Afternoon Edition is an Open Thread
Early 5 pm Edition.
|From Yahoo News Top Stories
1 Donors close to reaching goal of $3.8 billion for Haiti
by Gerard Aziakou, AFP
47 mins ago
|UNITED NATIONS (AFP) – Donors neared their goal Wednesday of raising 3.8 billion dollars at a major UN fundraiser for quake-ravaged Haiti, with nearly two-thirds of the pledges coming from the European Union and the United States.
US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, co-hosting the conference with UN chief Ban Ki-moon, pledged 1.15 billion dollars, saying the funds would go toward supporting Haiti’s plan “to strengthen agriculture, energy, health, and security and governance.”
The 27-member European Union and the European Commission said its members would provide a total 1.235 billion dollars, with France offering to disburse 180 million euros (243 million dollars) in 2010-2011 for food and the re-establishment of government authority.
2 New suicide blasts shake Russia
by Anna Smolchenko and Stuart Williams, AFP
39 mins ago
|MOSCOW (AFP) – Suicide bombers killed 12 people Wednesday in double strikes targeting police in Russia’s turbulent North Caucasus, just two days after attacks in Moscow claimed by a Islamist group left 39 dead.
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said the latest attack in the North Caucasus region may be linked to the strikes on the Moscow metro by two female suicide bombers.
The leader of the Islamist “Emirate of the Caucasus” has claimed responsibility for the Moscow metro bombings, two Internet sites reported Wednesday, citing a video message and adding that he threatened more attacks.
3 Serbia apologises for Srebrenica massacre
by Stephanie van den Berg, AFP
2 hrs 4 mins ago
|BELGRADE (AFP) – Serbia’s parliament apologised to the Bosnian Muslim victims of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre Wednesday, ending years of denial in a move seen as an important step on Belgrade’s road to Europe.
The parliament voted by a slender majority — 127 out of 250 seats in the House — in favour of a text condemning the 1995 massacre of some 8,000 people and issuing an apology to the victims.
The resolution voted in the early hours of Wednesday however stopped short of using the word genocide, although it referred to an International Court of Justice decision which does use the term.
4 Srebrenica apology fuels bitterness in Serbia
by Katarina Subasic, AFP
Wed Mar 31, 11:39 am ET
|BELGRADE (AFP) – Serbia’s apology for the 1995 Srebrenica massacre is seen as the first and most difficult step on Belgrade’s long road to face up to its role in the bloody 1990s wars that tore apart the Balkans.
“This is really the first step in reviewing the past from the highest authority in the state, the parliament of Serbia,” said Ivan Vejvoda, the executive director of the Balkan Trust for Democracy.
“This resolution is a milestone in facing up to the recent past and has a decisive importance,” Vejvoda told AFP.
5 Beshir rules out any delay in Sudan vote
38 mins ago
|DAMAZIN, Sudan (AFP) – Sudanese President Omar al-Beshir on Wednesday ruled out any delay in Sudan’s first multi-party elections in 24 years which is due to take place next month.
“The elections will not be postponed or cancelled. They will take place on time,” Beshir told a political rally in Damazin, the capital of the Blue Nile state, an AFP correspondent reported.
“Our partner (in the government), the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement, agrees with us,” that the legislative, presidential and municipal elections should be held as planned April 11-13, Beshir added.
6 S.Africa builds its case for mega-telescope contract
by Joshua Howat Berger, AFP
37 mins ago
|THE KAROO, South Africa (AFP) – A remote spot in South Africa’s Karoo desert has taken a first step toward hosting one of the most powerful scientific instruments in history, to shed light on how the universe began.
Driving the dirt road to the Karoo Array Telescope site, the FM radio searches in vain for a frequency it can catch, scanning the dial bottom to top and back again.
This very quiet corner of South Africa’s sparsely populated Northern Cape province seems an unlikely place to build such an instrument, but its silence is precisely what makes the Karoo an attractive site for the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) telescope project.
7 Anglo Irish Bank logs biggest loss in Irish corporate history
by Andrew Bushe, AFP
1 hr 48 mins ago
|DUBLIN (AFP) – Ireland reeled Wednesday after Anglo Irish Bank posted the worst loss in Irish corporate history while fellow troubled lender Bank of Ireland called for a massive capital injection.
The finance minister had lambasted the banks on Tuesday for reckless behaviour that helped push the Ireland into one of its worst economic downturns and on Wednesday the extent of the damage was made abundantly clear.
Anglo Irish Bank, nationalised in early 2009 to save it from collapse, said it posted a net loss of 12.7 billion euros (17.2 billion dollars) in the 15 months to the end of December as its bad debts ballooned.
8 Obama plan expands offshore oil drilling
by Stephen Collinson, AFP
1 hr 51 mins ago
|WASHINGTON (AFP) – President Barack Obama on Wednesday announced a plan to expand oil drilling off US coasts, drawing protests from green groups but charges by Republicans it did not go far enough.
The president’s plan, part of a comprehensive energy strategy, would see new tracts of the Atlantic off the Virginia coast opened to exploration, and expand leases for prospecting in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Florida.
Scientific research off Alaska in the Chukchi and Beaufort seas will also be authorized, but four pending lease sales approved under a previous Bush administration plan in those waters will be cancelled.
9 Lebanese inmates stitch their way out of prison
by Natacha Yazbeck, AFP
2 hrs 52 mins ago
|BEIRUT (AFP) – From her rank cell in a notorious women’s prison in Lebanon, Najwa never dreamed she would one day embroider a bag fit for a queen. And then she saw her handiwork in Vogue magazine.
Today, she is an essential part of Sarah’s Bag, a Lebanese designer label that blends style with social activism.
The brainchild and namesake of Lebanese entrepreneur Sarah Beydoun, Sarah’s Bag employs female convicts and underprivileged women from rural areas to create purses and accessories that have made their way into top fashion stores in London and Paris.
10 Negative US job report prompts recovery fears
by Andrew Beatty, AFP
2 hrs 32 mins ago
|WASHINGTON (AFP) – An unexpected rise in private-sector job losses stoked concerns about the strength of the US economic recovery Wednesday, ahead of a key government labor report later this week.
US companies shed 23,000 jobs in March, payrolls firm ADP said Wednesday in a report that was dramatically worse than market expectations.
The private sector accounts for more than two-thirds of US jobs and its ability to create new posts is a widely watched barometer of the recovery.
11 More countries set emission targets for 2020: UN
by Richard Ingham, AFP
Wed Mar 31, 11:42 am ET
|PARIS (AFP) – Seventy-five countries accounting for more than 80 percent of greenhouse gases from energy use have filed pledges to cut or limit carbon emissions by 2020, the UN climate convention said on Wednesday.
The promises, made under the Copenhagen Accord, are only a step towards wider action to tackle global warming, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) said in its official report on December’s world climate summit.
A total of 111 countries plus the European Union (EU) “have indicated their support for the Accord,” the UNFCCC said.
12 Pakistan raids kill six soldiers, dozens of militants
by Lehaz Ali, AFP
Wed Mar 31, 10:56 am ET
|PESHAWAR, Pakistan (AFP) – US missiles and fighting in the mountains killed up to 36 militants and six Pakistani soldiers on Wednesday as violence swept the northwest tribal belt bordering Afghanistan.
Pakistan’s fight against militants and a covert US drone war against Taliban and Al-Qaeda leaders is concentrated in Pakistan’s rugged northwest border area which Washington calls the most dangerous region on Earth.
In the Khyber tribal district that straddles NATO supply lines, Pakistan’s military said 80 to 100 militants armed with guns, rockets and suicide vehicles attacked a paramilitary camp, sparking clashes that killed six soldiers.
13 Bomb attack kills 13 in crowded Afghan market
by Waheedullah Massoud, AFP
Wed Mar 31, 8:12 am ET
|KABUL (AFP) – A bomb attack in a crowded market in southern Afghanistan killed 13 people and wounded dozens more on Wednesday in an area at the forefront of the US-led war against the Taliban.
Afghan officials said the attack took place in a village near Lashkar Gah, capital of Helmand province, as farmers were receiving seeds being handed out to persuade Afghans to abandon the poppy crops that produce heroin.
A NATO official said at least 13 people were killed and dozens more wounded.
14 Donors pledge billions for Haiti aid
By Michelle Nichols and Andrew Quinn, Reuters
49 mins ago
|UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – International donors met on Wednesday to pledge some $4 billion to Haiti, launching a worldwide effort to rebuild the country after January’s shattering earthquake.
“What we envision today is wholesale national renewal,” United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said, opening a one-day conference of some 120 countries, international organizations and aid agencies.
Ban called for quick donations in response to a U.N. request for $1.4 billion in immediate humanitarian assistance for Haiti, which even before the January 12 earthquake was the poorest country in the western hemisphere.
15 Zardari back in spotlight in Pakistan graft cases
By Chris Allbritton, Reuters
2 hrs 56 mins ago
|ISLAMABAD (Reuters) – Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari faced more political turmoil on Wednesday as a lawyer for the anti-corruption agency said it had asked Switzerland to reopen old graft cases against him, signaling a Supreme Court challenge to his immunity as head of state.
But in an apparent setback to the court’s prosecution of top officials for perceived corruption, the Swiss prosecutor-general said any case against Zardari could not be reopened — because of his immunity.
The dramatic back and forth comes after the Supreme Court last year ordered the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to revive corruption cases against Zardari, many senior government officials and thousands of political activists.
16 Army chief sees defacto moratorium on gay discharges
By Phil Stewart, Reuters
2 hrs 22 mins ago
|WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Army secretary said on Wednesday he would not discharge gay personnel who admitted their sexual orientation to him, despite the “don’t ask, don’t tell” stance that remains official military policy.
“What the secretary (of defense) has placed a moratorium on is going forward on discharges,” Army Secretary John McHugh told defense reporters.
The statement seemed to indicate that some Pentagon leaders had already shifted their stance, at least regarding private admissions by gay troops, although Congress has not yet formally repealed the law banning declared homosexuals.
17 Bombs kill 12 in Russia, days after metro attacks
2 hrs 16 mins ago
|MAKHACHKALA, Russia (Reuters) – Suicide bombers killed at least 12 people in Russia’s North Caucasus on Wednesday, two days after deadly attacks in Moscow that authorities linked to insurgents from the region.
A car packed with explosives blew up as police gave chase, and a bomber in a police uniform set off a second blast in a crowd of police who rushed to the scene, authorities said.
The coordinated attacks in the town of Kizlyar, in Dagestan region close to its border with Chechnya, were the latest outbreaks in a surge of violence in the Caucasus a decade after the Kremlin’s second of two wars against Chechen separatists.
18 Obama announces drilling expansion in climate push
By Jeff Mason and Tom Doggett, Reuters
1 hr 59 mins ago
|WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama announced plans on Wednesday for an expansion of U.S. offshore oil and gas drilling in an effort to win Republican support for new proposals to fight climate change.
Obama, a Democrat, said his administration would consider new areas for drilling in the mid and south Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico, while “studying and protecting sensitive areas in the Arctic.”
Some senior Republicans in Congress called the announcement a step in the right direction, but said Obama did not go far enough. Environmental groups and some congressional liberals condemned the plan as endangering wildlife and coastal areas merely to give oil companies more profits.
19 European bishops urge victims to go to the police
By NICOLE WINFIELD, Associated Press Writer
2 hrs 18 mins ago
|VATICAN CITY – Swiss bishops urge victims of clerical abuse to file criminal complaints and are considering creating a national registry for pedophile priests. Danish bishops launch an investigation into decades-old claims. Austria’s senior bishop celebrates a Holy Week Mass of repentance.
A week after Pope Benedict XVI excoriated Irish bishops for gross errors of judgment in handling cases of priests who sexually abuse children, European bishops are admitting to mistakes, reaching out to victims and promising to act quickly when they learn about abuse cases.
Their mea culpas and pledges to be more transparent and cooperative in the future come amid mounting public outrage over the scope of the abuse and what victims say has been a pattern of coverup by bishops and the Vatican itself to keep the cases quiet.
20 Vatican offers 3 reasons it’s not liable for abuse
By NICOLE WINFIELD, Associated Press Writer
Tue Mar 30, 11:03 pm ET
|VATICAN CITY – Dragged deeper than ever into the clerical sex abuse scandal, the Vatican is launching a legal defense that it hopes will shield the pope from a lawsuit in Kentucky seeking to have him answer attorneys’ questions under oath.
Court documents obtained Tuesday by The Associated Press show that Vatican lawyers plan to argue that the pope has immunity as head of state, that American bishops who oversaw abusive priests weren’t employees of the Vatican, and that a 1962 document is not the “smoking gun” that provides proof of a cover-up.
The Holy See is trying to fend off the first U.S. case to reach the stage of determining whether victims actually have a claim against the Vatican itself for negligence for allegedly failing to alert police or the public about Roman Catholic priests who molested children.
21 Alleged victim’s lawyers: Vatican protected priest
By CHRISTINE ARMARIO, Associated Press Writer
Wed Mar 31, 12:25 pm ET
|MIAMI – Lawyers representing an alleged victim of sex abuse claim the Vatican instructed church officials in Florida to shelter a priest from Cuba who was later accused of pedophilia.
Attorney Jessica Arbour, who represents an alleged victim of the Rev. Ernesto Garcia-Rubio, released a 1968 letter from the Vatican to the Archdiocese of Miami, stating the cleric had been forced to leave Cuba “because of serious difficulties of a moral nature (homosexuality).”
Arbour contends that the wording of the letter was used at the time as code for pedophilia, though archdiocese officials disputed that.
22 Priest defends Vatican’s handling of Wis. scandal
By DINESH RAMDE, Associated Press Writer
Tue Mar 30, 9:37 pm ET
|MILWAUKEE – A priest who investigated allegations that another priest sexually abused some 200 deaf Wisconsin children over a 24-year span defended the Vatican’s handling of the case Tuesday, saying it’s unfair to assume the current pope knew about the investigation at the time.
The Rev. Thomas Brundage, who in the mid-1990s helped investigate the allegations against the Rev. Lawrence Murphy for the Milwaukee Archdiocese, said by phone from Alaska that the Vatican’s office of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith receives an enormous amount of mail. He said it’s unfair to assume that then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who is now Pope Benedict XVI, saw two letters addressed to him outlining the abuse allegations.
Rembert Weakland, then the Milwaukee archbishop, sent letters to Ratzinger’s office twice in 1996 reporting the allegations against Murphy, who died in 1998 and is accused of molesting boys from 1950-74 at St. John’s School for the Deaf near Milwaukee, where he worked.
23 Chechen militant claims subway suicide bombings
By ARSEN MOLLAYEV, Associated Press Writer
9 mins ago
|MAKHACHKALA, Russia – A Chechen militant claimed responsibility Wednesday for this week’s deadly subway bombings in Moscow, as two new suicide bomb attacks targeting police officers in southern Russia left 12 people dead.
Doku Umarov, who leads Islamic militants in Chechnya and other regions in Russia’s North Caucasus, said in a video posted Wednesday on a pro-rebel Web site that Monday’s twin suicide attacks were an act of revenge for the killing of civilians by Russian security forces. He warned that attacks on Russian cities will continue.
Umarov’s statement was posted after Prime Minister Vladimir Putin vowed to “drag out of the sewer” the terrorists who plotted the subway bombings, which killed 39 people and injured scores of commuters during rush hour.
24 Pakistani lawmakers target presidential powers
By ZARAR KHAN, Associated Press Writer
36 mins ago
|ISLAMABAD – A parliamentary committee agreed on a constitutional amendment Wednesday that strips the Pakistani president of powers inherited from the country’s former military ruler, fulfilling a long-standing opposition demand and reducing pressure on the U.S.-allied leader.
The development could help calm Pakistan’s turbulent political environment at time when Washington wants the government focused on battling Taliban and al-Qaida militants blamed for cross-border attacks against U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan.
“This was a difficult job that has been done amicably and with consensus,” Senator Raza Rabbani, the head of the parliamentary committee, told reporters Wednesday.
25 No formal reprimand for general who pushed gay ban
By ANNE FLAHERTY, Associated Press Writer
1 hr 48 mins ago
|WASHINGTON – A high-ranking Army general won’t be formally reprimanded after urging troops to lobby to keep the ban on openly gay military service.
President Barack Obama supports lifting the ban, and an active attempt to keep it in place could be considered insubordination.
But Lt. Gen. Benjamin Mixon’s civilian boss says the three-star Army general won’t receive a letter of reprimand or be forced to step down. Army Secretary John McHugh told reporters Wednesday that Mixon has been told by Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey that what he did was inappropriate.
26 Google service disruption bodes ill for Chinese
By ALEXA OLESEN, Associated Press Writer
Wed Mar 31, 6:52 am ET
|BEIJING – Disruptions suffered by Google Inc.’s Chinese search service show how vulnerable it remains to the country’s Internet police – a threat industry executives said is likely to drive users and advertisers in the mainland away.
Though service resumed Wednesday, many users inside China were unable to search anything for the latter part of Tuesday. Google initially said it was an in-house technical problem but later shifted its explanation, blaming the “Great Firewall” – the nickname for the network of filters that keep mainland Web surfers from accessing material the government deems sensitive.
Whatever the reason, the outage reaffirmed suspicions that China’s government would settle scores after a public dispute over censorship prompted Google to shut its mainland-based search engine and move the service to the freer Chinese territory of Hong Kong last week.
27 Bicycle bomb kills 13 in southern Afghanistan
By AMIR SHAH and HEIDI VOGT, Associated Press Writers
Wed Mar 31, 8:17 am ET
|KABUL – A bomb concealed on a bicycle killed 13 people Wednesday in southern Afghanistan, as the Pentagon’s top military officer said NATO forces hope to reverse the Taliban’s momentum in the south with an upcoming offensive in Kandahar.
Forty-five people, including eight children, were wounded in the blast, which occurred in the Nahr-e-Sarraj district just north of Lashkar Gah, the capital of Helmand province, deputy provincial police chief Kamaluddin, who uses one name, said.
The bomb exploded near a crowd gathered to receive free vegetable seeds provided by the British government as part of a program to encourage them not to plant opium poppy, provincial government spokesman Daoud Ahmadi said.
28 Not guilty pleas for 8 Christian militia suspects
By COREY WILLIAMS and JEFF KAROUB, Associated Press Writers
25 mins ago
|DETROIT – Not guilty pleas were entered in Michigan Wednesday on behalf of eight members of a Christian militia that prosecutors say plotted to kill police officers and spark a violent revolt against the U.S. government.
Nine suspected members of Hutaree, self-proclaimed “Christian warriors” who trained themselves in paramilitary techniques in preparation for a battle against the Antichrist, were arrested after a series of raids across the Midwest.
All have been charged with seditious conspiracy.
29 China safety body says rules ignored in mine flood
By GILLIAN WONG, Associated Press Writer
Wed Mar 31, 6:17 am ET
|XIANGNING, China – Mine officials ignored safety rules and danger warnings in their haste to open a coal mine in northern China, leading to a flood that has trapped 153 workers since the weekend, a government safety body said Wednesday.
Officials say there have been no signs of life at the Wangjialing mine in Shanxi province since 108 miners escaped or were rescued following the flooding Sunday. Desperate relatives have traveled from afar to the site to demand that efforts to save the missing miners be speeded up.
About 1,000 rescuers have been working around the clock at the mine in southern Shanxi province, tunneling and laying pipes to drain away water, but hopes are fading.
30 Casino at ex-Rat Pack hangout closes at Tahoe
By MARTIN GRIFFITH, Associated Press Writer
Wed Mar 31, 6:17 am ET
|RENO, Nev. – Before the Las Vegas Strip ruled the gambling world, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. helped make the Cal Neva Lodge one of Nevada’s coolest casinos in the early 1960s.
On Wednesday, roulette wheels will stop spinning and blackjack games will cease at Sinatra’s old resort that straddles the Nevada-California border on Lake Tahoe’s north shore at Crystal Bay.
While the resort’s current owner hopes to reopen the casino under a new outside contractor by year’s end, some analysts think the Cal Neva might have dealt its last hand. They said Tahoe casinos are particularly vulnerable to the double-whammy of the recession and competition from Las Vegas and Indian casinos.
31 Stocks fall after disappointing ADP jobs report
By STEPHEN BERNARD and TIM PARADIS, AP Business Writers
14 mins ago
|NEW YORK – Stocks fell on the final day of the first quarter after a payroll company’s report gave investors a surprising reminder that the job market remains weak.
ADP said Wednesday that private employers slashed 23,000 jobs in March. Economists surveyed by Thomson Reuters had forecast the report would show private employers added 40,000 jobs during the month.
The ADP report is seen as an early indicator of the Labor Department’s monthly employment report, which is due out Friday. However, there can be wide variations between the two.
32 GOP wary of health law repeal push in fall races
By CHARLES BABINGTON and PHILIP ELLIOTT, Associated Press Writers
Wed Mar 31, 9:31 am ET
|WASHINGTON – Top Republicans are increasingly worried that GOP candidates this fall might be burned by a fire that’s roaring through the conservative base: demand for the repeal of President Barack Obama’s new health care law.
It’s fine to criticize the health law and the way Democrats pushed it through Congress without a single GOP vote, these party leaders say. But focusing on its outright repeal carries two big risks.
Repeal is politically and legally unlikely, and grass-roots activists may feel disillusioned by a failed crusade. More important, say strategists from both parties, a fiercely repeal-the-bill stance might prove far less popular in a general election than in a conservative-dominated GOP primary, especially in states such as Illinois and California.
33 Republicans say Steele will survive nightclub flap
By CHARLES BABINGTON, Associated Press Writer
Tue Mar 30, 9:24 pm ET
|WASHINGTON – Democratic groups tried Tuesday to make a campaign issue out of news that the national Republican Party spent $1,946 at a sex-themed California nightclub, but GOP activists said party chairman Michael Steele will weather the hubbub.
The Republican National Committee fired a staffer who helped organize the Jan. 31 visit to Voyeur Hollywood West, which features topless dancers, bondage outfits and erotic themes. It said it will recoup the money from a donor who paid the tab and was reimbursed by the party on Feb. 4.
The episode raises new questions about Steele’s oversight of the RNC. But party officials said Steele knew nothing of the nightclub visit by a group of young Republicans, which was listed in a federally required financial disclosure report, and they promised to tighten accounting practices.
34 Happy 150th birthday fish and chips. Or is it?
By KELVIN K. CHAN, For The Associated Press
Wed Mar 31, 12:03 pm ET
|LEEDS, England – Britain has plenty of venerable institutions, but none so tasty as fish and chips.
It’s a simple dish, usually a hunk of golden brown cod or haddock served with thickly cut strips of potatoes sprinkled with salt and vinegar. Despite that simplicity, the dish has become an icon of British culture.
This year, fish and chips is celebrating its 150th birthday. Or is it? That date is according to the National Federation of Fish Friers, which represents about 8,500 fish and chip shop owners in Britain.
35 Report: Money for good habits doesn’t change lives
By SARA KUGLER, Associated Press Writer
Wed Mar 31, 9:15 am ET
|NEW YORK – An experimental anti-poverty program that pays the poor for maintaining good habits – $25 to $150 for things such as going to the dentist, staying on the job or opening a bank account – has not been life-changing.
The cash incentives funded with private donations have helped some New Yorkers make better choices, but it has not encouraged young people to do better in school or adults to keep a job. And Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the incentives are not the answer to eradicating poverty.
The program, which will end as scheduled in August, “doesn’t work in every case,” Bloomberg said. “You always hope that you’ve come across a magic silver bullet and you never do. You make progress incrementally, particularly when you’re trying to focus on some of society’s biggest problems.”
36 Indian suit plaintiff: Settlement a stepping stone
By SHANNON DININNY, Associated Press Writer
Tue Mar 30, 10:26 pm ET
|TOPPENISH, Wash. – American Indians must urge Congress to quickly sign off on a $3.4 billion settlement of a lawsuit against the federal government for swindling them out of royalties for oil, gas, grazing and other leases, the lead plaintiff said Tuesday.
“We’ve won some really huge victory. Will it fix anything? No, but it’s a stepping stone,” Elouise Cobell of Browning, Mont., said during a meeting on the settlement at Heritage University on the Yakama Indian Reservation. “We have made a tremendous impact on this government and the way our trust has been managed in the past.”
The meeting was one of several planned across the Northwest this week by Cobell, a member of the Blackfeet Tribe, and her legal team. The deadline for Congress to approve the settlement was extended to April 16, and Cobell maintains further delays could terminate the deal.
37 Authorities investigate rush-hour police shooting
By THOMAS WATKINS, Associated Press Writer
Tue Mar 30, 7:22 pm ET
|LOS ANGELES – Two Burbank police officers were placed on temporary leave Tuesday as authorities investigated their actions in the shooting of a suspect after a high-speed, rush-hour chase.
The shooting occurred Monday evening, when the stolen Chevrolet Blazer being pursued got stuck in traffic near Universal Studios.
Officers got out of their cars and maneuvered so they were standing on either side and behind the vehicle.
38 UK ‘Climategate’ inquiry largely clears scientists
By RAPHAEL G. SATTER, Associated Press Writer
Tue Mar 30, 7:03 pm ET
|LONDON – The first of several British investigations into the e-mails leaked from one of the world’s leading climate research centers has largely vindicated the scientists involved.
The House of Commons’ Science and Technology Committee said Wednesday that they’d seen no evidence to support charges that the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit or its director, Phil Jones, had tampered with data or perverted the peer review process to exaggerate the threat of global warming – two of the most serious criticisms levied against the climatologist and his colleagues.
In their report, the committee said that, as far as it was able to ascertain, “the scientific reputation of Professor Jones and CRU remains intact,” adding that nothing in the more than 1,000 stolen e-mails, or the controversy kicked up by their publication, challenged scientific consensus that “global warming is happening and that it is induced by human activity.”
39 Opinion polls: Obama’s health care reform law not a winner so far
By Mark Trumbull, The Christian Science Monitor
Tue Mar 30, 3:23 pm ET
|Congress has spoken, and now the people have spoken: In polls released this week, Americans say they are not pleased with the healthcare reforms enacted by President Obama and congressional lawmakers.
Voters worry the new law will erode the quality of care and jack up costs, even while it helps reduce the number of people unable to get health insurance.
The new polls suggest that Democrats still have a big sales job ahead of them as November House and Senate elections draw closer, and as Americans try to learn more about what the law means for them (see “Healthcare Reform 101”).
40 GOP fires Allison Meyers as strip-club scandal taints party
By Dave Cook, The Christian Science Monitor
Tue Mar 30, 4:46 pm ET
|Washington – Allison Meyers, the director of the Young Eagles, a Republican program aimed at wooing donors under 45 years old to the GOP cause, was fired as a result of the strip-club scandal that has embroiled the party this week, according to media reports.
The Republican National Committee reimbursed about $2,000 in expenses rung up by the Young Eagles at a Hollywood nightclub featuring topless dancers and bondage outfits. Ms. Meyers allegedly approved the expense.
Fallout could affect Republican fundraising, particularly among its fiscally and morally conservative small donors. Moreover, the news has increased pressure on party Chairman Michael Steele, who is already already under fire for his management of party spending.
41 Hutaree: Why is the Midwest a hotbed of militia activity?
By Mark Guarino, The Christian Science Monitor
Tue Mar 30, 8:22 pm ET
|Chicago – Michigan, the home base of the Hutaree militia, has one of the highest concentrations in the United States of militias and other extremist groups that see the federal government as the enemy.
Only Texas, with 57 so-called “patriot” groups, outstrips Michigan’s 47, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a nonprofit civil rights organization in Montgomery, Ala., that tracks hate group activity.
Nationwide, the patriot movement has grown dramatically since the election of President Obama. Between 2008 and 2009, the number of such groups increased from 149 to 512, SPLC numbers suggest.