The Morning News is an Open Thread
|From Yahoo News Top Stories|
1 Afghan vote fraud claims gather momentum
Sat Aug 29, 1:28 am ET
|KABUL (AFP) – Allegations of vote-rigging in Afghanistan’s elections gathered momentum on Saturday as the main challenger said he would not accept a compromised outcome and Western powers called for transparency.
The French foreign ministry said Paris has called a meeting of senior Western envoys to Afghanistan to discuss their response to presidential elections that have been marred by fraud allegations.
The White House, following on from revelations that its envoy to Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke, had a testy meeting with President Hamid Karzai immediately after the August 20 vote, condemned any acts of fraud that might emerge.
2 Ahmadinejad says Iran opposition leaders should be punished
by Hiedeh Farmani, AFP
Fri Aug 28, 12:27 pm ET
|TEHRAN (AFP) – Iran’s hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called for the first time on Friday for the punishment of opposition leaders over the street unrest unleashed by his disputed re-election in June.
Ahmadinejad also renewed the Islamic republic’s allegations that Britain sought to overthrow the regime, in a speech at weekly prayers.
“Serious confrontation should take place with the leaders and main instigators of the incidents. Those who provoked, organised and implemented the enemy’s line should be confronted firmly,” Ahmadinejad said.
3 Nixon enlisted secret service to spy on Ted Kennedy
by Olivier Knox, AFP
Fri Aug 28, 11:42 am ET
|WASHINGTON (AFP) – Ted Kennedy, who died Tuesday, so enraged Richard Nixon that the disgraced president pushed in 1971 for snooping on the senator for proof he cheated on his wife, according to once-secret recordings.
And Nixon, who secretly taped some 3,700 hours of his conversations between February 1971 and July 1973, does not hide his disappointment and frustration when an aide reports back that the Massachusetts senator is “very clean.”
“The thing to do is to watch him,” he says in a September 8, 1971 recording, one of several conversations in which Nixon, apparently fearful for his 1972 reelection prospects, lashes out at Kennedy.
4 Dutch court blocks girl’s solo global sailing bid
by Alix Rijckaert, AFP
Fri Aug 28, 11:10 am ET
|UTRECHT, Netherlands (AFP) – A Dutch court ruled Friday that a 13-year-old girl cannot set sail on a solo round-the-world voyage next month and ordered her to be placed in the temporary care of social services.
The court judges did not rule out the possibility of Laura Dekker eventually embarking on the record-breaking quest but said a full study was needed to assess the dangers.
“The parents are going to have to negotiate all important decisions regarding Laura with the child protection services,” said a statement from the court in the central city of Utrecht.
5 EXCLUSIVE: Berlusconi sues local, foreign media for libel
By Stephen Brown, Reuters
Fri Aug 28, 10:22 am ET
|ROME (Reuters) – Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is launching legal actions against media in Italy and abroad, including Britain, France and Spain, for libel in their coverage of his private life, his lawyer said on Friday.
His lawyer Niccolo Ghedini told Reuters that he and his colleagues abroad had already filed lawsuits against newspapers in Italy, France and Spain and had instructed lawyers in Britain to study possible cases of libel there.
“We have instructed our colleagues to evaluate, according to the laws in their countries, the most serious cases of real, true defamation,” Ghedini said in a telephone interview.
6 Space shuttle blasts off, finally flying on try 3
By MARCIA DUNN, AP Aerospace Writer
2 hrs 31 mins ago
|CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – Space shuttle Discovery and seven astronauts blazed into orbit Saturday on a spectacular midnight flight to the international space station, hauling up a treadmill named after a TV funnyman and thousands of pounds of more solemn supplies.
Discovery lit up the sky for miles around as it thundered away on NASA’s third launch attempt. Lightning flashed far in the distance, and the ascending shuttle resembled a bright star until it blinked out of sight five minutes after liftoff.
The space station was soaring more than 220 miles above the Indian Ocean, southwest of Tasmania, when Discovery took off. The shuttle will reach the orbiting outpost Sunday night.
7 Japan’s ruling party cast as election underdog
By ERIC TALMADGE, Associated Press Writer
2 hrs 41 mins ago
|TOKYO – The conservative party that has run Japan for virtually all of the past 54 years was widely expected to face overwhelming defeat as candidates made their final pitches Saturday in one of the most heated parliamentary elections in decades.
All major media polls have forecast that the Liberal Democratic Party will lose badly to the opposition Democratic Party of Japan in Sunday’s balloting for the 480 seats in the powerful lower house of parliament.
If it does, opposition leader Yukio Hatoyama is likely to become prime minister and form the country’s first non-LDP Cabinet in more than a decade and only its second since the party was created in 1955.
8 Flat incomes raise doubts about economic recovery
By MARTIN CRUTSINGER, AP Economics Writer
Fri Aug 28, 4:27 pm ET
|WASHINGTON – Household income in the United States is essentially stagnant, raising doubts about whether consumers already hurt by job losses can sustain an economic recovery.
The now-ended Cash for Clunkers program helped lift consumer spending last month and is expected to deliver a bigger boost in August. But any economic rebound likely would falter if shoppers lack the income to spend more in the long run.
Especially in the U.S., consumer spending is essential: It drives about 70 percent of economic activity – more than for most European nations and well above the rates in developing countries such as China.
9 For immigrants, Kennedy remained tireless advocate
By RUSSELL CONTRERAS, Associated Press Writer
21 mins ago
|BOSTON – Before 1965, Leticia Hermosa had little chance of crossing the Pacific to the U.S. from the Philippines. Hermosa, a nurse, and others like her just couldn’t get through the strict U.S. immigration quota system, which favored Western Europeans and essentially excluded those from Asia and Latin America.
But after Sen. Edward Kennedy pushed through the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, the door opened for her to immigrate in 1973 to Boston, where she eventually finished school, got a law degree and became a U.S. citizen.
On Thursday, Hermosa stood in line with thousands of others at the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum to pay her respects to the late senator. “If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be here today,” said the 55-year-old Hermosa, who now lives in Westwood, Mass.
10 Cars, cameras among items at Calif. garage sale
By JUDY LIN, Associated Press Writer
Fri Aug 28, 9:13 pm ET
|SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Bargain-hunters snatched up watches confiscated from criminals, surplus prison shirts and antique pianos salvaged from parks on the first day of a statewide garage sale to scrape together cash for California.
The two-day sale kicked off Friday at a Sacramento warehouse, with hundreds lining up for deals on cars, computers and collectibles. Many arrived hours before the gate opened at 8 a.m., walking past a “Terminator” mannequin on the way in.
An auctioneer sold vehicles by the minute under a crowded tent in the parking lot behind the warehouse. SUVs, vans and California Highway Patrol cruisers – all were being moved off the state’s inventory for just a few thousand dollars each.
11 Abortion fight shifts to Neb. after Tiller death
By ERIC OLSON, Associated Press Writer
Fri Aug 28, 7:37 pm ET
|BELLEVUE, Neb. – An anti-abortion group from Kansas is moving its fight north to Nebraska, preparing for a weekend demonstration and holding a workshop to plot its strategy for putting Dr. LeRoy Carhart out of business.
About 50 people, most holding signs in support of abortion rights, gathered Friday on the sidewalk outside Carhart’s clinic in this Omaha suburb. A few local anti-abortion demonstrators also were on hand awaiting the arrival of Operation Rescue members who were traveling here from Wichita, Kan.
Many more demonstrators on both sides of the issue were expected at the clinic Saturday.
12 Impeachment, resignation calls grow for SC gov
By JIM DAVENPORT, Associated Press Writer
Fri Aug 28, 6:46 pm ET
|COLUMBIA, S.C. – Calls are growing louder for Gov. Mark Sanford to resign over his extramarital affair and questionable travel on commercial, state and private planes.
Those who were on the fence are now calling for his resignation, and those who were demanding his resignation now say he should be impeached.
Even a leader of Sanford’s own Republican Party says the governor may soon find himself alone in thinking he should stay in office.
13 State govs saying ‘No thanks’ to mystery laptops
By LAWRENCE MESSINA, Associated Press Writer
Fri Aug 28, 5:50 pm ET
|CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Even during tight budgetary times, a growing handful of state governors are proving too wary to accept laptop computers that have shown up at their offices this month, unsolicited.
The FBI was investigating after the governor’s offices in West Virginia, Vermont, Wyoming and Washington state received between three and five laptops – but none had ordered any of them.
“They immediately raised a red flag,” said Matt Turner, spokesman for West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin. “No one said, ‘Hey, we got a free gift.'”
14 GOP blasts Idaho candidate’s ‘Obama tags’ comment
By JOHN MILLER, Associated Press Writer
Fri Aug 28, 5:20 pm ET
|BOISE, Idaho – The list of Idaho Republicans condemning a GOP gubernatorial candidate’s comments about buying a license to hunt President Barack Obama grew Friday, as party leaders worried the incident would reflect badly on the state.
U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo said former elk rancher Rex Rammell’s comment at a Twin Falls GOP merits an apology, U.S. Sen. Jim Risch disavowed him from the Republican Party, and Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter called Rammell’s comment “reckless and inflammatory.”
Rammell is among those running in the 2010 Idaho GOP primary against incumbent Otter.
15 Swine flu: Fair officials fret over pigs’ health
By LISA RATHKE, Associated Press Writer
Fri Aug 28, 4:38 pm ET
|LYNDONVILLE, Vt. – No sow and piglets in the children’s barnyard at this year’s Caledonia County Fair. No baby pig chases, either.
Swine are unwelcome at Vermont’s oldest fair – uninvited because of misconceptions about how the swine flu virus spreads. Although the novel H1N1 pandemic virus is primarily a human disease, transmitted from human to human, fair officials say they want to protect themselves from bad publicity or frivolous lawsuits if someone gets sick and blames it on a pig.
That puts the Caledonia County Fair at odds with most other fairs across the country, which are going to great lengths this year to protect their pigs from people since the virus can be transmitted to the animals by humans.
16 Rare American goose decoy to be auctioned in NYC
By ULA ILNYTZKY, Associated Press Writer
Fri Aug 28, 4:28 pm ET
|NEW YORK – A rare, 19th century hand-carved goose decoy that once plied Pennsylvania’s Susquehanna River before being sold in Argentina, and considered by some to be a floating sculpture, is going on the auction block. It could bring in as much as $400,000.
The decoy was originally purchased by an American expatriate living in Argentina and then sold to a native of that country who was unaware of its origins.
The current owner, Maximo Kirton, e-mailed a photo of the Canada Goose decoy to Christie’s several weeks ago wondering what it might be worth. It sat on a shelve at the family’s sheep ranch in Patagonia, Argentina, for 10 years, and then on the mantel of his parent’s Buenos Aires home for another two decades.
17 Texas liquor board fires 3 over raid on gay bar
By ANGELA K. BROWN, Associated Press Writer
Fri Aug 28, 4:10 pm ET
|FORT WORTH, Texas – Texas’ liquor board fired two agents and a supervisor, disciplined two other supervisors and changed several policies in the wake of a raid at a gay bar that left a customer seriously injured and led to protests, officials announced Friday.
The Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission said agent Christopher Aller and agent trainee Jason Chapman, who participated in the June 28 raid at the Rainbow Lounge, were fired Friday. Their supervisor, Sgt. Terry Parsons, was not at the Fort Worth bar that night but also was fired, effective Sept. 2.
Aller and Chapman failed to report that they used force when arresting the customer or that he was seriously injured, according to a report on the agency’s investigation released earlier this month. They also were accused of participating in the raid without their supervisor’s approval, disrupting the business during the raid and wearing improper attire, the report states.
18 Prosecutor: Richardson not charged, not exonerated
By BARRY MASSEY, Associated Press Writer
Fri Aug 28, 3:55 pm ET
|SANTA FE, N.M. – New Mexico’s top federal prosecutor confirmed Friday that no charges will be brought against Democratic Gov. Bill Richardson and his former top aides after a probe of an alleged pay-to-play scheme prompted him to withdraw his nomination as U.S. commerce secretary.
But U.S. Attorney Greg Fouratt said the decision not to bring charges “is not to be interpreted as an exoneration of any party’s conduct.”
In a letter sent to defense attorneys, Fouratt said a yearlong federal investigation “revealed that pressure from the governor’s office resulted in the corruption of the procurement process” so that state bond deal work went to a Richardson political donor in 2004.
19 Ohio soldier made 2 calls to mom telling of abuse
By JOHN SEEWER, Associated Press Writer
Fri Aug 28, 3:46 pm ET
|WILLARD, Ohio – Before killing himself with a single gunshot, Pvt. Keiffer Wilhelm called his mother twice from Iraq and told her he was being targeted in his new unit and forced to run for miles with rocks in his pockets that smashed against his knees.
He told her he hated it, she said in an interview with The Associated Press on Thursday, marking the first time anyone has said Wilhelm spoke to them about the abuse.
“He said ‘Mom, I don’t have anybody to turn to here,'” said Kathe Wilhelm, recalling the last conversation she had with her son, a day before he died.
20 Feds to consider protections for desert tortoise
By FELICIA FONSECA, Associated Press Writer
Fri Aug 28, 2:35 pm ET
|FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – The federal government has agreed to consider whether the Sonoran desert tortoise, a Southwest icon whose population has declined by half in the past 20 years, warrants protection under the Endangered Species Act.
Two environmental groups petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to list the tortoise, found in southwest Arizona and northern Mexico, as a distinct population. The agency said Friday it would review the status of the tortoise and any threats to its habitat.
“We expect that the service’s detailed scientific review will show that listing is required to conserve these icons of the desert Southwest,” said Michael Connor of the Western Watersheds Project, which along with WildEarth Guardians filed the petition.
21 Conn. campaign finance law ruled unconstitutional
By JOHN CHRISTOFFERSEN, Associated Press Writer
Fri Aug 28, 2:20 pm ET
|NEW HAVEN, Conn. – A federal judge has ruled that Connecticut’s public campaign finance law, seen by some as a possible national model, is unconstitutional because it discriminates against minor party political candidates.
Judge Stefan Underhill ruled late Thursday that a part of the law that provides a voluntary public financing scheme for candidates for statewide offices and state lawmakers puts an unconstitutional burden on minor party candidates’ First Amendment right to political opportunity.
He says the program, known as the Citizens Election Program, enhances major party candidates’ strength beyond their past ability to raise contributions, providing them public financing “at windfall levels.”
22 Obama’s aging czar sees issue as unifying force
By MATT SEDENSKY, Associated Press Writer
Fri Aug 28, 1:54 pm ET
|There’s the White House auto czar, the health care czar and the yet-to-be-named cyber czar. There are czars overseeing drugs, climate and regulatory action. There’s a pay czar overlooking executive compensation and talk of another for sports and culture.
And then, there’s the aging czar.
Kathy Greenlee, assistant secretary for aging in the Department of Health and Human Services, is the country’s top authority on issues facing the massively expanding population of older Americans. Her budget and profile are relatively modest, but Greenlee is tasked with oversight of a sprawling network of services and occupies a post with the potential to influence many aspects of government.
23 Amateur chef turns fast food into haute cuisine
By MICHAEL HILL, Associated Press Writer
Fri Aug 28, 1:53 pm ET
|At FancyFastFood.com, dashboard dining gets a serious – and seriously upscale – makeover.
Big Macs are transformed into elegant strips of “McSteak.” Cream-filled Dunkin’ Donuts are scooped out to make “Boston Kreme Brulee.” And Nathan’s hot dogs are mashed into faux foie gras.
The Web site is the brainchild of Erik Trinidad, a Brooklyn resident who buys fast-food dinners, deconstructs them in his kitchen and then reassembles them into meals resembling haute cuisine.