The Morning News

The Morning News is an Open Thread

120 Stories.  Top, World, U.S., and Science

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Obama: Economic rescue will trump deficit fight

By BETH FOUHY and DAVID ESPO, Associated Press Writers

11 mins ago

CHICAGO – The economy growing weaker, President-elect Barack Obama said Tuesday that recovery efforts will trump deficit concerns when he takes office in January. Yet he pledged a “page-by-page, line-by-line” budget review to root out unneeded spending.

The president-elect set no goals for reducing the federal deficit – now in record territory and headed ever higher – an obvious contrast to Monday’s announcement that he hopes to create a recession-busting 2.5 million jobs by 2010.

He spoke as he appointed Peter Orszag, currently head of the Congressional Budget Office, to be his own budget director.

2 Massive new programs aimed at loosening credit


4 mins ago

WASHINGTON – Rolling out powerful new weapons against the financial meltdown, the Bush administration and the Federal Reserve pledged $800 billion Tuesday to blast through blockades on credit cards, auto loans, mortgages and other borrowing. Total bailout commitments, loans and pledges of backing neared a staggering $7 trillion.

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, who has been criticized for constantly revising the original $700 billion rescue program, said the administration was considering even more changes in its final two months in office.

Reports on the nation’s economic health weren’t getting any better. The Commerce Department said the overall economy, as measured by the gross domestic product, declined at an annual rate of 0.5 percent in the July-September quarter, even worse than the initial 0.3 percent estimated a month ago as consumer spending fell by the largest amount in 28 years.

3 Venezuela’s Chavez welcomes Russian warships

By CHRISTOPHER TOOTHAKER, Associated Press Writer

15 mins ago

LA GUAIRA, Venezuela – Russian warships sailed into port in Venezuela on Tuesday in a show of strength as Moscow seeks to counter U.S. influence in Latin America. Russia’s first such deployment in the Caribbean since the Cold War is timed to coincide with President Dmitry Medvedev’s visit to Venezuela, the first ever by a Russian president.

Russian sailors dressed in black-and-white uniforms lined up along the bow of the destroyer Admiral Chabanenko as it docked in La Guaira, near Caracas, and Venezuelan troops greeted them with cannons in a 21-gun salute. Two support vessels also docked, and the nuclear-powered cruiser Peter the Great, Russia’s largest navy ship, anchored offshore.

Chavez, basking in the support of a powerful ally and traditional U.S. rival, wants Russian help to build a nuclear reactor, invest in oil and natural gas projects and bolster his leftist opposition to U.S. influence in the region.

4 Marine archaeologists find remains of slave ship

By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID, AP Science Writer

19 mins ago

WASHINGTON – Marine archaeologists have found the remains of a slave ship wrecked off the Turks and Caicos Islands in 1841, an accident that set free the ancestors of many current residents of those islands. Some 192 Africans survived the sinking of the Spanish ship Trouvadore off the British-ruled islands, where the slave trade was banned.

Over the years the ship had been forgotten, said researcher Don Keith, so when the discovery connected the ship to current residents the first response “was a kind of shock, a lack of comprehension,” he explained in a briefing organized by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

But after word got out “people really got on board with it,” he said, and the local museum has assisted the researchers. He said this is the only known wreck of a ship engaged in the illegal slave trade.

5 Germ alert: Steer clear of flatbed chicken trucks

By MIKE STOBBE, AP Medical Writer

2 hrs 29 mins ago

ATLANTA – You’ve heard about the chicken that crossed the road. But have you heard the one about the chickens traveling down the road? It’s no laughing matter. Crates of chickens being trucked along the highway in the back of an open truck can shoot a bunch of nasty bacteria into the cars behind them, researchers have found.

Drivers stuck behind such a truck should “pass them quickly,” advised study co-author Ana Rule, a researcher at Johns Hopkins University.

Even so, it’s not clear that germy debris will make you sick. None of the scientists who studied this problem got sick. And the disease-causing bacteria in question are normally spread by food or water, not air.

6 Congress expecting more sacrifices from automakers

By TOM KRISHER and KEN THOMAS, Associated Press Writers

1 hr 28 mins ago

DETROIT – A list of job cuts, shuttered factories, canceled bonuses and commitments to fuel-efficient cars won’t be enough next week when U.S. automakers get another shot to persuade Congress to give them $25 billion in loans.

Through the Thanksgiving weekend, teams will be tagging more meat to throw at skeptical lawmakers who vilified the automakers’ top executives the last time they went to Washington. That means executive pay cuts, union concessions, and perhaps even higher fuel economy requirements and a glimpse at top-secret product plans.

At General Motors Corp., the largest of the Detroit Three and probably the most needy, teams are preparing a detailed plan, first for GM’s board on Monday, then for delivery to Congress by a Dec. 2 deadline. The House Financial Services Committee plans to hear testimony on the loan requests Dec. 5.

7 FDIC’s list of ‘problem’ banks swells to 171

By MADLEN READ, AP Business Writer

2 hrs 42 mins ago

NEW YORK – The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. said Tuesday the list of banks it considers to be in trouble shot up nearly 50 percent to 171 during the third quarter – yet another sign of escalating problems among the institutions controlling Americans’ deposits.

The 171 banks on the FDIC’s “problem list” encompass only about 2 percent of the nearly 8,500 FDIC-insured institutions. Still, the increase from 117 in the second quarter is sharp, and the current tally is the highest since late 1995.

“We’ve had profound problems in our financial markets that are taking a rising toll on the real economy,” said FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair in a statement, adding that Tuesday’s report “reflects these challenges.”

8 Protesters swarm Thai airport, takeoffs suspended

By AMBIKA AHUJA and GRANT PECK, Associated Press Writers

1 hr 21 mins ago

BANGKOK, Thailand – Protesters swarmed Thailand’s main international airport Tuesday, forcing the cancellation of departing flights just hours after their comrades opened fire on government supporters in a clash on the streets of the capital.

It was the boldest move yet by the People’s Alliance for Democracy in a monthslong campaign to topple Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat, whom it accuses of being the puppet of a disgraced fugitive predecessor, billionaire Thaksin Shinawatra.

Tuesday’s events saw for the first time the open use of guns by the alliance’s so-called guards and the entanglement of foreigners – the thousands of tourists trapped at the international airport.

9 Jury deliberating whether MySpace hoax was crime

By LINDA DEUTSCH, AP Special Correspondent

Tue Nov 25, 4:21 pm ET

LOS ANGELES – Jurors on Tuesday began deliberating whether a Missouri mother conspired with her daughter and an assistant to harass a 13-year-old girl with Internet messages that allegedly prompted the girl’s suicide.

In Monday’s closing arguments, prosecutors stressed the emotional component – the suicide of Megan Meier, who was allegedly drawn into an Internet ruse devised by Lori Drew, the mother of Megan’s one-time best friend.

She is accused of conspiring with her daughter, Sarah, then 13, and her 18-year-old assistant to cause emotional distress to Megan.

10 U.S. officials find trace of melamine in baby formula

By Susan Heavey, Reuters

23 mins ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. health officials have found trace amounts of the chemical melamine in one sample of infant formula sold in the United States, a Food and Drug Administration spokeswoman said on Tuesday.

“There’s no basis for concern because we’re talking about trace levels that are so low … that there’s absolutely no risk,” FDA spokeswoman Judy Leon said.

Melamine-tainted formula was found earlier this year in China, where thousands of children fell ill and several died. In September, the FDA sought to assure parents and said there was no similar contamination threat in the United States.

11 U.S. launches support plan as contraction takes hold

By Bill Rigby, Reuers

Tue Nov 25, 2:24 pm ET

NEW YORK (Reuters) – The U.S. Federal Reserve unveiled an $800 billion plan on Tuesday to buy mortgage-related debt and back consumer loans as it tries to revive the U.S. lending market and steer the global economy away from a deep recession.

As the Fed announced its move, the United States posted the sharpest fall in gross domestic product since 2001, likely joining Europe in recession, while China’s economy is now expected to grow next year at the slowest pace since 1990.

Mining company BHP Billiton’s $66 billion bid for rival Rio Tinto became the latest corporate casualty of global economic turmoil, with BHP blaming the financial crisis and sliding metals prices.

12 Economy shrinks at fastest pace in seven years

By Lucia Mutikani, Reuters

Tue Nov 25, 4:38 pm ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. economy contracted at its fastest pace in seven years in the third quarter as consumer spending plunged to a 28-year low, data showed on Tuesday, raising the specter of a deeper recession.

Separate reports showed U.S. home prices continued their downward spiral, with the cost of single-family homes plunging by a record 17.4 percent in September from a year earlier.

The data painted a dismal picture of the troubled economy and backed views the Federal Reserve could push benchmark lending rates to an unprecedented zero percent by early 2009.

13 Recession keeps more Americans home for holidays

By Jasmin Melvin, Reuters

Tue Nov 25, 3:42 pm ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – More Americans will stay close to home during the holiday season because of financial woes instead of traveling to see family, marking the first decline in Thanksgiving travel since 2002, a motorist group said.

The American Automobile Association expects 600,000 fewer people to travel more than 50 miles from their homes this Thanksgiving, the fourth consecutive U.S. holiday where travel has declined.

“The overall state of the economy continues to present real challenges for some Americans looking to travel,” Chief Executive Robert Darbelnet said in a statement.

14 Rio Tinto says can weather storm without BHP

By James Regan, Reuters

1 hr 51 mins ago

SYDNEY (Reuters) – Global miner Rio Tinto Ltd sees no need to raise equity and is confident of selling assets soon to pay off debt, its chairman said on Wednesday, a day after rival BHP Billiton Ltd dropped its bid for the firm.

BHP’s shock decision on Tuesday to pull its $66 billion bid sent Rio’s London shares plunging by almost 40 percent, raising concerns that Rio would struggle to sell assets and bring down its $39 billion in net debt during a severe global economic downturn.

But Rio Chairman Paul Skinner, speaking at a scheduled business breakfast, said the group was comfortable with its financial position, dismissed market speculation that Rio would now need to raise equity and said it would make asset sales in the next few months.

15 U.S. urges continued tough Russia line over Georgia

By Sue Pleming, Reuters

2 hrs 50 mins ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Russia is still failing to meet its ceasefire obligations with Georgia and Washington’s European allies must not overlook this and rush to embrace Moscow, a senior U.S. official said on Tuesday.

Matthew Bryza, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs, said Moscow must pull back its forces as agreed in a French-brokered ceasefire that ended the war in August before there could be “business as usual.”

“I am worried that Russia is not fulfilling its most important obligations under the ceasefire agreement. There are many partners of ours who would like to sweep that all under the rug and return to some semblance of normal operations,” Bryza said in an interview with Reuters.

16 More Americans are getting on the bus


1 hr 58 mins ago

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Many Americans have abandoned their love of getting behind the wheel during the last year, and opted to hop on buses instead, according to a study released this week.

Inter-city bus service jumped 9.8 percent between the fourth quarters of 2007 and 2008, the highest growth rate in more than 40 years.

“The growth in intercity bus traffic is being driven by a number of factors, chiefly the spiking price of fuel over the past year,” said Joseph Schwieterman, professor of public service and director of the Chaddick Institute, who directed the study, released on Monday.

17 U.S. "surge" could prop up allies in Afghan south

By Jon Hemming, Reuters

Tue Nov 25, 8:15 am ET

KABUL (Reuters) – British, Canadian and Dutch troops are doing their best to fight the Taliban in southern Afghanistan with limited resources, but with progress slow, the United States is considering a surge of its own firepower to tip the balance.

The decision whether to send more than 20,000 extra U.S. troops to Afghanistan to safeguard presidential polls next year is likely to be one of the first faced by President-elect Barack Obama when he becomes commander-in-chief in January.

“The main problem is that there aren’t enough troops. It’s just a big area and you need a boat-load more people,” a U.S. defense official said.

18 Black Friday weekend could see 5 percent fewer shoppers


Tue Nov 25, 6:02 am ET

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Up to 128 million shoppers and would-be shoppers could be expected this holiday weekend, but the numbers represent a drop of more than 5 percent from a year ago, according to a survey released Tuesday.

Some 49 million U.S. shoppers already plan to hit stores this coming holiday weekend, prompted by pent-up demand and lured by deep discounts, according to the BIGresearch study for the National Retail Federation (NRF).

An additional 79 million would-be shoppers are playing wait-and-see, planning to suss out the weekend promotions before deciding whether to shop, the survey found.

19 Bank "went wrong" in real estate: Citigroup CEO


34 mins ago

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Citigroup Inc Chief Executive Vikram Pandit on Tuesday blamed prior management for diving too deeply into real estate, causing losses that led to this week’s massive government bailout of the second-largest U.S. bank by assets.

“What went wrong is we had tremendous concentration in the sense we put a lot of our money to work against U.S. real estate,” Pandit said in an interview on PBS’ Charlie Rose show. “We got here by lending money, and putting money to work in the U.S. real estate market, in a size that was probably larger than what we ought to have done on a diversification basis.”

The government late Sunday rescued Citigroup by agreeing to shoulder most potential losses from a $306 billion portfolio of risky assets, and by injecting $20 billion of new capital, in its biggest effort to prevent a large U.S. bank from failing.

20 UN to send Obasanjo on second Congo peace mission


1 hr 50 mins ago

KINSHASA, DR Congo (AFP) – Special envoy Olusegun Obasanjo will embark on a second peace mission to Congo this weekend, the UN said Tuesday, as AFP learnt of a row developing with Kinshasa over Indian peacekeeping troops.

Obasanjo, a former Nigerian president who undertook a first trip as UN envoy to the Democratic Republic of Congo on November 15-16, will arrive in Kinshasa on Saturday and hold meetings with President Joseph Kabila, the UN said.

Obasanjo will then travel to Goma, capital of eastern Nord-Kivu province and the frontline of the conflict between Laurent Nkunda’s rebels, the Congolese army and an assortment of militias.

21 Zimbabwe cholera crisis worsens as political talks resume

by Aderogba Obisesan, AFP

Tue Nov 25, 3:53 pm ET

JOHANNESBURG (AFP) – Mounting cholera deaths in Zimbabwe piled pressure Tuesday on the country’s squabbling leaders to salvage a power-sharing accord as as they relaunched deadlocked unity talks.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) warned in Geneva that the outbreak could snowball across southern Africa, pointing to reports from South Africa’s health ministry of suspected cholera cases in Botswana.

“The cholera outbreak is not yet under control. Reported cases have reached 8,887, with 366 deaths as at 25 November. This is an increase of 1,604 cases and 53 more deaths,” said OCHA, reporting the new toll figures for Zimbabwe.

22 Argentina unveils 21 billion USD in infrastructure megaplan


51 mins ago

BUENOS AIRES (AFP) – President Cristina Kirchner on Tuesday unveiled a massive public spending plan to pump more than 21 billion dollars into Argentina’s infrastructure and counter effects of the global cash crunch.

“On December 15 we will launch the most ambitious public works programs in memory,” said Kirchner, making the announcement at the closing ceremony of the trade association representing builders.

Argentina expects economic growth to slow to four percent in 2009, down from 6.5 percent expected for 2008. This follows years of growth nearing nine percent following the 2002 crisis.

23 Young Americans learn budget basics at theme parks

by Nathalie Laville, AFP

Tue Nov 25, 12:30 pm ET

RICHMOND, Virginia (AFP) – For one day last week, Antoine was not 13 years old but 35 and married with children. He was making 4,800 dollars a month and suddenly had to worry about paying taxes and meeting the bills.

He was taking part in an educational project aimed at introducing notions of personal finance and responsibility to middle grade and high school students by allowing them to become adults for a day.

The “JA Finance Park” aims to increase the awareness among young Americans about the cost of living by tasking them with managing a monthly budget that included transportation, lodging, utilities and outings.

24 Russian politician ordered Politkovskaya murder: defence lawyer

by Svetlana Ivanova, AFP

Tue Nov 25, 11:13 am ET

MOSCOW (AFP) – The murder of outspoken journalist Anna Politkovskaya was ordered by a Russian politician based inside the country in revenge for critical articles, a defence lawyer said Tuesday.

The lawyer’s comments — which were based on files of the case that he had seen — came as the judge in the case decided to reopen the trial to the public just days after declaring it closed.

“In the files of the case, the motive and the individual who ordered the killing are mentioned,” said lawyer Murad Musayev, who is defending one of the four men charged in connection with the killing.

25 Discontent over Maliki threatens US-Iraqi security pact

By Jane Arraf, The Christian Science Monitor

Tue Nov 25, 4:00 am ET

Baghdad – A wave of discontent with Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has spilled over into opposition to a crucial pact governing a US troop withdrawal from Iraq, leaving Iraqi officials scrambling to find enough votes to pass the legislation in parliament.

In a rare coordinated campaign, several cabinet members have publicly warned of dire economic repercussions and security woes if the deal isn’t approved and US forces begin decamping Jan. 1.

Iraq’s most influential Shiite spiritual leader, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, has called for politicians of all parties and sects to support the deal. But against a backdrop of parliamentary wrangling – which included a brawl in parliament – the government has lowered its expectations for a broad consensus.

26 In Michigan’s auto belt, it’s nail-biting time

By Amanda Paulson, The Christian Science Monitor

Tue Nov 25, 3:00 am ET

Warren, Mich. – For Jackie Kelly-Smith, the General Motors pensions that support her and her husband, and pay for their healthcare, are on the line.

Dan Dostine, a furnace repairman at Chrysler, is worried he may lose his $33-an-hour job, with few prospects for other decent-paying work in the area.

The mayor of Warren, Mich., is on pins and needles, wondering if his city’s already-strapped budget will take a hit in the event that revenues from automakers – which make up 15 percent or more of the total – slide precipitously.

27 Schools feel pinch from economic woes

By Stacy Teicher Khadaroo, The Christian Science Monitor

Mon Nov 24, 3:00 am ET

School districts across the United States are tightening their belts in anticipation of a meager fiscal diet that could carry into 2011.

As state and local revenue declines, officials are looking for the trims least likely to harm the quality of education. Although some districts have rainy-day funds to tap, concern is growing that students, particularly those who are struggling to learn or who are homeless, are going to feel the pinch.

Just over a third of superintendents in a recent national survey said they’ve already increased the size of classes because of the downturn, according to the American Association of School Administrators, an organization in Arlington, Va., that supports high standards for public education. Thirty percent of superintendents are considering layoffs. Of the two-thirds who said their districts are inadequately funded, 83 percent think it’s detrimental to their ability to close achievement gaps for minority groups.

From Yahoo News World

28 Mystery ‘Eleanor Rigby’ document goes to auction

By GREGORY KATZ, Associated Press Writer

Tue Nov 25, 1:20 pm ET

LONDON – Eleanor Rigby: fact or fiction?

That question, which has bedeviled Beatles’ fans for decades, may be answered in part by a 1911 hospital payroll sheet to be auctioned in London on Thursday.

The document, sent by Paul McCartney in 1990 to the director of a music charity who had asked for funding, contains the signature of a scullery maid named “E. Rigby” who worked in a Liverpool hospital.

29 Sunni might withhold support for US pact

By CHRISTOPHER TORCHIA, Associated Press Writer

Tue Nov 25, 3:43 pm ET

BAGHDAD – A leader of the largest Sunni Arab bloc in parliament hinted he might withhold support for a proposed pact that would allow American troops to stay in Iraq through 2011, making it difficult for the Shiite-led government to win the big victory it needs in Wednesday’s vote.

A comfortable parliamentary majority would ensure the legitimacy of an agreement that sets a clear timetable for U.S. withdrawal after years of war and could lead to full sovereignty for Iraq.

But intense debate and backroom dealing continued over the pact, which has supporters and detractors from both Sunni and Shiite communities jockeying for political gain ahead of provincial and general elections next year.

30 Tibetan exiles waver between hope, confusion

By TIM SULLIVAN, Associated Press Writer

Tue Nov 25, 2:27 pm ET

NEW DELHI – On one side is China, the world’s most populous country, with its generations of experience in controlling its population and 1.8 million police.

On the other is a poor Himalayan region, home to some 5 million Tibetans. Its most prominent leader hasn’t been home in almost five decades, and its best-known politicians are in exile. When Tibetans tried to stand up to Beijing last March, the unrest was brutally quashed.

So the idea of hundreds of Tibetan exiles gathering from around the world to discuss the future of their freedom struggle might seem like an exercise in pointlessness. Or perhaps hopelessness.

31 Some fearful Christians hope to flee Iraq

By DENIS D. GRAY, Associated Press Writer

Tue Nov 25, 12:01 pm ET

TAL KAEEF, Iraq – Young Christian women in tight jeans mingle easily with Arab matrons draped in black, head-to-toe robes. Both church spires and mosque minarets rise above the low-slung houses. Violence is rare.

“The people here look out for each other – Arabs, Christians, Kurds, Yazidis. If all of Iraq was like this, it would be a great place,” said 1st Lt. Jeremy Glosson, leading a U.S. Army patrol through Tal Kaeef’s medieval-like alleys.

And yet, many Christians here say they want to flee a town where their ancestors have lived for generations and, if possible, to abandon a country where their religion has survived for some 2,000 years – longer than in Europe – but one they fear is growing ever more violent.

32 IMF approves Pakistan loan package

By STEPHEN GRAHAM, Associated Press Writer

Tue Nov 25, 12:45 pm ET

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – The economic crisis threatening Pakistan eased Tuesday after the International Monetary Fund agreed a $7.6 billion bailout, though experts warned that the militancy-torn country remains at risk without more aid from the West and painful reforms at home.

The IMF loan program approved Monday banished the immediate risk of a currency crash and debt default in a country already creaking under the pressure of 25 percent inflation and slowing economic growth.

The Pakistani rupee had slid some 20 percent since March as economic storm clouds gathered around Pakistan, a nuclear-armed country increasingly seen as vital to stabilizing neighboring Afghanistan.

33 UN says aid to Darfurians can’t go on indefinitely

By SARAH EL DEEB, Associated Press Writer

Tue Nov 25, 9:39 am ET

KALMA CAMP, Sudan – The U.N. humanitarian chief warned Tuesday that international aid for millions of Darfur residents can not go on indefinitely and said the Sudanese government and rebels must negotiate a solution that would allow the displaced to return home.

John Holmes made the comments as he visited Kalma camp, home to around 100,000 of the more than 2.5 million people displaced by fighting in the large region of western Sudan since 2003.

Earlier this month, Holmes appealed for $2.2 billion in donations to fund U.N. aid for Sudan, most of which would go to Darfur. The world body is providing food and other supplies not only to residents of camps but also to much of the remainder of Darfur’s 4.7 million population who still live in their homes.

34 China expands police presence below Mount Everest

By CHRISTOPHER BODEEN, Associated Press Writer

Tue Nov 25, 11:11 am ET

BEIJING – China’s border police have significantly beefed up their presence at the base of Mount Everest amid rising visitor numbers and increasing cases of theft, prostitution and gambling, state media reported Tuesday.

The influx of people to the area has brought increased crime to the north face of Everest, and Chinese authorities last year pledged to boost the police presence following reports of thefts of food, oxygen tanks and climbing gear.

Visitors to Everest also complain about unethical guides, tricksters selling defective oxygen bottles, prostitution and gambling on the Tibetan side.

35 UAW head says inaction on bailout ‘not an option’

Associated Press

Thu Nov 20, 2:25 pm ET

DETROIT – United Auto Workers President Ron Gettelfinger urged Congress and the Bush administration to act immediately on loans for U.S. automakers, saying one or more of them could collapse by the end of the year without it.

Gettelfinger spoke at a Detroit news conference just as reports surfaced that a bipartisan group of auto-state senators had reached a compromise on bailing out Chrysler LLC, Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp.

The union president called on Congress to vote on the loans on Thursday, but that appeared unlikely. Congressional officials say Democratic leaders have decided to put off a bailout vote until December and will insist that the automakers first come up with a plan showing how the money would help transform their industry.

36 Refugees: Troops go on looting spree at Congo camp

By ANITA POWELL, Associated Press Writer

Mon Nov 24, 5:58 pm ET

KIBATI, Congo – Government soldiers went on an overnight looting and shooting spree in a sprawling Congolese refugee camp, stealing from hungry and traumatized people who have fled fighting with rebels in the country’s east, witnesses said Monday.

They said one woman was killed by a stray bullet Sunday night in Kibati, a village north of the eastern provincial capital of Goma that has been overrun by about 70,000 refugees.

Patrice Sebahunde, 60, said he was awakened at 10 p.m. by four soldiers pointing guns in his face. They took his family’s food, clothes and their plastic water bucket.

37 Justice done as Matisse finds a new home

By JOHN LEICESTER, Associated Press Writer

Mon Nov 24, 3:13 pm ET

PARIS – Finally, justice for Henri Matisse’s “Le Mur Rose.”

The oil painting, which was stolen from a rich German Jewish family sometime after 1937 and kept by a Nazi officer responsible for delivering poison gas to Auschwitz, is to be given Thursday to a British charity that supports medical rescue in Israel.

The story of how “Le Mur Rose,” or “The Pink Wall,” made its way through the war to France is as surprising as the colorful painting itself, and steeped with death, mystery and injustice. Stolen from Jews, proceeds from the expected sale of the painting will go toward the Magen David Adom network of ambulances, paramedics and emergency treatment centers in Israel.

38 Russian FM blames Georgia for shooting incident

By MATT SIEGEL, Associated Press Writer

Mon Nov 24, 1:31 pm ET

AKHMAJI, Georgia – Russia’s foreign minister has suggested that Georgia’s U.S.-backed government staged a shooting incident near a motorcade carrying the presidents of Poland and Georgia in order to discredit Russia and South Ossetia.

The shooting late Sunday stoked anger months after Georgia and Russia fought a brief war over the separatist region of South Ossetia. The August conflict worsened Moscow’s relations with the West.

It also left South Ossetia entirely under the control of separatist forces and Russian troops. Before the war, Georgian forces held parts of South Ossetia.

39 Georgia, Ukraine years away from NATO seats: U.S.

By Susan Cornwell, Reuters

1 hr 19 mins ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – NATO will probably not offer membership to Ukraine and Georgia for years to come, a senior U.S. official said on Tuesday before an alliance meeting next week that is expected to discuss the issue.

The Bush administration has supported putting the two former Soviet republics on a formal path, called a Membership Action Plan, toward joining NATO. But there is considerable European opposition, which has grown since Georgia’s war with Russia in August.

Rather than get into a “huge debate” next week, NATO should make it clear that Ukraine and Georgia are still welcome and the alliance stands ready to help them become members, Assistant Secretary of State Dan Fried said.

40 Georgia war hearing marred by angry exchanges

By Margarita Antidze and Matt Robinson, Reuters

Tue Nov 25, 1:39 pm ET

TBILISI (Reuters) – A Georgian parliament hearing into the country’s war with Russia broke up in angry scenes on Tuesday when a commission member threw a pen at Tbilisi’s ex-envoy to Moscow after he said Georgia had been the aggressor.

Russia says it intervened in ex-Soviet Georgia after Tbilisi began shelling the breakaway South Ossetia region. Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili accused Russia of invading and thus starting the war.

Erosi Kitsmarishvili, Georgia’s former ambassador to Russia, told the parliamentary commission he had received information “from high-ranking Georgian officials” that Tbilisi was preparing to “militarily storm” the South Ossetian capital, Tskhinvali.

41 Congo says no talks with Nkunda outside peace pact

By Joe Bavier, Reuters

Tue Nov 25, 2:54 pm ET

KINSHASA (Reuters) – Congo’s government ruled out direct talks with Tutsi rebel leader Laurent Nkunda, saying on Tuesday any meeting was “impossible” outside the framework of a January peace deal the rebels have already rejected.

Nkunda’s month-long campaign against chaotic government forces in the eastern province of North Kivu has displaced 250,000 people and prompted the U.N. Security Council to send 3,000 more troops to its biggest peace force.

The U.N. Human Rights Council said on Tuesday it would meet this week to discuss rights violations during the conflict.

42 Darfur peacekeepers short of men, gear: general

By Andrew Heavens, Reuters

Tue Nov 25, 5:00 pm ET

EL FASHER, Sudan (Reuters) – Overstretched peacekeepers in Darfur lack vehicles, helicopters and other equipment and could be in trouble if seriously attacked, the force’s deputy commander said on Tuesday.

The joint U.N.-African Union force now has about 12,000 soldiers and police, less than half of a promised 26,000, almost a year after it arrived in Sudan’s violent west.

Major General Emmanuel Karenzi told reporters the mission was severely short of equipment, including a total lack of transport and attack helicopters.

43 Russia, West inch toward U.N. deal on Kosovo

By Louis Charbonneau, Reuters

Tue Nov 25, 5:01 pm ET

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – Russia and Western powers on the U.N. Security Council were negotiating behind closed doors on Tuesday in an attempt to clinch their first agreement on the issue of Kosovo since it seceded from Serbia.

Security Council diplomats, most of whom spoke on condition of anonymity, said they hoped to agree a statement supporting the deployment of a European Union law and justice mission in Kosovo to be adopted by the council as early as Wednesday.

As with all things related to Kosovo, negotiations on the EU mission, known as EULEX, have been divisive.

44 Kuwait’s ruler puts cabinet resignation on hold

By Ulf Laessing and Rania El Gamal, Reuters

Tue Nov 25, 9:38 am ET

KUWAIT (Reuters) – Kuwait’s ruler decided to put on hold the resignation of the OPEC country’s cabinet on Tuesday, leaving his options open for intervention to end a crippling crisis between the government and parliament.

The cabinet tendered its resignation as parliament was about to look into a request by three legislators to question the prime minister, a member of the royal family, over the visit of an Iranian Shi’ite cleric accused of offending Sunni Muslims.

But the three deputies had also wanted to question Sheikh Nasser al-Mohammad al-Sabah over a wide range of accusations including alleged corruption and mismanagement in the world’s seventh-largest oil exporter.

45 Richer Romanians still worry about basics

By Justyna Pawlak, Reuters

Tue Nov 25, 9:05 am ET

BUMBESTI-JIU, Romania (Reuters) – After Pirelli turned parts of Bumbesti-Jiu’s crumbling industrial zone into a new factory last year, residents of this small town in southwestern Romania hoped the lean years were over.

After all, one investor brings another and before you know it, there is thriving industry and jobs. Or so the story went throughout Romania in recent years as foreign manufacturers poured billions of euros into the new European Union state.

But for all of Romania’s economic progress made possible by foreign cash, last year’s EU entry and four years of structural reforms, thousands of villages and small towns like Bumbesti-Jiu have yet to benefit from modernization and wealth.

46 Blasts at Bangkok airport, other sites wound seven: officials


1 hr 7 mins ago

BANGKOK (AFP) – A blast at Bangkok’s international airport and grenade attacks elsewhere in the city wounded at least seven people on Wednesday, as lawlessness spread amid anti-government protests, officials said.

The explosion at Suvarnabhumi Airport happened a day after demonstrators stormed the airport, forcing it to close down and stranding thousands of passengers.

“At least two people were wounded by a bomb blast at Suvarnabhumi this morning,” Petpong Kamchornkitkarn, an emergency medical services official, told AFP.

47 Greenland goes to the polls in self-rule referendum

by Slim Allagui, AFP

2 hrs 16 mins ago

NUUK, Greenland (AFP) – Greenlanders were expected to vote overwhelmingly for self-rule in a referendum that ended late Tuesday that would give them rights to potentially lucrative Arctic resources and could pave the way for full independence from Denmark.

Opinion polls had suggested that a large majority of Greenland’s 39,000 electorate would vote in favour of greater autonomy. The territory was granted semi-autonomy from Denmark in 1979, and withdrew from the European Union in a 1982 referendum.

Polls across Greenland’s 80 towns and villages had closed by 8:00 pm (2300 GMT), with final results expected around midnight (0300 GMT Wednesday).

48 Jury finds US-based Muslim charity guilty of funding terrorism

by Jason Trahan, AFP

Mon Nov 24, 6:08 pm ET

DALLAS, Texas (AFP) – The leaders of what was once the largest Muslim charity in the United States were found guilty Monday of acting as a front for Palestinian militants in the largest terrorism financing prosecution in American history.

It was a major victory in the White House’s legal “war on terror” and comes after a mistrial was declared last year in the case involving the now defunct Texas-based Holy Land Foundation, charged with funneling 12 million dollars to Hamas.

Family members could be heard sobbing in the Dallas courtroom as guilty verdicts were read on all 108 charges of providing material support to terrorists, money laundering and tax fraud.

49 Outrage over Guinea-Bissau attack as army hunts ‘mutineers’

by Malick Rokhy Ba, AFP

Mon Nov 24, 3:34 pm ET

BISSAU (AFP) – Security forces in coup-prone Guinea-Bissau were on Monday hunting the mastermind of an attack by soldiers on the residence of President Joao Bernardo Vieira, only days after elections here.

Sunday’s attack punctured hopes that last week’s largely peaceful parliamentary elections would usher in a new period of stability.

It was widely condemned by the international community, with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon joining other world leaders to denounce the assault.

50 Belarus president warns of new arms race in Europe

by Dario Thuburn, AFP

Mon Nov 24, 2:10 pm ET

MINSK, Belarus (AFP) – Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko warned of a new arms race in Europe and derided his opponents in an interview with AFP on Monday that also left the door open to better ties with the West.

Lukashenko, who has ruled this former Soviet republic of 10 million people for 14 years, also said that he planned to run for another presidential term in 2011 and that Belarus would retain “very strong relations” with Russia.

“You fly NATO planes near our country’s borders. Why? We begin strengthening our air defences. This is pushing a mini arms race,” Lukashenko said in an exclusive interview in the presidential administration in central Minsk.

51 US to return bin Laden driver to Yemen

by Lucile Malandain

Tue Nov 25, 12:42 pm ET

WASHINGTON (AFP) – In its final days, President George W. Bush’s administration is changing tactics on its Guantanamo Bay prison, preparing to return Osama bin Laden’s ex-driver to Yemen, which may pave the way towards freeing 100 other Yemenis.

Salim Hamdan’s repatriation represents a major breakthrough after three years in which Sanaa and Washington had been unable to reach a deal on the return of Guantanamo detainees.

It also brings to a close one of the most visible chapters in the US effort to detain and prosecute “enemy combatants” in the “war on terror” — marked by a series of setbacks for the US government.

52 Dueling interpretations hang over U.S.-Iraq security pact

By Adam Ashton, Jonathan S. Landay and Nancy A. Youssef, McClatchy Newspapers

Tue Nov 25, 5:32 pm ET

WASHINGTON – The Bush administration has adopted a much looser interpretation than the Iraqi government of several key provisions of the pending U.S.- Iraq security agreement, U.S. officials said Tuesday – just hours before the Iraqi parliament was to hold its historic vote.

These include a provision that bans the launch of attacks on other countries from Iraq , a requirement to notify the Iraqis in advance of U.S. military operations and the question of Iraqi legal jurisdiction over American troops and military contractors.

Officials in Washington said the administration has withheld the official English translation of the agreement in an effort to suppress a public dispute with the Iraqis until after the Iraqi parliament votes.

53 London’s new look: outward, upward _ and modern

By Julie Sell, McClatchy Newspapers

2 hrs 37 mins ago

LONDON – When Charles Dickens wrote “A Tale of Two Cities” in the 19th century, he was trying to capture the spirit of two history-soaked European capitals, London and Paris , in the days before and during the French Revolution. If Dickens were alive today, though, he could write a book of the same title without ever leaving London .

Europe’s largest city is in the midst of a physical transformation greater than any it’s seen since the post-World War II era. The museums, monuments, cathedrals, and palaces that have lured foreign tourists for centuries are still there, but new developments are changing London’s character in significant and controversial ways.

“Despite what visitors may expect, we’re not all thatched cottages, beams and Tudor,” says Peter Murray , director of the London Festival of Architecture.

54 U.S. shrugs as Russian ships, president visit Venezuela

By Tyler Bridges, McClatchy Newspapers

1 hr 56 mins ago

CARACAS, Venezuela – Venezuela fired a 21-gun artillery salute Tuesday as Russian warships made their first trip to this South American nation since the Cold War ended. Protocol officials, however, will have little time to rest, for Russian President Dmitry Medvedev arrives on Wednesday – the first visit by a top Russian leader.

It was a long journey for the destroyer Admiral Chabanenko, which docked at La Guaira port, near Caracas’ international airport, and Peter the Great, a nuclear-powered cruiser and one of Russia’s biggest vessels, which anchored offshore. Along with two other vessels, they traveled two months from their home port near Murmansk, Russia .

The visits by the warships and Medvedev mark a convergence of interests between two oil-producing nations – both of which want to be taken more seriously by the rest of the world, but especially by the U.S.

55 Candidate for top intelligence post withdraws name

By Jonathan S. Landay, McClatchy Newspapers

1 hr 18 mins ago

WASHINGTON – A former senior U.S. intelligence official Tuesday withdrew from consideration for a top intelligence post in the new Obama administration amid protests from liberal groups linking him to the Bush administration’s “enhanced interrogation” and secret transfers of terrorism suspects to nations that torture prisoners and political opponents.

The move by John Brennan , a former senior CIA official and head of President-elect Barack Obama’s intelligence transition team, is the first personnel setback to hit what’s otherwise been a swift and smooth transition to the White House for Obama.

In a letter to Obama, a copy of which was obtained by McClatchy , Brennan denied involvement in the Bush administration’s detainee and interrogation policies and said he was taking himself out of the running to avoid entangling the new administration in unnecessary controversy. Brennan, who held a succession of CIA posts, was reported to have been under consideration as the successor to CIA director Michael Hayden .

56 In Anbar Province, Iraq’s Sheikhs Discover Democracy

By BOBBY GHOSH / RAMADI, Time Magazine

Tue Nov 25, 4:40 am ET

It’s a scene rarely witnessed by foreign eyes: a meeting of the great sheikhs of Iraq’s Anbar province, at the heavily guarded compound of the powerful chieftains of the al-Hais family, on the outskirts of the provincial capital. Some 300 tribal elders have gathered here, most of them in traditional garb, and much of the morning has been taken up in the elaborate Arab rituals of salutation. Every newcomer must greet every person already present with handshakes, hugs and kisses – on the cheek to show friendship, on the shoulder for respect. Then there are the endless cups of tea and coffee. The early arrivals bask patiently in the November sun as they wait for the laggards.

57 Viewpoint: Thailand Needs A Real Hollywood Ending

By HANNAH BEECH, Time Magazine

Tue Nov 25, 4:50 am ET

Hollywood, the land of ultimate battles and last stands, doesn’t have a monopoly on dramatic endings. On Nov. 24, thousands of anti-government protesters swarmed Thailand’s parliament in what they called – drumroll please – the “final showdown.”

58 Why Not to Be the Richest Man in China


Tue Nov 25, 11:15 am ET

There’s no better way to say you’ve arrived in China than to be named on one of the country’s rich lists. Of course, such an honor can also be an indicator that you will soon disappear for a long, long time. In recent years the rankings of China’s wealthiest have included several prominent tycoons who have later been jailed on fraud and corruption charges.

59 Battling the Somali Pirates: The Return of the Islamists

By TONY KARON, Time Magazine

2 hrs 17 mins ago

T.E. Lawrence (“of Arabia”) famously compared counterinsurgency warfare to “eating soup with a knife.” The same idea might apply to the efforts of Western navies to protect commercial shipping from the marauding pirates of Somalia, except for the fact that soup is typically contained within a bowl – and the pirates have the freedom of a vast ocean in which to move. They recently captured the [ITALIC “Sirius Star,”] a Saudi supertanker carrying $100 million in crude oil, by striking hundreds of miles away from the shipping lanes being patrolled by some of the world’s most powerful navies. But if the pirates have the wind at their backs out at sea, they got some bad news back on shore last weekend, when five armored vehicles loaded with fighters of the Islamist Shabab militia arrived in the port town of Harardhere, where the pirates who seized the Sirius Star are based.

60 As Obama Pushes a Stimulus, Europe Lags Behind


2 hrs 18 mins ago

Rattled Americans have found some solace in the news that President-elect Barack Obama is working quickly with congressional Democrats to finalize details of a mammoth stimulus package expected to total between $500 billion and $700 billion. Europeans have been less lucky. So far, they’ve had to content themselves with a patchwork of national recovery plans frequently at odds with one another. A European Union-wide program, if leaders can even agree on one, is likely to be worth a comparatively anemic $130 billion.


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  1. From Yahoo News U.S. News

    61 Wash. sues feds over Hanford nuclear site cleanup

    By SHANNON DININNY, Associated Press Writer

    2 hrs 33 mins ago

    RICHLAND, Wash. – Washington state is suing the federal government to seek a faster cleanup of the Hanford nuclear reservation, after nearly 18 months of negotiations failed to produce an agreement.

    “In Washington state, we have been patient. In Washington state, we have been reasonable. And today, our patience has simply run out,” Gov. Chris Gregoire said Tuesday. “They were steadfast on putting us in a legal position that is not good for the people of this community.”

    Gregoire said she was willing to accept deadlines proposed by the Energy Department, which manages the cleanup. But the Justice Department refused to make those deadlines enforceable in court, she said, leaving the state no choice but to sue in U.S. District Court.

    62 Stock market doesn’t flinch despite economic data

    By JEANNINE AVERSA, AP Economics Writer

    Tue Nov 25, 5:26 pm ET

    WASHINGTON – Bad news was no news to the battered American economy Tuesday.

    The government released a triple dose of discouraging data: The economy shrank over the summer even more than previously believed, and consumers reduced their spending by the largest amount in 28 years. During the same period, home prices fell to levels not seen since early 2004.

    “Consumers and businesses were like deer in the headlights … frozen,” said economist Ken Mayland, president of ClearView Economics.

    63 Toy buyers beware, despite crackdown: watchdog

    By Kevin Drawbaugh, Reuters

    Tue Nov 25, 1:18 pm ET

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Toy buyers beware — toxic chemicals are still found in kids’ products despite new laws against them, said a U.S. consumer watchdog on Tuesday.

    With the holiday shopping season getting under way, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) warned consumers to avoid soft plastic toys and heavy children’s jewelry.

    “It’s still ‘buyer beware’ for this shopping season,” said PIRG health advocate Liz Hitchcock at a news conference.

    64 Gasoline demand up for second week: SpendingPulse


    Tue Nov 25, 2:04 pm ET

    TORONTO (Reuters) – U.S. retail gasoline demand rose for the second week in a row as falling retail price spurred consumer demand, according to the SpendingPulse report issued Tuesday.

    Demand still trailed year-ago levels, but was down only 1.2 percent, the smallest drop since April, according to the report from MasterCard.

    American motorists pumped an average of 9.203 million barrels per day in the week ended November 21, up 1.9 percent from the previous week.

    65 Stores assure shoppers safe to buy gift cards

    By Alexandria Sage, Reuters

    Tue Nov 25, 3:07 pm ET

    SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – U.S. retailers are trying to assure customers that buying a gift card this holiday season is still safe amid a flurry of industry bankruptcies and store closures.

    Store gift cards had become a popular option in recent years, boosting sales and profits at many a retailer when redeemed in the weeks following the holidays.

    But in a dismal selling environment in which shoppers have dramatically cut spending and retailers from Steve & Barry’s to Mervyn’s have gone bankrupt, some shoppers are questioning whether the gift card option is still safe.

    And Bullshit.  They are lying.  They can break any contract in bankrupcy.  Spend it or forget it.

    66 U.S. strip malls suffer as retail tenants disappear

    By Chelsea Emery, Reuters

    2 hrs 29 mins ago

    NEW YORK (Reuters) – Along a congested highway in New Jersey lies a small strip mall whose challenges illuminate those of malls throughout the the United States as their tenants are brought low by the economic slump.

    In the past several weeks, the eight-store Paramus Towne Square mall in Paramus has seen the parent companies of two of its anchor stores, home goods seller Linens ‘n Things and electronics center Circuit City, file for bankruptcy.

    And, earlier this year, the mall had to find new tenants for a Borders bookstore, which closed when its parent company cut costs.

    67 Western Warehouse, Boot Town stores to close

    By Emily Chasan, Reuters

    1 hr 27 mins ago

    NEW YORK (Reuters) – Apparel retailers Western Warehouse and Boot Town, which sell everything from Stetson cowboy hats to ostrich-skin boots, will begin going-out-of business sales at its 78 remaining stores next week, parent company BTWW said on Tuesday.

    BTWW, which calls itself the largest retailer of western apparel and footwear in the United States, filed for bankruptcy protection on November 3, citing underperforming stores and a heavy debt load.

    The liquidation sales at 78 Boot Town, Western Warehouse Corrall West, Seargent’s, Job Site and Work Wear Depot stores — which are mainly in the U.S. Southwest — will begin on November 26.

    68 Food prices in ’09 get aid from cheaper oil, grain

    By Christopher Doering, Reuters

    Tue Nov 25, 1:08 pm ET

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. food prices are benefiting from the plunge in grain and oil prices, but consumers could still wind up seeing a 4 percent increase in their grocery bills next year, the Agriculture Department said on Tuesday.

    In its monthly report, USDA lowered its food inflation forecast for 2009 by 0.5 percentage point to reflect cheaper prices for meats, eggs, dairy and cereal and baking products. Despite the decline, it would be the third straight year when food prices rose by at least 4 percent.

    USDA left unchanged its forecast for food prices during 2008. Currently, prices are expected to rise 5.5 percent this year, marking the largest increase in two decades.

    69 NASA finds apparent fix for urine recycling system

    By Irene Klotz

    Tue Nov 25, 10:12 am ET

    HOUSTON (Reuters) – NASA appears to have resolved problems with a new urine recycling system on the International Space Station, bolstering hopes it will be able to expand the research outpost’s crew next year, officials at the U.S. space agency said on Tuesday.

    Reusing wastewater is essential for doubling the size of the crew living aboard the station from three members to six, especially since the space shuttles, which produce water as a byproduct of their electrical systems, are to be retired in two years.

    The device, part of a $250 million new life-support system aboard the station, shut down during three previous attempts to purify urine. NASA wants the visiting shuttle Endeavour crew to bring home processed samples for analysis before declaring the water purification system suitable for use.

    70 Bush grants pardons to 14, but no big names


    Tue Nov 25, 3:46 am ET

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President George W. Bush on Monday granted 14 pardons and commuted two sentences but there were no high-profile names on a list released by the Justice Department.

    The pardons were given for offenses ranging from distribution of marijuana to unauthorized use of a registered pesticide, a Justice Department statement said.

    Under the U.S. Constitution, the president can grant pardons and shorten sentences.

    71 Convictions upheld in U.S. embassy bombings in Africa

    By Christine Kearney, Reuters

    Mon Nov 24, 6:12 pm ET

    NEW YORK (Reuters) – The convictions of three men sentenced to life in prison for the 1998 bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa were upheld by a U.S. federal appeals court on Monday.

    The three were part of four tried and convicted in the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. The August 7, 1998 bombings killed 224 people, including 12 Americans, and wounded thousands.

    A jury in May 2001 convicted Saudi Arabian Mohamed Rashed Daoud al-‘Owhali, Tanzanian Khalfan Khamis Mohamed, Lebanese-born U.S. citizen Wadih El-Hage and Jordan-born Palestinian Mohamed Sadeek Odeh. Their sentencing came one month after the September 11 attacks.

    72 Election of Obama provokes rise in U.S. hate crimes

    By Matthew Bigg, Reuters

    Mon Nov 24, 5:39 pm ET

    ATLANTA (Reuters) – Barack Obama’s election as U.S. president has provoked a rise in hate crimes against ethnic minorities, civil rights groups said on Monday.

    Hundreds of incidents of abuse or intimidation apparently motivated by racial hatred have been reported since the November 4 election, though most have not involved violence, said the Southern Poverty Law Center.

    White supremacist groups such as the Ku Klux Klan and the Council of Conservative Citizens have seen a flood of interest from possible new members since the landmark election of the first black president in U.S. history.

    73 Super Bowl indecency case still in play

    By Leslie Simmons, Reuters

    Mon Nov 24, 10:44 pm ET

    LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) – The Federal Communications Commission’s battle to collect fines from broadcast network CBS over Janet Jackson’s infamous “wardrobe malfunction” could be heading to the U.S. Supreme Court.

    The FCC last week filed a petition for review with the nation’s high court, asking to overturn the 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal’s July decision that the commission and chairman Kevin Martin “acted arbitrarily and capriciously” in fining CBS stations $550,000 for airing a brief shot of Jackson’s right breast during the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show.

    The question presented by the FCC is whether the court of appeals erred in its ruling “in determining that the most widely viewed broadcast of public nudity in television history fell within the federal prohibitions on broadcast indecency.”

    74 Vatican can be sued for priest sex abuse: US court


    2 hrs 47 mins ago

    CHICAGO (AFP) – A US appeals court has ruled that the Vatican can be sued for the sex abuse committed by US priests.

    The Vatican had tried to block a class action lawsuit alleging that it orchestrated a cover-up of sexual abuse by clergy with the argument that it was protected by laws granting sovereign states immunity from most US civil proceedings.

    Central to the case is a 1962 Vatican mandate unearthed in 2003 which outlined a policy of “strictest” secrecy regarding allegations of sexual abuse by clergy and threatened those who spoke out with excommunication.

    75 China’s Lang Ping decides not to extend US contract


    Tue Nov 25, 3:30 pm ET

    COLORADO SPRINGS, Colorado (AFP) – Jenny Lang Ping, a beloved Chinese hero who helped the 1984 women’s volleyball team capture Olympic gold, will not return as coach of the US women’s national squad.

    USA Volleyball announced Tuesday that Lang Ping has chosen not to extend her contract for the upcoming four-year run to the 2012 London Olympics after guiding the American women to a silver medal last August at the Beijing Games.

    “At this moment in my life, family comes first and I wish more flexibility to spend time with them,” she said. “I prefer a club volleyball season that lasts five months so I can spend the other seven months of the year with them.”

    76 Medical searches on Web can trigger anxiety: study (AFP)


    Posted on Tue Nov 25, 2008 11:57AM EST

    WASHINGTON (AFP) – Playing doctor on the Web often leads people to mistakenly believe that they are suffering from rare illnesses, according to a study by researchers at Microsoft.

    “Web search engines have the potential to escalate medical concerns,” or “cyberchondria,” Ryen White and Eric Horvitz wrote in the study published by the Redmond, Washington-based software company on Monday.

    They described cyberchondria as “unfounded increases in health anxiety based on the review of Web content.”

    77 US taps online youth groups to fight crime, terrorism (AFP)


    Posted on Mon Nov 24, 2008 5:49PM EST

    WASHINGTON (AFP) – The US State Department announced plans on Monday to promote online youth groups as a new and powerful way to fight crime, political oppression and terrorism.

    Drawing inspiration from a movement against FARC rebels in Colombia, the State Department is joining forces with Facebook, Google, MTV, Howcast and others in New York City next week to get the “ball rolling.”

    It said 17 groups from South Africa, Britain and the Middle East which have an online presence like the “Million Voices Against the FARC” will attend a conference at Columbia University Law School from December 3-5.

    78 Wall St crisis threatens 225,000 New York jobs: official


    Mon Nov 24, 4:18 pm ET

    NEW YORK (AFP) – As many as 225,000 jobs could be lost in New York city and state due to the Wall Street crisis, the state comptroller, Thomas DiNapoli, said Monday.

    “Total private sector job losses during this two-year period could reach 225,000 in New York state, including 175,000 in New York city,” DiNapoli said in a report on the crisis.

    The report, covering the period October 2007 to October 2009, warned that “job losses could be even greater if the downturn is longer and deeper than currently forecast.”

    79 Why Government Intervention Won’t Last

    By MICHAEL SCHUMAN, Time Magazine

    Tue Nov 25, 6:50 pm ET

    The rage among pundits, journalists and policymakers these days is to believe more government is better than less. And why not? In this time of economic chaos, finance ministers and central bankers around the world have appeared the only bulwark against complete financial collapse, a slide-rule cavalry, armed with billions as bullets, rescuing banks, insurance companies and other corporate damsels in distress.

    80 Is There a Future for Black Republicans?

    By STEVEN GRAY, Time Magazine

    Tue Nov 25, 9:50 am ET

    It hasn’t been the best time to be a Republican – and even worse if you are a black Republican. Take the experience of Ada Fisher. This fall, the Salisbury, N.C., physician ran for a state general-assembly seat representing a mostly white, working-class district. Several black college students who campaigned on her behalf were dissed by peers as “Uncle Toms.” Then, in September, as Fisher walked toward the local Republican Party’s booth at a county fair, a white man told her to go back to the Democratic Party booth “where she belonged” and to support Barack Obama. Never mind that the 61-year-old is a third-generation Republican. She also recalls hearing of white people urging friends to vote a straight Republican ticket – “except for the black woman.”

    81 Left Out of the Bailout: The Poor

    By MARK KUKIS, Time Magazine

    Tue Nov 25, 1:30 pm ET

    As the roster of corporations and financial institutions in line for government bailouts seems to grow, some public-policy advocates in Washington are calling on policymakers to focus more efforts on the nation’s poorest. The ranks of the destitute are growing quietly but alarmingly as much of the world focuses on troubles surrounding Wall Street. “Recent data show poverty is already rising quite substantially,” says Robert Greenstein, executive director of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. “There is a strong potential for more hardship and destitution than we have seen in this country in a number of decades.”
  2. From Yahoo News Science

    82 Space experts offer anti-asteroid plan

    By DANICA KIRKA, Associated Press Writer

    Tue Nov 25, 4:37 pm ET

    VIENNA, Austria – It is disaster planning on a galactic scale: Space experts want to come up with a contingency plan on what to do in case a killer asteroid collides with Earth.

    The experts, including former American astronaut Rusty Schweickart, told U.N. officials Tuesday that the international community needs a plan to counter so-called Near Earth Objects in advance of the potential catastrophe. Deflecting asteroids – or at least evacuating people in areas where they might strike – could save millions of lives.

    “This is a natural disaster, which is larger, potentially, than any other natural disaster we know of,” Schweickart said. “However, it is preventable … that’s a very important thing to keep in mind. But it is our responsibility to take action to do that.”

    83 Whales rescued from Australian beach join pod

    Associated Press

    Mon Nov 24, 7:21 am ET

    HOBART, Australia – A group of whales rescued from an Australian beach have joined a larger pod in deep waters – a sign they are doing fine after their ordeal, an official said Monday.

    Rescuers tagged five of eleven pilot whales they plucked from the beach in southern Tasmania state Sunday with satellite tracking devices so they could follow the animals’ progress.

    It was the first time tracking devices had been used in a whale rescue in Australia.

    84 Invasive mussel confirmed in Utah’s Electric Lake

    By MIKE STARK, Associated Press Writer

    Thu Nov 20, 6:03 am ET

    SALT LAKE CITY – Trouble-making zebra mussels have arrived in Utah. But not where they were expected to show up.

    Electric Lake is Utah’s first body of water where the damaging, nonnative mussels have been confirmed, state wildlife officials said Wednesday.

    The officials said they were surprised the fast-spreading mussels appeared there first because it’s a high-elevation lake with relatively few boaters. It is boaters who sometimes unknowingly transport the mussels from lake to lake on their crafts.

    85 Herod may have been buried among lavish artwork

    By STEVE WEIZMAN, Associated Press Writer

    Thu Nov 20, 12:23 am ET

    HERODIUM, West Bank – King Herod may have been buried in a crypt with lavish Roman-style wall paintings of a kind previously unseen in the Middle East, Israeli archaeologists said Wednesday. The scientists found such paintings and signs of a regal two-story mausoleum, bolstering their conviction that the ancient Jewish monarch was buried there.

    Ehud Netzer, head of Jerusalem’s Hebrew University excavation team, which uncovered the site of the king’s winter palace in the Judean desert in 2007, said the latest finds show work and funding fit for a king.

    “What we found here, spread all around, are architectural fragments that enable us to restore a monument of 25 meters high, 75 feet high, very elegant, which fits Herod’s taste and status,” he told The Associated Press in an interview at the hillside dig in an Israeli-controlled part of the West Bank, south of Jerusalem.

    86 Mammoth task: Scientists map DNA of ancient beast

    By SETH BORENSTEIN, AP Science Writer

    Wed Nov 19, 9:08 pm ET

    WASHINGTON – Bringing “Jurassic Park” one step closer to reality, scientists have deciphered much of the genetic code of the woolly mammoth, a feat they say could allow them to recreate the shaggy, prehistoric beast in as little as a decade or two.

    The project marks the first time researchers have spelled out the DNA of an extinct species, and it raised the possibility that other ancient animals such as mastodons and sabertooth tigers might someday walk the Earth again.

    “It could be done. The question is, just because we might be able to do it one day, should we do it?” asked Stephan Schuster, a Penn State University biochemist and co-author of the new research. “I would be surprised to see if it would take more than 10 or 20 years to do it.”

    87 Big hop forward: Scientists map kangaroo’s DNA

    By KRISTEN GELINEAU, Associated Press Writer

    Tue Nov 18, 5:01 pm ET

    SYDNEY, Australia – Taking a big hop forward in marsupial research, scientists say they have unraveled the DNA of a small kangaroo named Matilda. And they’ve found the Aussie icon has more in common with humans than scientists had thought. The kangaroo last shared a common ancestor with humans 150 million years ago.

    “We’ve been surprised at how similar the genomes are,” said Jenny Graves, director of the government-backed research effort. “Great chunks of the genome are virtually identical.”

    The scientists also discovered 14 previously unknown genes in the kangaroo and suspect the same ones are also in humans, Graves said.

    88 Scientists find new penguin, extinct for 500 years

    By RAY LILLEY, Associated Press Writer

    Wed Nov 19, 3:39 pm ET

    WELLINGTON, New Zealand – Researchers studying a rare and endangered species of penguin have uncovered a previously unknown species that disappeared about 500 years ago.

    The research suggests that the first humans in New Zealand hunted the newly found Waitaha penguin to extinction by 1500, about 250 years after their arrival on the islands. But the loss of the Waitaha allowed another kind of penguin to thrive – the yellow-eyed species that now also faces extinction, Philip Seddon of Otago University, a co-author of the study, said Wednesday.

    The team was testing DNA from the bones of prehistoric modern yellow-eyed penguins for genetic changes associated with human settlement when it found some bones that were older – and had different DNA.

    89 Huge glaciers detected under rocky debris on Mars

    By Will Dunham, Reuters

    Thu Nov 20, 5:44 pm ET

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A radar instrument aboard a NASA spacecraft has detected large glaciers hidden under rocky debris that may be the vestiges of ice sheets that blanketed parts of Mars in a past ice age, scientists said on Thursday.

    The glaciers, the biggest known deposits of water on Mars outside of its poles, could prove useful for future manned missions to the red planet as drinking water or rocket fuel, University of Texas planetary geologist John Holt said.

    “If we were to, down the road, establish a base there, you’d want to park near a big source of water because you can do anything with it,” Holt said.

    90 Bolivian farmer leads to dinosaur discovery

    By David Mercado, Reuters

    Tue Nov 18, 10:02 am ET

    ICLA, Bolivia (Reuters) – Bolivian farmer Primo Rivera had long wondered about the dents in a rocky hill near his home. Paleontologists solved the mystery this month: they are fossilized dinosaur footprints — the oldest in Bolivia.

    “I used to come to look at the prints when I was a kid … but I didn’t know what had made them,” said Rivera, 35, who lives in the southern province of Chuquisaca.

    The fossilized footsteps that intrigued Rivera for two decades are thought to be about 140 million years old, much older than other dinosaur prints found in the Andean country.

    91 Tiny, long-lost primate rediscovered in Indonesia

    By Will Dunham, Reuters

    Tue Nov 18, 6:32 pm ET

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – On a misty mountaintop on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi, scientists for the first time in more than eight decades have observed a living pygmy tarsier, one of the planet’s smallest and rarest primates.

    Over a two-month period, the scientists used nets to trap three furry, mouse-sized pygmy tarsiers — two males and one female — on Mt. Rore Katimbo in Lore Lindu National Park in central Sulawesi, the researchers said on Tuesday.

    They spotted a fourth one that got away.

    92 Search is on for meteor that lit sky over western Canada


    2 hrs 13 mins ago

    MONTREAL (AFP) – Scientists and amateur astronomers have been combing the prairies in western Canada for a 10-ton meteorite that lit the sky and exploded with the force of 300 tons of dynamite, according to experts from the Canadian Space Agency.

    The meteorite, seen on Thursday by thousands of people in a 700 kilometer (435-mile) radius, fell southeast of Lloydminster, near the border between Saskatchewan and Alberta provinces, astrophysicists Alan Hildebrand and Peter Brown said in a statement.

    At the moment it entered the atmosphere, the asteroid fragment weighed approximately 10 tonnes, from an energy estimate derived from infrasound records, said Brown, professor of meteor physics at University of Western Ontario.

    93 Climate change is a battle for existence in the Maldives

    by Karishma Vyas, AFP

    Tue Nov 25, 8:35 pm ET

    MALE (AFP) – Among the many grim predictions of climate change experts, the future fate of The Maldives stands out as a genuine doomsday scenario with the island chain nation facing nothing short of extinction.

    A one-metre (3.3-foot) rise in sea level would almost totally submerge the country’s 1,192 coral islands scattered off the southern tip of India. Experts predict a rise of at least 18 centimetres is likely by the end of the century.

    So pressing has the danger become that the new Maldivian President Mohamed Anni Nasheed has said his government will begin saving now to buy a new homeland for his people to flee to in the future.

    94 European states at odds over space funding priorities

    by Boris Cambreleng

    Tue Nov 25, 3:18 pm ET

    THE HAGUE (AFP) – European ministers Tuesday discussed funding for the International Space Station but differences emerged with Germany calling for more money for the ISS and France focussing on building more launchers.

    The 18 member states of the European Space Agency (ESA) are also discussing ways of monitoring climate change and space debris, putting in place a satellite to relay telecommunications data, and further space exploration.

    The ESA has said it would need 10.4 billion euros for its space programmes, but the agency’s director Jean-Jacques Dordain has said he would be happy with a combined contribution of 9.3 billion euros, agency spokesman Franco Bonacina said Tuesday.

    95 New tool to help find hidden meteorite craters


    Tue Nov 25, 4:15 pm ET

    OTTAWA (AFP) – Meteorite craters are a rare find on Earth, numbering only 175 at last count, but a Canadian researcher unveiled Tuesday a new computer tool for locating hundreds more from even the tiniest of clues.

    According to observations of the Moon and Mars, a small meteorite is predicted to impact Earth every 10 years. Mars Orbiter Camera has shown, for example, that at least 20 such impacts formed on the red planet since 1999.

    But of the 175 known craters on Earth, only five are less than 100 meters in diameter, and fewer than 10 are less than 10,000 years old.

    96 Going green saves money, spins profits in coal-addicted Poland

    by Mary Sibierski

    Tue Nov 25, 12:45 am ET

    KISIELICE, Poland (AFP) – Standing in the shadow of a massive windmill, Mayor Tomasz Koprowiak thinks part of the answer to Poland kicking its coal habit is blowing in the wind and growing in farmers’ fields.

    “Our new straw-fired heating plant serves 80 percent of the community and is saving everyone money,” Koprowiak says of Kisielice, a poor north-eastern rural municipality of 6,500.

    He is something of a pioneer in Poland, where green energy is still rare in a rapidly growing economy almost entirely reliant on coal for electricity and heat.

    97 Greenpeace protests against ‘brown coal’ mine in Poland


    Mon Nov 24, 1:56 pm ET

    WARSAW (AFP) – The global environmental group Greenpeace Monday protested against a polluting lignite or brown coal mine in central Poland, demanding its closure, as the country gears up to host the UN climate conference next month.

    “A group of 22 Greenpeace activists entered the mine where they were brutally driven out by the mine’s security,” Greenpeace spokesperson Magdalena Zowsik told AFP.

    “Don’t burn our future with coal!” and “Quit coal!” were among the banners brandished by activists before they were detained by police at the request of management at the mine near Konin.

    98 Records tipped to tumble in 2009, thanks to new blocks

    by Sabine Colpart, AFP

    Tue Nov 25, 1:19 am ET

    PARIS (AFP) – Revolutionary starting blocks are expected to send world swimming records tumbling again in 2009, after an Olympic year when hi-tech suits helped competitors go faster than ever.

    The newly designed platforms — whose forward-leaning wedge shape allows swimmers to propel themselves further into pools — are to be introduced at next year’s World Championships in Rome.

    Developed by Omega, the Swiss watchmaker responsible for time-keeping at world competitions, the innovation won the backing earlier this year of FINA, global swimming’s governing body.

    99 Water resources dwindling in Australia’s ‘food basket’: report


    Mon Nov 24, 2:01 pm ET

    SYDNEY (AFP) – A new report revealed on Monday the devastating effect of settlement, irrigation and Australia’s long-running drought on one of the country’s biggest rivers.

    The assessment of the Murray-Darling Basin — known as the “food basket” of Australia because of its high level of farming — found that water flowing to the mouth of the Murray River had dropped from more than 12,000 gigalitres a year 200 years ago to below 5,000 gigalitres.

    “Integrating the flow impacts down through the connected rivers of the basin shows that total flow at the Murray mouth has been reduced by 61 percent; the river now ceases to flow through the mouth 40 percent of the time,” it said.

    100 German conservatives press for breaks in EU climate pact


    Sun Nov 23, 1:55 pm ET

    BERLIN (AFP) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel faced calls from fellow conservatives Sunday to fight to water down a European Union climate pact until the recession-wracked economy is moving again.

    Bavarian premier Horst Seehofer said in an interview with the Bild am Sonntag newspaper that he had written to Merkel calling on her to back away from EU climate protection goals to be approved next month for a time.

    “The carbon dioxide (CO2) reduction targets at the EU level must be organised so they do not endanger jobs,” said Seehofer, whose state is home to such German automakers as BMW and Audi.

    101 French adventurer faces new feat as head of Antarctic station

    by Mie Kohiyama, AFP

    Sun Nov 23, 2:59 am ET

    CHAMONIX, France (AFP) – Eight years after skiing across Antarctica alone, a French adventurer returns next month to the “white desert” as head of a scientific station with a mission to govern a team of 130 through the dark hours of winter.

    In February 2000, Laurence de la Ferriere travelled on skis from the South Pole to Terre Adelie (French-administered Antarctica), an achievement no one since has repeated.

    For 73 days, the petite athlete towed a 150-kilogramme (330-pound) sled nearly 3,000 kilometres (1,900 miles), facing average temperatures of 30 degrees C (22 degrees F), violent winds and severe frostbite.

    102 Over 200 narwhal trapped in Canadian ice


    Fri Nov 21, 3:27 pm ET

    OTTAWA (AFP) – At least 200 narwhal whales in Canada’s Arctic, trapped by winter ice that is setting in around them and facing starvation or suffocation, must be culled, officials said Friday.

    Hunters from the village of Pond Inlet on Baffin Island discovered the animals trapped near Bylot Island, about 17 kilometers (10.5 miles) from Pond Inlet, on November 15, and checked on them periodically.

    The local hunters are allowed to harvest only 130 whales each year for food, according to standards set by the federal department of Fisheries and Oceans.

    103 European to become commander of space station in 2009


    Fri Nov 21, 1:19 pm ET

    PARIS (AFP) – The International Space Station (ISS) next year will be commanded for the first time by a European, the European Space Agency (ESA) announced here on Friday.

    Belgian astronaut Frank de Winne will be taken aloft next May aboard a Russian Soyuz spacecraft, along with Russian cosmonaut Roman Romanenko and Canadia’s Robert Thirsk, taking the ISS’s full-time crew from three to six, ESA said in a press release.

    For the first few months, de Winne will serve as the ISS’ flight engineer, then take its helm in October when a turnover of three crewmembers is scheduled, it said in a press release. He returns to Earth in November 2009.

    104 Asia not responsible for ‘brown haze’: India


    Fri Nov 21, 12:00 pm ET

    NEW DELHI (AFP) – India on Friday dismissed as “propaganda” a UN report suggesting the formation of a brown cloud over Asia was due to the burning of fossil fuels by countries in the region.

    The UN report earlier this week said enormous brown clouds of pollution hanging over Asia, including India, were killing hundreds of thousands of people, melting glaciers, changing weather patterns and damaging crops.

    Traffic, factory emissions and indoor cooking were among the culprits for the “Atmospheric Brown Clouds”, which are up to three kilometres (1.8 miles) thick, according the landmark report on the phenomenon.

    105 Move fast on climate, environmental groups tell Obama

    By Renee Schoof, McClatchy Newspapers

    Tue Nov 25, 4:11 pm ET

    WASHINGTON – Don’t wait until the financial crisis is over to attack global warming because cleaner ways to produce and use energy will lead to a stronger economy, leaders of environmental groups said Tuesday as they outlined their wish list for President-elect Barack Obama .

    The recommendations from 29 of the nation’s most prominent environmental and conservation groups emphasized a clean-energy approach to economic revitalization but also included detailed suggestions for Alaska’s Arctic region and for conserving land and water resources nationwide.

    Leaders of the groups who helped develop the recommendations to Obama’s transition advisers rejected the idea that fighting global warming and protecting the environment would be too expensive in an economic downturn.

    106 Obama’s stance on lands: He’ll break with Bush

    By Les Blumenthal, McClatchy Newspapers

    Sun Nov 23, 6:00 am ET

    WASHINGTON – Here’s the question: What does a community organizer from Chicago who spent four years in the Senate before being elected president know about spotted owls, endangered salmon, mountain bark beetles, Western water rights, old-growth forests and the maintenance backlog in the national parks?

    The answer: Probably not much.

    President-elect Barack Obama has offered only scattered clues as to where he stands on the most pressing public lands and endangered species issues.

    107 How Arctic melting could benefit shippers, oil companies

    By Renee Schoof, McClatchy Newspapers

    Fri Nov 21, 6:04 pm ET

    WASHINGTON – With global warming melting the Arctic ‘s eons-old ice at an alarming rate, shipping and oil companies are looking ahead at how to exploit the new open waters.

    For the past 30 years, the summer Arctic icepack has been shrinking. In 2007, the melt reached record levels. This past summer, the ice shrank to the?second smallest area on record.?

    And while much of the discussions so far have been focused on dealing with global warming and on preserving habitat and protecting polar bears and walruses, another change is looming. When will commercial interests be able to develop the once-impregnable region?

    108 Jupiter’s Core Twice as Big as Thought Staff,

    Tue Nov 25, 4:16 pm ET

    Jupiter has a rocky core that is more than twice as large as previously thought, researchers announced today.

    Burkhard Militzer, a geophysicist at the University of California, Berkeley, and his colleagues ran computer simulations to look at conditions inside Jupiter on the scale of individual hydrogen and helium atoms. Particularly, the researchers examined the properties of hydrogen-helium mixtures at the extreme pressures and temperatures that occur in Jupiter’s interior.

    With information gleaned from these simulations, the researchers developed another computer model. They found Jupiter’s core is an Earth-like rock that’s 14 to 18 times the mass of Earth, or about 5 percent of Jupiter’s total mass. Previous studies suggested the core was only seven Earth masses or that Jupiter had no core at all.

    109 Hubble Gets Clear View of Massive Stars Staff,

    Tue Nov 25, 11:01 am ET

    Very massive stars are often the hardest to see, as they’re typically embedded in nebulas of gas and dust.

    So it is with two of our Milky Way Galaxy’s most massive stars. But the Hubble Space Telescope has just offered a better view.

    The image shows a pair of colossal stars, WR 25 and Tr16-244, located within the open cluster Trumpler 16. This cluster is embedded within the Carina Nebula, an immense cauldron of gas and dust that lies 7,500 light-years from Earth. The nebula contains several ultra-hot stars, including these two star systems and the widely studied, explosive star Eta Carinae, which has the highest luminosity yet confirmed.

    110 Another Extrasolar Planet Possibly Imaged

    Jeanna Bryner, Senior Writer,

    Tue Nov 25, 8:35 am ET

    Astronomers say they have directly imaged a giant exoplanet orbiting its parent star. The announcement comes on the heels of two other reports this month of direct images of planets beyond our solar system.

    The new infrared image shows the object as a speck of light near the star Beta Pictoris, which is 70 light-years from Earth, toward the constellation Pictor.

    “We cannot yet rule out definitively, however, that the candidate companion could be a foreground or background object,” said study team member Gael Chauvin of Grenoble Observatory in France. “To eliminate this very small possibility, we will need to make new observations that confirm the nature of the discovery.”

    111 Wanted: Ideas for Clearing Space Trash

    Leonard David,’s Space Insider Columnist,

    Mon Nov 24, 5:30 pm ET

    Human-made clutter jamming up the orbital byways is a troublesome issue.

    Launchspace, a training organization for space professionals, based in Bethesda, Maryland is keen on trying to find new ways to battle the bits of space flotsam.

    They’ve been asking for suggestions on how to solve the space trash problem. So far, ideas submitted have fallen into two main categories: limiting new debris through such means as de-orbiting mechanisms integrated into the design of future satellites; and eliminating existing space debris.

    112 Astronaut Invents Zero-G Coffee Cup

    Tariq Malik, Senior Editor,

    Mon Nov 24, 12:07 pm ET

    This story was updated at 11:27 a.m. EST.

    NASA astronaut Don Pettit loves his coffee. So it comes as no surprise that he found a way to drink coffee from a cup, instead of the traditional straw, on his day off Sunday aboard the International Space Station.

    Drinking any liquid in the weightless environment of space could be a messy affair. With hot coffee, it could be a potentially scalding affair. So astronauts use silver pouches and plastic straws to sip anything from water to orange juice to Pettit’s beloved space java.

    113 Black Holes Burp Big Bubbles

    Jeanna Bryner, Senior Writer,

    Mon Nov 24, 8:46 am ET

    Like cosmic bubble makers, some black holes spew out behemoth blobs of hot gas into their home galaxies.

    The bubbles ultimately pop, and their gassy contents keep both the black hole and its galaxy from ballooning to mega sizes, a new study finds.

    The results apply to elliptical galaxies and their supermassive black holes, which can weigh as much as a billion suns or more. Our galaxy, the Milky Way, is a spiral galaxy. And while it houses a supermassive black hole, the researchers say the same process might not apply to it.

    114 Carbon Dioxide Detected on Faraway World

    Robert Roy Britt, Editorial Director,

    Sun Nov 23, 8:48 pm ET

    Carbon dioxide, a potential fingerprint of life, has been discovered for the first time in the atmosphere of a planet orbiting another star.

    However, the planet, HD 189733b, is too hot to be habitable.

    But the discovery nonetheless has scientists excited, because carbon dioxide is one of four chemicals that life can generate, so being able to detect it shows that astronomers have the ability to find the signs of life on other worlds.

    115 Huge Cave Bears: When and Why They Disappeared

    LiveScience Staff,

    Tue Nov 25, 8:21 pm ET

    Enormous cave bears that once inhabited Europe were the first of the mega-mammals to die out, going extinct around 13 millennia earlier than was previously thought, according to a new estimate.

    Why’d they go? In part because they were vegetarians.

    The new extinction date, 27,800 years ago, coincides with a period of significant climate change, known as the Last Glacial Maximum, when a marked cooling in temperature resulted in a reduction or total loss of the vegetation that the cave bears ate (today’s brown bears are omnivores).

    116 Bank Run: How Ginko Financial Went Down

    Jeremy Hsu, Special to LiveScience

    Fri Nov 21, 3:42 pm ET

    A string of bank collapses prompted Alan Greenspan, U.S. economic guru and former head of the Federal Reserve, to admit last month that lending institutions could not always be trusted to regulate themselves. He could have taken a cue sooner by looking at the 2007 collapse of Ginko Financial, a virtual investment bank in the online game “Second Life.”

    Virtual economies in games such as “Second Life” and “EVE Online” may seem trivial, but they actually can provide real-life lessons on the patterns of free markets and unfettered capitalism. Researchers and self-described virtual economists have observed how virtual entrepreneurs establish themselves and compete, as well as how a lack of self-regulation can lead to dramatic banking failures, scams and even corporate espionage.

    “I don’t view ‘Second Life’ as a game,” said Robert Bloomfield, an accounting researcher at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. “I view it as a market space.”

    117 Estimating the True Costs of Invasive Species in Great Lakes

    John Rothlisberger, University of Notre Dame,

    Sat Nov 22, 9:00 am ET

    The Great Lakes currently harbor well-established populations of more than 50 non-native species that were dumped into those waters by ocean-going ships.

    As a student of ecology, I have long wondered what is the total cost of the introductions of so many species, the impact on the ability of these critical water bodies to support sport and commercial fishing and wildlife viewing.

    But when I began to investigate this important question for my doctoral research, I discovered – to my dismay – that no cost estimates were available.

    118 Fore! Here Comes the Ultimate Golf Ball

    Dan Peterson, LiveScience’s Sports Columnist,

    Sun Nov 23, 10:32 pm ET

    When it comes to improving your golf game, you can spend thousands of dollars buying the latest titanium-induced, Tiger-promoted golf clubs; taking private lessons from the local “I used to be on the Tour” pro; or trying every slice-correcting, swing-speed-estimating, GPS-distance-guessing gadget.

    But, in the end, it’s about getting that little white sphere to go where you intend it to go.

    There are many very smart people trying to help you by designing the ultimate golf ball. Now, a breakthrough by scientists from Arizona State University and the University of Maryland may soon give golf ball manufacturers a more efficient method of testing their designs.

    119 People Said to Believe in Aliens and Ghosts More Than God

    Robert Roy Britt, Editorial Director,

    Mon Nov 24, 9:48 am ET

    More people believe in aliens and ghosts than in God, a new survey finds, according to a British newspaper.

    The survey, however, was done by a marketing firm in conjunction with the release of an X-Files DVD, and details of how the poll was conducted were not reported in the Daily Mail. Survey questions, depending on how they are written, can greatly skew results, along with how subjects are sampled.

    That said, the poll of 3,000 people found that 58 percent believe in the supernatural, including paranormal encounters, while 54 percent believe God exists. Women were more likely than men to believe in the supernatural and were also more likely to visit a medium.

    120 Origin of Sex Pinned Down

    Jeanna Bryner, Senior Writer,

    Tue Nov 25, 9:35 am ET

    We all came from hermaphrodites, organisms with both male and female reproductive organs. And though the origin traces back more than 100 million years, biologists have scratched their heads over how and why the separate male and female sexes evolved.

    Now, research on wild strawberry plants is providing evidence for such a transition and the emergence of sex, at least in plants. And the results, which are detailed in the December issue of the journal Heredity, likely apply to animals like us, the researchers say.

    The study showed that two genes located at different spots on a chromosome can cast strawberry offspring as a single sex, a hermaphrodite or a neuter (neither male nor female, and essentially sterile). The researchers suspect the two genes could be responsible for one of the earliest stages of the transition from asexual to sexual beings.

  3. I am relentlessly single minded.

    • Edger on November 26, 2008 at 11:03

    Busy day in the world today. They seem to be randomly throwing anything and everything they can think of at the wall hoping something will stick to repair the economy? I wsih they’d throw some my direction too…

    Gets s little overwhelming somtimes, but thanks!

    I imagine putting it all together is tiring too. 🙂

  4. Made my contribution to the economy by buying a new washer and dryer. It is pretty fucking sad when that kind of Christmas present is something to get excited about. Just a reminder that middle age is fraught with boring tastes. But I gave the other ones away for free. Some dude picked it up for his sister in law. Took like three seconds on the local Craig’s list and I got a nice email from the person who got it.

  5. I’ll be reading this all day.

    I had a chuckle:

    For one day last week, Antoine was not 13 years old but 35 and married with children. He was making 4,800 dollars a month and suddenly had to worry about paying taxes and meeting the bills.

    $4,800 a month!  What wonderful future world is this?

    • on November 26, 2008 at 13:57

    That while your day is just beginning mine is coming to an end.

    • RiaD on November 26, 2008 at 14:40

    heading out the door……..

    if my son has his internet still, i’ll read this when i get there.

  6. Beavers are being re-introduced to the UK. Being a Canuck I have always had an affection for beavers.

    And loons.

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