Weekend News Digest

Weekend News Digest is an Open Thread

Now with World and U.S. News.

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Iran to put new uranium plant under IAEA supervision

by Jay Deshmukh, AFP

Sat Sep 26, 3:53 pm ET

TEHRAN (AFP) – Iran said on Saturday it will put its newly disclosed uranium enrichment plant under the supervision of the UN nuclear watchdog, in a move welcomed by the United States.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, meanwhile, said the disclosure was a “firm blow” to Western powers opposed to Tehran’s atomic work.

“This site will be under the supervision of the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) and will have a maximum of five percent (uranium) enrichment capacity,” Iran’s atomic energy chief Ali Akbar Salehi said on state television.

2 Merkel wins new term to lead Germany out of slump

by Deborah Cole, AFP

23 mins ago

BERLIN (AFP) – Angela Merkel swept to a second mandate in Germany’s election Sunday at the head of a new centre-right alliance she said would jumpstart Europe’s ailing powerhouse economy, preliminary results showed.

“We have achieved our goal of gaining a stable majority for a new government,” a beaming Merkel told cheering supporters in Berlin. “I want to be the chancellor of all Germans, so that things improve for our country.”

Initial results released on public television showed the 55-year-old Merkel’s conservative Christian Union bloc (CDU/CSU) as the clear winners with about 33.5 percent of the vote.

3 Turkey, Armenia to sign landmark deal

by Sibel Utku Bila, AFP

Sun Sep 27, 10:19 am ET

ANKARA (AFP) – Turkey and Armenia will sign a landmark deal to establish diplomatic ties next month in Switzerland in a bid to end decades of animosity over World War I massacres, Turkish officials said Sunday.

“The foreign ministers will come together on October 10 and sign the drafted document,” Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters, without giving details.

The signing is to take place in Zurich, a government official told AFP on condition of anonymity.

4 OECD warns G20 over banking reform plans

by Hugh Dent, AFP

Sun Sep 27, 1:57 am ET

PARIS (AFP) – Banks, bonuses, tax havens and under-regulation caused the financial crisis and are the keys to reform. Not so, the OECD warns as the G20 takes steps in such areas.

Compromises on action to deal with symptoms, such as bonuses, rather than action on real causes could even end up doing more harm than good, the OECD said in a report and remarks to AFP.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development says that progress on new rules to strengthen the capital base of finance companies and related regulations does go in the right direction.

5 Signs of life stir Zimbabwe’s stock market

by Godfrey Marawanyika, AFP

Sun Sep 27, 1:50 am ET

HARARE (AFP) – Zimbabwe’s moribund economy is slowly stirring, with signs of life in once-shuttered businesses helping to revive a stock market that was closed amid scandal last year, analysts said.

Hammered by world-record hyperinflation, the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange was shut down last November as the central bank sought to curb traders using dud cheques as well as activities of market speculators.

Trading resumed in February, after the local currency was abandoned and a unity government was formed between President Robert Mugabe and his long-time rival, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.

6 Bonus-less Hungary sees plunging car sales

by Eszter Balazs, AFP

1 hr 6 mins ago

BUDAPEST (AFP) – Car sales are falling sharply in Hungary in contrast to many other European countries where governments have launched car scrapping bonus schemes to get the auto industry back on its feet.

“Unfortunately here in Hungary, the government didn’t jump to the aid of car retailers,” said the head of the auto retailers’ association, Attila Fojt.

Fojt forecast sales of 70,000 units for the whole of 2009, compared with 160,000 in 2008. The record was 208,000 in 2003.

7 Brazil rejects Honduras ultimatum over Zelaya

By Esteban Israel, Reuters

13 mins ago

TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) – Brazil plans to ignore a 10-day deadline set by Honduras’ de facto government to decide the fate of ousted President Manuel Zelaya, who is holed up in the Brazilian embassy after sneaking back into the country.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula Silva rejected the ultimatum on Sunday and demanded an apology from Honduras’ de facto leader Roberto Micheletti, who issued a harsh statement late on Saturday warning that his government would be forced to take action if Brazil does not define Zelaya’s status soon.

“Brazil will not comply with an ultimatum from a government of coup mongers,” Lula told reporters at a summit in Venezuela, adding that international law ensures the sovereignty of its embassy in Tegucigalpa, the Honduran capital.

8 G20 faces credibility test on markets

By Sumeet Desai and Chris Buckley, Reuters

Sat Sep 26, 12:43 pm ET

PITTSBURGH (Reuters) – The Group of 20 rich and developing economies, fresh from a triumphant show of unity at Pittsburgh, faces months of deal-making and communication to markets that will test its credibility as the premier global forum for economic cooperation.

“It worked,” G20 leaders declared on Friday of their response to the global financial crisis. “Our forceful response helped stop the dangerous, sharp decline in global activity and stabilize financial markets,” they said in the final summit communique.

The summit host, U.S. President Barack Obama, called the gathering a success for a commitment to global economic growth that is “balanced and sustained” and cited in particular a deal to phase out fossil fuel subsidies.

9 White House near picking site for Guantanamo detainees

By Jeremy Pelofsky and Ross Colvin, Reuters

Sun Sep 27, 6:14 am ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration is close to selecting a location on U.S. soil to house some detainees from the controversial American military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, an administration official said on Saturday.

President Barack Obama has pledged to close the facility, which has been the target of international condemnation, by January 2010 but has faced legal, political and diplomatic difficulties that could make it hard to meet that deadline.

“We are doing everything we can to close it by the date,” the official said, declining further identification. “We are in the final stages of locating a secure facility in the U.S. where detainees can be held.”

10 Top Afghan official threatens to quit after attack

By RAHIM FAIEZ, Associated Press Writer

1 hr 4 mins ago

KABUL – A powerful member of President Hamid Karzai’s Cabinet threatened to quit after a suicide car bomb attack targeted him Sunday, killing five people, in the latest Taliban attempt to destabilize Afghanistan’s struggling government. Two Americans were among six NATO troop deaths elsewhere.

Shortly after the bombing in the western city of Herat, Energy Minister Ismail Khan railed against the dramatic rise in violence in Afghanistan, saying that thousands of new refugees are seeking shelter in Herat because of militant attacks in outlying districts. Five civilians died in the failed assassination attempt, police said.

Two days ago, Khan said, a young man was hanged by militants only a couple miles (kilometers) outside a NATO base and Afghan government center. Kidnappings of wealthy family members are on the rise, including the abduction of girls, he said.

11 Swine flu shot: Intense tracking for side effects

By LAURAN NEERGAARD, AP Medical Writer

39 mins ago

WASHINGTON – More than 3,000 people a day have a heart attack. If you’re one of them the day after your swine flu shot, will you worry the vaccine was to blame and not the more likely culprit, all those burgers and fries?

The government is starting an unprecedented system to track possible side effects as mass flu vaccinations begin next month. The idea is to detect any rare but real problems quickly, and explain the inevitable coincidences that are sure to cause some false alarms.

“Every day, bad things happen to people. When you vaccinate a lot of people in a short period of time, some of those things are going to happen to some people by chance alone,” said Dr. Daniel Salmon, a vaccine safety specialist at the Department of Health and Human Services.

12 Early retirements strain Social Security system

By STEPHEN OHLEMACHER, Associated Press Writer

Sun Sep 27, 9:55 am ET

WASHINGTON – Big job losses and a spike in early retirement claims from laid-off seniors will force Social Security to pay out more in benefits than it collects in taxes the next two years, the first time that’s happened since the 1980s.

The deficits – $10 billion in 2010 and $9 billion in 2011 – won’t affect payments to retirees because Social Security has accumulated surpluses from previous years totaling $2.5 trillion. But they will add to the overall federal deficit.

Applications for retirement benefits are 23 percent higher than last year, while disability claims have risen by about 20 percent. Social Security officials had expected applications to increase from the growing number of baby boomers reaching retirement, but they didn’t expect the increase to be so large.

13 Glenn Beck gets ceremonial key to hometown city

Associated Press

Sun Sep 27, 4:16 am ET

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. – Glenn Beck received a ceremonial, plaque-mounted key to the city from the mayor of his hometown, as well as a minute-long standing ovation as hundreds of protesters gathered outside.

The Fox News personality’s visit Saturday to Mount Vernon, an agricultural city of 31,000 people 60 miles north of Seattle, had sparked weeks of protests and petitions calling for the cancellation of the visit.

But Beck was received warmly inside the sold-out event at the city’s McIntyre Hall. Mount Vernon Mayor Bud Norris, who weeks earlier proclaimed Saturday “Glenn Beck Day” as a way to mark the conservative commentator’s success as a nationally known broadcaster, introduced Beck and handed over the key.

14 Attorney: No evidence of bomb-making by suspect

By IVAN MORENO and P. SOLOMON BANDA, Associated Press Writers

Sat Sep 26, 9:27 pm ET

DENVER – Claims that an Afghan immigrant was on the verge of unleashing a terrorist attack on New York City on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks are missing a key element: explosives or the chemicals allegedly used to make them, the man’s attorney said.

FBI agents have yet to find those elements and connect them to Najibullah Zazi, charged with conspiring to use weapons of mass destruction in a plot authorities say was aimed at commuter trains, attorney Arthur Folsom told a federal judge in Denver Friday.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Craig Shaffer ultimately ordered Zazi’s transfer to New York, and Zazi was taken there by federal marshals.

15 What’s ugly, smells, kills dogs? Blue-green algae

By ROBERT IMRIE, Associated Press Writer

33 mins ago

WAUSAU, Wis. – Waterways across the upper Midwest are increasingly plagued with ugly, smelly and potentially deadly blue-green algae, bloomed by drought and fertilizer runoffs from farm fields, that’s killed dozens of dogs and sickened many people.

Aquatic biologists say it’s a problem that falls somewhere between a human health concern and a nuisance, but will eventually lead to more human poisoning. State officials are telling people who live on algae-covered lakes to close their windows, stop taking walks along the picturesque shorelines and keep their dogs from drinking the rank water.

Peggy McAloon, 62, lives on Wisconsin’s Tainter Lake and calls the algae blooms the “cockroach on the water.”

16 Analysis: NY Gov. pushed to quit, goes it alone

By MICHAEL GORMLEY, Associated Press Writer

43 mins ago

ALBANY, N.Y. – David Paterson thrived politically as a New York state senator, working his way up in a nearly all-white Albany political structure.

Now, he’s governor, and things have never been worse.

For nearly a year, Paterson has been battered by a faltering economy and with poll numbers hovering at record lows. This week, he learned the Obama administration is worried he’ll drag other Democrats down in 2010 if he runs for a full term, perhaps even threatening the narrow margin the party needs to ward off filibusters in the U.S. Senate.

17 Risky business: States tax the rich at their peril

By MICHAEL GORMLEY, Associated Press Writer

49 mins ago

ALBANY, N.Y. – This year, New York’s deep-pocketed rich were required to dig even deeper to help shore up state finances.

They now pay higher taxes on their income and on limousines and yachts, more to enter a horse in a race and more to dabble in real estate. Meanwhile, many are losing millions from the closing of business tax loopholes and those making over $1 million are losing tax deductions others get.

It even costs more to hunt foxes or pheasants and have their taxes prepared.

18 Feds reviewing humpback whale endangered status

By AUDREY McAVOY, Associated Press Writer

1 hr 2 mins ago

HONOLULU – The federal government is considering taking the humpback whale off the endangered species list in response to data showing the population of the massive marine mammal has been steadily growing in recent decades.

Known for their acrobatic leaps from the sea and complex singing patterns, humpback whales were nearly hunted to extinction for their oil and meat by industrial-sized whaling ships well through the middle of the 20th century. But the species has been bouncing back since an international ban on their commercial whaling in 1966.

“Humpbacks by and large are an example of a species that in most places seems to be doing very well, despite our earlier efforts to exterminate them,” said Phillip Clapham, a senior whale biologist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

19 Welcome tradition: Old Home Days endures 110 years

By HOLLY RAMER, Associated Press Writer

1 hr 9 mins ago

HOLLIS, N.H. – Old Home Days: New Hampshire’s original economic stimulus plan.

The language was lofty when Gov. Frank Rollins invited all New Hampshire natives and their descendants to “return and visit the scenes of their youth” during the nation’s first Old Home Week celebration 110 years ago.

“When you think of the old home, you bring back the tenderest memories possessed by man; true love, perfect faith, holy reverence, high ambitions,” he wrote in 1899.

20 What’s true cost of a Starbucks latte, author asks

By KATHY MATHESON, Associated Press Writer

1 hr 37 mins ago

PHILADELPHIA – If Bryant Simon owned a coffee shop, it would not have conversation-killing Wi-Fi. It probably wouldn’t offer to-go cups. But it would have a big, round table strewn with newspapers to stimulate discussion.

That sense of community is what’s missing from Starbucks, a conclusion Simon reached after visiting about 425 of its coffee shops in nine countries. And yet millions of people patronize the outlets each day.

Simon, a history professor at Temple University in Philadelphia, has spent the past few years figuring out why. His new book, “Everything but the Coffee: Learning about America from Starbucks,” is meant “to be part of a public debate about what our purchases mean … (and) how consumption shapes our lives even when we don’t intend it to,” Simon said.

21 In Cheyenne, glass pile shows recycling challenges

By MEAD GRUVER, Associated Press Writer

2 hrs 5 mins ago

CHEYENNE, Wyo. – After working out at a gym, Amy Mahaffy dropped off a half-dozen glass jars in a city recycling container before heading home.

The containers however won’t end up being recycled any time soon. Their destination: A mound of glass at the city landfill, an ever-growing monument to the difficulty many communities across the country face in finding a market for a commodity that’s too cheap for its own good.

“We are stockpiling it in a desperate search for a market,” landfill foreman Monty Landers said.

22 US attorney ousted in 2006 returning to Nevada job

By KEN RITTER, Associated Press Writer

2 hrs 6 mins ago

LAS VEGAS – Daniel Bogden never really got a good answer why President George W. Bush fired him from his post as U.S. attorney for Nevada in 2006. But it doesn’t matter to Bogden anymore. He’s got his old job back.

“It’s my decision to move forward as U.S. attorney and not dwell in the past,” Bogden said as he prepares to become the only one of nine federal prosecutors ousted in 2006 to return to his appointed post. He expects to begin before Oct. 10.

“I did not do anything wrong that merited my firing without notice,” said Bogden, a 53-year-old career criminal prosecutor who measures words and their meaning and calls himself politically nonpartisan. Bush nominated him in 2001 at the suggestion of Republican U.S. Sen. John Ensign of Nevada.

23 Ben & Jerry’s, GE work on greener freezers for US

By ALEX DOMINGUEZ, Associated Press Writer

2 hrs 12 mins ago

WASHINGTON – Think propane and butane are just for barbecuing? Think again: The common cooking fuels can also chill your drinks and ice cream with less energy and almost none of the global warming worries of current refrigerants.

Some of the world’s largest consumer product companies are promoting freezers and refrigerators in the U.S. that use propane, butane and other coolants that don’t trap heat in the atmosphere as much as Freon and other conventional refrigerants.

The new so-called hydrocarbon coolers – already popular in Europe – are being tested by Ben & Jerry’s ice cream company at stores in the Washington and Boston areas. Meanwhile, General Electric is seeking approval to market a home refrigerator in the U.S. using a hydrocarbon refrigerant.

24 Searching for the ‘real’ America, political-style

By TED ANTHONY, AP National Writer

Sun Sep 27, 12:07 pm ET

PITTSBURGH – The guy who runs the planet’s latest G-20 summit city made an illuminating remark as he welcomed the world to his front door.

“Let’s keep in mind why we were chosen,” Mayor Luke Ravenstahl said this past week. “The president of the United States picked Pittsburgh because of the fact that our story is real.”

And there it was again, a sliver of the powerful energy force that politicians are hungry to harness, that forever pops up in the national discourse: the ability to summon, for strategic purposes, the notion of a “real America.”

25 More school: Obama would curtail summer vacation

By LIBBY QUAID, AP Education Writer

Sun Sep 27, 8:55 am ET

WASHINGTON – Students beware: The summer vacation you just enjoyed could be sharply curtailed if President Barack Obama gets his way.

Obama says American kids spend too little time in school, putting them at a disadvantage with other students around the globe.

“Now, I know longer school days and school years are not wildly popular ideas,” the president said earlier this year. “Not with Malia and Sasha, not in my family, and probably not in yours. But the challenges of a new century demand more time in the classroom.”

From Yahoo News World

26 Honduras expels OAS workers, ultimatum for Brazil

By MARK STEVENSON, Associated Press

14 mins ago

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras – Honduras’ interim government on Sunday expelled personnel from the Organization of American States looking to set up a mediation effort and gave Brazil a 10-day ultimatum to decide what to do with ousted President Manuel Zelaya, who is holed up in the Brazilian Embassy.

OAS Special Adviser John Biehl told reporters in the capital, Tegucigalpa, that he and four other members of an advance team – including two Americans, a Canadian and a Colombian – were stopped by authorities after landing at Tegucigalpa’s airport Sunday. Biehl, who is Chilean, said he was later told he could stay, but the others were put aboard flights out of the country.

“We were detained in the airport,” Biehl said. “A high-ranking official told us we were expelled, that we had not notified (the interim government) that we were coming.”

27 Pope urges Europe to remember Christian heritage

By VICTOR L. SIMPSON, Associated Press Writer

Sun Sep 27, 2:12 pm ET

BRNO, Czech Republic – Pope Benedict XVI said Sunday that all of Europe – and not only this ex-communist country – must acknowledge its Christian heritage as it copes with rising immigration from other cultures and religions.

The second day of Benedict’s pilgrimage to this highly secular country was marked by a joyous open-air Mass that drew tens of thousands of pilgrims and a sober message for the entire continent.

“History has demonstrated the absurdities to which man descends when he excludes God from the horizon of his choices and actions,” Benedict said.

28 Suspect arrested in Iraqi taekwondo team murders

By CHELSEA J. CARTER, Associated Press Writer

Sun Sep 27, 2:42 pm ET

BAGHDAD – Iraqi commandos and U.S. forces have arrested a suspect in the 2006 kidnapping and murder of an Iraqi taekwondo team whose highway ambush became one of the symbols of Iraq’s lawlessness during its worse years of sectarian violence.

The U.S. military announced the arrest in a statement Sunday, but did not say when it took place or identify the suspect. The Iraqi military did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Athletes and sports officials were frequent targets of threats, kidnappings and assassination attempts at the height of the civil strife in 2006 and 2007. Sportsmen were targeted for ransom or as victims of the sectarian violence.

29 Pakistan blasts show Taliban’s ability to strike

By ZARAR KHAN, Associated Press Writer

Sun Sep 27, 11:26 am ET

ISLAMABAD – The suicide blasts that rocked northwest Pakistan over the weekend signal the Taliban remain a threat despite intensified military operations and unmanned drone attacks targeting the group’s leaders, analysts said Sunday.

Twenty-two people were killed and more than 150 wounded Saturday in two attacks hours apart in North West Frontier Province. The Taliban claimed responsibility for one of the strikes.

Pakistan is battling al-Qaida and Taliban militants close to the Afghan border blamed for scores of attacks over the last two years. The insurgents are linked to those in Afghanistan, where violence against NATO and U.S. troops is running at record levels.

30 2 Uzbeks from Guantanamo prison arrive in Ireland

By SHAWN POGATCHNIK, Associated Press Writer

Sun Sep 27, 11:31 am ET

DUBLIN – Two Uzbeks freed from the Guantanamo Bay prison arrived Sunday in Ireland, and Amnesty International appealed to other European Union nations to deliver on pledges to give new homes to U.S. terror detainees.

Justice Minister Dermot Ahern asked for the media to give privacy to the two Uzbeks, one of whom has been identified as 31-year-old Oybek Jabbarov. Both men were arrested by U.S. forces in Afghanistan in 2001 and held at the U.S. facility in Cuba since 2002.

“The resettlement of the two individuals is a humanitarian gesture. They should be allowed time and space to rebuild their lives,” Ahern said.

31 US says climate bill might not pass in time

By MICHAEL CASEY, AP Environmental Writer

Sun Sep 27, 1:46 pm ET

BANGKOK – The fate of a U.S. bill capping carbon emissions was expected to weigh heavily on delegates in U.N. climate talks that begin in the Thai capital on Monday, with the Americans saying delays on the domestic front could hamper their efforts to extract concessions from other nations.

Negotiations on a new U.N. climate pact have already been bogged down by a broad unwillingness to commit to firm emissions targets, and a refusal by developing countries to sign a deal until the West guarantees tens of billions of dollars in financial assistance – something rich countries have so far refused to do.

“The more specific we can be, the easier it is to press others to be equally specific,” Jonathan Pershing, the chief U.S. negotiator at the talks, told The Associated Press. “We have a lot of things we want from countries. We want significant action from other developed and developing countries. … The less we can put on the table, the harder it is to achieve that outcome.”

32 US forces move into central Afghan city

By KEVIN MAURER, Associated Press Writer

Sun Sep 27, 12:21 am ET

NILI, Afghanistan – The soldiers hesitated as the mullah preached, unsure if they would be welcome at the celebration of one of Islam’s highest holidays.

But when the sermon ended, the Afghans draped bright scarves over the soldiers’ tanned necks. Then they pushed Chief Warrant Officer Chaka, a Puerto Rican with a thick black beard and a deep tan who could easily pass for Afghan, up front to speak. Chaka thanked the elders and showed them his hands stained orange for the Eid celebration.

“This is our home away from home,” said Chaka. “We wanted to come over and be with our neighbors.”

33 Socialists tipped for narrow win in Portugal vote

By Axel Bugge, Reuters

Sun Sep 27, 9:09 am ET

LISBON (Reuters) – Portuguese voted Sunday in an election that that the ruling Socialists were expected to win but without an absolute majority, producing greater political uncertainty at a time of serious economic challenges.

Prime Minister Jose Socrates, an energetic 52-year-old, is expected to win about 38 percent of the vote, according to the last opinion polls, meaning his center-left Socialists would be unable to replicate their current majority rule.

His challenger is Manuela Ferreira Leite, 68, leader of the center-right Social Democrats, who has campaigned for vigorous public sector spending cuts to reduce growing debt caused by the worst economic recession in decades.

34 Guinea junta leader defies opposition in tense visit

by Mouctar Bah, AFP

Sat Sep 26, 4:45 pm ET

LABE, Guinea (AFP) – Guinea’s military ruler told thousands in the country’s second city Saturday that he had come to “defy” his detractors in the opposition stronghold days after a massive protest against him.

Moussa Dadis Camara arrived in Labe — his first visit outside the capital since December’s coup — after an hours-long road journey in an armed convoy.

Opposition sources predicted he would use the trip to declare he is running in the presidential elections in January despite the threat of African Union sanctions.

35 Ex-Israeli PM Olmert makes first court appearance

by Marius Schattner, AFP

Fri Sep 25, 2:07 pm ET

JERUSALEM (AFP) – Former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert on Friday made his first court appearance on charges of graft, vowing he would prove his innocence.

As the first ex-premier to face criminal charges in court, Olmert acknowledged at the arraignment hearing in Jerusalem that he understood the accusations against him. He is scheduled to enter a plea on December 21.

Olmert resigned as prime minister under pressure last September after police recommended he be indicted but has insisted on his innocence and told journalists on Friday he was confident the trial would vindicate him.

36 Myanmar opposition unsure on election boycott

by Didier Lauras, AFP

Sun Sep 27, 12:51 am ET

BANGKOK (AFP) – Myanmar’s junta has not yet fixed the dates for elections in 2010 but the opposition is already debating whether to boycott them and lose all influence or take part in what critics say is a sham.

The military regime forced through a new constitution in 2008 — just days after Cyclone Nargis devastated the country leaving 138,000 people dead — under which the first national polls for 20 years will be held.

But so far the conditions are acceptable only to the junta. Critics say the sole aim of the elections is to legitimise the generals’ grip on power and entrench their proxies in parliament.

37 Can Brazil’s Rio Handle the 2016 Summer Olympics?

By ANDREW DOWNIE / SAO PAULO, Time Magazine

Fri Sep 25, 7:30 pm ET

If life is fair, then the International Olympic Committee will next week declare that Brazil has been chosen to host the 2016 Summer Olympics and thus become the first South American nation to win one of sports’ greatest honors.

38 Could a Mixed-Race Contestant Become a Chinese Idol?

By SIMON ELEGANT AND CHENGCHENG JIANG, Time Magazine

Sat Sep 26, 12:35 am ET

In many ways, Lou Jing is a typical young woman from Shanghai. Pretty and confident, she speaks Mandarin heavily accented with the lilting tones of the Shanghai dialect and browses the malls of this huge city for the latest fashions.

39 "No We Can’t": Why Young German Voters Have Tuned Out

By HENNING HOFF / BERLIN, Time Magazine

Sat Sep 26, 1:50 am ET

The Pirate Party is highly unlikely to pass the 5% vote threshold necessary to win a seat in parliament this year. But the major parties better watch out or the Pirates – and other Internet-savvy groups – may just hijack the political process next time around.

40 The View from Khabarovsk: Russia’s End

By PETER SAVODNIK / KHABAROVSK, Time Magazine

Sat Sep 26, 3:10 pm ET

The Kremlin, always eager to stomp out political rivalry, nationalize industry and control the flow of gas and oil, may have its reservations about globalization, with all its inherent unpredictability. But the future of Khabarovsk – riddled with sushi bars, Internet cafes, boutique hotels and endless streams of Chinese and Korean tourists – is not in Moscow. For now, most of the Moscow nomenklatura don’t seem to get this. That’s why they keep having forums and talking about Air Force bases and throwing back shots of Ruskiy Standart at the Parus Hotel.

From Yahoo News U.S. News

41 Attorney: OKC bombing tapes appear edited

By TIM TALLEY, Associated Press Writer

Sun Sep 27, 4:26 pm ET

OKLAHOMA CITY – Long-secret security tapes showing the chaos immediately after the 1995 bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building are blank in the minutes before the blast and appear to have been edited, an attorney who obtained the recordings said Sunday.

“The real story is what’s missing,” said Jesse Trentadue, a Salt Lake City attorney who obtained the recordings through the federal Freedom of Information Act as part of an unofficial inquiry he is conducting into the April 19, 1995, bombing that killed 168 people and injured hundreds more.

Trentadue gave copies of the tapes to The Oklahoman newspaper, which posted them online and provided copies to The Associated Press.

CT stands for “Completely True”.

42 Polanski’s arrest could be his path to freedom

By LINDA DEUTSCH and ERNST E. ABEGG, Associated Press Writers

42 mins ago

LOS ANGELES – A surprise arrest at the Zurich airport, detention at the hands of Swiss authorities, and a high-profile extradition process that could take weeks or months. The irony is that for Roman Polanski, the acclaimed director accused of child rape three decades ago, this latest ordeal could lead to the one thing he’s lacked since: his freedom.

Polanski’s arrest as he arrived Saturday in Switzerland for a film festival honor could potentially spur on his legal team’s recent motion to dismiss charges that have dogged him since he fled the U.S. for France in 1978, a year after pleading guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl.

But it could also elevate his case into an international ordeal – involving the governments of Switzerland, France, Poland and the United States – and potentially complicate his possible extradition.

43 Migrant kids take long step from fields to schools

By CHRISTINE ARMARIO, Associated Press Writer

Sun Sep 27, 4:51 pm ET

OCALA, Fla. – Elizabeth Pineda climbs out of bed, her 4-year-old son Adrian asleep nearby. She lays out a tiny pair of shorts and a white T-shirt for his first day of school, gathers her purse and tiptoes outside. Her cousin will get the boy up and off to class in a few hours.

It is 4 a.m. and only a few solitary street lamps light the darkened roads in this rural central Florida community. She climbs into an old white Ford work van and starts the engine.

Pineda, the 20-year-old daughter of migrant farmworkers, is heading to the peanut fields.

44 No rift between military and White House: Gates

by Dan De Luce, AFP

Sun Sep 27, 12:06 pm ET

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Defense Secretary Robert Gates on Sunday denied any rift between the US military and the White House over the war in Afghanistan, and suggested a possible radical shift in strategy was unlikely.

Asked if there was tension between military and civilian leaders over the pace of decision-making on the US-led mission, Gates said: “I don’t think that’s the case at all.”

Citing “an extensive conversation on the telephone” on Wednesday with the top US and NATO commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, Gates said the military leader supported President Barack Obama’s preference to take time to review strategy before weighing a request for more troops.

45 Maine Senator Olympia Snowe: Crucial Vote in Health Reform

By KAREN TUMULTY / WASHINGTON, Time Magazine

Sun Sep 27, 12:20 pm ET

Quiz time: Which of the following provisions has been tucked into the most closely watched health-care bill on Capitol Hill thanks to Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine? Is it a) an annual checkup for every Medicare beneficiary, b) a special health-insurance marketplace in every state that would cater to the needs of small businesses or c) new tax credits to help modest-size firms buy coverage for their workers?

Beltway Bonehead Bozos.

Sancitmonious Self Satisfied Assholes.

Villager Idiots.

Both of them.

15 comments

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  1. On time.

  2. You know that fall is the absolute perfect time to come for a visit in the Memphis area. Still in the 70’s during the day but not so awful humid.

    Just sayin……

  3. sorry for these people.  Imagine expecting the wealthy to actually pay more for their toys and dollars than they have been paying.  Some might even have to sell a yacht to pay for the increase.

    They now pay higher taxes on their income and on limousines and yachts, more to enter a horse in a race and more to dabble in real estate. Meanwhile, many are losing millions from the closing of business tax loopholes and those making over $1 million are losing tax deductions others get.

  4. I’m still intending to update, but the 90 minutes my javascript has been fucking up has put me seriously behind schedule.

    Look for the changes.

  5. I finally logged in here, just so I could tell you that.  🙂

    I hope you are well.  I look forward to reading more of your work.  I have beent reading through the site this week-end and it has been a pleasant surprise to see so many of the regulars from there over here.

    Back to reading.  I love the article on Starbucks, and can only say I am total agreement with Mr. Simon and his idea of what a true coffee shop is.  There are still plenty of them around if one looks hard enough, and there is no wifi to be found, thankfully.

    • TMC on September 28, 2009 at 2:36 am

    Family, can’t live with ’em, can’t live without ’em. I’m  really not so sure about the second half of that, I think I could find a way. 😉

     Anyway, if you thought that H1N1 was the only virus that the CDC was concerned about one that has been around awhile has not been forgotten. This news from Texas

    Two new West Nile cases bring number to five in county

    While there are no confirmed cases of H1N1 flu in the county, Montgomery County Environmental Health Services is reporting two newly confirmed human cases of West Nile virus, officials said.

    The two new cases, confirmed Thursday by officials with Environmental Health Services through a teleconference call with the Texas Department of State Health Services, brings to five the number of human West Nile virus cases this year in the county, according to the DSHS website.

    The two recent cases are neuroinvasive, said Mike Lindsey, assistant director of Environmental Health Services. He could not say in what areas of the county the cases are located.

    Neuroinvasive West Nile is the severe form of the disease, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control website at cdc.gov. Symptoms include include headache, high fever, neck stiffness, stupor, disorientation, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness and paralysis.

  6. it’ good to see you.

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