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Sep 18 2011

Evening Edition

Evening Edition is an Open Thread

Now with 37 stories.

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Desperate US consumers turn to ‘extreme couponing’

By Fabienne Faur, AFP

2 hrs 9 mins ago

The humble coupon — which in the past gave consumers a few cents off soap or cereal — has mushroomed into a lifestyle for millions of Americans with its own television programs, websites and trading platforms.

A total of 167 billion coupons were distributed to US consumers in the first six months of 2011, according to the research firm NCH Marketing Services, and the value of redeemed coupons rose 5.3 percent to $2 billion.

But it’s not your grandmother’s Sunday newspaper coupon clipping anymore.

2 Republicans cry ‘class warfare’ over millionaire tax

AFP

1 hr 36 mins ago

Leading Republicans on Sunday spurned as “class warfare” an administration proposal dubbed “the Buffett rule” that would ensure millionaires are taxed at the same rate as the middle class.

President Barack Obama was expected to make the proposal on Monday, picking up on a repeated complaint by billionaire investor Warren Buffett that he pays taxes at a lower rate than his secretary, White House officials said.

“If he’s feeling guilty about it, I think he should send in a check,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told NBC’s “Meet the Press” of Buffett. “But we don’t want to stagnate this economy by raising taxes.

3 UBS revises rogue trading loss upwards to $2.3bn

By Hui Min Neo, AFP

5 hrs ago

Swiss banking giant UBS on Sunday revised losses due to rogue trading upwards to $2.3 billion but the bank’s chief executive insisted he would not resign, saying he bore no guilt.

In its first statement after Thursday morning’s announcement on the rogue trades, the bank revealed that the losses previously estimated at $2 billion arose from unauthorised speculative trading in S&P500, DAX and EuroStoxx index futures.

The true magnitude of the risk exposure had been hidden through “fictitious” positions allegedly executed by the trader, the bank said.

4 China takes over as US solar power firms fail

By Bill Savadove, AFP

2 hrs 39 mins ago

China’s solar power firms are emerging as the industry’s dominant force after the collapse of foreign competitors, but the new market leaders are already struggling with low prices and overcapacity.

As the workshop of the world, China has used cheap labour and state support to build a solar industry from scratch in just over a decade as part of a broader strategy to move up the manufacturing value chain from cheap toys and clothes.

China is the world’s second biggest oil consumer, and polluting fossil fuels account for 90 percent of its total energy use, but the country is making large strides forward in clean energy.

5 Fed debates approach as inflation fears grow

By Paul Handley, AFP

3 hrs ago

A fight looms Tuesday in the US Federal Reserve as policy makers wrestle over whether the threat of inflation should prevent them from feeding more money into the economy to boost jobs.

While one camp on the Federal Open Market Committee is believed to favor a hopefully stimulative economic measure known as “Operation Twist,” a group of vocal dissenters could block that, shouting the alarm that inflation is picking up.

Until data released on Thursday showed a surge in inflation, markets and economists had mostly expected that the FOMC would adopt Operation Twist — a 1961 bond-buying tactic named after the popular rock and roll dance of the time.

6 Greenpeace teaches civil disobedience

By Deborah Jones, AFP

3 hrs ago

Potential activists for Greenpeace learned Saturday how to place U-locks around their necks to attach themselves to objects, erect blockades of linked human bodies and go limp when arrested.

The workshop in civil disobedience was part of a Greenpeace festival held in the city where the global environmental group was launched 40 years ago.

Several hundred people braved cool wet weather for a day of live music, workshops and Zodiac boat rides, as Greenpeace wrapped up its 40th anniversary week.

7 Libya readies new cabinet as Sirte battle rages

By Hassan El-Fekih, AFP

5 hrs ago

Libya’s victorious rebels prepared to unveil a new government on Sunday even as their troops met fierce resistance from loyalists of fugitive strongman Moamer Kadhafi in his last strongholds.

The new regime’s military spokesman, Ahmed Omar Bani, said Kadhafi diehards in his hometown Sirte and the oasis of Bani Walid to its southwest would be defeated in a “matter of days,” despite the intensity of the fighting.

Last-minute haggling, meanwhile, delayed the announcement of the new government line-up, a National Transitional Council official said.

8 Yemen security forces kill 26 protesters: medics

By Hammoud Mounassar, AFP

1 hr 46 mins ago

Yemeni security forces opened fire on anti-regime demonstrators in Sanaa on Sunday, killing at least 26 and wounding hundreds more after lobbing mortar rounds at the home of a powerful dissident tribal chief.

Medics reported 26 dead and 500 wounded by live rounds, batons or after inhaling tear gas.

“Twenty six people were killed tonight,” Tarek Nooman, a doctor in a field hospital in Sanaa’s Change Square, epicentre of the anti-regime protests, told AFP.

9 Bears thrill, but moose rule for Sweden’s hunters

By Igor Gedilaghine, AFP

1 hr 30 mins ago

A dozen hunters huddle together at dawn in a thick evergreen forest deep in Sweden’s northeast, getting their orders as they anxiously await the day’s first kill.

“Today we can shoot moose and bears,” guide Emil Toivonen informs the group he will lead for the day.

It’s 6:00 am, the sun has yet to rise, and wisps of fog float in the brisk air.

10 Genes linked to schizophrenia, bipolar disorder

AFP

2 hrs 57 mins ago

Broad sweeps of the human genome have exposed genetic mutations that boost the risk of the devastating yet baffling diseases of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, according to two studies published Sunday.

The independent studies, each conducted by a consortium of about 200 scientists, also found significant genetic overlap between the debilitating mental disorders.

Schizophrenia patients typically hear voices that are not real, tend toward paranoia and suffer from disorganized speech and thinking. The condition is thought to affect about one percent of adults worldwide.

11 Gritty cops, ‘Mad Men’ knock-offs for new US TV season

By Robert MacPherson, AFP

13 hrs ago

The fall US television season is off and running with gritty new cop shows, stylish 1960s dramas with “Mad Men” overtones and the primetime return of Buffy no longer the vampire slayer.

On the eve of Sunday’s Emmy Awards, few new series have critics swooning — “they’re not as exciting or as ambitious as in the past,” said David Bianculli of tvworthwatching.com and National Public Radio — but some are raising eyebrows.

With heroines in pencil-skirt uniforms and bunny corsets, “Pan Am” and “The Playboy Club” — both rich in retro detail — reach five decades back in time with storylines that riff off on the runaway success of AMC’s “Mad Men.”

12 Libyan forces retreat again as Gaddafi bastions hold

By Mara Golovnina and Alexander Dziadosz, Reuters

1 hr 9 mins ago

BANI WALID/SIRTE, Libya (Reuters) – Libyan interim government forces fled in chaos on Sunday from Bani Walid and pulled back from Sirte after yet more failed attempts to storm Muammar Gaddafi’s final bastions and take control of the entire country.

Sunday’s failed attempt appeared to be among the worst yet, setting off angry recriminations among the attackers who must capture Bani Walid and Gaddafi’s birthplace Sirte before they can declare Libya “liberated”.

Since taking Tripoli last month, National Transitional Council (NTC) fighters have tried several times to storm Bani Walid, 95 miles southeast of the capital Tripoli, only to retreat under heavy fire and in disorder.

13 Confusion hampering charge on Gaddafi desert bastion

By Maria Golovnina, Reuters

1 hr 51 mins ago

BANI WALID (Reuters) – Confused orders, no central command and dissent in the ranks are holding up efforts by Libya’s provisional government to take the Muammar Gaddafi bastion of Bani Walid, fighters said.

On Sunday, ruling National Transitional Council (NTC) forces fled in a chaotic retreat from the town, after failing in another attempt to storm the desert stronghold.

Bani Walid, along with Gaddafi’s hometown of Sirte, and the remote but important town of Sabha, is one of the last places frustrating NTC efforts to take control of the whole country.

14 Post-war Tripoli port back in business, airport ready

By Mohammed al-Ramahi, Reuters

4 hrs ago

TRIPOLI (Reuters) – Tripoli’s port is back to near-normal business less than a month after the ousting of Muammar Gaddafi, authorities said on Sunday, with the Libyan capital’s international airport also ready to operate flights.

As cranes lifted containers and sacks of goods onto the docks, and trucks manoeuvred into position to be loaded, port interim manager Abddel Hakim al-Ghazawi told Reuters the installation was safe and called on insurance companies to reduce fees related to use of the facility.

“Tripoli’s sea port is totally secure. There is nothing that can be an obstacle for the arrival of goods and ships,” he said.

15 Blair met Gaddafi before Lockerbie bomber freed

By Michael Holden, Reuters

7 hrs ago

LONDON (Reuters) – Tony Blair’s spokesman confirmed on Sunday that the former British prime minister had visited Muammar Gaddafi in Libya in the months before the Lockerbie bomber was freed from jail, but insisted there was no impropriety in the contacts.

The Sunday Telegraph said it had found letters and emails which showed Blair, who left office in 2007, had visited Gaddafi in June 2008 and April 2009, once using the then Libyan leader’s jets and bringing along an American billionaire.

The paper said Blair, prime minister for 10 years until 2007, had made no mention of the trips on his websites.

16 At least 26 killed in anti-Saleh march in Yemen

By Erika Solomon, Reuters

58 mins ago

SANAA (Reuters) – At least 26 people were shot dead and hundreds wounded on Sunday when security forces fired on demonstrators who charged police lines in Yemen’s capital Sanaa, in a dramatic escalation of protests against President Ali Abdullah Saleh.

Gunfire and explosions were heard late into the night and protesters vowed to continue demonstrations on Monday morning. A Reuters witness earlier saw security forces fire at protesters from buildings and use water cannon and tear gas to hold back tens of thousands of demonstrators.

Some of the protesters were wielding batons or throwing petrol bombs at police cars.

17 Turkey to freeze EU ties if Cyprus gets EU presidency

By Jonathon Burch, Reuters

3 hrs ago

ANKARA (Reuters) – EU-candidate Turkey will freeze relations with the European Union if Cyprus is given the EU presidency in 2012, Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Besir Atalay was quoted as saying by the state-run news agency Anatolian late on Saturday.

The comments could signal a new low point in ties between the European Union and Turkey which began accession talks to the bloc in 2005.

They also come at a time of heightened tension in the eastern Mediterranean where Turkey is locked in a row with Cyprus over potential offshore gas deposits and Turkey’s relations with one-time ally Israel are frayed.

18 Exclusive: China company structure under threat

By Stephen Aldred and Don Durfee, Reuters

6 hrs ago

HONG KONG/BEIJING (Reuters) – China’s securities regulator is asking the government to clamp down on the controversial corporate structure used by companies such as Sina and Baidu to list overseas, and employed in thousands of other investments by foreigners into domestic Chinese companies, four legal sources told Reuters.

Lawyers at four different firms in China and Hong Kong said they have seen an internal report, dated August 17, said to come from the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) which asks China’s State Council, or cabinet, to take action against the structures known as Variable Interest Entities (VIEs).

The CSRC did not respond to a Reuters request to confirm whether or not the report is genuine. But lawyers say they are taking it seriously and that if the government were to accept the CSRC’s view it could jeopardize the way in which Chinese companies list overseas or receive foreign investment.

19 EU finance ministers take stock of progress on debt crisis

By Jan Strupczewski and Gareth Jones, Reuters

21 hrs ago

WROCLAW, Poland (Reuters) – EU finance ministers broke no new ground in dealing with the euro zone debt crisis in discussions over the weekend, instead absorbing some ideas and rejecting others and taking stock of progress on agreed steps.

Ministers and central bank governors from the 17 countries using the euro and the broader 27-nation European Union met on Friday and Saturday in the Polish city of Wroclaw to discuss Europe’s slowing economic growth and progress in beefing up euro zone defenses against the sovereign debt crisis.

In an unprecedented visit to the informal talks of top EU financial officials, U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner made an appearance in Wroclaw on Friday to urge Germany to provide more fiscal stimulus to the slackening euro zone.

20 Greece braces for more austerity to avert default

By George Georgiopoulos and Dina Kyriakidou, Reuters

2 hrs 50 mins ago

ATHENS (Reuters) – Greece on Sunday pledged to take the tough decisions needed to avoid default but announced no new austerity measures to secure international bailout funds next month.

Prime Minister George Papandreou canceled a visit to the United States to chair a cabinet meeting on Sunday, a day before European Union and International Monetary Fund inspectors hold a conference call with Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos to hear how Greece will plug this year’s budget shortfall.

Venizelos told reporters after the meeting Greece needed to fully meet 2011 and 2012 budget targets, stop generating debt and start producing surpluses next year, but did not outline how these would be achieved.

21 Analysis: Bank woes could stymie France’s recovery

By Daniel Flynn and Jean-Baptiste Vey, Reuters

5 hrs ago

PARIS (Reuters) – A French banking system shaken by a crisis of confidence and hobbled by the need to deleverage and write down assets could choke off credit to consumers and businesses and shatter France’s fragile recovery.

France’s economy was already stuttering, with zero growth in the second quarter, before alarm over its banks’ exposure to Greece and their reliance on short-term wholesale funding battered banking sector share prices and jolted global markets.

Buffeted by a Moody’s downgrade of Societe General and Credit Agricole , and the increasing unwillingness of U.S. money market funds to lend dollars to fund their short-term operations, France’s banking sector now seems set for a period of retrenchment.

22 Bernanke, Europe hold key to rally

By Chuck Mikolajczak, Reuters

5 hrs ago

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Wall Street hopes for more Fed action and clear signs European leaders will follow through on their new urgency to tackle the euro zone debt crisis if U.S. stocks are to build on their best week since early July.

Investors expect the Federal Reserve to take steps to pull down long-term interest rates when policymakers meet on Tuesday and Wednesday to help revive the persistently weak U.S. economy.

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, speaking in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, on August 26, said the Fed’s Open Market Committee would meet for two days in September instead of the scheduled one day to discuss ways to boost the recovery.

23 UBS raises rogue equity trade losses to $2.3 billion

By Emma Thomasson and Silke Koltrowitz, Reuters

3 hrs ago

ZURICH (Reuters) – Swiss bank UBS increased the amount it said it had lost on rogue equity trades to $2.3 billion on Sunday and Chief Executive Oswald Gruebel said the alleged fraud would have consequences for strategy and possibly also for himself.

“It is obvious that these incidents will have an influence on the strategy of the investment bank,” a visibly chastened Gruebel told Swiss television, adding that the firm would present a new strategy for its investment bank soon.

“I will bear all the consequences of the incident. They will be announced as soon as we put them in practice,” he said.

24 Merkel and euroskeptic allies beaten in Berlin

By Erik Kirschbaum and Stephen Brown, Reuters

3 hrs ago

BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s Social Democrats beat Angela Merkel’s conservatives in a regional vote in Berlin on Sunday, handing the chancellor her sixth election defeat this year ahead of a key euro zone vote in parliament in two weeks’ time.

Merkel’s center-right coalition suffered a further setback when their junior coalition partners at the national level, the Free Democrats (FDP), failed to clear the five percent threshold needed to win seats — for the fifth time this year.

The beleaguered FDP, which had attempted to attract voters in Berlin with its increasingly euro-skeptic tactics, plunged to 1.8 percent from 7.6 percent in 2006, preliminary results showed.

25 Obama to propose "Buffett Tax" on millionaires

By Alister Bull, Reuters

4 hrs ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama, in a populist step designed to appeal to voters, will propose a “Buffett Tax” on people making more than $1 million a year as part of his deficit recommendations to Congress on Monday.

Such a proposal, among suggestions to a congressional supercommittee expected to seek up to $3 trillion in deficit savings over 10 years, would appeal to his Democratic base ahead of the 2012 election but may not raise much in revenues.

White House Communications Director Dan Pfeiffer said in a tweet on Saturday the tax would act as “a kind of AMT” (Alternative Minimum Tax) aimed at ensuring millionaires pay a minimum rate of tax that at least matches that of middle-class families.

26 Republicans criticize tax on millionaires idea

By John Whitesides, Reuters

4 hrs ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Republican leaders on Sunday criticized President Barack Obama’s proposal for a new tax on millionaires, calling it “class warfare” and predicting it will face heavy opposition in Congress.

Obama is expected to propose a “Buffett Tax” on Monday on people making more than $1 million a year as part of his recommendations to a congressional super committee seeking long-term deficit savings.

Paul Ryan, chairman of the House of Representatives Budget Committee, and Mitch McConnell, Senate Republican leader, said the proposal would limit growth and hurt corporate investment in an already stagnating economy.

27 Largest dam removal in U.S. history begins in Washington

By Eric Johnson, Reuters

3 hrs ago

PORT ANGELES, Wash (Reuters) – As a child, Adeline Smith, an elder in the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe who grew up along the Elwha River, saw how a hulking concrete dam choked off one of the most prolific salmon runs on earth.

Some 300,000 salmon, some weighing up to 99 pounds, once migrated from the Strait of Juan de Fuca, a Pacific Ocean outlet, into the Elwha River to spawn and die.

“They are killing the fish, and they are taking away from our culture and our eating the fish,” Smith, 94, told Reuters.

28 Sangamo gene therapy shows promise in reducing HIV

By Deena Beasley, Reuters

4 hrs ago

(Reuters) – An early stage trial of Sangamo BioSciences Inc’s HIV treatment found that the gene therapy reduced levels of the virus and even eliminated it in one patient with a naturally occurring gene mutation.

The very small Phase 1 trial tested the SB-728-T gene therapy, which is designed to disrupt the CCR5 gene used by HIV to infect cells of the immune system.

If shown to be safe and effective, the treatment could end the need for the antiretroviral drugs now used to keep the virus that causes AIDS in check by suppressing viral replication in the blood.

29 Frustration, zeal mix in siege of Gadhafi bastion

By HADEEL AL-SHALCHI, Associated Press

3 hrs ago

WADI DINAR, Libya (AP) – The rockets and mortars rained down on the position where the revolutionaries had retreated on the outskirts of the mountainous stronghold of Moammar Gadhafi’s loyalists. So, in a fury, the fighters charged wild and unorganized Sunday back into the city for yet another day of fighting.

Fighters for Libya’s new rulers have been throwing themselves into the battle to take Bani Walid for days with no progress against the old regime loyalists, strongly fortified and bristling with heavy weaponry. The frustration is showing among the amateur revolutionary fighters.

“We expected this kind of resistance from Gadhafi forces, but I thought we could take them on,” said Mohannad Bendalla, a doctor treating wounded fighters at a field hospital set up outside of the city.

30 Yemeni forces open fire on protesters, 26 killed

By AHMED AL-HAJ, Associated Press

4 hrs ago

SANAA, Yemen (AP) – Yemeni government forces opened fire with anti-aircraft guns and automatic weapons on tens of thousands of anti-government protesters in the capital demanding ouster of their longtime ruler, killing at least 26 and wounding dozens, medical officials and witnesses said.

After nightfall, Sanaa sank into complete darkness after a sudden power outage, as protesters took control of a vital bridge, halting traffic and setting up tents. Thousands of other protesters attacked government buildings and set fires to buildings they said were used by snipers and pro-government thugs.

The attack was the deadliest in months against protesters and comes as tensions have been escalating in the long, drawn-out stalemate between the regime and the opposition. The president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, left for Saudi Arabia for treatment after being severely wounded in a June 3 attack on his palace, raising hopes for his swift removal – but instead, he has dug in, refusing to step down.

31 Obama to offer his own deficit reduction package

By JIM KUHNHENN, Associated Press

4 hrs ago

WASHINGTON (AP) – Even as President Barack Obama prepares his opening bid on long-term deficit reduction, the White House wants to keep the focus on jobs and is determined to avoid getting sucked into another budget fight with lawmakers.

Administration officials see the task of attending to deficits as necessary but not necessarily urgent, compared with the need to revive the economy and increase employment.

The White House also sees this as the time to draw sharp contrasts with congressional Republicans, whose public approval ratings are lower than Obama’s.

32 Old dispute still burns between Perry-Bush camps

By WILL WEISSERT, Associated Press

4 hrs ago

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – Here’s the still-beating heart of the rift between Texas Gov. Rick Perry and his predecessor, George W. Bush: When Bush was governor he refused to appoint Perry’s brother-in-law to the Texas appeals court bench.

With Perry now running for president, the spotlight is shining on the tense relationship between the two Texans and their allied camps.

In public, both Perry and Bush shrug off any friction.

33 Behind the poverty numbers: real lives, real pain

By DAVID CRARY, AP National Writer

7 mins ago

At a food pantry in a Chicago suburb, a 38-year-old mother of two breaks into tears.

She and her husband have been out of work for nearly two years. Their house and car are gone. So is their foothold in the middle class and, at times, their self-esteem.

“It’s like there is no way out,” says Kris Fallon.

34 Repeal of gay ban welcomed by civilian partners

By DAVID CRARY, AP National Writer

2 hrs 57 mins ago

NEW YORK (AP) – After 19 years hiding her relationship with an active-duty Army captain, Cathy Cooper is getting ready to exhale. On Tuesday, the policy known as “don’t ask, don’t tell” will expire. And Cooper will dare speak her love’s name in public.

“This is life-changing,” said Cooper, choking up. “I just want to be able to breathe – knowing I can call my partner at work and have a conversation without it having to be in code.”

Much has been reported about the burdens that “don’t ask” placed on gay and lesbian service members who risked discharge under the 1993 policy if their sexual orientation became known in the ranks. There’s been less attention focused on their civilian partners, who faced distinctive, often relentless stresses of their own.

35 Lost iPhone just one headache for Apple security

By MARCUS WOHLSEN, Associated Press

3 hrs ago

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Wanted: experienced security professional. Must have plan to thwart Chinese counterfeiters, protect secret blueprints from spies and keep workers from leaving super-secret unreleased smartphones behind in bars.

A day after a recent report surfaced that an Apple employee had lost a prototype for a new but unreleased iPhone at a Northern California watering hole, two job listings appeared on Apple’s website for managers of “new product security.”

Such workers would join a team at the $350 billion company that has included ex-FBI agents and other highly trained pros with backgrounds in intelligence and law enforcement.

36 Endangered 1972 NYC public mural could be restored

By CRISTIAN SALAZAR, Associated Press

3 hrs ago

NEW YORK (AP) – The mural on the side of the building is no longer so vibrant. Its oranges, rust-reds and heavenly blues have dimmed and splotches of dead gray stucco show through where images have been rubbed out, as if someone took an enormous eraser to the wall.

Finished in 1972 by renowned artist Arnold Belkin, the mural was created at a Manhattan playground in his trademark Mexican-influenced style but has been deteriorating slowly over the decades. There has been little impetus to preserve it until now.

Residents are clamoring to have what may be the artist’s only outdoor U.S. work restored.

37 Mulberry brings English seaside to Fashion Week

By SYLVIA HUI, Associated Press

2 hrs 34 mins ago

LONDON (AP) – What’s an English beach holiday without rain?

With giant ice-cream cones, hundreds of animal balloons and plenty of raincoats in sherbet colors, luxury English brand Mulberry kicked off day three of London Fashion Week Sunday with a whimsical catwalk show that evoked a soggy English family vacation in the 1970s.

“I have photos of my family in our macs at the beach, eating fish and chips in the pouring rain,” creative director Emma Hill told The Associated Press. “It’s just very English.”

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