The Morning News is an Open Thread
|From Yahoo News Top Stories|
1 McCain says pundits being fooled, promises victory
By MIKE GLOVER, Associated Press Writer
23 mins ago
|HERSHEY, Pa. – Republican John McCain and running mate Sarah Palin told a Pennsylvania audience Tuesday that “it’s wonderful to fool the pundits” and vowed to pull out an upset win over Democratic rival Barack Obama. “I’m not afraid of the fight, I’m ready for it,” said McCain, continuing his sharp assault on Obama at a noisy rally opening his campaign day. Palin defended the campaign’s harsh attacks on Obama.
“Our opponent is not being candid with you about his tax plans,” said Palin. “It is not mean-spirited, and it is not negative campaigning to call out someone on their record.”
Obama backers waving signs briefly interrupted the rally, a move Palin dismissed.
2 Authorities say skinhead plot wasn’t fully formed
By WOODY BAIRD and ANDREW DeMILLO, Associated Press Writers
23 mins ago
|BELLS, Tenn. – Two white supremacists charged with plotting to behead blacks across the country and assassinate Barack Obama while wearing white top hats and tuxes were likely too disorganized to carry out the plot, authorities said, and their planning was riddled with blunders.
Paul Schlesselman, 18, of Helena-West Helena, Ark., and Daniel Cowart, 20, of Bells are accused of dreaming up the plan. While authorities say they had guns capable of creating carnage, documents show they never got close to getting off the ground.
Among the blunders: They drew attention to themselves by etching swastikas on a car with sidewalk chalk, only knew each other for a month, couldn’t even pull off a house robbery, and a friend ratted them out to authorities.
3 More Republicans call on Sen. Stevens to resign
By MATT APUZZO, Associated Press Writer
1 hr 10 mins ago
|WASHINGTON – A growing chorus of Republicans on Tuesday called for Alaska Sen. Ted Stevens to resign from a seat he’s held for four decades after his conviction on seven felony charges. But with the party bracing for losses in the upcoming election, many hope Stevens will first win re-election next Tuesday, and then resign to give Republicans a chance to fill the seat with a fresh GOP face.
Stevens, 84, was convicted Monday of lying about hundreds of thousands of dollars in home renovations and gifts he received from a corrupt oil contractor. The verdict came down just a week before Election Day, too late for Republicans to put someone new on the ballot against Democrat Mark Begich.
Nevertheless, Republican presidential nominee John McCain, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, urged their Senate colleague to resign.
4 White House to banks: Start lending now
By JENNIFER LOVEN, AP White House Correspondent
1 hr 16 mins ago
|WASHINGTON – An impatient White House prodded banks and other financial companies Tuesday to quit hoarding billions of dollars flowing into their vaults from Washington and start making more loans. Wall Street soared nearly 900 points on bargain-hunting and hopes of a hefty interest rate cut by the Federal Reserve.
The stock market’s amazing climb, with its second-largest point gain ever, was a welcome burst of good news for a nation suffering big job losses and seemingly tumbling into a painful recession.
Consumer pessimism reached record levels in October amid rising unemployment, plunging home prices and shrinking retirement and investment accounts. The Conference Board, a private research group, said consumer confidence fell to its lowest point since it began tracking consumer sentiment in 1967.
5 Microsoft says next Windows won’t be as annoying (AP)
Associated Press, Yahoo Tech News
Posted on Tue Oct 28, 2008 4:10PM EDT
|LOS ANGELES – The next version of Microsoft Windows, the software that defines the computing experience for most people, will nag users much less than its much-maligned predecessor, Vista. PC users will be able to test the new edition early next year.
The world’s largest software maker also is making Word, Excel and other key elements of Office – its flagship “productivity” programs – able to run in a Web browser. The move is meant to help confront rivals such as Google Inc. that offer free word processing and spreadsheet programs online, threatening one of Microsoft Corp.’s most precious profit centers.
The Windows and Office news came Tuesday at a Microsoft conference for software developers.
6 AP IMPACT: Al-Qaida’s route though Syria persists
By ROBERT H. REID, Associated Press Writer
Tue Oct 28, 5:33 pm ET
|BAGHDAD – For years, he operated along Syria’s remote border where donkeys are the only means of travel. He provided young Arabs from as far away as Morocco and the Persian Gulf with passports, guides and weapons as they slipped into Iraq to wage war.
But recently, the Iraqi man known as Abu Ghadiyah began doing even more – launching his own armed forays into his homeland, U.S. and Iraqi officials say.
Finally the United States lashed out, frustrated it says, after years of vainly pressuring Syria to shut down his network supplying the Sunni insurgency.
7 Authors, publishers settle suit against Google (AP)
Associated Press, Yahoo Tech News
Posted on Tue Oct 28, 2008 10:54AM EDT
|NEW YORK – A settlement has been reached in the lawsuit against Google over the Internet search engine’s use of copyrighted material.
According to a statement issued Tuesday by the Authors Guild, the Association of American Publishers and Google, the agreement “will expand online access to millions of in-copyright books and other written materials in the U.S. from the collections of a number of major U.S. libraries participating in Google Book Search.”
If approved by a federal court in Manhattan, the settlement will end the legal action, taken against Google two years ago, that had been closely followed by the publishing industry as it debates how copyright law should work online.
8 Syria orders US school, cultural center closed
By ALBERT AJI, Associated Press Writer
Tue Oct 28, 3:26 pm ET
|DAMASCUS, Syria – The Syrian government ordered an American school and a U.S. cultural center in Damascus closed Tuesday in response to a deadly U.S. attack on a village near the Iraq border, the state-run news agency said.
U.S. officials said the raid killed a top operative of al-Qaida in Iraq who intelligence suggested was about to conduct an attack in Iraq, but Syria and the Iraqi government criticized the raid.
Outside the Damascus Community School, known popularly as the “American School,” in the upscale Maliki neighborhood, activities seemed normal. Drivers waited outside the building to pick up the foreign, mostly Arab pupils as they left for home shortly before sunset.
9 Diabetes drug costs soaring, top $12B last year
By CARLA K. JOHNSON, Associated Press Writer
Tue Oct 28, 7:22 am ET
|CHICAGO – Americans with diabetes nearly doubled their spending on drugs for the disease in just six years, with the bill last year climbing to an eye-popping $12.5 billion.
Newer, more costly drugs are driving the increase, said researchers, despite a lack of strong evidence for the new drugs’ greater benefits and safety. And there are more people being treated for diabetes.
The new study follows updated treatment advice for Type 2 diabetes, issued last week. In those recommendations, an expert panel told doctors to use older, cheaper drugs first.
10 Internet companies embrace human rights guidelines (AP)
Assocxiated Press, Yahoo Tech News
Posted on Tue Oct 28, 2008 2:18PM EDT
|NEW YORK – Leading Internet companies, long criticized by human-rights groups for their business dealings in China, agreed Tuesday to new guidelines that seek to limit what data they should share with authorities worldwide and when they should do so.
The guidelines call for Google Inc., Yahoo Inc. and Microsoft Corp. to try to reduce the scope of government requests that appear to conflict with free speech and other human rights principles. They also require participating companies to seek requests in writing, along with the names and titles of the authorizing officer.
But ultimately, the documents are less about “what happens when you get a knock on the door than what are you doing before then,” said Leslie Harris, chief executive of the Center for Democracy and Technology, one of the main groups behind the guidelines.
11 Hopes rise for rate cuts; U.S. consumers gloomy
By Claudia Parsons, Reuters
2 hrs 53 mins ago
|NEW YORK (Reuters) – Hopes rose on Tuesday that the United States, Japan and Europe will cut interest rates to ease the pain of the financial crisis, and battered U.S. stocks surged 10 percent despite gloomy news on the economy.
U.S. consumer confidence plunged to a record low in October amid signs the economy is sliding into a deep recession, threatening to pull the rest of the world with it.
The Nikkei business daily said the Bank of Japan was considering a 25 basis-point interest rate cut to underpin the economy, pushing the yen down in its biggest one-day decline against the dollar in more than 30 years.
12 Financial crisis heralds era of "new seriousness"
By Tom Bergin, Reuters
29 mins ago
|LONDON (Reuters) – Power tools roar as an army of workmen rushes to ensure Europe’s largest city-center shopping mall opens on time, but marketing executives say the crisis in global financial markets has accelerated a trend among consumers to reject conspicuous consumption.
The $3 billion Westfield center in West London will have a strong focus on luxury when it opens on Thursday. Promotional material cites Louis Vuitton, Prada, Tiffany and Gucci among its stores but Managing Director Michael Gutman downplays these.
“We have a mass-market offer here, even though a couple of the precincts have attracted particular attention,” he told Reuters by telephone.
13 Al Qaeda media man vows to wage "jihad by pen"
By Jane Sutton, Reuters
1 hr 30 mins ago
|GUANTANAMO BAY U.S. NAVAL BASE, Cuba (Reuters) – Al Qaeda’s alleged former media director wrote letters from Guantanamo acknowledging he typed the wills of two September 11 hijackers and pledging to continue “jihad by word and pen,” according to evidence in the Guantanamo war crimes tribunal on Tuesday.
Yemeni captive Ali Hamza al Bahlul is on trial at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. naval base in Cuba, where a jury of nine U.S. military officers will have to decide whether creating propaganda is a war crime.
Prosecutors allege Bahlul was Osama bin Laden’s media secretary and part of the al Qaeda leader’s trusted inner circle. They accused him of scripting the videotaped wills of September 11 hijackers Mohamed Atta and Ziad al Jarrah, who were his roommates in Kandahar, Afghanistan, in 1999.
14 WWF says reckless consumption threatens the planet
By Laura MacInnis, Reuters
48 mins ago
|GENEVA (Reuters) – The Earth’s natural resources are being depleted so quickly that “two planets” would be required to sustain current lifestyles within a generation, the conservation group WWF said on Wednesday.
The Swiss-based WWF, also known as the World Wildlife Fund, said in its latest Living Planet Report that more than three quarters of the world’s population lives in countries whose consumption levels are outstripping environmental renewal.
Its Living Planet Report concluded that reckless consumption of “natural capital” was endangering the world’s future prosperity, with clear economic impacts including high costs for food, water and energy.
15 U.S. must update nuclear arsenal as rivals are: Gates
By David Morgan, Reuters
Tue Oct 28, 4:08 pm ET
|WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned on Tuesday that America’s aging nuclear weapons stockpile faces a bleak future of decline just as rival nations including Russia and China are modernizing their nuclear arsenals.
Nearly two decades after the end of the Cold War, Gates said the U.S. nuclear program is suffering from an exodus of qualified designers and technicians, the stockpile has not been modernized and no weapons have been tested since 1992.
“Let me first say very clearly that our weapons are safe, secure and reliable. The problem is the long-term prognosis — which I would characterize as bleak,” Gates said in a speech to the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a Washington think tank.
16 OPEC officials say ready to act again to boost oil
By Alex Lawler, Reuters
Tue Oct 28, 4:31 pm ET
|LONDON (Reuters) – OPEC ministers will take further steps to prop up the oil market and could call another meeting before the group’s next scheduled talks in December, officials said on Tuesday.
In response to a nearly 60 percent fall in oil prices from a record of $147.27 hit in July, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries agreed at an emergency meeting last week to cut production by 1.5 million barrels per day (bpd).
OPEC Secretary General Abdullah al-Badri said if prices continued to fall, OPEC would call another extra meeting.
17 Pakistani, Afghan elders aim to open Taliban talks
By Zeeshan Haider, Reuters
Tue Oct 28, 3:23 pm ET
|ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistan and Afghanistan agreed on Tuesday to establish contacts jointly with Taliban militants through tribal leaders after two days of talks over how to end bloodshed in both countries.
But a Taliban spokesman rejected the idea.
Violence has intensified in Afghanistan and Pakistan in recent months, raising fears for the prospects of both countries at the heart of the U.S.-led global campaign against militancy.
18 World Series delayed until Wednesday
By Larry Fine, Reuters
Tue Oct 28, 1:44 pm ET
|PHILADELPHIA (Reuters) – The World Series was on hold on Tuesday as weather forced a further delay to Game Five between Philadelphia and Tampa Bay, which was suspended because of heavy rain on Monday with the score tied at 2-2.
With cold rain falling and a chance of snow showers in the forecast, Major League Baseball (MLB) announced that Game Five would not resume on Tuesday. It is now tentatively scheduled to resume on Wednesday at 8:37 p.m., weather permitting.
Steady rain made the Citizens Bank Park field treacherous and threatened the safety of the players, leading MLB Commissioner Bud Selig to suspend Monday’s game — unprecedented in the 104-year history of the Fall Classic.
19 Boeing, union reach deal to end strike
By Bill Rigby, Reuters
Tue Oct 28, 11:32 am ET
|NEW YORK (Reuters) – Boeing Co and its biggest union have agreed to a tentative deal to end the longest strike at the planemaker’s plants in 13 years and halt revenue losses estimated at $100 million a day.
If the deal, backed by union leaders, is approved by members in a vote over the next few days, it will bring the 53-day strike to an end and reopen Boeing’s Seattle-area factories that have been closed since September 6.
Boeing shares, which have fallen more than 50 percent this year, jumped 6 percent in morning trading, followed by some of its key suppliers.
20 Iraq denounces Syria raid, seeks U.S. pact changes
By Mariam Karouny and Waleed Ibrahim, Reuters
Tue Oct 28, 1:15 pm ET
|BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraq drew up amendments on Tuesday that it will demand of the United States in a bid to salvage an agreement allowing U.S. forces to remain beyond the end of this year.
Baghdad also issued a belated rebuke of Washington for a helicopter strike on Syria, a sign of the pressure Iraq’s government is under to reassure its neighbors that it is not letting U.S. forces use its territory against them.
Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki will now send U.S. negotiators the proposed amendments to the security deal, government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said.
21 Fromer political prisoner elected Maldives president
by Amal Jayasinghe, AFP
8 mins ago
|MALE (AFP) – A former political prisoner has swept to victory in the Maldives’ first-ever democratic presidential election, unseating Asia’s longest-serving leader, officials said Wednesday.
The Indian Ocean archipelago nation’s election commission said that with nearly all votes from Tuesday’s historic polls counted, Mohamed “Anni” Nasheed had won 54 percent of votes to 46 percent for incumbent leader Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.
Gayoom, 71, had ruled the tourist paradise islands unchallenged since 1978, and had in the past thrown Nasheed into jail.
I’ll just point out I rips ’em as I seize ’em.
22 Germany opens first offshore wind farm
Tue Oct 28, 1:27 pm ET
|BERLIN (AFP) – Germany opened its first offshore wind farm Tuesday which Environment Minister Sigmar Gabriel called a key step toward more reliance on renewable energy in Europe’s biggest economy.
Gabriel pressed the start button at the Hooksiel complex some 500 metres (500 yards) off Germany’s North Sea coast.
The five megawatts produced at the pilot site will flow into the gas and electrical station in the coastal city of Wilhelmshaven, enough to serve 5,000 households.
23 Ivory sale earns $1.1m from China, Japan
by Brigitte Weidlich, AFP
Tue Oct 28, 10:30 am ET
|WINDHOEK (AFP) – Namibia sold more than seven tonnes of ivory for 1.1 million dollars on Tuesday, in the first legal auction of elephant tusks in nearly a decade — exclusively for Chinese and Japanese buyers.
The sale kicked off two weeks of auctions across southern Africa that will put 108 tonnes of tusks on the block, in a one-off sale to the Asian powers.
Four African countries have been authorised by CITES, the international convention that regulates trade in endangered species, to hold the sales only to China and Japan.
24 Can a Fed rate cut make credit flow?
By Ron Scherer, The Christian Science Monitor
Tue Oct 28, 4:00 am ET
|New York – For the ninth time in just over a year, the Federal Reserve on Wednesday is expected to cut interest rates, quite possibly its last reduction in this downturn.
The Fed’s move would probably take rates to the lowest levels since 2003, when the economy was growing at a snail’s pace, and could mean a full percentage point decline this month alone, a rare sharp drop and an indication of how quickly the central bank sees the need to respond to the sinking economy.
The rate reduction co-incides with a Fed rule change that allows it to pay interest on banks’ excess reserves – a change that experts say gives Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke the ability to provide almost unlimited liquidity to the US banking system. This October one-two combination will be a powerful lever for the economy, economists say, perhaps enough to finally begin to relieve some of the pressures on credit markets.
25 Europe’s financial crisis is spreading eastward
By Jeffrey White, The Christian Science Monitor
Tue Oct 28, 4:00 am ET
|Berlin – A rapidly mounting currency crisis within Eastern Europe is threatening to spill across the wider European Union, an event that could spark a second epicenter in the global financial crisis, economists say.
That’s why the International Monetary Fund (IMF) moved quickly to approve loans to Ukraine and Hungary Sunday. Belarus and Serbia are also asking for assistance.
The IMF loan helped stabilize Hungary’s currency on Monday. But many Eastern European currencies have fallen as much as 25 percent against the dollar and euro. The euro’s own devaluation of late is part of the problem.
26 One Indonesian shares women’s rights in Islamic schools
By David Montero, The Christian Science Monitor
Tue Oct 28, 4:00 am ET
|Jakarta, Indonesia – Lily Munir asks the 50 young mothers in her classroom to use their imaginations. What would it be like, she says, if your husband supported your right to work and helped with housework?
The women in their seats look surprised at the question. Some of them laugh.
What begins as jokes about bad husbands grows into a serious discussion about gender roles and women’s rights. Islam supports women’s empowerment, Ms. Munir tells her students, so men should, too.
27 US crossing more borders in terror war?
By Gordon Lubold, The Christian Science Monitor
Tue Oct 28, 4:00 am ET
|Washington – In the name of protecting its forces in Afghanistan and now Iraq, the United States appears to have begun to step up a bold gamble: conducting raids in countries it believes are not doing enough to fight extremist militants.
But taking such actions in Pakistan and now Syria may involve high diplomatic risks and offer limited military gain, say experts outside the military. “It could be morally justifiable, legally justifiable, and strategically a mistake,” says Michael O’Hanlon, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington.
For the past few months, there have been reports of US airstrikes inside Pakistan as violence increased in neighboring Afghanistan. Over the weekend, the US reportedly conducted a strike inside Syria’s shared border with Iraq.
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28 Why McCain is getting hosed in the press
Jim VandeHei, John F. Harris, Politico
Tue Oct 28, 11:02 am ET
|Politico political editor Charles Mahtesian was e-mailing the other day with a Republican lobbyist who signed off with a plea that sounded more like a taunt: “Keep it balanced.”
A reader e-mailed us with the same sentiment in different language. “Are you f***ing joking! Your bias has stooped to an all-time low. Wait, it will probably get worse as election day nears.” Those asterisks, by the way, are hers, not ours.
And get a load of this one, from someone in Rochester, N.Y., who did not like our analysis of the final presidential debate. “You guys are awfully tough on McCain. There may be some legitimacy to the claim of press bias. Mom.”
29 Looking for the magic number 270? Turn your eyes to the state polls.
Liz Green, Blog of the #1 News Site, The Yahoo! Newsroom
Mon Oct 27, 10:59 pm ET
|If you’ve been living and dying by the national polling, here’s a piece of advice: stop looking at just the national poll numbers. Start looking at the state polling.
As we all were reminded in the 2000 election, the presidency is not decided by popular vote. It’s decided by the Electoral College. The candidate who gets 270 Electoral College votes wins, so poll analysis turns into a simple math game. What collection of states can a candidate put together to get to 270?
Right now, it looks like Barack Obama has a lot more routes to 270 than John McCain does. Obama is starting off with what I call an electoral college “head start.” More states are likely in his camp than John McCain’s, giving Obama about 234 electoral votes to bank on compared to John McCain’s 163.
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30 Tens of thousands of civilians flee in east Congo
By MICHELLE FAUL, Associated Press Writer
1 hr 11 mins ago
|KILIMANYOKA, Congo – Rebels vowing to take Congo’s eastern provincial capital advanced toward Goma Tuesday, sending tens of thousands fleeing. Chaos gripped a separate front as government soldiers fired on civilians and aid workers trying to escape, the top U.N. envoy said.
Alan Doss said peacekeepers were forced to “respond,” apparently meaning they shot at troops who are supposed to be their allies, after the soldiers opened fire on those trying to leave Rutshuru, about 45 miles north of Goma. He vowed to keep Rutshuru and other strategic towns out of rebel hands.
“We are going to remain there, and we are going to act against any effort to take over a city or major population center by force,” Doss told reporters in New York in a videoconference.
31 Judge tosses detainee confession citing torture
By DAVID McFADDEN, Associated Press Writer
1 hr 16 mins ago
|GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba – A U.S. military judge barred the Pentagon Tuesday from using a Guantanamo prisoner’s confession to Afghan authorities as trial evidence, saying it was obtained through torture.
Army Col. Stephen Henley said Mohammed Jawad’s statements “were obtained by physical intimidation and threats of death which, under the circumstances, constitute torture.”
Jawad’s defense attorney, Air Force Maj. David Frakt, told The Associated Press that the ruling removes “the lynchpin of the government’s case.”
32 IMF likely to need more money for its bailout fund
By DAVID STRINGER and PAN PYLAS, Associated Press Writers
Tue Oct 28, 3:38 pm ET
|LONDON – With Iceland, Pakistan, Hungary and Ukraine already clamoring for mountains of cash aid, the $250 billion set aside by the International Monetary Fund to help struggling nations through the economic crisis is beginning to look puny.
China and oil-rich Persian Gulf states should fund the bulk of a major boost in the IMF’s bailout pot, Gordon Brown, the British prime minister who has burnished his reputation by taking the lead on the financial meltdown, said Tuesday.
Those countries have the largest currency reserves and therefore should do the most, Brown said, without specifying how much more money should be added to the fund for helping nations whose banking systems and currencies are being battered.
33 China pulls some eggs amid new food safety scare
By GILLIAN WONG, Associated Press Writer
21 mins ago
|BEIJING – Authorities said Wednesday they were investigating how eggs distributed by a Chinese company came to be tainted with the same industrial chemical at the center of a dairy scandal that sickened tens of thousands of babies.
The move comes a day after a brand of chicken eggs produced by China’s Dalian Hanwei Enterprise Group was pulled off some shelves in the country after Hong Kong food safety regulators found excessive levels of melamine in eggs of the same brand.
The government of Dalian, a northeastern port city where the company is based, said it would punish anyone found responsible for the contamination of the eggs, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.
34 Sri Lanka rebel air attack puts capital in dark
By BHARATHA MALLAWARACHI, Associated Press Writer
Tue Oct 28, 4:33 pm ET
|COLOMBO, Sri Lanka – Sri Lankan rebels staged a brazen airstrike on a power station on the outskirts of Colombo late Tuesday, plunging the capital into darkness as searchlights swept across the sky and glowing anti-aircraft fire arced through the gloom.
The attack showed the Tamil Tigers can still strike even as an army offensive pushes deep into the rebels’ de facto state in the north. The government has vowed to destroy the rebels by the end of the year and end a civil war that has plagued the South Asian nation for a quarter century.
The rebel air assault came just hours after a pro-rebel Web site accused the Sri Lankan air force of killing three people with an airstrike on a civilian town in the north of the Indian Ocean island.
35 Iraqi militant to hang for killing US soldiers
By SAMEER N. YACOUB, Associated Press Writer
Tue Oct 28, 2:56 pm ET
|BAGHDAD – An Iraqi militant accused of killing three American soldiers in a grisly checkpoint ambush was convicted Tuesday and sentenced to death by hanging. Two other men accused in the 2006 deaths were acquitted.
The killing of the three 101st Airborne Division soldiers was one of the most brazen attacks against U.S. forces since the Iraq war began in 2003.
The case marked the first time an Iraqi investigative judge sent a case involving an Iraqi killing specific Americans to trial.
36 Sudan says at least 3 Chinese oil workers killed
By SARAH EL DEEB, Associated Press Writer
Tue Oct 28, 2:07 pm ET
|KHARTOUM, Sudan – The kidnappers of nine Chinese oil workers in Sudan killed at least three hostages Tuesday after being spooked by a surveillance plane, a Sudanese government official said, contradicting Chinese claims of a botched rescue.
Initially the Sudanese government said five had been killed, but the undersecretary at the Foreign Ministry, Mutrif Siddiq, told reporters only three of the Chinese workers were confirmed dead and three others were injured and receiving medical care. Three more remain missing.
“Our forces are now scouring all the hiding places to search for the missing, whether killed or injured,” Siddiq told reporters at the airport, where the coffins of three victims were unloaded.
37 Britain proposes to ban entry of 230 extremists
By PAISLEY DODDS, Associated Press Writer
Tue Oct 28, 5:26 pm ET
|LONDON – Britain will publicly list and ban entry of more than 200 people whose extremist views and “violent messages” are a threat to national security, the home secretary said Tuesday.
The plan announced by Home Secretary Jacqui Smith would group together Muslim extremists, animal rights protesters, anti-abortion activists, neo-Nazis and others she said “encourage or spread extremism and hatred through preaching violent messages.” The list would include only people from abroad.
Smith said publishing the names – roughly 230 – amounts to a toughening of existing exclusion orders that already list and ban certain groups from Britain. Authorities expect to publish the list on the Home Office Web site in the coming months.
38 U.S. accuses Sudan of duplicity in Darfur
By Louis Charbonneau, Reuters
Tue Oct 28, 5:26 pm ET
|UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Sudan has violated an embargo on arms transfers to its war-torn Darfur region and disguised planes to look like U.N. humanitarian aircraft, the U.S. envoy to the United Nations said on Tuesday.
Speaking at a meeting of the U.N. Security Council on Darfur, U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad accused Khartoum of a litany of duplicitous actions, all of which he said had been documented by an expert panel of the U.N. Sanctions Committee.
They included “violating the limited arms embargo on Darfur, using aircraft painted to resemble U.N. humanitarian aircraft, (and) conducting offensive overflights in Darfur.”
39 Businessman convicted of Russian c.banker’s murder
Tue Oct 28, 2:24 pm ET
|MOSCOW (Reuters) – A Russian businessman was found guilty on Tuesday of ordering the murder of a top Russian central banker who led a campaign against money-laundering and corruption.
The state prosecutor said Alexei Frenkel had acted out of revenge when he ordered the killing of Andrei Kozlov, the 41-year-old deputy head of Russia’s central bank who had revoked Frenkel’s banks’ licenses.
Kozlov was shot dead in September 2006 as he left an amateur soccer match in Moscow.
40 U.S. court told Chevron paid forces in Nigeria clash
By Jennifer Martinez, Reuters
43 mins ago
|SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Chevron Corp fed, housed and paid Nigerian military forces involved in a deadly clash with local residents occupying an oil platform more than a decade ago, a jury was told on Tuesday at a federal trial in which the oil company is accused of human rights abuses.
The accusations stem from May 1998, when about 100 people occupied Chevron’s Parabe platform off the coast of West Africa for three days.
The case in San Francisco District Court was brought against Chevron by Larry Bowoto, one of the occupiers of the platform, under the Alien Tort Claims Act. The act, dating back to 1789, allows foreigners to sue over human rights abuses committed in their countries by a U.S. organization or someone acting on behalf of a U.S. organization.
41 Zambia presidential poll: "King Cobra" vs pragmatist
By Shapi Shacinda, Reuters
Tue Oct 28, 12:37 pm ET
|LUSAKA (Reuters) – Zambia’s acting president and its opposition leader contest a presidential election on Thursday for the right to lead one of Africa’s most stable and economically successful countries.
Whoever wins will face the formidable task of matching late president Levy Mwanawasa’s strong track record of fiscal discipline, praised by Western donors, and cracking down on corruption, both rare successes in Africa.
Acting president Rupiah Banda, a prominent businessman with wide government experience, campaigns as a steady hand who can keep Mwanawasa’s business-friendly policies going.
42 Mugabe not serious about Zimbabwe government: opposition
By MacDonald Dzirutwe, Reuters
Tue Oct 28, 10:29 am ET
|HARARE (Reuters) – Zimbabwe’s main opposition party said on Tuesday that President Robert Mugabe’s ruling party was not sincerely committed to entering into a genuine cooperative government under a power-sharing deal.
The MDC opposition’s Secretary-General Tendai Biti said the allocation of ministries was still being discussed in talks on forming a cabinet. He said the opposition party was committed to reaching an agreement but would not accept a bad deal.
“The core of our differences with (the ruling) ZANU-PF is the pure lack of sincerity on the part of ZANU-PF,” Biti told a news conference.
43 New Africa summit called to save Zimbabwe deal
by Fanuel Jongwe, AFP
Tue Oct 28, 10:58 am ET
|HARARE (AFP) – Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and the main opposition faced mounting pressure on Tuesday to end their feud over forming a unity government, ahead of a new emergency African summit to tackle the crisis.
After 13 hours of talks on Monday with a regional security body, Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai remained deadlocked over who should control the powerful home affairs ministry, which oversees the police.
They agreed only to call for an urgent summit of the 15-member Southern African Development Community (SADC), which is certain to pile pressure on the rivals to stick to the unity accord signed six weeks ago.
44 Russia opposes EU monitors in Georgia’s breakaway provinces
Tue Oct 28, 1:41 pm ET
|SAINT PETERSBURG (AFP) – Russia Tuesday declared its opposition to deploying European Union monitors in Georgia’s rebel provinces, while Russian rights groups reported pillaging in Georgian border villages.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said after meeting here with his French counterpart Bernard Kouchner that security in the Georgian breakaway regions of South Ossetia and Abkhazia “is assured by Russian military contingents after the recognition of their independence by Russia.
“As far as the European Union monitors are concerned, we believe the Medvedev-Sarkozy plan should be respected. It says they should be deployed in areas adjacent to Abkhazia and South Ossetia,” Lavrov said.
45 Hundreds confront police in Denmark’s Christiania squat
50 mins ago
|COPENHAGEN (AFP) – More than 300 inhabitants of Copenhagen’s “free city” of Christiania, a giant squat, clashed with police late Tuesday putting up barricades and throwing petrol bombs after the police demolished an illegal building.
The demonstrators used guerrilla tactics, harassing the police in the streets around Christiania and setting fire to rubbish bins, chairs and old refrigerators.
Protesters said the police had provoked the action by demolishing a house that authorities said had been built illegally on a historic site, the old ramparts of Copenhagen.
46 Woman wins case against Niger for slavery
by Boureima Hama, AFP
Mon Oct 27, 1:12 pm ET
|NIAMEY, Niger (AFP) – West African judges Monday fined the state of Niger the equivalent of 15,000 euros for failing to protect a woman sold into slavery aged 12, in a landmark ruling with implications across the region.
The Court of Justice of the Economic Community of West African States recognised that the young woman, Adidjatou Mani Koraou, now 24, had been “a victim of slavery.”
It held “the Republic of Niger responsible for the inaction” of its administrative and legal services, in a ruling read out by a court official.
47 Lithuania Conservatives asked to form coalition
by Marielle Vitureau, AFP
Tue Oct 28, 12:05 pm ET
|VILNIUS (AFP) – Lithuania’s Conservative leader, Andrius Kubilius, was on Tuesday tasked with creating a coalition to replace the defeated Social Democrats and tackle the ex-Soviet EU nation’s looming economic crisis.
Kubilius met with President Valdas Adamkus and later told reporters that the head of state asked him to begin talks with three smaller centre-right movements which have pledged to work with the Conservatives, who came top in a general election Sunday.
“The president and I have an identical take on the current situation and the challenges we’re facing, as well as the means to deal with them,” Kubilius said after meeting with Adamkus, who is seen as a non-partisan figure.
48 Turkish jets strike Kurdish rebels in Iraq: army
Tue Oct 28, 11:06 am ET
|ANKARA (AFP) – Turkish warplanes bombed Tuesday Kurdish rebel positions in neighbouring northern Iraq, the army said.
The jets, backed by artillery fire, pounded “effectively” Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) hideouts in the regions of Hakurk and Avashin-Basyan as well as Zap, a major rebel stronghold, the statement said.
“The targets were hit successfully,” it said, without mentioning any casualties among PKK ranks.
49 U.S. unlikely to accept revised Iraq security pact
By Leila Fadel, McClatchy Newspapers
2 hrs 17 mins ago
|BAGHDAD – The Iraqi cabinet agreed Tuesday to amend a draft agreement governing the status of U.S. forces in Iraq , but introducing new provisions that the U.S. military is unlikely to accept.
Among other things, the amendments would give Iraqi authorities the right to determine whether a U.S. service member was on- or off-duty when he or she committed an alleged crime outside American bases, where such an American would be tried. It also would allow authorities to inspect all U.S. cargo entering the nation.
Iraqi politicians see the changes as a way to preserve Iraqi sovereignty.
50 In Asia, doubts grow about a nuclear-free North Korea
By Tim Johnson, McClatchy Newspapers
Tue Oct 28, 4:19 pm ET
|BEIJING – As talks over North Korea’s nuclear program stumble along, some scholars and policymakers around Asia now believe that the negotiations may never lead Pyongyang to cede all its nuclear weapons.
Instead, they say the best that can be hoped for is to halt North Korea from producing nuclear fuel to make any more weapons.
The view is far from universal, and the governments at multilateral talks over the North Korea nuclear program publicly stick to the objective of a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula .
51 Is the Dalai Lama About to Give Up on China?
By SIMON ELEGANT / BEIJING, Time Magazine
Mon Oct 27, 5:10 pm ET
|Has the Dalai Lama really given up on hope that China might some day come around and agree to his proposal for some sort of (very) limited autonomy for his homeland, Tibet? That’s what the 73-year-old exiled Tibetan spiritual leader appeared to indicate during an Oct. 25 speech in his exile home of Dharamsala in northern India. “I have been sincerely pursuing the middle way approach in dealing with China for a long time now but there hasn’t been any positive response from the Chinese side,” he was quoted as saying. “As far as I’m concerned I have given up.” That was, as an Associated Press report on the speech noted – almost with shock – “an unusually blunt” statement from a man whose well-known global public image revolves around preaching the compromise and non-violence that are central tenets of Buddhism.|
52 China Stays the Capitalist Course
By BILL POWELL, Time Magazine
Tue Oct 28, 12:45 am ET
|For most of 2008, Chinese financial Élites would retail a dark joke making the rounds in Beijing and Shanghai: we sell Americans poisoned food, toys and pharmaceuticals – and they sell us poisoned financial products. Who’s getting the worst end of the deal?|
53 What’s Behind the US Military Raid on Syria?
By NICHOLAS BLANFORD / BEIRUT, Time Magazine
Tue Oct 28, 11:20 am ET
|Sunday’s surprise raid by helicopter-borne U.S. troops in eastern Syria raises at least three key questions. Given that the U.S. is saying the number of volunteer fighters infiltrating Iraq from Syria has dwindled significantly in the past 18 months, why was this action deemed necessary? Does the raid signal a shift in U.S. tactics in the region? And with just over a week before the U.S. presidential election, why now?|
54 More Zimbabwe Talks Fail
By ALEX PERRY AND SIMBA RUSHWAYA/HARARE, Time Magazine
Tue Oct 28, 6:35 pm ET
|It was Groundhog Day in Zimbabwe on Monday, as yet another attempt to broker a power-sharing deal between President Robert Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) failed, despite the efforts of a mediation team from Zimbabwe’s neighbors. Once again, the sides simply agreed to continue talking, this time at an “extraordinary summit” of the Southern African Development Community to be held in the next two weeks. The MDC repeated its accusation that Mugabe’s regime showed a “serious lack of sincerity and good faith”; the ruling party responded that it would not countenance any deal that sought to overturn its achievements after 28 years in power.|
55 Why Congo’s Peacekeepers Are Coming Under Fire
By ALEX PERRY, Time Magazine
2 hrs 54 mins ago
|There can be no greater indictment of a peacekeeping mission than when it is attacked by the people it was sent to protect. But that is what’s happening to the U.N.’s biggest peacekeeping mission, the 17,000 blue helmets in the Democratic Republic of Congo (D.R.C.) known by the French acronym MONUC. On Monday, one person died when hundreds of protesters attacked the mission in the eastern Congolese city of Goma, on the border with Rwanda. The protesters say the U.N. is not doing enough to protect them from an advancing rebel army. Several U.N. compounds in the city were attacked, said U.N. spokeswoman Sylvie van den Wildenberg, who adds that at one location, MONUC soldiers fired into the air to disperse the demonstrators. It was unclear whether the dead civilian was killed by a rock thrown by a protester or a bullet, she said.|
56 Bolivians worry spat with US could kill jobs
By Eliza Barclay, The Christian Science Monitor
Tue Oct 28, 4:00 am ET
|La Paz, Bolivia – To Marga Targui, an indigenous woman who irons T-shirts for American firms like Ralph Lauren and Abercrombie & Fitch, the increasingly bitter diplomatic spat between the United States and Bolivia is a menace that cloaks her boisterous factory with tension.
Here among the concrete slums perched over Bolivia’s capital, La Paz, any job is precious, especially one with benefits and paid vacation like Ms. Targui’s.
“We want to work and we want job protection,” says Targui between rhythmic hisses of the iron. “There may be something going on at the embassy, but we want Bolivia and the US to be united. As enemies you don’t gain anything.”
57 Murder mystery vexes ex-Soviet bloc
By Michael J. Jordan, The Christian Science Monitor
Tue Oct 28, 4:00 am ET
|Sofia, Bulgaria – While Bulgarian émigré Georgi Markov walked over Waterloo Bridge in London on Sept. 7, 1978, a passerby bumped into the well-known critic of his native government. A stinging pain shot through Mr. Markov’s calf, and four days later he was dead.
Investigators initially thought an assassin, hired by the communist regime in Bulgaria, jabbed him with a poison-tipped umbrella. But later reports suggested a spring-loaded pen, probably KGB-designed, had fired a ricin-tipped pellet into his leg.
Today much of the Markov murder remains shrouded in mystery. The case, however, is just one of many unsolved mysteries spurring intense debate in Eastern Europe between critics and defenders of the communist system.
58 Quebecois: maligned accent may have its roots in royal courts
By Susan Bourette, The Christian Science Monitor
Tue Oct 28, 4:00 am ET
|Toronto – The French would have two words for it: Très ironique.
Québec’s francophones have long been ridiculed by the Parisian French – the scholars, elites, and aesthetes from the ancestral homeland. They have deemed the Québecois accent an “abomination” of what they consider the most beautiful language.
They shouldn’t sneer.
59 China’s land reform aims to revolutionize 750 million lives
By Peter Ford, The Christian Science Monitor
Mon Oct 27, 4:00 am ET
|Mijian, China – Zhang Xiaosui is the very model of a modern Chinese peasant.
Farming a field 10 times larger than any of his neighbors’ in this scruffy village in central China, he is on the front lines of a new government drive to transform Chinese agriculture, and with it the lives of 750 million country dwellers.
If the land reform announced last week works as officials hope it will, many peasants will emulate Mr. Zhang’s effort to turn family plots into a modern farm, and help bang one of the last nails into the coffin of Mao Zedong’s collectivist dream.
60 Iraq updates Hussein-era Air Force
By Tom A. Peter, The Christian Science Monitor
Mon Oct 27, 4:00 am ET
|Kirkuk, Iraq – After only five months in the Iraqi Air Force’s new training program, Lt. Haider Jasim has already gotten more time behind the yoke of a plane than the average pilot in Saddam Hussein’s Air Force got all year. Old regime flyers spent most of their time on the ground due to limited resources following the Gulf War in 1991.
But today, as Hussein-era pilots mix with fresh recruits, Lieutenant Jasim and many other young officers – who’ve trained on equipment that rivals that of their US counterparts – say the old pilots are hardly the mentors one might expect senior officers to be. “The pilots from the Saddam regime don’t have very much experience,” says Jasim. “I speak with them, but they don’t have enough experience to learn from.”
After nearly evaporating following the US-led invasion in 2003, the Iraqi Air Force is making a comeback. Now, fresh recruits and old regime pilots must come together to create a new Air Force that will be radically different from Hussein’s massive assault-capable fleet that operated with notoriously loose safety standards. But scaling back the force’s historically aggressive posture while managing its rapidly swelling ranks will be a delicate balance.