican presidential contest.

Texas Rep. Ron Paul is calling Texas Gov. Rick Perry “Al Gore’s Texas cheerleader” for once working to help elect the Democrat. Perry’s team, in turn, is branding Paul a turncoat for once leaving the GOP.

The back-and-forth between two Texans, who never have been particularly close, could spill over into Wednesday’s debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., a memorial to the conservative who counseled fellow Republicans not to speak ill about one another.

35 Perry leaves Texas wildfires, heads to GOP debate

By WILL WEISSERT, Associated Press

1 hr 4 mins ago

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – Gov. Rick Perry left wildfire-ravaged Texas on Wednesday and flew to California to debate his Republican presidential rivals, deciding that the chance to deliver his message to a national audience outweighed any criticism he might receive for not being at the scene of a home-state emergency.

Perry’s move surprised some political experts and appeared to violate a cardinal rule of disaster politics for chief executives. Democrats immediately questioned his judgment. “If Perry stayed at home to work on the fires I don’t think there would be any room for criticism. But this opens it up for his opponents to hit him on this issue,” said Matt Angle, director of the Texas Democratic Trust, which supports Democratic candidates statewide.

But after two-plus days monitoring the firefighting effort and talking to residents evacuated from some of the hardest-hit areas, Perry said he could safely return to the campaign trail. He was scheduled to participate in a televised debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif., Wednesday night, then remain in the West for two days of fundraisers in San Diego, Los Angeles, Fresno and other cities.

36 Firefighters gain ground against Texas wildfire

By APRIL CASTRO, Associated Press

1 hr 32 mins ago

BASTROP, Texas (AP) – Firefighters gained ground Wednesday against one of the most destructive wildfires in Texas history even as the number of homes lost reached almost 800, and an elite search team set out to find any victims in the smoking ruins.

Gov. Rick Perry, meanwhile, resumed his presidential campaign after rushing home over the weekend to deal with the crisis, traveling to California to meet his Republican rivals Wednesday night in his first nationally televised debate.

The blaze has left at least two people dead – their bodies were found on Tuesday – blackened about 45 square miles around Bastrop and cast a haze over Austin, 25 miles to the east, where the air smelled strongly of pine and cedar.

37 Chesapeake CEO takes on anti-drilling ‘extremists’

By MICHAEL RUBINKAM, Associated Press

3 hrs ago

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – The chief executive of one of the top U.S. natural gas producers delivered a blistering rebuke of critics of shale gas drilling on Wednesday, calling them fear-mongering extremists who want Americans to live in a world where “it’s cold, it’s dark and we’re all hungry.”

Speaking at an industry conference in Philadelphia, Chesapeake Energy Corp. CEO Aubrey McClendon said that gas drilling has been done safely for decades using a process called hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.”

Environmental activists say that fracking and the drilling boom it’s created has led to polluted air and tainted groundwater and has made people sick. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is studying the issue.

38 Oil company disappointed in frac sand mining ban


3 hrs ago

RED WING, Minn. (AP) – An official with Windsor Energy Resources Inc., an oil exploration company that wanted to mine a special kind of sand in southeastern Minnesota, expressed disappointment Wednesday about a vote by a county board for a one-year moratorium while it studies the potential environmental, health and financial impacts.

People filled a public hearing room in Red Wing for a meeting Tuesday night that lasted nearly three hours and included public comments from 20 people in support of the moratorium. No one spoke in opposition to the temporary ban, which Goodhue County Commissioner Jim Bryant said will give officials time to assemble an advisory board to study the impact.

“Is this really a good fit for us here?” Bryant said. “Maybe for some. Maybe in some areas but maybe not in other areas.”

39 NY regulators: Marcellus could generate 55K jobs

By MARY ESCH, Associated Press

3 hrs ago

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) – Natural gas production in New York’s part of the Marcellus Shale could bring nearly 25,000 full time drilling-related jobs and more than 29,000 jobs in other parts of the economy, according to an environmental and economic impact study released Wednesday by the Department of Environmental Conservation.

In announcing the study, DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said the agency will propose regulations for high-volume hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” of gas wells in early October. Environmental groups have urged the agency to enact regulations, rather than permitting guidelines, to give the rules the force of law.

The study proposes guidelines to protect the environment, human health and communities from potential harm related to gas production using fracking, which injects wells with millions of gallons of chemically-treated water and sand a mile underground to fracture the shale and release trapped gas.

40 Appeals court hears Florida tuition dispute

By BILL KACZOR, Associated Press

3 hrs ago

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) – An appeals court had some tough questions Wednesday for a lawyer representing former Gov. Bob Graham and others who contend the Board of Governors, not the Legislature, has the authority to set tuition and fees at Florida’s public universities.

The board has that power through a state constitutional amendment that created the panel, Robin Gibson argued to a three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeal. Graham led a citizen initiative that put the amendment on the 2002 ballot.

The Graham group is appealing a circuit judge’s ruling that says the amendment left tuition and fee authority with the Legislature.

41 5 women sue Boy Scouts over 1970s Mont. sex abuse

By MATT VOLZ, Associated Press

3 hrs ago

HELENA, Mont. (AP) – Five women who were sexually abused by a scout leader in the 1970s when they were children in a Montana co-ed program sued the Boy Scouts of America on Wednesday, saying the organization should be held responsible for the man’s actions.

The women, who are now in their 50s, say William H. Leininger Jr. repeatedly raped or molested them under the pretense of demonstrating first-aid techniques in the Explorer Scouts program when they were between the ages of 11 and 15.

“They were raped by their scout leader ostensibly when he was supposed to be helping them with their merit badges,” plaintiffs’ attorney Gilion Dumas said in a news conference announcing the lawsuit.

42 Kids with Bush on 9/11 saw change sweep over him

By MITCH STACY, Associated Press

2 hrs 35 mins ago

SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) – The 16 children who shared modern America’s darkest moment with President George W. Bush are high school seniors now – football players, ROTC members, track athletes, wrestlers and singers.

They remember going over an eight-paragraph story so it would be perfect when they read it to the president on Sept. 11, 2001. They remember how Bush’s face suddenly clouded as his chief of staff, Andrew Card, bent down and whispered to him that the U.S. had been attacked. They remember how Bush pressed on with the reading as best he could before sharing the devastating news with the nation.

“It was like a blank stare. Like he knew something was going on but he didn’t want to make it too bad for us to notice by looking different,” said Lenard Rivers, now a 17-year-old football player at Sarasota High.

43 Oktoberfest in America? Drinks, festivals abound

By EMILY FREDRIX, Associated Press

2 hrs 57 mins ago

For dedicated beer lovers, fall conjures up images of Oktoberfest, and that means steins the size of toddlers, boisterous drinking songs and waitresses in dirndl skirts.

But attending Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany – the biggest beer festival in the world (this year Sept. 17-Oct. 3) – also involves distance, time and expense.

Fortunately for those whose budgets and schedules preclude the trip, there is plenty to do – and drink – in the U.S. during the fall beer festival season. Think of it as Oktoberfest in America. The festivals can be rambunctious parties, where you have to shout to be heard. Or they can be quieter affairs, with the hum of mingling and a focus on the task at hand: drinking beer.

44 Review: Seeking a keyboard that enhances the iPad

By RACHEL METZ, AP Technology Writer

3 hrs ago

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – The great thing about using an iPad is that you can tote around a skinny device instead of lugging your laptop. The bad thing is that the iPad’s virtual keyboard isn’t great for extended typing sessions. It’s fine for dashing off emails, but I wouldn’t use it to type up this article.

Fortunately, a market has sprung up to solve this problem: physical keyboards that work with the iPad, either on their own or as part of iPad cases. I tested four of them, and I wrote this review using one.

These devices all had several things going for them. All were easy to connect with the iPad, either wirelessly via Bluetooth or, in the case of Apple’s physical keyboard, a dock connector. They all had a row of buttons to do such things as control music playback or switch to the home screen.

45 Amid DC’s launch, 2 titles look at war, military

By MATT MOORE, Associated Press

30 mins ago

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Sgt. Rock was a gruff, hard-charging Army soldier who fought his way across Africa and Europe during World War II. Blackhawk was an aerial daredevil who led a team of international aviators fighting Axis powers.

That was then. Now, the characters have been revitalized and given a modern flair more amenable to readers who’ve spent the better part of 10 years exposed to real stories about fighting in Afghanistan and Iraq.

It’s part of DC Comics’ relaunch that this month sees 52 new series focusing on familiar – but decidedly different – characters ranging from Superman to Jonah Hex. Dubbed “The New 52,” the relaunch is part of the 76-year-old publisher’s efforts to stoke new readership.

46 NBA owners, union talk, to meet again Thursday

By BRIAN MAHONEY, AP Basketball Writer

15 mins ago

NEW YORK (AP) – NBA owners and players met for about 5½ hours Wednesday, plan to resume negotiations Thursday, and could even sit down again Friday.

While neither side would say if progress is being made, the frequency of the discussions seems a good sign. They met only twice in the first two months of the lockout that began July 1.

But they went for about six hours last Wednesday, and decided they would go multiple days this week. Both sides said they could even carry over the discussions into a third consecutive day if things go well during Thursday’s session.

47 A start-and-stop day at Flushing Meadows

By EDDIE PELLS, AP National Writer

52 mins ago

NEW YORK (AP) – Rafael Nadal, Andy Roddick and Andy Murray got in about 15 minutes of tennis Wednesday – barely enough to work up a sweat, but more than enough to get into a snit.

Rain washed out some matches for the second straight day at the U.S. Open, creating a logjam in the schedule and a bigger mess in the locker room, where the big-name players questioned the wisdom of putting them out on courts that were still damp thanks to a fine mist that was falling in the morning.

Shortly after they started, play was called, then late in the afternoon, the players were sent home – their fourth-round matches now scheduled to be completed Thursday.

48 Packers, Saints on stage for ‘mini Super Bowl’

By CHRIS JENKINS, AP Sports Writer

3 hrs ago

GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) – Look past the towering rock concert stage that engulfs part of the Lambeau Field parking lot and there’s a pair of massive banners depicting Aaron Rodgers and Drew Brees hanging off the arena across the street.

Hotels will be full. Schools will close early. Coolers will be stocked and grills will be sizzling as a presidential speech goes largely ignored. As Kid Rock warms up for a pregame concert, there will be no doubt that a bigger-than-big game is hitting the NFL’s smallest market.

Rodgers and Brees are the last two Super Bowl MVPs, leading the last two Super Bowl winners into Thursday night’s opener. For the league, it’s a chance to finally put away any lingering resentment from an offseason filled with ugly and tense – and ultimately successful – labor negotiations. For the Saints and Packers, it’s a chance to send an early message that they intend to contend again.

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