6 pm- Africa 1, Asia 5, Europe 2, North America 1, South America 3, News & Politics 5, Entertainment 1, Business 7, Science 4, Health 2, Blogline 5
6 pm 1 Greed behind food price rises: development bank head
By Ingrid Melander, Reuters
Tue May 6, 2:04 PM ET
BRUSSELS (Reuters) – The food price crisis is caused largely by greed and speculation rather than food shortages, the head of Southern Africa’s development bank said on Tuesday.
Spiraling food costs — called a “silent tsunami” by the World Food Program — have ignited fury and a rash of protests from Haiti to Somalia to Bangladesh. Exporting countries have curbed shipments to ensure domestic supplies and tame inflation.
“These increases in food prices are not the consequence of food shortages, it’s the consequence of human greed that is putting at risk the lives of millions of men, women and children,” Jay Naidoo told Reuters.
6 pm 2 Marines ignore Taliban cash crop to not upset Afghan locals
By JASON STRAZIUSO, Associated Press Writer
2 hours, 51 minutes ago
GARMSER, Afghanistan – The Marines of Bravo Company’s 1st Platoon sleep beside a grove of poppies. Troops in the 2nd Platoon playfully swat at the heavy opium bulbs while walking through the fields. Afghan laborers scraping the plant’s gooey resin smile and wave.
Last week, the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit moved into southern Helmand province, the world’s largest opium poppy-growing region, and now find themselves surrounded by green fields of the illegal plants that produce the main ingredient of heroin.
The Taliban, whose fighters are exchanging daily fire with the Marines in Garmser, derives up to $100 million a year from the poppy harvest by taxing farmers and charging safe passage fees – money that will buy weapons for use against U.S., NATO and Afghan troops.
6 pm 3 Golfing Baghdad’s Green Zone: a course with real bunkers
By BRADLEY BROOKS, Associated Press Writer
Tue May 6, 2:44 PM ET
BAGHDAD – The weight of the 9-iron felt just right. My first swing off the first tee was smooth and the ball sailed straight and true.
For a brief moment I forgot where I was. Then I gazed down the fairway – actually just a few clumps of grass, scrub brush and plenty of rocks.
This is golf, Green Zone style.
6 pm 4 After panda goodwill, Japan, China tackle disputes
By Chris Buckley, Reuters
1 hour, 59 minutes ago
TOKYO (Reuters) – Gifts of pandas and vows of friendship between China and Japan give way to hard questions on Wednesday when leaders of the two Asian powers meet to grapple with disputes that have bred festering distrust between them.
Chinese President Hu Jintao began his state visit to Japan with a flourish of goodwill on Tuesday by offering two giant pandas to a Tokyo zoo.
But friction over history, undersea gas reserves, military plans, international influence and consumer safety has divided the neighbors, and mutual public distrust runs deep.
6 pm 5 2 more U.S. soldiers’ deaths in Iraq raise doubts about MRAP vehicle
By Nancy A. Youssef, McClatchy Newspapers
Mon May 5, 6:18 PM ET
WASHINGTON – The deaths of two U.S. soldiers in western Baghdad last week have sparked concerns that Iraqi insurgents have developed a new weapon capable of striking what the U.S. military considers its most explosive-resistant vehicle.
The soldiers were riding in a Mine Resistant Ambush Protective vehicle, known as an MRAP, when an explosion sent a blast of super-heated metal through the MRAP’s armor and into the vehicle, killing them both.
Their deaths brought to eight the number of American troops killed while riding in an MRAP, which was developed and deployed to Iraq last year after years of acrimony over light armor on the Army’s workhorse vehicle, the Humvee.
6 pm 6 The Next Great North Korean Famine
By BILL POWELL/SHANGHAI, Time Magazine
29 minutes ago
Nearly one million people starved to death when a murderous famine gripped North Korea in the 1990s. Now, the most backward, isolated country in the world may be about to see history repeat itself. According to diplomats, United Nations officials and a variety of non-government organizations, North Korea stands yet again on the brink of a major food shortage. “The prospect of hunger related deaths in the next few months is approaching certainty,” says Marcus Noland, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute and co-author of a just released study raising alarms about the prospect of renewed famine. In fact, one Seoul-based NGO, the Research Institute for North Korean Society, asserts that there have already been a handful of people in small, agricultural villages who have died from starvation.
6 pm 7 Italian Rightist Sparks Outrage
By JEFF ISRAELY, Time Magazine
2 hours, 53 minutes ago
Gianfranco Fini, the president of the Italian Parliament, is facing a firestorm of controversy after saying that the May 1 burning of Israeli flags in Turin by far-left protesters was “much more serious” than the savage beating of a 29-year-old that same day in Verona by a neo-Nazi gang. The victim of the beating, Nicola Tommasoli, died late Monday after several days in a coma. Five young fans of the Verona soccer team have been arrested for the murder.
6 pm 8 US says ‘optimistic’ on missile shield deal with Poland
1 hour, 54 minutes ago
VIENNA (AFP) – Washington is “optimistic” that it will be able to reach a deal with Poland over US plans to base a missile shield there, a senior US arms control official told reporters here on Tuesday.
“I remain optimistic that we’re going to successfully conclude our negotiations with the Poles to place a site for missile defence interceptors in that country,” US Under Secretary for Arms Control John Rood Rood said, on the eve of a round of negotiations between Polish and US officials in Warsaw.
“I had the opportunity to see my Polish counterpart yesterday in Prague. There are some important issues that still need to be resolved in our bilateral negotiations with the Poles,” said Rood, who is the United States’ lead negotiator on the issue. “But, as I say, I remain optimistic.”
North America 1
6 pm 9 Canada banning all smoking in federal prisons
By Claire Sibonney, Reuters
2 hours, 18 minutes ago
TORONTO (Reuters) – Canada has banned all smoking in federal prisons because a partial ban was largely ignored, the government said on Tuesday.
As a result of the ban, which took effect in all maximum-security prisons on Monday, inmates will be barred from smoking anywhere inside or outside prison property, including private visiting rooms and yards.
“Since the partial ban was not working in order to ensure a safe, healthy, smoke-free environment, we decided to move towards the total ban,” said Lynn Brunette, a spokeswoman for the Correctional Service of Canada (CSC).
South America 3
6 pm 10 Chile volcano erupts; evacuation ordered
49 minutes ago
PUERTO MONTT, Chile (AFP) – A volcano in southern Chile erupted with renewed vigor Tuesday, raining ash and lava over its surroundings and forcing a total evacuation in a 30-kilometer (19-mile) radius, the National Emergency Office said.
Emergency sirens sounded in the coastal region 1,300 kilometers (800 miles) south of Santiago, after the Chaiten volcano blasted out ash and cinders and generated lava and pyroclastic flows, four days after it awoke from a 300-year slumber.
“A maximum alert has been decreed,” Jorge Munoz, the head of the National Emergency Office (ONEMI), told AFP in Santiago after the volcano blew its top at 8:45am (1245 GMT).
6 pm 11 Official results confirm Bolivian province’s autonomy win
By Boris Heger and Jack Chang, McClatchy Newspapers
Mon May 5, 6:39 PM ET
SANTA CRUZ DE LA SIERRA , Bolivia – Official election results released Monday showed a controversial statute that would grant autonomy to this country’s richest province had built an overwhelming lead in Sunday’s violence-marred referendum and was on its way to victory.
The results thrilled leaders in the eastern Bolivian province of Santa Cruz , who had defied President Evo Morales by putting the statute up for a vote. If implemented, the statute would give the province powers equivalent to that of a U.S. state, such as the right to form its own police, set tax and land-use policies and elect a governor and legislature. Most state functions are now centralized in Bolivia’s federal government.
Morales, who’s a close ally of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez , has called the statute separatist and illegal and warned Santa Cruz leaders not to implement it. His spokesman, Ivan Canelas , however, took a softer approach Monday by inviting Santa Cruz’s prefect, who’s the equivalent of a governor, and other prefects from the country’s nine provinces to discuss the idea of provincial autonomies.
6 pm 12 Bush vows to help Panama clinch free trade agreement
42 minutes ago
WASHINGTON (AFP) – President George W. Bush said Tuesday he would do his best to get Congress to approve a pending free trade agreement with Panama, after meeting with its President Martin Torrijos in the White House.
“The Panamanian free trade vote is a priority of this government. It should be a priority of the United States Congress,” Bush told reporters after the meeting.
Bush said he and his administration would “do everything in our capacity to move the trade bills” not only with Panama, but with Colombia and South Korea as well.
News & Politics 5
6 pm 13 Special counsel’s office raided amid obstruction probe
By LARA JAKES JORDAN, Associated Press Writer
30 minutes ago
WASHINGTON – Federal agents raided the office and home of U.S. Special Counsel Scott Bloch on Tuesday while investigating whether the nation’s top protector of whistle-blowers destroyed evidence potentially showing he retaliated against his own staff.
Computers and documents were seized during the raid on the special counsel’s downtown office, according to two law enforcement officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the ongoing inquiry. At least 20 agents were still on the scene as of mid-afternoon Tuesday.
Bloch’s home, in a Virginia suburb of Washington, also was raided, the officials said.
6 pm 14 EPA might not act to limit rocket fuel in drinking water
By ERICA WERNER, Associated Press Writer
Tue May 6, 2:58 PM ET
WASHINGTON – An EPA official said Tuesday there’s a “distinct possibility” the agency won’t take action to rid drinking water of a toxic rocket fuel ingredient that has contaminated public water supplies around the country.
Democratic senators called that unacceptable. They argued that states and local communities shouldn’t have to bear the expense of cleansing their drinking water of perchlorate, which has been found in at least 395 sites in 35 states – or the risk of not doing so.
The toxin interferes with thyroid function and poses developmental health risks, particularly to fetuses.
6 pm 15 Indiana nuns lacking ID denied at poll by fellow sister
By DEBORAH HASTINGS, AP National Writer
1 minute ago
About 12 Indiana nuns were turned away Tuesday from a polling place by a fellow sister because they didn’t have state or federal identification bearing a photograph.
Sister Julie McGuire said she was forced to turn away her fellow members of Saint Mary’s Convent in South Bend, across the street from the University of Notre Dame, because they had been told earlier that they would need such an ID to vote.
The nuns, all in their 80s or 90s, didn’t get one but came to the precinct anyway.
6 pm 16 U.S. military marriages strained by long deployments
By Claudia Parsons, Reuters
Tue May 6, 11:42 AM ET
FORT DRUM, New York (Reuters) – U.S. military chaplain Nathan McLean says he deliberately makes it difficult for young soldiers to get married because if they have to “jump through some hoops” the marriage is more likely to survive.
The U.S. Army has reported divorce rates rise with longer deployments in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. With one in five veterans of the two wars suffering mental health problems, the strain is taking its toll on military families.
“The more difficult it is for (young soldiers) to marry, typically the better it is for the family,” Capt. McLean said in an interview at Fort Drum, home of the 10th Mountain Division 2nd Brigade Combat Team, which has deployed four times since 2001.
6 pm 17 Senators told to tread carefully on health care
By Donna Smith, Reuters
1 hour, 3 minutes ago
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – With the presidential candidates fighting over how best to rein in soaring health care costs and cover the uninsured, a veteran of the last major U.S. health care reform battle urged lawmakers on Tuesday to build broad public support before embarking on any reform.
Donna Shalala, who served as Secretary of Health and Human Services under President Bill Clinton, told the Senate Finance Committee that public support for Clinton’s health reform effort in the early 1990s diminished as people with health insurance began to worry about what it would mean for their coverage.
The 1990s proposal also faced staunch opposition from the health care industry, which launched a series of television ads that helped doom the plan.
6 pm 18 Studios, actors near new deadline in contract talks
By Steve Gorman, Reuters
53 minutes ago
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The Screen Actors Guild and major studios entered a final day of contract talks on Tuesday before their latest self-imposed deadline to close a deal and put to rest Hollywood’s persistent labor anxieties.
The two sides opened formal negotiations on April 15 and have twice extended their talks in hopes of avoiding renewed unrest in an entertainment industry still recovering from a 100-day screenwriters strike that ended in February.
The parties announced last Friday that they would keep their talks going, as long as progress was being made, until 5 p.m. Friday, but neither side has ruled out extending the negotiations further if no deal is in place by then.
6 pm 19 U.S. sees oil use down on weak economy and high prices
By Tom Doggett, Reuters
1 hour, 53 minutes ago
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Higher U.S. gasoline prices and a slowing economy will cut into U.S. oil demand through the summer driving season much more than previously thought, the government’s top energy forecasting agency said on Tuesday.
“Based on projections of weak economic growth and record high crude oil and product prices, (petroleum) consumption is projected to decline,” the Energy Information Administration said in its latest monthly forecast.
Thanks to rising crude oil costs, U.S. drivers will pay an average $3.66 a gallon for gasoline this summer, up 12 cents from earlier estimates, the Energy Department’s analytical arm said.
6 pm 20 Pelosi says more stimulus needed, Bush "in denial"
By Kevin Drawbaugh, Reuters
Tue May 6, 2:12 PM ET
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Tuesday called for a second economic stimulus package and said President George W. Bush is “in denial” about the U.S. economy, drawing a sharp White House response.
Tax rebate checks are in the mail to millions of Americans under a $152 billion economic stimulus package passed by Congress earlier this year and signed into law by Bush.
“It’s clear there is a need for a second stimulus,” Pelosi, a California Democrat, told reporters at a news conference.
6 pm 21 Housing picture worsens as Fannie sees price drop
By MARCY GORDON, AP Business Writer
5 minutes ago
WASHINGTON – The outlook for the housing market darkened further Tuesday as the nation’s largest buyer of home mortgages said it racked up more than $2 billion in quarterly losses and forecast a steeper drop in home prices this year.
If Fannie Mae’s prediction proves true, the real estate woes could further shake the confidence of consumers already stung by rising food and fuel prices, and an anemic job market.
Home foreclosures are accelerating around the country, adding to the glut of unsold properties and further depressing prices. As a result, a growing number of homeowners are saddled with loans that outstrip the value of their houses.
6 pm 22 Oil nears Oil nears $123 on $200 oil prediction, supply concerns23 on 00 oil prediction, supply concerns
By JOHN WILEN, AP Business Writer
58 minutes ago
NEW YORK – Oil futures blasted to a new record near $123 a barrel Tuesday, gaining momentum as investors bought on a forecast of much higher prices and on any news hinting at supply shortages. Retail gas prices edged lower, but appear poised to rise to new records of their own in coming weeks.
A new Goldman Sachs prediction that oil prices could rise to $150 to $200 within two years seemed to motivate much of Tuesday’s buying, although a falling dollar and increasing concerns about declining crude production in Mexico and Russia contributed, analysts say.
The Energy Department raised its oil and gasoline price forecasts, but also predicted that high prices will cut demand more than previously thought.
6 pm 23 Stocks lift even as oil prices soar near Stocks lift even as oil prices soar near $123 a barrel23 a barrel
By MADLEN READ, AP Business Writer
8 minutes ago
NEW YORK – Wall Street reversed early losses to close higher Tuesday, as investors monitored the movements of record high oil prices but still laid bets that the economy and companies are in recovery mode.
Crude oil climbed to a record near $123 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange as traders, who have nearly doubled the price of oil over the past year, reacted to the weakening U.S. dollar, supply threats, and a note from Goldman Sachs & Co. predicting that oil could reach $200 a barrel. High oil prices threaten to crimp consumers’ discretionary spending.
But oil price sticker-shock waned and as investors looked past wider-than-expected quarterly losses at Swiss bank UBS, government-sponsored mortgage company Fannie Mae, and homebuilder D.R. Horton Inc.
6 pm 24 ADB to provide 500 million dollars to combat food crisis
by Denholm Barnetson, AFP
Tue May 6, 2:35 PM ET
MADRID (AFP) – The Asian Development Bank will provide 500 million dollars (320 million euros) in immediate assistance to member nations hit hardest by soaring food prices, the head of the bank announced Tuesday.
ADB President Haruhiko Kuroda said the bank would also double lending for agriculture in 2009 to 2.0 billion dollars to combat the crisis, which he has warned puts more than a billion people in the region at risk of malnutrition.
“I am pleased to announce that ADB will provide 500 million dollars as immediate budgetary support to the hardest hit countries so that they can bring food to the tables of the vulnerable, poor and needy,” he said.
6 pm 25 Thomson Financial News journalists to vote on strike
Tue May 6, 12:36 PM ET
LONDON (AFP) – Britain-based reporters at the Thomson Financial News wire service will vote on whether to strike following the creation of parent group Thomson Reuters, the main journalists’ trade union said Tuesday.
The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) said in a statement that its members at Thomson Financial News had called unanimously for a formal ballot to strike over possible redundancies and changes to their working conditions.
However, Thomson Reuters insisted in a separate statement that it had not made any decisions about staffing levels and pledged to consult with trade unions.
6 pm 26 Historians seek public report on World War II forgeries
By GREGORY KATZ, Associated Press Writer
2 hours, 1 minute ago
LONDON – British historians called Tuesday for a public report on the inquiry into 29 forged documents found at the National Archives that falsely accuse Winston Churchill’s government of having a secret, cordial relationship with Nazi SS chief Henrich Himmler at the height of World War II.
Eight leading historians signed an open letter urging police to take action against the suspect who faked the documents, which also allege that Churchill ordered the assassination of Himmler to keep the discussions secret.
“That’s a blood libel against Churchill and totally untrue,” said historian Andrew Roberts, who signed the letter published in the Financial Times.
6 pm 27 Fishermen suspected after 6 sea lions are killed in Oregon
By JOSEPH B. FRAZIER, Associated Press Writer
58 minutes ago
PORTLAND, Ore. – There’s “protected” on paper and there’s “protected” on the river.
Under a 1972 federal law, certain species of sea lion cannot be harmed. But the Columbia River region is big enough, and parts of it are wild and isolated enough, to hide many sins.
That was clear over the weekend, when six protected sea lions were found shot to death with a high-powered rifle near the Bonneville Dam.
Suspicion immediately fell on fishermen, who have long complained bitterly that sea lions gobble up salmon at the base of the dam. But so far, investigators say they have no hard evidence as to who did it and why. And while rewards have been posted for arrests, there is talk of a defense fund for the gunmen if they are ever caught.
6 pm 28 Agencies issue plan to run Columbia dams, preserve salmon
By JEFF BARNARD, Associated Press Writer
2 hours, 19 minutes ago
GRANTS PASS, Ore. – The Bush administration Monday issued its final court-ordered plans for making Columbia Basin hydroelectric dams and irrigation projects safe for endangered salmon.
The proposed changes in operations would cost hundreds of millions of dollars but no dam removals.
Once an expected challenge is filed, it will be up to U.S. District Judge James Redden to decide whether the plans – known as biological opinions – meet the demands of the Endangered Species Act to put salmon on the road to recovery.
6 pm 29 Hey Yogi! Bears’ Picnic Basket Theft Secrets Revealed
LiveScience Staff, LiveScience.com
Tue May 6, 1:40 PM ET
A camper’s worst nightmare has become a homeowner’s reality for many: Bears that once rummaged around campsites now dive into suburban dumpsters and trash cans, munching on more than picnic snacks.
Many human-bear conflicts are caused by human food sources luring bears. Many more are caused by humans encroaching onto bear habitats.
In any case, scientists have wondered how animals learn to find and eat human food. Some researchers assumed bear cubs picked up this behavior from their mothers, but a new study may acquit mama bears.
6 pm 30 ‘Invisible’ blockages hide women’s heart attacks: study
1 hour, 28 minutes ago
WASHINGTON (AFP) – Women suffer from “atypical” symptoms and “invisible” blood vessel blockages that may explain why they often receive less treatment for heart attacks than men, a study said Tuesday.
Women were twice as likely as men to have normal results for an exam of their blood vessels or results showing no blockage of more than 50 percent in a blood vessel, despite having a heart attack, the study found.
Other test results confirmed they were having a heart attack, according to the study published online in the journal Heart.
6 pm 31 Bone marrow treatments restore nerves, expert says
By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor, Reuters
Tue May 6, 2:38 PM ET
BETHESDA, Maryland (Reuters) – An experiment that went wrong may provide a new way to treat multiple sclerosis, a Canadian researcher said on Tuesday.
Patients who got bone marrow stem-cell transplants — similar to those given to leukemia patients — have enjoyed a mysterious remission of their disease.
And Dr. Mark Freedman of the University of Ottawa is not sure why.
6 pm 32 Today’s Must Read
By Paul Kiel
May 6, 2008, 10:13AM
Forget about the frustration at the slow pace of the military commissions at Guantanamo Bay. You know it’s got to really burn the administration to miss a good chance for a PR coup.
6 pm 33 Yoo, Feith, Ashcroft Agree to Testify
By Paul Kiel
May 6, 2008, 10:47AM
Earlier this morning, the House Judiciary Committee authorized a subpoena for David Addington…
6 pm 34 Lawsuit Mars Abu Ghraib Contractor’s PR Blitz
By Paul Kiel
May 6, 2008, 12:04PM
Cruelly, the lawyers for Emad al-Janabi, which include lawyers from the Center for Constitutional Rights, have used CACI’s own book against the company.
6 pm 35 FBI Raids Home, Office of Office of Special Counsel
By Paul Kiel
May 6, 2008, 1:13PM
To refresh your memory, Bloch’s agency is a little known one that is charged with investigating whistleblower complaints, Hatch Act violations, and the like — but who is himself being investigated for retaliating against whistleblowers and politicizing his office. The Office of Personnel Management’s inspector general has been conducting that investigation since 2005. The feds are apparently investigating whether Bloch tried to obstruct that investigation by deleting his hard drive, among other things.
6 pm 36 Pentagon Report on Iraq Debacle "Remains Classified"
By Paul Kiel
May 6, 2008, 3:54PM
Sanchez added: “From that, my belief was that Rumsfeld’s intent appeared to be to minimize and control further exposure within the Pentagon and to specifically keep this information from the American public.”