Afternoon Edition is an Open Thread
|From Yahoo News Top Stories|
1 Iran clashes after Montazeri funeral
by Hiedeh Farmani, AFP
Mon Dec 21, 10:30 am ET
|TEHRAN (AFP) – Iran police clashed with stone-throwing protesters after the funeral attended by vast crowds of mourners in the holy city of Qom on Monday of dissident cleric Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, websites said.
Montazeri, an inspiration to reformists and human rights activists and a fierce critic of the clerical regime he helped create, died aged 87 on Saturday.
Opposition websites said hundreds of thousands of mourners poured onto the streets of Qom, many chanting slogans and displaying the green of Iran’s opposition — effectively turning the funeral procession into a massive anti-government rally.
2 Britain blames China over ‘farcical’ climate talks
by Alice Ritchie, AFP
1 hr 17 mins ago
|LONDON (AFP) – British Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Monday accused a handful of countries of holding the UN climate summit to ransom as bitter recriminations swirled over the outcome of the negotiations.
While China’s Premier Wen Jiabao insisted his government had played an “important and constructive” role, Britain said the meeting had lurched into farce and pointed the finger of blame at Beijing.
And the summit host, Danish Prime Minister Lars Loekke Rasmussen, rapped the lower-level negotiators for failing to make headway in nearly two weeks of talks and then leaving their masters with too much to do at the climax.
On the other hand this is Gordon Brown, Tony Blair’s poodle.
3 London Stock Exchange buys rival Turquoise
Mon Dec 21, 6:43 am ET
|LONDON (AFP) – The London Stock Exchange said Monday it had agreed to take over its loss-making rival Turquoise, as new LSE chief executive Xavier Rolet seeks to stamp his mark on Europe’s biggest stock market.
The LSE, led by Rolet since May, will take a 60-percent stake in the smaller pan-European Turquoise trading platform, currently owned by investment banks.
It added that it will invest up to 20 million pounds (22.5 million euros, 32.3 million dollars) in the electronic platform Turquoise, which will be merged with the LSE’s ‘dark pool’ Baikal business, named after a Siberian lake.
Dark pools are sites on exchanges where large trades can be executed for clients anonymously so as not to disrupt the market.
Just what we need. Less transparency.
4 Turkish cinema shrugs off cliches over Kurdish issue
by Nicolas Cheviron, AFP
Mon Dec 21, 10:59 am ET
|ISTANBUL (AFP) – Turkish cinema has made its maiden attempts at a cool-headed look at the bloody Kurdish insurgency in the country’s southeast, with one film outshining even Hollywood blockbusters and drawing praise from both the army and pacifists.
With no less than 2.4 million viewers in two months, “Nefes: Vatan Sagolsun” — or “Breath: Long Live the Motherland” — ranks third at the 2009 Turkish box office, far ahead of major new releases like “2012” or the sixth “Harry Potter” film.
The new-found urge to zoom in on the human aspects of the 25-year conflict, beyond cliches of patriotism and military heroism, comes against the backdrop of nationalist frenzy and violence in the streets.
5 World leaders defend climate deal
Sun Dec 20, 4:07 pm ET
|COPENHAGEN (AFP) – World leaders defended Sunday the much-criticised climate deal they struck at a UN summit as a key step in the fight against global warming despite its lack of targets to curb emissions.
Newspapers widely branded the accord a failure and experts such as the head of a Nobel Peace prize-winning climate panel said “urgent” action was now needed.
US President Barack Obama acknowledged that all of the world’s polluters would quickly have to do more, but German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the critics would only hold up the battle against rising temperatures that threaten devastating floods, storms and drought.
Yup. We should all just forget that a shit sandwich is just a turd between two slices of bread.
It’s your fault Tinkerbell is dead.
6 Thousands head for Iran dissident cleric’s funeral
by Aresu Eqbali, AFP
Sun Dec 20, 2:51 pm ET
|TEHRAN (AFP) – Thousands of mourners converged on the Shiite holy city of Qom for the funeral on Monday of Iran’s top dissident cleric Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri, opposition sources said.
Montazeri, 87, a fierce critic of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, died of an illness on Saturday night and is to be buried in Qom, said his office in the central city where he was based.
“He was diabetic and had been using insulin for years… He had also some lung problems and asthma. In fact he was suffering from several diseases,” his doctor told state television.
We didn’t assassinate him. Honest.
7 White House presses for health care reform deal
by Kerry Sheridan, AFP
Sun Dec 20, 3:40 pm ET
|WASHINGTON (AFP) – The White House on Sunday urged lawmakers to pass contentious health care reform, saying that the watered-down version of a bill before the Senate still accomplishes the president’s goals of changing the troubled system.
Facing opposition from key lawmakers last week, the Senate version of the bill stripped any reference to a “public option” that would have expanded government-run health care for the poor, and then added restrictions on public funding for abortion in order to assuage conservatives.
With those changes, the Senate bill now appears to have the 60 votes needed to ensure passage, though it would still face a difficult task of reconciliation with a House of Representatives bill that has already passed.
Bullshit. A Flat Out Fucking Lie. Hundreds of Billions to Insurance Companies, not a single stinking DIME to people’s actual Health Care.
And we’re taking away 10% of your income for junk insurance with $12,000 deductables and 40% co-pays after that.
Oh, and we’re repealing Roe v. Wade.
Have a nice fucking day American serfs.
Sincerely yours, Barack Obama, The Democratic Party, and K Street.
Merry Christmas because I need to brag about this shit sandwich in my State of the Union.
8 US blizzard puts crimp in holiday sales, travel
by Stephanie Griffith, AFP
Sun Dec 20, 6:07 pm ET
|WASHINGTON (AFP) – Americans pining for a white Christmas got more than they bargained for, as a record-breaking snowstorm closed airports and roadways across the northeastern United States, putting a damper on the holiday’s biggest shopping weekend.
Just days before the December 25 holiday, the eastern seaboard from North Carolina to New England was digging out Sunday from the worst blizzard in years, which closed train and bus service, paralyzed air traffic and left hundreds of thousands of residents without power in some areas.
The storm was a blow to the already reeling retail sector, which had been counting on cash registers loudly ringing on the Saturday before Christmas — traditionally the busiest shopping day of the year — to make up for weeks of lackluster sales.
Yup. 70% of the Economy. Green shoots. Get ready for the January “Going Out of Business” Sales.
Blame it on the Rain-
|Sing along with ek
You said you didn’t need her
Blame it on the rain (rain)
Blame it on the rain that was falling, falling
You can blame it on the rain
Ooh, ooh (ooh)
Walking in the rain
9 Astronauts blast off on Christmas space voyage
by Matt Siegel, AFP
Mon Dec 21, 5:33 am ET
|BAIKONUR, Kazakhstan (AFP) – Three astronauts from Japan, Russia and the United States blasted off early Monday morning amid harsh weather conditions for a Christmas voyage to the International Space Station.
The Soyuz rocket blasted off on schedule from Russia’s Baikonur cosmodrome in the barren Kazakh steppe at 3:52 am (2152 GMT Sunday) carrying Soichi Noguchi of Japan, US astronaut Timothy Creamer and Russian cosmonaut Oleg Kotov.
Rain and then sleet poured down onto the sparse Central Asian landscape, quickly blanketing the site in a thick layer of ice, weather conditions which nonetheless helped create a breathtaking backdrop for the launch.
So we have lost the Space Race. USA! USA!
Proud to be an American-
|Sing along with ek
If tomorrow all the things were gone,
I’d thank my lucky stars,
And I’m proud to be an American,
And I gladly stand up,
From the lakes of Minnesota,
From Detroit down to Houston,
That I’m proud to be an American,
And I gladly stand up,
And I’m proud to be and American,
And I gladly stand up,
10 Pope moves wartime pontiff closer to sainthood
by Gina Doggett, AFP
Sat Dec 19, 4:40 pm ET
|VATICAN CITY (AFP) – Pope Benedict XVI moved controversial wartime pontiff Pius XII closer to sainthood by declaring him “venerable” in a surprise announcement on Saturday, provoking the ire of Jewish leaders.
The pontiff simultaneously bestowed the same title on his beloved predecessor John Paul II and paved the way for the beatification of Jerzy Popieluszko, the activist priest who helped bring down Poland’s communist regime.
The triple announcement by the German-born pope “took everyone by surprise,” Vatican expert Bruno Bartoloni told AFP, adding: “There will certainly be negative reactions” from the Jewish community.
So what did you expect from the ‘Hitler Youth’ Pope?
11 Polish police find Auschwitz sign in pieces
by Stanislaw Waszak, AFP
Mon Dec 21, 7:59 am ET
|AUSCHWITZ-BIRKENAU, Poland (AFP) – Polish police said Monday they found the Nazi sign “Work Will Set You Free” from the Auschwitz death camp cut in three pieces after it was stolen by five suspects with no neo-Nazi links.
Andrzej Rokita, commander in the nearby southern Polish city of Krakow, told reporters that “from the information we have none of the five belong to a neo-Nazi group nor hold such ideas”.
The five suspects, aged 20 to 39 and with criminal records for theft or violence, face up to 10 years in prison if convicted, police said.
Arbeit macht frei.
12 Swedish crisis talks on Saab amid doubts over Spyker bid
by Rita Devlin Marier, AFP
Mon Dec 21, 8:19 am ET
|STOCKHOLM (AFP) – Swedish government officials and unions held crisis talks on Saab’s fate on Monday as analysts expressed doubts about a renewed bid by Dutch sportscar maker Spyker for GM’s loss-making unit Saab.
The meeting took place just hours before Spyker’s new bid was to expire at 2200 GMT on Monday.
“We have to try every possibility to save Saab,” Swedish Enterprise Minister Maud Olofsson told Swedish radio a few hours before the meeting, adding however that she was sceptical about Spyker’s chances of succeeding in saving Saab.
13 Japan logs trade surplus, boosted by China growth
by Miwa Suzuki, AFP
Mon Dec 21, 4:40 am ET
|TOKYO (AFP) – Japan’s exports fell at the slowest pace in more than a year in November as the world’s second-largest economy benefited from a recovery in Asian powerhouse China, data showed Monday.
Japan logged a trade surplus for a 10th straight month, soothing fears that its economic recovery from the worst recession in decades is running out of steam due to a stronger yen and renewed deflation.
Exports slipped 6.2 percent in November from a year earlier — the smallest decline in 14 months — ending a string of double-digit falls. Imports dropped 16.8 percent, the finance ministry reported.