Weekend News Digest

Weekend News Digest is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Thai PM vows to retake Bangkok protest site

by Thanaporn Promyamyai, AFP

45 mins ago

BANGKOK (AFP) – Thailand’s embattled prime minister vowed to clear Bangkok’s commercial heart of anti-government Red Shirt protesters as he appeared on television Sunday in a show of unity with his army chief.

But Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva did not say when security forces would retake the Red Shirts’ vast protest site, occupied for three weeks and fortified with barricades made from truck tyres and sharpened bamboo poles.

Adding to the tension, the rival Yellow Shirt group, who are backed by the country’s elite, plan to meet on Monday upon the expiry of a deadline they set a week ago for the government to deal with the Reds.

2 Major oil spill from sunken US rig

by Allen Johnson, AFP

2 hrs 31 mins ago

NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (AFP) – Crude oil is spewing from a sunken oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, leaving a massive slick covering an area of 400 square miles (1,035 square kilometers), officials said on Sunday.

An overflight detected a 20-mile by 20-mile slick emanating from the semi-submersible Deepwater Horizon platform that spectacularly sank last Thursday, two days after a massive blast left 11 workers missing and presumed dead.

British oil giant BP, which leases the platform, initially said no oil was leaking from the site but a robotic vessel on Saturday detected two holes in the riser that connects the wellhead to the sunken rig.

3 Emerging countries granted greater voice at World Bank

by William Ickes, AFP

1 hr 21 mins ago

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The World Bank agreed at a high-level meeting here Sunday to raise more money for global aid and give emerging countries a greater say in how it is distributed.

The bank’s 186 members approved a capital increase of 5.1 billion dollars, the first such hike in more than 20 years, to fund greater lending in the wake of the global economic crisis.

At the same time, they approved a shift of 3.13 percent of voting rights on bank policy to developing countries, giving them a bigger voice in one of the world’s most high-profile institutions.

4 IMF chief warns ‘speed’ needed in Greek bailout


2 hrs 48 mins ago

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The head of the IMF warned on Sunday that speed was of the essence if a Greek bailout is to soothe money markets, after Germany stressed it has the right to reject Athens’ call.

“The IMF, the European partners and everyone involved in the financing effort recognizes the need for speed,” said International Monetary Fund managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn in Washington after talks with Greek Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou.

“I am confident that we will conclude discussions in time to meet Greece’s needs,” Strauss-Kahn underlined in a his statement.

5 IMF chief warns ‘speed’ needed in Greek bailout


2 hrs 49 mins ago

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The head of the IMF warned on Sunday that speed was of the essence if a Greek bailout is to soothe money markets, after Germany stressed it has the right to reject Athens’ call.

“The IMF, the European partners and everyone involved in the financing effort recognizes the need for speed,” said International Monetary Fund managing director Dominique Strauss-Kahn in Washington after talks with Greek Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou.

“I am confident that we will conclude discussions in time to meet Greece’s needs,” Strauss-Kahn underlined in a his statement.

6 Revolutionary Hubble space telescope turns 20

by Jean-Louis Santini, AFP

Sun Apr 25, 12:55 am ET

WASHINGTON (AFP) – Astronomers around the world this weekend mark the 20th anniversary of the launching of the iconic Hubble, NASA’s first orbiting space telescope that has revolutionized human understanding of the universe.

More than any other instrument, the Hubble has stimulated a modern-day infatuation with deep space, beaming to Earth the most spectacular images ever taken of faraway galaxies and the births and deaths of stars — and along the way helping scientists make some of the most important discoveries of our time.

Hubble was launched aboard space shuttle Discovery on April 24, 1990 and deployed into orbit the following day.

7 Armenians mark mass killings amid fresh tensions with Turkey

by Michael Mainville, AFP

Sat Apr 24, 4:47 pm ET

YEREVAN (AFP) – Tens of thousands of Armenians on Saturday marked the 95th anniversary of mass killings under the Ottoman Empire amid fresh tensions with Turkey over the collapse of reconciliation efforts.

Despite the political tensions, this year also saw the anniversary marked for the first time in Turkey, where rights activists and artists in Istanbul broke with taboo and commemorated the massacres.

Under grey skies in the Armenian capital Yerevan, a stream of people marched to lay flowers at a hilltop memorial to the massacres, which Armenians insist constituted genocide.

8 Belgian king calls for urgent talks after PM’s quit offer


Sat Apr 24, 3:40 pm ET

BRUSSELS (AFP) – Belgium’s king, mulling his prime minister’s offer to quit, called Saturday for emergency talks between feuding francophone and Flemish parties to avert a political crisis as the nation prepares to take the EU helm.

King Albert II is trying to avoid the need for snap elections after premier Yves Leterme threw in the towel on Thursday, little more than two months before Belgium assumes the rotating EU presidency.

Leterme’s decision became inevitable after the Open VLD Flemish liberals walked out of his five-party coalition government as the country’s linguistic faultline threatens to split the country in two.

9 Japanese islanders stage mass rally against US base

by Kyoko Hasegawa, AFP

Sun Apr 25, 10:39 am ET

YOMITAN, Japan (AFP) – Nearly 100,000 protesters attended a rally on Okinawa Sunday to demonstrate against a US air base in a row that is dominating Japan’s national politics and souring its ties with Washington.

Okinawa governor Hirokazu Nakaima, the speaker of the Okinawa assembly and most of the mayors of the Okinawa prefecture’s 41 towns joined the huge protest near Kadena Air Base, the Asia-Pacific region’s largest US military facility.

Under a blazing sun at an athletics ground on the subtropical island, protesters applauded and whistled as speakers addressed them from a podium.

10 Torpedo ‘one of most likely’ causes for sunk S.Korea ship


Sun Apr 25, 3:45 am ET

SEOUL (AFP) – A torpedo attack is among the “most likely” causes of the sinking of a South Korean warship near the disputed border with North Korea, the defence minister said Sunday, amid rising tensions with Pyongyang.

The 12,000-tonne corvette Cheonan sank after being split in half in a mystery blast in the Yellow Sea on March 26, leaving 40 sailors confirmed dead and six still unaccounted for.

“A bubble jet caused by a heavy torpedo (attack) is thought to be one of the most likely things to be blamed, but various other possibilities are also under review,” Defence Minister Kim Tae-Young said Sunday.

11 Bare bottoms, zebras: the art of Sarkozy senior

by Roland Lloyd Parry, AFP

Sun Apr 25, 3:36 am ET

PARIS (AFP) – The naked women and tattooed giraffes look like something from a fantasy comic strip but, with prices of up to 16 thousand euros (21,000 dollars) per canvas, something must make these pictures special.

Is it the Daliesque darkness of the religious visions? The fighting bulls like Picasso’s? More likely, it’s the story of the artist behind them: Pal Sarkozy, the 82-year-old father of France’s president, Nicolas.

“You must understand that it’s not just a naked woman or a portrait. Every picture tells a story,” Pal Sarkozy told AFP, strolling round the Espace Cardin gallery where the show opened Saturday, a stone’s throw from his son’s offices in the Elysee palace.

12 French driving veil row escalates


38 mins ago

NANTES, France (AFP) – A political row over the case of a French woman fined for driving in an Islamic veil gathered pace Sunday as a leading Muslim scholar and a French far-right leader both weighed in.

With the government planning to ban the full Islamic veil in public, the fining of the French woman in Nantes took a political turn when a minister threatened to punish her Muslim husband for offences including polygamy.

The woman has challenged the fine as a breach of her human rights.

13 Thai "red shirts" vow to intensify campaign

By Jason Szep, Reuters

Sun Apr 25, 7:36 am ET

BANGKOK (Reuters) – Anti-government protesters encamped for weeks in central Bangkok promised more aggressive measures after the government rejected their proposals to end increasingly violent protests in return for early polls.

“Red-shirt” protest leaders called on their supporters in the countryside to confront the army and police. Their backers responded by blockading police convoys in at least two areas.

The stalemate rekindled fears of more unrest and a heavier toll on Southeast Asia’s second-biggest economy as more retailers shut their doors and tourist numbers dwindle.

14 Greece expects aid rescue in time, no default

By James Mackenzie and Kristina Cooke, Reuters

31 mins ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Greece’s finance minister said Sunday aid will arrive in time to avert the euro zone’s first sovereign debt default as signs grew that a 45 billion-euro ($60.49 billion) rescue would have to be bigger.

Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou said bailout talks with the International Monetary Fund and European partners went well and he was confident Greece would secure help in May to finance its crippling public debt.

Papaconstantinou also sent a warning to investors who have been betting that Greece will default: “All I can say is that they will lose their shirts.”

15 Senators postpone climate bill unveiling

By Richard Cowan and Thomas Ferraro, Reuters

1 hr 58 mins ago

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – One of President Barack Obama’s top priorities — tackling global warming — suffered a severe setback on Saturday when a fight over immigration derailed plans to unveil a compromise climate change bill.

A bipartisan group of senators led by Democrat John Kerry had been aiming to outline details of their climate change bill on Monday.

That plan was canceled after Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, a member of the working group, threatened to pull out if Democrats pushed for a debate on an overhaul of immigration before doing the huge environmental and energy legislation.

16 Guantanamo court to review Canadian’s torture claim

By Jane Sutton, Reuters

Sun Apr 25, 9:46 am ET

MIAMI (Reuters) – A military judge presiding over the first Guantanamo tribunal of the Obama era will seek to determine this week whether U.S. forces tortured a confession from a Canadian accused of murdering an American soldier in Afghanistan.

The judge will decide what evidence can be used against Omar Khadr, 23, one of six prisoners at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo in eastern Cuba that the Obama administration has designated for trial by military tribunal.

The base’s detention center currently holds 183 captives.

17 Democrats move to stem corporate political cash

By Ross Colvin and Thomas Ferraro, Reuters

Sun Apr 25, 9:13 am ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democrats in Congress plan to unveil tough proposals this week to counter a Supreme Court ruling that allows corporations to spend unlimited amounts on elections.

President Barack Obama, who took the unusual step of publicly criticizing the ruling in his State of the Union address in January, has warned it will give corporations and special interest groups undue influence in elections.

The bill would require the leaders of corporations, unions and other groups to put their names on television ads and would ban election spending by government contractors, companies with more than 20 percent foreign ownership and recipients of taxpayer-funded bailout money.

18 Phone tapping row likely to rock India parliament

By Krittivas Mukherjee, Reuters

Sun Apr 25, 3:36 am ET

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – A row over charges government agencies secretly tapped telephones of senior politicians is likely to paralyze India’s parliament on Monday, possibly spelling fresh delay for the budget and other key bills.

The tension comes just as the government is seeking to secure its allies’ support for a possible vote in parliament over high food prices. The government would fall if it loses the vote.

The controversy is the latest blow for a coalition that was expected to capitalize on its re-election to promote policies to boost investment and ailing infrastructure as well as reform welfare and subsidies.

19 Oil cleanup at Gulf rig blast site delayed again

By CAIN BURDEAU, Associated Press Writer

1 hr 38 mins ago

NEW ORLEANS – Oil was leaking from a damaged well Sunday nearly a mile below the surface of the Gulf of Mexico, worrying officials who say the spill has the potential to threaten shores from Louisiana to possibly Florida.

High seas forced cleanup crews trying to vacuum and disperse the oily mess to take a second consecutive day off. Airplanes, boats and equipment were mobilized, but on standby as waves stopped them from trying to prevent the spreading oil from washing ashore beaches, barrier islands and wetlands.

What appeared to a manageable spill a couple of days ago after an oil rig exploded and sank off the Louisiana coast, has now turned into a more serious environmental problem. The new leak was discovered Saturday, and as much as 1,000 barrels – or 42,000 gallons – of oil is leaking each day, Coast Guard Rear Adm. Mary Landry said.

20 Health care law’s unfinished business: cost curbs

By RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR, Associated Press Writer

42 mins ago

WASHINGTON – What’s it going to cost me?

That’s the single biggest unanswered question about President Barack Obama’s new health care overhaul law – and its weak spot.

Many experts believe the law falls short on taming costs, and that will force Congress to revisit health care in a few years.

What was that about “historic progressive victory” again?  Useless waste of time and sellout to corporate interests more like.  Not to mention suicide wish for Democratic Congressional Majorities and the re-election prospects of one term President Barack Hussein Obama who has no one to blame but himself for being a coward.

Jimmy Carter was more effective and he didn’t have a filibuster-proof majority.

Thanks for nothing.

21 Thai protesters vow to hold key Bangkok sites

By RAVI NESSMAN, Associated Press Writer

Sun Apr 25, 7:33 am ET

BANGKOK – Thai protesters occupying parts of Bangkok to press their demands for new elections vowed Sunday to fight on following a breakdown of negotiations and a televised appearance by the prime minister that offered no solution to the protracted, sometimes bloody crisis.

The so-called Red Shirts urged their supporters in provincial areas to confront the security forces, and many of them began setting up roadblocks outside Bangkok to prevent police reinforcements from entering the city.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva spoke in a nationally televised interview alongside the army chief Sunday, in an apparent effort to dispel persistent rumors that there is a rift between him and the military.

22 Goldman e-mails show how crash turned into cash


Sun Apr 25, 4:57 am ET

NEW YORK – As the U.S. housing turned downward in January 2007, a Goldman Sachs trader wrote in e-mails to a woman he apparently was courting that investments he had sold were “like Frankenstein turning against his own inventor.”

“I’m trading a product which a month ago was worth $100 and today is only worth $93,” wrote Fabrice Tourre, who was charged along with the bank in a civil complaint filed this month by the Securities and Exchange Commission. “That doesn’t seem like a lot but when you take into account … (the investments) are worth billions, well it adds up to a lot of money.”

Tourre was talking about investment products like the one at the heart of a federal complaint against his firm. For Tourre, the investments were like an invention gone awry: He had started arranging them when the market was on the upswing. But he continued selling them after the market turned – now with Goldman betting against them, in one case allegedly misleading investors about a deal’s origin.

23 Climate bill placed on hold over Senate dispute

By MATTHEW DALY, Associated Press Writer

Sun Apr 25, 3:15 am ET

WASHINGTON – Long-awaited climate change legislation was put on hold by its authors Saturday when a dispute over immigration politics and Senate priorities threatened to unravel a bipartisan effort that took months of work.

Voicing regrets, Sen. John Kerry said Saturday he is postponing the much anticipated unveiling of comprehensive energy and climate change legislation scheduled for Monday. The Massachusetts Democrat made his announcement after a key partner in drafting the bill, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, threatened to withhold support if Senate Democratic leaders push ahead first with an immigration bill.

Graham is angry that Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada is considering that. Legislation to overhaul immigration laws and grant legal status to millions of long term immigrants unlawfully in the country could create problems for Republicans in the midterm elections. It’s a top priority for Hispanic voters – and most Republicans are opposed. Reid’s idea amounts to a “cynical political ploy,” Graham asserted.

24 Advocates seek ways to protect homeless from crime

By CHRISTINA HOAG, Associated Press Writer

56 mins ago

LOS ANGELES – Sobs overcome Susanne McGraham-Paisley when she thinks about her mentally ill brother who lived for years on a city sidewalk – John McGraham died when a man doused him with gasoline and set him ablaze.

She believes the murder was spurred by a warped hatred of homeless people, yet she has managed to find forgiveness for Ben Martin, a former barber who has pleaded guilty to the October 2008 killing.

“It’s awful, when I think of my brother burning to death…,” she said amid tears, “… just awful. Ben Martin was sick, mentally sick. He had a thing against homeless people and he took it out on my brother.”

25 Vt. towns finally settle colonial map boundaries

By WILSON RING, Associated Press Writer

1 hr 20 mins ago

ST. GEORGE, Vt. – A Colonial-era boundary dispute between two Vermont towns that were never exactly sure where one ended and the other began is finally going to be settled.

But it was old maps, not GPS or Google Earth, that ultimately found the common ground for the towns of St. George and neighboring Shelburne. The process has pointed up the art of trying to read the minds of the original surveyors and land granters to establish where the lines were drawn.

“It’s a matter of ‘let’s get this defined,'” said Phil Gingraw, chairman of the St. George Select Board. “Two-hundred-and-fifty years ago, people would not really have cared. Today, I think, things have changed a lot, and that’s why we need definition.”

26 Flaws found in state child-abuse registries

By DAVID CRARY, AP National Writer

Sun Apr 25, 12:15 pm ET

NEW YORK – Combatting child abuse is a cause with universal support. Yet a push to create a national database of abusers, as authorized by Congress in 2006, is barely progressing as serious flaws come to light in the state-level registries that would be the basis for a national list.

In North Carolina, an appeals court ruled last month that the registry there is unconstitutional because alleged abusers had no chance to defend themselves before being listed.

In New York, a class-action settlement is taking effect on behalf of thousands of people who were improperly denied the chance for a hearing to get removed from the state registry.

Because we’re doing such a good job with that ‘No Fly’ list.

27 Fear lingers for some years after civil rights era

By KATE BRUMBACK, Associated Press Writer

Sat Apr 24, 2:01 pm ET

ATLANTA – More than 50 years after Emmett Till was killed for allegedly whistling at a white woman, one of his relatives still worries that her brother might suffer violence for being a black man married to a white woman.

“There’s a big fear still of seeing black boys with white girls,” said Priscilla Sterling, whose grandfather was a cousin of Till’s mother. “There’s still this concept of they’re going to look at you and they’re going to get you.”

“Even though my brother and his white wife live in California, where things are supposed to be better, I still have this fear that something might happen to him,” she added, her voice cracking and tears streaming down her face.

28 Obama cites ‘devastating chapter’ in Armenia past

By PHILIP ELLIOTT, Associated Press Writer

Sat Apr 24, 6:16 pm ET

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – Candidate Barack Obama repeatedly promised he’d call the almost century-old massacre of Armenians in Turkey a genocide. President Obama twice now has refused to do so.

Commemorating Armenian Remembrance Day on Saturday, Obama called the deaths of 1.5 million Armenians during World War I “one of the worst atrocities” of the 20th century and “a devastating chapter” in history. But he did not call it genocide.

Obama’s statement, issued as he and first lady Michelle Obama spent a weekend getaway here in western North Carolina, earned him criticism from all corners. The Turkish foreign minister said it was “unacceptable,” and activists took issue with the president’s tone in marking the 95th anniversary of the start of the slaughter of Armenians by Ottoman Turks.


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  1. Tip- in a teacup auction wait until late in the auction and see which prizes have the most tickets.

    And you only need one to win.

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