The Morning News

The Morning News is an Open Thread

132 Stories.

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

AFP

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.

From Yahoo News Most Popular, Most Recommended

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.

From Yahoo News World

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

Reuters

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

AFP

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

AFP

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

AFP

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.

8 comments

Skip to comment form

  1. From Yahoo News U.S. News

    61 Jurors hear start of alleged plot in Fort Dix case

    By GEOFF MULVIHILL, Associated Press Writer

    Tue Oct 28, 6:59 pm ET

    CAMDEN, N.J. – The paid informant who helped build the case against five men accused of plotting to attack soldiers in New Jersey took the witness stand Tuesday, but much of what jurors heard from him came in the form of secretly taped conversations with one of the accused.

    “We have talked a lot and we are still talking. What can we do?” informant Mahmoud Omar asked defendant Mohamad Shnewer during a 2006 discussion in which both decried U.S. treatment of Muslims.

    Omar kept asking similar questions in Arabic at Shnewer’s family’s home in Cherry Hill. Once, Shnewer’s answer was to seek help from God, saying he had helped the cause by unleashing Hurricane Katrina.

    62 Battle for state legislatures carries high stakes

    By ROBERT TANNER, AP National Writer

    Tue Oct 28, 2:46 pm ET

    Political control of several key state legislatures could change hands on Election Day, raising the chance for one-party domination of swing states Michigan and Pennsylvania, booming Nevada and Northeast giant New York.

    Democrats are cautiously optimistic that enthusiasm and turnout for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign will help their candidates far down the ticket. Republicans hope to steer clear of the national mood that has turned against the GOP and focus instead on local issues.

    Though state legislative races draw far less attention than contests for the White House, Congress and governor, the party that controls the legislatures has an outsized role nationally – crafting domestic policy, drawing congressional districts and laying the foundation for political stars in the future.

    63 Military families feel financial crisis

    By Ed Stoddard, Reuters

    Tue Oct 28, 3:45 pm ET

    DALLAS (Reuters) – Among those struggling in the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression are members of the U.S. armed forces and their families.

    “I’m concerned about our savings. Everything has gone up. You can’t save when gas has gone up and electricity bills have gone up,” said army wife Jessica Phillips, 22.

    Phillips was waiting at Dallas-Fort Worth airport last week for her husband, Christopher, flying in from Iraq for 18 days of leave. Phillips, who lives near Fort Polk in Louisiana and is studying psychology and criminal justice, said she relied on her husband’s income as an Army specialist.

    64 Wild birds carry avian flu viruses to U.S.: report

    Reuters

    Tue Oct 28, 6:08 pm ET

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Migrating waterfowl may be carrying avian influenza viruses from Asia to the Americas, U.S. government researchers reported on Tuesday.

    They found genetic evidence that some non-dangerous influenza viruses infecting northern pintail ducks in Alaska are genetically more closely related to Asian strains of bird flu than to North American strains.

    “Although some previous research has led to speculation that intercontinental transfer of avian influenza viruses from Asia to North America via wild birds is rare, this study challenges that,” said Chris Franson, a research wildlife biologist at the U.S. Geological Survey, who helped lead the study.

    65 FDA warns Bayer over aspirins containing supplements

    By Susan Heavey, Reuters

    Tue Oct 28, 2:44 pm ET

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Two over-the-counter Bayer AG aspirin products that contain dietary supplements have not been proven to work and are being sold illegally, U.S. health regulators warned on Tuesday.

    Claims made about the products, Bayer Aspirin with Heart Advantage and Bayer Women’s Low Dose Aspirin + Calcium, also mislead consumers, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said.

    “These are not FDA-approved products,” agency spokeswoman Rita Chappelle said. “They are selling products that are illegal.”

    66 Christian Science Monitor will stop printing daily

    By Robert MacMillan, Reuters

    Tue Oct 28, 1:42 pm ET

    NEW YORK (Reuters) – The Christian Science Monitor will abandon its weekday print edition next year, choosing instead to put daily news on its free website and print a paper just once a week.

    It is the first nationally distributed U.S. newspaper to make such a move, and could prove a harbinger for an industry battered by a falling advertising sales and circulation, and a steep rise in the cost of newsprint.

    “It’s a tough road, but we basically feel that the Web is where the growth is,” said Editor John Yemma, who added that the paper might cut some staff.

    67 NY convenes grand jury in police sodomy allegation

    Reuters

    Tue Oct 28, 12:55 pm ET

    NEW YORK (Reuters) – A New York prosecutor convened a grand jury on Tuesday to hear evidence into allegations by a man that he was beaten and sodomized by police officers.

    Lawyers for Michael Mineo, 24, allege he was followed into a subway station in the New York borough of Brooklyn on October 15 by four uniformed officers who stopped him on suspicion of smoking marijuana, handcuffed him and then assaulted him.

    “On the basis of preliminary conclusions of the early stages of my investigation and a review of the medical evidence concerning the allegations that Michael Mineo was brutally assaulted by four police officers, I have ordered a special investigative grand jury to be impaneled,” Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes said in a statement.

    68 Smokers increasingly hooked on nicotine: study

    By Will Dunham, Reuters

    Tue Oct 28, 11:19 am ET

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Smokers who are seeking medical treatment to give up cigarettes are more highly addicted to nicotine than smokers who sought help two decades ago, U.S. researchers said on Tuesday.

    The researchers examined nicotine dependence levels of about 600 smokers who entered treatment programs in northern California to quit smoking during three periods starting in 1989 and ending in 2006.

    Seventy-three percent of those seeking medical help to quit smoking in 2005 to 2006 were deemed highly nicotine dependent using scores from a questionnaire given to assess the severity of nicotine addiction, the researchers said.

    69 Sexual trauma afflicts 15 percent of U.S. veterans: study

    By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor, Reuters

    Tue Oct 28, 12:53 am ET

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Nearly 15 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans seeking medical care from the U.S. Veterans Affairs Department have suffered sexual trauma, from harassment to rape, researchers reported on Tuesday.

    And these veterans were 1.5 times as likely as other veterans to need mental health services, the report from the VA found.

    “We are, in fact, detecting men and women who seem to have a significant need for mental health services,” said Rachel Kimerling of the National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder at the VA Palo Alto Health Care System in California.

    70 70th anniversary of fictional space invaders who panicked America

    by Luis Tores de la Llosa, AFP

    Tue Oct 28, 5:33 pm ET

    NEW YORK (AFP) – Seventy years ago this week, thousands of Americans settled in at home for what they expected would be a relaxing evening of radio theater — a favorite family entertainment in the pre-television age.

    By the time the broadcast ended an hour later panic erupted.

    Americans by the thousands fled what they feared was an imminent invasion by space aliens; while others armed themselves in defense against the marauding extraterrestials.

    71 Dismal Christmas sales forecast for US retailers

    AFP

    Mon Oct 27, 5:40 pm ET

    NEW YORK (AFP) – US retailers face dismal prospects for the year-end holiday season, with forecasts of a 2.0 to 2.7 percent drop in sales due to the financial crisis, two studies released Monday said.

    Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services predicted “the most difficult holiday season in memory” for the retailers as American consumers rein in shopping, buffeted by plunging stock and housing markets and growing layoffs across the country.

    S&P said that sales in retail stores (not including automobile dealers and restaurants) “will at best be flat with last year’s 255 billion dollars.

    72 Can Ted Stevens Still Win Alaska?

    By NATHAN THORNBURGH, Time Magazine

    Tue Oct 28, 8:00 pm ET

    Uncle Ted, the Senator with an avuncular penchant for gift-giving – $3.4 billion in federal earmarks for Alaska since 1995 alone – has been convicted of receiving a few freebies of his own. Stevens, 84, was found guilty Monday on seven felony counts for failing to report $250,000 in improper gifts he received from Bill Allen, the disgraced executive of an oil-services company.
  2. From Yahoo News Politics

    73 McCain struggles for upset in Pa.; GOP doubts grow

    By MIKE GLOVER and NEDRA PICKLER, Associated Press Writers

    2 hrs 16 mins ago

    HERSHEY, Pa. – Doubts about John McCain’s chances for the presidency grew louder among fellow Republicans on Tuesday as a White House race largely focused on Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania entered its final week.

    Even two Republicans once on McCain’s short list for vice president sounded skeptical. In a fundraising e-mail on behalf of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, Mitt Romney referred to “the very real possibility of an Obama presidency.” In the Midwest, Gov. Tim Pawlenty gave a dour assessment of McCain’s chances in his state, saying Barack Obama “has a pretty good advantage in Minnesota right now.”

    Nationally, a poll by the Pew Research Center found Obama with a 16-point lead among registered voters. The survey said Obama had 52 percent and McCain 36 percent, with independent voters supporting the Democrat by a 48-31 margin.

    74 GOP takes out loan to help Senate candidates

    By JIM KUHNHENN, Associated Press Writer

    Tue Oct 28, 9:26 pm ET

    WASHINGTON – The Republican National Committee tapped a $5 million line of credit Tuesday as part of a renewed effort to help GOP senators facing re-election difficulties, the party’s chairman said Tuesday.

    Robert M. “Mike” Duncan said the party committee gave $2 million to the cash-strapped National Republican Senatorial Committee for use in the days before the Nov. 4 elections. The RNC also was spending $3 million in coordination with several Senate Republican campaigns, he said.

    Republican-held seats have become increasingly competitive since the GOP national convention in early September, Duncan said.

    75 GOP takes out loan to help Senate candidates

    By JIM KUHNHENN, Associated Press Writer

    Tue Oct 28, 9:26 pm ET

    WASHINGTON – The Republican National Committee tapped a $5 million line of credit Tuesday as part of a renewed effort to help GOP senators facing re-election difficulties, the party’s chairman said Tuesday.

    Robert M. “Mike” Duncan said the party committee gave $2 million to the cash-strapped National Republican Senatorial Committee for use in the days before the Nov. 4 elections. The RNC also was spending $3 million in coordination with several Senate Republican campaigns, he said.

    Republican-held seats have become increasingly competitive since the GOP national convention in early September, Duncan said.

    76 Economy knocks education out of campaign spotlight

    By JUSTIN POPE, AP Education Writer

    Tue Oct 28, 3:17 pm ET

    Forget Joe the Plumber. Joe the teacher wants to know what happened to education as an issue during the presidential campaign.

    “The country, if education is something they’re concerned about, they’ve got to seek it out,” said Joe Post, a 17-year-veteran language arts teacher at a middle school in the Cleveland suburb of North Ridgeville, Ohio. “It’s not going to be on the front page of the newspaper in this election.”

    Bill Clinton in 1996 and George W. Bush in 2000 ran successfully on education issues. Last month, in an Associated Press-Yahoo poll, 46 percent of respondents called education an “extremely important” issue to them personally – ranking it higher than housing prices, taxes, immigration or the environment.

    77 ‘Straight tickets’ in NC don’t vote for president

    By MIKE BAKER, Associated Press Writer

    Tue Oct 28, 3:58 pm ET

    RALEIGH, N.C. – Election watchdogs fear that a long-standing feature of ballots in North Carolina could lead thousands of straight-party voters to mistakenly fail to vote for president and possibly produce a replay of the postelection battle in Florida eight years ago.

    Since the 1960s, North Carolina ballots have allowed voters to cast a straight-party ticket – Democrat, Republican or Libertarian – by checking a single box, but state law requires voters to separately mark their choice for president.

    On the ballot, the straight-party vote option appears below the presidential selection, and counties have included explanations and warnings that voters must mark the White House race separately. Nevertheless, election watchdogs fear hurried voters might ignore the explanations, see the straight-ticket option first and assume it includes a vote for president.

    78 FACT CHECK: McCain misreads 2001 Obama interview

    By MARK SHERMAN, Associated Press Writer

    Tue Oct 28, 2:23 pm ET

    WASHINGTON – Republican John McCain is misreading seven-year-old comments by rival Barack Obama about “redistributive change” to argue that the Democrat’s tax policy is built on “taking your money and giving it to someone else.”

    The McCain campaign and the candidate himself are pointing to Obama’s comments during a Chicago public radio program in 2001 that dealt with the civil rights movement and the Supreme Court.

    “It’s always more interesting to hear what people have to say in these unscripted moments,” McCain told a rally in Dayton, Ohio, alluding to Obama’s now well-known exchange in Ohio with Joe the Plumber. “And, today, we heard another moment like this from Sen. Obama.

    79 With visits and money, Obama narrows race in Mont.

    By MATT GOURAS, Associated Press Writer

    Tue Oct 28, 10:30 am ET

    HELENA, Mont. – Republican John McCain has history on his side in Montana. Democrat Barack Obama has 19 campaign offices.

    Montana is typically safe territory for Republican presidential candidates. President Bush won the state by about 20 points in both 2000 and 2004, and only two Democrats – Lyndon B. Johnson in 1964 and Bill Clinton in 1992 – have carried the state since 1948.

    But Obama staked out Montana early as a potential battleground state and he’s sticking with it to the end. McCain, confident of winning the state’s three electoral votes, is virtually ignoring it, although the Republican National Committee will begin airing ads in Montana for the first time Wednesday.

    80 Sarah Palin effigy hung in Halloween display

    By Dan Whitcomb, Reuters

    Mon Oct 27, 3:49 pm ET

    LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – An effigy of U.S. Republican vice-presidential nominee Sarah Palin hanging by a noose as part of a Halloween display drew complaints on Monday, but local officials said the homeowner was covered by free speech rights.

    A mannequin dressed to resemble the Alaska governor, with her trademark beehive hairdo and glasses, was hung by the neck from the eaves of the home in famously liberal West Hollywood.

    On the roof, a mannequin of Republican presidential candidate John McCain, protruded from the chimney surrounded in flames, holding his head as he was apparently burned alive.

    81 Government should not aim to save carmakers: McCain adviser

    By Soyoung Kim, Reuters

    Mon Oct 27, 7:30 pm ET

    DETROIT (Reuters) – The U.S. government can assist automakers but cannot save them and any aid should be limited so taxpayers do not become ensnared in a long-term investment in the embattled industry, an economic adviser to Republican presidential candidate John McCain said on Monday.

    “I don’t think the government can rescue the industry,” Carly Fiorina, former chief executive of Hewlett-Packard Corp, told Reuters at an event in suburban Detroit.

    “Whatever the government does, it should not take away the fundamentals of risk-taking. Sometimes it leads to rewards and sometimes consequences, downside,” she said. “In other words, the auto industry cannot be saved from its own bad bets.”

    82 US: Iraq security pact is ‘best offer’

    AFP

    Tue Oct 28, 2:24 pm ET

    WASHINGTON (AFP) – The White House poured cold water Tuesday on Iraq’s push to reopen talks on a controversial accord governing the US troop presence there beyond December, calling the existing pact its “best offer.”

    “Anything that they would want to change would have to clear a very high bar for us. We think that the door is pretty much shut on these negotiations,” spokeswoman Dana Perino said as Baghdad planned to push for changes.

    But Perino said Washington was not completely closing off prospects for new talks, stressing that doing so “would be irresponsible” until US officials see the proposed amendments to the agreement.

    83 US considering talks with Taliban, official says

    AFP

    Tue Oct 28, 1:36 pm ET

    WASHINGTON (AFP) – The United States is looking at negotiating with “reconciliable” members of the Taliban in Afghanistan prepared to give up violence and respect the Afghan constitution, a US official said Tuesday.

    “We are clearly, as I said, under the strategic review, trying to see if our engagement with any reconcilable elements makes sense,” the State Department official told reporters on the condition of anonymity.

    “If people are willing to renounce violence, give up their arms … it makes sense,” said the official.

    84 US woos rich Gulf investors to ease turmoil

    AFP

    Tue Oct 28, 11:09 am ET

    DUBAI (AFP) – US Deputy Treasury Secretary Robert Kimmitt called on oil-rich Gulf Arab countries on Tuesday to continue investing in the United States to help restore financial stability.

    “We’re looking for sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) to continue their over five-decade track record of investing on sound commercial bases,” Kimmitt said during a visit to the United Arab Emirates, his second stop on a five-nation tour of Gulf countries and Iraq.

    “If they do that both in the US and elsewhere, I think this is how they can best contribute to the global economy,” he said.

    85 Barzani says Iraq-US security pact dominates his talks with Rice

    AFP

    Tue Oct 28, 7:33 pm ET

    WASHINGTON (AFP) – Massud Barzani, the president of Iraq’s northern Kurdish government, said his talks on Tuesday with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice focused on a controversial draft Iraq-US military pact.

    “The issue of the strategic agreement was the main theme of the meeting,” Barzani told reporters following his talks with Rice in Washington, adding it was “discussed in detail.”

    However, Barzani said he had no details about proposed changes to the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) that is designed to lay out the rights and responsibilities of US forces in Iraq after a UN mandate expires at the end of the year.

    86 US Fed extends 15 bln dlr swap line to New Zealand

    AFP

    Tue Oct 28, 6:37 pm ET

    WASHINGTON (AFP) – The US Federal Reserve said Tuesday it had extended a temporary 15-billion-dollar currency “swap” line to New Zealand’s central bank to help it boost lending and unblock the global credit squeeze.

    Under the reciprocal agreement, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand is authorized to swap its currency for up to 15 billion dollars in the US currency, “to address ongoing, elevated pressures in US dollar short-term funding markets,” the Fed said in a statement.

    “This facility, like those already established with other central banks, is designed to help improve liquidity conditions in global financial markets,” it added.

    87 Obama to flood airwaves in primetime TV pitch

    by Sebastian Smith, AFP

    Tue Oct 28, 5:38 pm ET

    NEW YORK (AFP) – White House front runner Barack Obama is to make a 30-minute primetime television pitch to the nation Wednesday in an extraordinary climax to his presidential campaign media blitz.

    The Democratic candidate, running steadily ahead of Republican John McCain in the polls a week before election day, will air the unusually long advertisement on three of the four national networks: CBS, NBC and Fox.

    The slots at 8:00 pm on the east coast and 7:00 pm in the central zone, right before the hotly anticipated next game of baseball’s World Series on Fox, could not be more choice.

    88 With rate cut likely, analysts ponder how low Fed will go

    by Rob Lever, AFP

    Tue Oct 28, 2:32 pm ET

    WASHINGTON (AFP) – How low will the Fed go? As the Federal Reserve opened a two-day meeting Tuesday, financial markets were banking on a half-point cut in the federal funds target to bring the rate to 1.0 percent, matching the lows of 2003 and 2004.

    Some predicted the US central bank, which led a coordinated global rate cut earlier this month, could go even lower in effort to jump-start lending and ease a global credit crunch.

    The Federal Open Market Committee headed by chairman Ben Bernanke began meeting at 1800 GMT Tuesday and was expected to announce a decision around 1815 GMT Wednesday.

    89 Rare US raid into Syria marks shift in Iraq tactics

    by Jim Mannion, AFP

    Mon Oct 27, 3:09 pm ET

    WASHINGTON (AFP) – The United States mounted a rare cross-border raid into Syria to kill the head of a smuggling network feeding arms and foreign fighters to Iraq, a US official said Monday, signaling a more aggressive approach to insurgent sanctuaries.

    The official identified the man targeted in Sunday’s raid as Abu Ghadiya, describing him as “one of the most prominent foreign fighter facilitators in the region.”

    “The operation was successful,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. “He is believed to have been killed.”

  3. From Yahoo News Business

    90 Asian stocks extend gains after Wall Street rally

    By JEREMIAH MARQUEZ, AP Business Writer

    1 hr 50 mins ago

    HONG KONG – Asian stock markets extended a global rally Wednesday after an overnight surge on Wall Street as investors awaited possible interest rate cuts from central banks in the U.S. and Japan.

    Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index jumped 526.99, or 6.9 percent, to 8,148.91, building on a similar advance in the prior session.

    In Hong Kong, the Hang Seng Index added 4.7 percent to its spectacular 14.4 percent rise the day before. South Korea’s benchmark rose 2.5 percent, while Australia’sS&P/ASX200 trader 3.7 percent higher.

    91 Oil company profits rise, but outlook is cautious

    By JOHN PORRETTO, AP Business Writer

    Tue Oct 28, 5:41 pm ET

    HOUSTON – Record crude prices this summer are translating into huge profits, as BP and Occidental Petroleum showed Tuesday, but some energy companies are bracing for tougher times, keeping a closer tab on cash and cutting spending.

    Oil producers are coming off a quarter during which crude prices reached an all-time high of $147.27. But prices have since tumbled more than 50 percent, and the global economic malaise has raised questions about energy demand at least into 2009.

    Despite a 71 percent jump in third-quarter profit, Occidental Petroleum said Tuesday it likely would not increase capital spending next year from its current $4.7 billion level. Refiner Valero Energy Corp., which also reported July-September results Tuesday, said it was scaling back spending by 33 percent this year and cutting its 2009 budget.

    92 Automakers seek govt aid beyond bailout and loans

    By KEN THOMAS and TOM KRISHER, Associated Press Writers

    Tue Oct 28, 6:23 pm ET

    WASHINGTON – Beleaguered U.S. automakers are seeking federal help beyond the money available for them as part of a financial industry bailout and a loan package to fund more fuel-efficient cars, the White House said Tuesday.

    White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said the auto industry has talked to the Bush administration about funding on a much broader scale than the two programs approved by Congress earlier this fall.

    “No doubt that the automakers are big important companies, important to a lot of families and important to a lot of regions in this country,” Perino said. “We are capable of competing at a level where these companies can succeed, they might just need a little help. And that’s what Congress asked us to help provide them.”

    93 Union votes Saturday on Boeing strike settlement

    By TIM KLASS, Associated Press Writer

    Tue Oct 28, 8:30 pm ET

    SEATTLE – Boeing Co.’s Machinist union said it will vote on a tentative four-year labor pact on Saturday, a process that could end an eight-week strike against the airplane maker.

    The strike, now in its 53rd day, has shut Boeing’s commercial jet factories, cut into profits and delayed airplane deliveries.

    Boeing spokesman Tim Healy on Tuesday said company and union officials would meet soon to set a schedule for workers to return to their jobs if the contract is ratified. Some could be back at work as early as Sunday night, he said. Workers were given two weeks to report after the end of the last strike in 2005, but Healy said the company feels “that’s probably too long.”

    94 Whirlpool to cut 5,000 jobs by end of 2009

    By JAMES PRICHARD, AP Business Writer

    Tue Oct 28, 4:45 pm ET

    GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Whirlpool Corp. said Tuesday it is eliminating about 5,000 jobs this year and next, due in large part to the long downturn in the U.S. housing market.

    The nation’s largest home appliance maker also reported that its earnings fell 7 percent during the third quarter on lower global unit volumes and higher material costs. Whirlpool lowered its earnings outlook for the year and announced price increases.

    Company officials received more sobering news Tuesday upon learning that consumer confidence had plunged to its lowest level on record. The Conference Board reported that its index dropped to 38 in October from 61.4 in September. That bunker mentality makes it more likely shoppers will retrench further, throwing the economy into a tailspin.

    95 Argentine Congress debates pension fund takeover

    By JEANNETTE NEUMANN, Associated Press Writer

    Tue Oct 28, 7:02 pm ET

    BUENOS AIRES, Argentina – Argentina’s ruling party wants $23 billion in private pension funds brought under government control by the end of November – and given congressional sentiment, some kind of nationalization seems a sure bet.

    Seizing the money seemed a foregone conclusion as lawmakers began debating the proposal on Tuesday. The main question was how to manage the investments it takes over from 10 private companies that currently manage retirements for one in four Argentines.

    “What’s being debated, and what’s shaping public opinion, isn’t so much about whether the funds should be private or public, but about how those funds are going to be used,” said political analyst Ricardo Rouvier.

    96 Wal-Mart scales back expansion in tough economy

    By ANNE D’INNOCENZIO, AP Business Writer

    Tue Oct 28, 6:24 pm ET

    NEW YORK – Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is navigating the global economic slowdown by scaling back its store growth and capital expenditures while focusing on remodeling existing locations and creating smaller outposts.

    The goal, Chief Financial Officer Tom Schoewe told analysts on its second day of the company’s annual meeting with Wall Street analysts, is to continue to increase its cash flow to invest in its business, while delivering returns to shareholders through dividends and share buybacks.

    Wal-Mart, the world’s largest retailer, plans to open a total of 212 stores in the U.S. in fiscal 2009, which ends in January, and from 157 to 177 stores in fiscal 2010. That compares with 243 stores opened in the prior year.

    97 Treasury predicts huge government borrowing needs

    By MARTIN CRUTSINGER, AP Economics Writer

    Tue Oct 28, 11:49 am ET

    WASHINGTON – The financial rescue operation will force the federal government to borrow an unprecedented amount of money as the budget deficit climbs to record heights, a top Treasury Department official said Tuesday.

    Anthony Ryan, Treasury’s acting undersecretary for domestic finance, said the administration back in July was forecasting that the deficit for the current budget year, which began on Oct. 1, would hit a record $482 billion. He said that forecast did not include all the government’s efforts since then to deal with the worst financial crisis since the 1930s.

    “This year’s financing needs will be unprecedented,” with all the rescue programs now in place, Ryan said.

    98 Corporate bond rates keep rising, portend defaults

    By MADLEN READ, AP Business Writer

    Tue Oct 28, 6:07 pm ET

    NEW YORK – The recent decline in bank-to-bank lending rates is having no effect on corporate bonds, which continue to plunge in value – a sign that the market believes more loan defaults and a wave of bankruptcies are ahead for U.S. companies.

    There were some positive signals from the markets Tuesday – the Federal Reserve reported that issuance of the short-term corporate debt known as commercial paper spiked Monday, a turnaround from a prolonged slump.

    Still, market rates on corporate bonds have continued to rise compared to Treasury yields for nine straight days, said John Atkins, a fixed-income analyst at IDEAGlobal.com. This trend is hitting non-investment grade bonds, or junk bonds, the hardest, but is occurring in investment grade bonds as well.

    99 S&P: Home prices post 17 pct annual drop in August

    By J.W. ELPHINSTONE, AP Real Estate Writer

    Tue Oct 28, 9:37 am ET

    NEW YORK – Home prices tumbled by the sharpest annual rate ever in August, with little indication of a turnaround in sight, a closely watched index showed Tuesday.

    The Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city housing index dropped a record 16.6 percent from August last year, the largest drop since its inception in 2000. The 10-city index plunged 17.7 percent, its biggest decline in its 21-year history.

    Both indices have recorded year-over-year declines for 20 consecutive months.

    100 Iceland hikes interest rate, seeks more funds

    By JANE WARDELL and MATTI HUUHTANEN, Associated Press Writers

    Tue Oct 28, 11:33 am ET

    LONDON – Crisis-hit Iceland raised its key interest rate by a massive 6 percentage points on Tuesday, carrying out a rapid policy U-turn to meet the requirements of a $2 billion rescue loan from the International Monetary Fund.

    As the central bank announced the increase in rates to a record 18 percent – more than reversing a 3.5 percentage-point cut just two weeks ago – Prime Minister Geir H. Haarde confirmed the tiny Nordic nation is seeking a further $4 billion to pull it out of the financial black hole created by the collapse of its banking system.

    “It’s not a precise number, it’s not a scientific number, but we are looking in that neighborhood,” Haarde said. “We are talking about 6 (billion dollars) altogether.”

    101 Japan may follow Fed in rate cuts; Hungary in bailout

    By Hideyuki Sano and Jason Subler, Reuters

    1 hr 29 mins ago

    TOKYO/BEIJING (Reuters) – Japan signaled on Wednesday it could follow the United States in cutting interest rates this week to protect the world’s two largest economies from the global financial crisis.

    A huge rescue package for Hungary underlined the pain the worst financial upheaval in 80 years was causing as policymakers around the world scrambled to contain the economic damage.

    The Bank of Japan will consider cutting rates at a policy meeting on Friday but will watch market conditions before deciding, according to a source informed on the matter.

    102 Oil above $64 after U.S. stocks surge; eyes rate cuts

    By Maryelle Demongeot, Reuters

    36 mins ago

    SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Oil rose above $64 a barrel on Wednesday, ending a three-day losing streak, after stock markets rallied on bargain hunting and hopes that Japan and the Federal Reserve will cut interest rates to spur growth.

    Asia-Pacific stocks outside Japan rose by more than 2 percent, while Japan’s Nikkei (.N225) was up by more than 3 percent on signals that the Bank of Japan might cut interest rates at a policy-setting meeting later this week, after a likely Federal Reserve cut later on Wednesday.

    U.S. light crude for December delivery was up $1.67 at $64.40 a barrel by 12:47 a.m. EDT, after an earlier session high of $66.71. Prices had slumped by $5 over the past three sessions, settling on Tuesday at their lowest in 17 months.

    103 Consumer group opposes Google, Yahoo partnership

    Reuters

    Tue Oct 28, 10:46 pm ET

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – US Public Interest Group, a consumer organization, is opposing Google’s (GOOG.O) plan to share advertising with rival Yahoo (YHOO.O), saying it could harm consumer privacy, according to a letter sent to the U.S. attorney general, a copy of which was given to Reuters.

    U.S. PIRG argued that advertisers who try to compete with Google and Yahoo, which together have more than 80 percent of the search advertising market, will be forced to collect more information on Internet users because they would not be able to compete with the market leaders on price.

    The result would be a loss of privacy for consumers, the group said.

    104 GMAC cleared to join Fed commercial paper plan

    Reuters

    Tue Oct 28, 6:49 pm ET

    DETROIT (Reuters) – GMAC LLC, the auto and mortgage finance company, on Tuesday said it had been approved to use the commercial paper funding facility created earlier this month by the U.S. Federal Reserve with the aim of easing pressure on the corporate credit market.

    “We were approved to participate,” GMAC spokeswoman Gina Proia said.

    Detroit-based GMAC, which is 51-percent owned by Cerberus Capital Management and 49-percent owned by General Motors Corp (GM.N), was granted approval of its application “recently,” Proia said.

    105 Waxman eyes CEO pay at banks getting government cash

    Reuters

    Tue Oct 28, 4:26 pm ET

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The nine largest U.S. banks receiving $125 billion from the government were asked on Tuesday to hand over information about their compensation and bonus plans to a Congressional panel.

    Rep. Henry Waxman, chairman of the U.S. House oversight committee, sent letters on Tuesday to the banks’ chief executives asking them to provide information about the total compensation paid or projected to be paid to the 10 highest paid employees for the last three years.

    Waxman, who has publicly blasted other executives for their lavish pay packages, wants the information broken down by salaries, bonuses and benefits and a description of the reasons for the year-to-year changes in the amounts.

    106 Car dealers hit by sales decline, weak economy

    By Poornima Gupta, Reuters

    Tue Oct 28, 6:09 pm ET

    DETROIT (Reuters) – Auto retailers swung to quarterly losses in the third quarter, beaten down by the decline in U.S. car sales, tight consumer credit, and a weakening U.S. economy as well as hurricane-related damages.

    But shares rose sharply on Tuesday for Group 1 Automotive Inc (GPI.N) and Sonic Automotive Inc (SAH.N) after they laid out programs to cut costs and conserve cash. Lithia Motors Inc (LAD.N) shares also rose after it announced more cost cutting.

    Sonic, the No. 3 U.S. auto retailer, said on Tuesday that it had stopped various planned showroom-related projects, while Group 1 said it would slash capital spending and detailed a cost-cutting plan to save $35 million on an annualized basis.

    107 Wall St leaders say new, not more, regulation needed

    By Joseph A. Giannone, Reuters

    Tue Oct 28, 2:14 pm ET

    NEW YORK (Reuters) – Even as markets plunge amid a crisis of confidence, Wall Street officials argued on Tuesday that the world’s financial institutions need a new and different kind of regulation, rather than more of it.

    As the securities industry’s reputation sank to new lows, nearly a thousand Wall Streeters braved rain and plunging bank stocks to attend the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association’s annual meeting. Officials ranging from New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and former SEC Chairman Harvey Pitt called for streamlined regulation and a system that can better handle the market’s dramatic changes of the past decade.

    “Our regulatory system is sometimes called a patchwork. It seems there are more holes than patches,” said Blythe Masters, global head of commodities at JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) and SIFMA’s new chairwoman.

    108 GM seeks $10 billion in aid for merger: sources

    By Jui Chakravorty Das and Kevin Krolicki, Reuters

    Tue Oct 28, 12:06 pm ET

    NEW YORK/DETROIT (Reuters) – General Motors Corp (GM.N) has asked the U.S. government for roughly $10 billion in an unprecedented rescue package to support its acquisition of Chrysler LLC from Cerberus Capital Management (CBS.UL), sources familiar with the talks said.

    The government funding would include roughly $3 billion in exchange for preferred stock in a merged automaker, according to one of the sources, who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

    The U.S. Treasury Department is considering a request for direct aid to facilitate the merger and a decision could come this week, sources familiar with the still-developing government response said on Monday.

    109 Short sellers make VW the world’s priciest firm

    By Sarah Marsh, Reuters

    Tue Oct 28, 1:54 pm ET

    FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Volkswagen (VOWG.DE) briefly became the world’s biggest company by market value on Tuesday, as short sellers caught betting on a price drop with borrowed stock scrambled to find shares after a buying spree by Porsche (PSHG_p.DE).

    Short sellers desperate to close their positions paid as much as 1,005 euros a share during the session following Sunday’s news that there was less than 6 percent of VW voting stock still floating in the market.

    At that price Volkswagen’s voting stock was worth 296 billion euros ($370 billion), or more than the $343 billion market capitalization of Exxon Mobil (XOM.N).

    110 New Zealand trade deficit hits three-year high in September

    AFP

    59 mins ago

    WELLINGTON (AFP) – New Zealand’s trade deficit jumped to its highest level for nearly three years in September, official figures showed, as falling commodity prices hurt exports and imports surged on high oil prices.

    The monthly deficit of 1.18 billion dollars (662 million US) for the month was the highest since November 2005, Statistics New Zealand said.

    The deficit was much higher than expected, with a Dow Jones Newswires poll of economists forecasting a shortfall of 550 million dollars.

    111 Global financial woes hit China’s 800 million farmers: state media

    AFP

    1 hr 30 mins ago

    BEIJING (AFP) – China’s 800 million farmers are being hit by the global financial crisis as commodity prices dive, and next year could be even worse, state media said Wednesday, citing government economists.

    Rural China is suffering because soybean prices have fallen by about half on international markets in recent months, while the price of wheat is down by as much as 30 percent, the China Daily reported.

    “Farm product prices are already falling in the domestic market,” said Song Hongyuan, an economist with the agriculture ministry. “This will hurt farmers’ income.”

    112 Yahoo lets outside developers play with its software

    by Glenn Chapman, AFP

    2 hrs 57 mins ago

    SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) – Yahoo has followed through on a promise to give outside developers access to its software in order to jazz-up the website with fun, hip or functional programmes.

    Early this year, the pioneering Internet firm outlined a shift to an “Open Strategy” that it believes will invigorate Yahoo and lead to meshing offerings from hot online properties such as Amazon and iTunes with its web pages.

    “We’re open,” Jay Rossiter of Yahoo Open Strategy said in message posted online. “Have at it.”

    113 Dutch insurer Aegon gets 3.0-billion-euro cash injection

    by Mariette le Roux, AFP

    Tue Oct 28, 1:24 pm ET

    THE HAGUE (AFP) – The Dutch state gave a three-billion-euro (3.76-billion-dollar) cash boost to insurer Aegon Tuesday in its latest effort to shield a financial institution from the world financial crisis.

    Declaring Aegon healthy despite a projected 350-million-euro, third-quarter net loss, Finance Minister Wouter Bos told national television: “Even healthy people put on an extra sweater when it gets cold. We have given Aegon an extra sweater.”

    The finance ministry said it had reached agreement on the deal with Aegon and the Dutch central bank on Tuesday.

  4. From Yahoo News Science

    114 Paleontologists sift Utah soil for plant fossils

    By MIKE STARK, Associated Press Writer

    9 mins ago

    SALT LAKE CITY – Paleontologists are sifting through the soil of an excavated lot in search of ancient plants, the only ones from the early Jurassic period found so far in western North America.

    The flora fossils date back 198 million years, Utah’s state paleontologist Jim Kirkland said Tuesday. “Every plant they’ve identified has been new,” he said.

    The plant material may fill in information gaps about life during a transitional period between the mass extinction of the late Triassic period and the rise of dinosaurs as a dominant species on the landscape, he said.

    115 New deal to rescue Borneo orangutans in Malaysia

    By SEAN YOONG, Associated Press Writer

    Tue Oct 28, 2:06 am ET

    KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia – Conservationists said Tuesday they were planning a big push to protect Borneo’s orangutans, pygmy elephants and other endangered wildlife by purchasing land from palm oil producers to create a forest sanctuary.

    The deal is meant to help stave off the demise of orangutans, whose numbers have dwindled amid illegal logging and the rapid spread of palm oil plantations in Malaysia and Indonesia, the only two countries where orangutans are found in the wild.

    The Malaysian-based LEAP Conservancy group is in talks to buy 222 acres of tropical jungle land in Malaysia’s Sabah state on Borneo island from palm oil operators, said Cynthia Ong, LEAP’s executive director.

    116 Tyrannosaurus rex noses out dinosaur competition

    By Will Dunham, Reuters

    Tue Oct 28, 8:06 pm ET

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – When it came to the sense of smell among meat-eating dinosaurs, Tyrannosaurus rex nosed out the competition.

    Scientists at the University of Calgary and the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Alberta, Canada, compared the size of their olfactory bulbs — the part of the brain regulating the sense of smell — in a wide range of carnivorous dinosaurs.

    The researchers performed CT scans and measured fossilized skulls of meat-eating dinosaurs, known as theropods, including huge predators, smaller raptors and ostrich-like dinosaurs. They also looked at the primitive bird Archaeopteryx.

    117 Mars robot’s heaters to be turned off, one by one

    Reuters

    Tue Oct 28, 10:05 pm ET

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Engineers taking long-distance care of NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander mission are planning to start turning off its heaters one by one and let it freeze to death.

    The lander has been sending back data for five months — far longer than the original three months it was supposed to last. But as the Sun’s light fades, it will start to lose power.

    “As expected, with the Martian northern hemisphere shifting from summer to fall, the lander is generating less power due to shorter days and fewer hours of sunlight reaching its solar panels,” the U.S. space agency said in a statement on Tuesday.

    118 Technology helps restore Raphael masterpiece

    By Philip Pullella, Reuters

    Mon Oct 27, 8:15 pm ET

    FLORENCE (Reuters) – After 10 years of painstaking study and restoration that tested both cutting edge technology and human patience, one of the greatest masterpieces of the Italian Renaissance is returning to the public.

    Raphael’s “Madonna of the Goldfinch” is a survivor.

    The 107 cm by 77 cm (42 inches by 30 inches) oil-on-wood, showing the Madonna with two children caressing a goldfinch, has outlived everything from the collapse of a house in 1547 that shattered it to the ravages of time and the mistakes of past interventions.

    The result of the restoration is stunning. Centuries of brown film and grime are gone. The Madonna’s cheeks are pink. Her robes are deep red and blue and one can almost hear the cascade of a stream in the background Tuscan countryside.

    119 Humans made fire 790,000 years ago: study

    Reuters

    Sun Oct 26, 12:15 pm ET

    JERUSALEM (Reuters) – A new study shows that humans had the ability to make fire nearly 790,000 years ago, a skill that helped them migrate from Africa to Europe.

    By analyzing flints at an archaeological site on the bank of the river Jordan, researchers at Israel’s Hebrew University discovered that early civilizations had learned to light fires, a turning point that allowed them to venture into unknown lands.

    A previous study of the site published in 2004 showed that man had been able to control fire — for example transferring it by means of burning branches — in that early time period. But researchers now say that ancient man could actually start fire, rather than relying on natural phenomena such as lightning.

    120 Economic crisis bites Indonesian python exporters

    by Alvin Darlanika Soedarjo, AFP

    Wed Oct 29, 12:13 am ET

    JAKARTA (AFP) – Demand among US and European consumers for exotic Asian luxuries such as snakes and coral has nosedived since the onset of the global financial crisis, raising fears of a surge in smuggling.

    Indonesian python traders say Western snake lovers are feeling the pinch, or bite, of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, meaning orders for all things scaly are on the slide.

    “So far this October the orders for live pythons from the US and Europe are only 10 to 20 percent of what they were in October last year,” George Saputra of the Indonesian Reptile and Amphibian Trade Association told AFP.

    121 China says coal addiction makes climate change fight hard

    by Robert J. Saiget, AFP

    Wed Oct 29, 2:11 am ET

    BEIJING (AFP) – China warned Wednesday its heavy dependence on coal to fuel its fast-growing economy made it difficult to control greenhouse gas emissions, but said fighting global warming remained imperative.

    Releasing a policy paper on climate change, the Chinese government acknowledged the deep impact global warming had already made on the world’s most populous nation — and warned of much worse to come.

    “Extreme climate phenomena, such as high temperatures, heavy precipitation and severe droughts, have increased in frequency and intensity,” the so-called “White Paper” said.

    122 Spanish authorities call for removal of bears after attack

    AFP

    Tue Oct 28, 4:44 pm ET

    MADRID (AFP) – Regional authorities in northeast Spain Tuesday called for the removal of bears that were reintroduced to the Pyrenees mountains 12 years ago, after one of the animals attacked a hunter.

    The 73-year-old man needed stitches in his leg and arm after he was attacked by a bear as he was hunting wild boar with his dog on Thursday.

    It was the first attack on a human by a bear since the animals were reintroduced to the Pyrenees, which straddle the Spanish-French border, from Slovenia in 1996.

    123 Endangered Saimaa seal threatened by fishing, climate change

    by Terhi Kinnunen, AFP

    Tue Oct 28, 1:46 am ET

    HELSINKI (AFP) – The rare Saimaa ringed seal, which lives only in Finland and whose population is estimated at just 260, is increasingly threatened by fishermen’s nets and the melting of its icy habitat due to climate change, experts say.

    The seal lives only in Finland’s biggest lake, Lake Saimaa, in the eastern part of the country. It is a subspecies of the ringed seal that became a fresh water mammal some 9,500 years ago when ice melted after the ice age and it became trapped in the lake.

    It has suffered from man’s actions, in the form of pollution in the 1960s and the 1970s, and more recently from warmer winters and fishing.

    124 Keep up climate change fight amid financial crisis: wind group

    AFP

    Tue Oct 28, 12:05 pm ET

    BEIJING (AFP) – The head of the Global Wind Energy Council warned Tuesday of dire consequences if governments weakened their fight against climate change due to the global financial crisis.

    “Don’t take your eyes off the big picture, it’s irresponsible,” said Steve Sawyer, the council’s secretary general, ahead of a major wind power conference starting Wednesday in Beijing.

    “In the next two, three decades, it’s critical for the survival of human civilisation as we know it,” he said.

    125 Climate is the real crisis: Britain’s Prince Charles

    by Patrice Novotny, AFP

    Tue Oct 28, 8:12 am ET

    TOKYO (AFP) – Britain’s Prince Charles urged the world Tuesday to fight climate change, saying that while the global credit crunch may be temporary, the effects of the “climate crunch” were irreversible.

    The heir to the British throne issued his appeal on a visit to Tokyo, where he and his wife Camilla are marking the 150th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Japan and Britain.

    “Given the current turbulence in the international financial system and the immediate and damaging effect it is having on the whole world, the credit crunch is rightly a preoccupation of vast significance and importance,” Charles said.

    126 Bear market: Cave sheds light on ursine evolution

    AFP

    Mon Oct 27, 7:00 pm ET

    PARIS (AFP) – The ancestor of two main species of bear lived around 1.6 million years ago, according to analysis of bones found in the Chauvet Cave in southern France, better known for its dazzling examples of Stone Age artwork.

    Well-preserved bear bones found in the cave were carbon-dated to 32,000 years before the present day, French researchers said in a study published on Monday.

    Cave bears (Ursus spelaeus) lived in Europe and the Middle East from around 300,000 years ago to around 15,000 years ago, when they became extinct, they said.

    127 Purple pizzas — just what the doctor ordered

    AFP

    Sun Oct 26, 2:57 pm ET

    PARIS (AFP) – Scientists have grown genetically-engineered purple tomatoes in an unusual endeavour to promote healthy food.

    The tomatoes include two genes taken from the snapdragon flower (Antirrhinum majus) to enable them to express a compound called anthocyanin, the purple pigment found in high levels in fruit such as blackberries and cranberries.

    Previous research has found that anthocyanins offer protection against certain cancers, cardiovascular disease and degenerative diseases, and may also hinder inflammation, obesity and diabetes.

    128 Madagascar’s perilous mining gamble

    by Lucie Peytermann, AFP

    Mon Oct 27, 1:50 am ET

    FORT-DAUPHIN, Madagascar (AFP) – Madagascar is throwing its all into the mining sector to vanquish poverty but the environmental and social risks are high and the guarantee of returns is doubtful.

    The Indian Ocean island is one of the world’s poorest countries yet its subsoil is riven with mineral riches and holds some of the world’s largest deposits of sapphire, nickel, bauxite and ilmenite, among others.

    Mining accounts for only four percent of Madagascar’s gross domestic product and its vast unexploited reserves have become attractive to many foreign companies since the commodities markets soared.

    129 Top economist talks up risks of climate inaction

    AFP

    Mon Oct 27, 3:50 am ET

    HONG KONG (AFP) – Nicholas Stern, one of the world’s leading environmental economists, said Monday that the global economy will face a more severe downturn than the current crisis if it fails to halt climate change.

    Stern, the author of a key climate change report and a former World Bank chief economist, said moves towards a low carbon economy should not be stifled by the fallout from the current economic downturn.

    “One thing we should have learned from this experience of the financial crisis is if we ignore risk building in the system, that risk will get much more difficult to manage than if we recognise it and tackle it early,” the British economist told reporters in Hong Kong.

    130 Greenpeace offers ‘blueprint’ for climate, economic crises

    by Simon Sturdee, AFP

    Mon Oct 27, 7:27 am ET

    BERLIN (AFP) – Greenpeace presented Monday a “practical blueprint” it says would not only improve the world’s energy mix and stop climate change but also help end the global financial crisis.

    Aggressively investing in renewable power generation and energy efficiency could create a 360-billion-dollar (285-billion-euro) industry providing half of the world’s electricity, according to the study by Greenpeace and the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC) presented in Berlin.

    This would slash over 18 trillion dollars in future fuel costs, allow greenhouse gas emissions to peak and then fall by 2015, and reduce average carbon emissions per person from today’s four tonnes to around one tonne by 2050, it said.

    131 New Signs That Ancient Mars Was Wet

    Andrea Thompson,Senior Writer SPACE.com

    Tue Oct 28, 4:33 pm ET

    Mars may have been wet for a billion years longer than previously thought, new water-related opal evidence from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter suggests. The findings have implications for the possibility that Mars once supported life.

    Scientists have known for some time that the 4.5 billion-year-old planet once harbored liquid water because of the many features on its surface that were likely created by flowing water.

    Hydrated, or water-containing, mineral deposits also provide telltale signs of where and when water was present on ancient Mars.

    132 Reports of Newspaper Death Greatly Exaggerated

    Robert Roy Britt, LiveScience Managing Editor

    Tue Oct 28, 5:06 pm ET

    Red ink on balance sheets of major newspapers across the country has been read as the blood of a slow death. Circulation figures continue to plummet as newsroom staffs are slashed.

    But the figures may be misleading, a new study suggests. People still read old media.

  5. I hate Yahoo News.

    • RiaD on October 29, 2008 at 3:46 pm

    YaY for German wind farms!! w00t!

    YaY for Quebecois!! (heheheh)

    YaY for cautious optimism in down-ticket races!

    YaY for Election Watchdogs in NC!

    YaY for ek hornbeck!!

    thanks for the tremendous selection

    ♥~

Comments have been disabled.