Afternoon Edition

Afternoon Edition is an Open Thread

Now with U.S. News.  39 Story Final.

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Switzerland confronts backlash over minaret ban

by Peter Capella, AFP

1 hr 13 mins ago

GENEVA (AFP) – Switzerland confronted an international backlash and charges of intolerance on Monday as the country’s Muslim leaders urged calm over a shock vote to ban new minarets.

The Vatican joined Muslim leaders in expressing dismay after a referendum on Sunday voted for a constitutional ban on the construction of towers attached to mosques from where the faithful are traditionally called to prayer.

Some 57.5 percent of those who cast ballots supported the measure amid a high turnout by Swiss standards of 53 percent.

2 Accused Nazi death camp guard Demjanjuk on trial

by Richard Carter, AFP

1 hr 3 mins ago

MUNICH, Germany (AFP) – John Demjanjuk appeared an ill man on Monday as he faced the first day of his trial accused of herding tens of thousands of Jews to their death in the Nazi gas chambers during World War II.

Demjanjuk, 89, charged with helping to kill 27,900 people while a guard at the Sobibor death camp in 1943, appeared for the first session in a wheelchair, keeping his eyes mostly closed and moaning as he left the room.

In the second 90-minute session, Demjanjuk was carried in on a stretcher covered head-to-toe in a white blanket, writhing about and waving his arms before the judge suspended proceedings for close to half an hour.

3 Obama orders Afghan strategy into force

by Stephen Collinson, AFP

1 hr 52 mins ago

WASHINGTON (AFP) – President Barack Obama has already ordered his new Afghan strategy into force, the White House said Monday, as the US leader informed world leaders of a plan expected to include a huge troop surge.

The White House said Obama delivered the fateful orders, marking the most crucial leadership test of his presidency so far, on Sunday, after telling top aides of his decision following an exhaustive months-long policy review.

“The president communicated his final decision on the strategy in the Oval Office and issued orders on the strategy’s implementation,” said White House spokesman Robert Gibbs.

4 Dubai and Abu Dhabi markets plunge on debt woes

by Ali Khalil, AFP

1 hr 49 mins ago

DUBAI (AFP) – Stock markets in Dubai and neighbouring Abu Dhabi closed sharply lower on Monday, shedding 7.3 percent and 8.3 percent respectively, hit by a lack of buyers after Dubai World’s shock proposal to suspend debt payments.

Dubai’s benchmark DFM Index closed at 1,940.36 points, down 152.80 points from Wednesday, just before Dubai announced it wanted to freeze debt repayments by its huge Dubai World conglomerate for at least six months.

Leading securities, particularly in the construction and finance industries, plunged almost by the maximum-allowed limit of 10 percent after the bourse reopened following a four-day holiday.

5 Time running out on Doha accord: WTO chief

by P. Parameswaran, AFP

30 mins ago

GENEVA (AFP) – World Trade Organization chief Pascal Lamy warned Monday that time was running out for the conclusion of a global trade liberalisation pact as more than 100 ministers met to discuss prospects for global commerce.

But the United States, seen as critical to breaking the eight-year stalemate in the Doha round of global trade talks, assured the Geneva meeting that it was prepared to “move into the end game” of the negotiations.

World leaders have pledged to conclude the Doha Round of global trade negotiations by 2010, but little progress has been made.

6 Bordeaux banks on biodiversity

by Suzanne Mustacich, AFP

2 hrs 8 mins ago

BORDEAUX, France (AFP) – It was a crisp autumn day in the vineyards of Saint Emilion, the vines asleep for the winter, as winegrowers, scientists and children planted hedges to create habitats for mites needed to prey on vine pests.

This marked the debut of an ambitious biodiversity project launched by pioneering French vintners in a bid for sustainability.

The biological diversity of Saint Emilion’s 8,000-hectare vineyard landscape, intertwined with wine since Roman times and protected by UNESCO as a World Heritage site since 1999, has been precariously reduced by urbanization, chemical vine treatments, and one-crop farming.

7 Japan’s debt-ridden govt plans new stimulus

by Miwa Suzuki, AFP

Mon Nov 30, 6:15 am ET

TOKYO (AFP) – Japan’s debt-laden government said Monday it planned a new round of stimulus spending worth more than 31 billion dollars to prop up a feeble economic recovery that is threatened by the strong yen.

Japan, which has this year been digging itself out of its worst post-war recession, now faces the threat of the yen trading at a 14-year high against the dollar, which hurts the profits of exporters such as Toyota and Sony.

Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama at the weekend ordered his cabinet to work out measures to cope with the surging yen and its effects on the stock market.

8 China must show climate change leadership, EU says

by D’Arcy Doran, AFP

Mon Nov 30, 3:58 am ET

NANJING, China (AFP) – The European Union said Monday that cataclysmic climate change cannot be averted without Chinese leadership but Beijing stood firm in pushing for the rich world to take the lead.

“We cannot solve the climate challenge to mankind without China taking on leadership and responsibility,” Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt said in his capacity as EU president at a summit in the eastern city of Nanjing.

“So far our belief is the global effort put on the table for mitigation is not enough… more needs to be done,” he said in a post-summit address with host Premier Wen Jiabao and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso. Related article: Barroso calls for more effort

9 Honduras’ Lobo claims big win in election

by Sophie Nicholson, AFP

Mon Nov 30, 1:58 am ET

TEGUCIGALPA (AFP) – Conservative Porfirio Lobo has claimed a large win in the controversial first presidential election in Honduras since a June 28 coup — and vowed to form a national unity government.

“There’s no time for more divisions,” a beaming Lobo said late Sunday to crowds cheering his nickname “Pepe,” after the controversial polls for which turnout was more than 60 percent, according to electoral officials.

The polls divided the Americas and further polarized Honduras after five tense months including a heavy-handed military crackdown and several rounds of crisis talks following the ouster of President Manuel Zelaya.

10 Dubai debt worries linger, Gulf stocks suffer

By John Irish and Tamara Walid, Reuters

2 hrs 22 mins ago

DUBAI (Reuters) – Dubai’s government said on Monday it was not responsible for the debts of its flagship conglomerate, offering little clarity on a plan to delay billions in debt repayments that has rattled world markets.

Dubai last week raised fears of a second bout of global financial turmoil by asking for a six-month repayment freeze on debt issued by Dubai World and its unit Nakheel, a property developer at the heart of the emirate’s boom.

Analysts said a statement by Dubai’s leading finance official shed little light on how much investors could lose in the process. Financial markets in Europe continued to slide afterwards.

11 Honduras vote winner calls for foreign recognition

By Mica Rosenberg and Gustavo Palencia, Reuters

51 mins ago

TEGUCIGALPA (Reuters) – The winner of Honduras’ controversial election called on Latin American governments on Monday to recognize him as president-elect to help pull the country out of a deep political crisis since a coup.

Sunday’s election is likely to set Washington against emerging Latin American power Brazil, which says the vote was invalid and handed victory to the coup leaders who overthrew leftist President Manuel Zelaya on June 28.

The United States has tried and failed to have Zelaya reinstated and now looks resigned to backing the election as the best way for Honduras to get out of political gridlock and diplomatic isolation.

12 Nazi guard Demjanjuk wheeled into Munich trial

By Madeline Chambers, Reuters

1 hr 36 mins ago

MUNICH, Germany (Reuters) – John Demjanjuk was wheeled into a packed Munich court on Monday to face charges he helped kill 27,900 Jews during the Holocaust in what is likely to be Germany’s last major Nazi-era war crimes trial.

Lying on a mobile hospital bed, the expressionless 89-year-old former U.S. carworker complained of pain to medics in the afternoon session and was given an injection, causing a 30-minute delay in the proceedings.

German state prosecutors accuse Demjanjuk, who was top of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s list of most-wanted war criminals, of assisting in killings at the Sobibor death camp in Poland, where prosecutors say at least 250,000 Jews were killed.

13 Obama’s Afghan "surge" sets sights on Kandahar

By Ismail Sameem, Reuters

Mon Nov 30, 9:38 am ET

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan (Reuters) – A year ago, mobile phones worked just fine in the pomegranate orchards and vineyards along the Arghandab river on the outskirts of Afghanistan’s second largest city, Kandahar.

That was before the Taliban took over the west side of the river and blew up the telephone relay tower, cutting off the entire valley north of Kandahar from communication with the outside world.

Militants have been making startling gains in the area around Afghanistan’s second largest city, which is the birthplace of both the Taliban movement and President Hamid Karzai.

14 Shoppers spent less over Black Friday weekend

By Nicole Maestri and Brad Dorfman, Reuters

Sun Nov 29, 8:03 pm ET

SAN FRANCISCO/CHICAGO (Reuters) – Consumers spent significantly less per person at the start of the holiday season this weekend, dimming hopes for a retail comeback that would help propel the economy early in 2010.

The lackluster spending could pressure retail stocks on Monday as some investors were looking for a stronger showing compared with a year earlier, when consumers were being hammered by the recession and credit crunch.

“There may be a bit of a pullback, a little disappointment,” said Patricia Edwards, chief investment officer at Storehouse Partners.

70% of our economy.  8% less than last year, which was terrible.  Tell me again about those “green shoots”.

15 Obama facing tough selling job on Afghan policy

By RICHARD LARDNER, Associated Press Writer

34 mins ago

WASHINGTON – Barack Obama has begun one of the toughest sales jobs of his presidency, launching the much-awaited rollout of his new Afghan war strategy by informing top military and civilian advisers in Washington and Kabul and telephoning key allies around the globe.

Obama is outlining his decision to an increasingly skeptical U.S. public on Tuesday night in a nationally broadcast address from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. The strategy will include deploying thousands more American forces to Afghanistan, clarifying why the U.S. is fighting the war and laying out a path toward disengagement.

He first told Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton his decision by phone on Sunday afternoon, and then informed other key administration advisers such as Defense Secretary Robert Gates in an early evening Oval Office meeting.

16 Divided Senate poised to start health care debate

By RICARDO ALONSO-ZALDIVAR, Associated Press Writer

47 mins ago

WASHINGTON – Senate Democrats face deep divisions within their ranks as they begin debate Monday on President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul, with the recent all-hands-on-deck coalition frayed over abortion and the option of government-run insurance.

While majority Democrats will need 60 votes to finish, some in the party say they’ll jump ship from the bill without tighter restrictions on abortion coverage. Others say they’ll go unless a government plan to compete with private insurance companies gets tossed. Such concessions would enrage liberals, the party’s heart and soul.

There’s no clear course for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., to steer legislation through Congress to the president’s desk. You can’t make history unless you reach 60 votes, and don’t count on Republicans helping him.

17 Gov’t increases pressure on mortgage industry

By ALAN ZIBEL, AP Real Estate Writer

49 mins ago

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration will crack down on mortgage companies that are failing to do enough to help borrowers at risk of foreclosure, as part of a broad effort to boost participation in its mortgage assistance program.

The Treasury Department said Monday it will withhold payments from mortgage companies that aren’t doing enough to make the changes permanent. Officials will monitor the largest of the 71 participating mortgage companies via daily progress reports.

The goal is to increase the rate at which troubled home loans are converted into new loans with lower monthly payments. At the end of October, more than 650,000 borrowers, or 20 percent of those eligible, had signed up for trials lasting up to five months.

Three words- “Whip Inflation Now.”

18 Demjanjuk trial on Nazi death camp charges opens

By DAVID RISING, Associated Press Writer

51 mins ago

MUNICH – A German court put John Demjanjuk on trial Monday to face charges of being an accessory to the murder of 27,900 Jews at a Nazi death camp, and his lawyer immediately accused the court of bias.

The 89-year-old retired Ohio autoworker arrived at the opening of the trial in a wheelchair to face the final chapter of some 30 years of efforts to prosecute him, wearing a navy baseball cap and covered in a light blue blanket.

After the first 90-minute session, Demjanjuk was returned to the courtroom lying flat on his back on a gurney, covered in blankets.

19 New Honduran leader, bolstered by US, seeks unity

By ALEXANDRA OLSON, Associated Press Writer

1 hr 46 mins ago

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras – Honduras’ newly elected President Porfirio Lobo already faces an international crisis even before taking office: many countries of the hemisphere refuse to recognize his government, chosen in the shadow of a coup.

Election officials said Monday that the conservative rancher had a strong lead in Sunday’s presidential contest and his rival conceded defeat.

Election organizers also said that more than 60 percent of registered voters cast ballots – an increase from the last election – indicating that most Hondurans rejected calls by toppled President Manuel Zelaya to boycott the vote.

20 Dubai crisis, holiday sales will dominate trading

By STEPHEN BERNARD, AP Business Writer

Sun Nov 29, 11:46 pm ET

NEW YORK – Investors may have to do some emotional juggling as the trading week begins.

While markets around the world continue to assess the fallout from Dubai’s worrisome debt problems, investors trying to get a handle on the global economy will also factor in some encouraging U.S. retail sales over the Thanksgiving weekend. The question for many is whether they should focus on the possibility of another spreading credit crisis, or signs that consumer spending in this country may indeed be stabilizing.

News that Dubai’s investment arm, Dubai World, could default on $60 billion in debt sent world markets skidding on Thanksgiving, and U.S. stock markets initially followed when trading resumed Friday after the holiday. Wall Street regained some ground as overseas exchanges stabilized and as analysts reported that U.S. banks had relatively limited exposure to the problems in the Persian Gulf city-state.

21 Movement under way in California to ban divorce

By JUDY LIN, Associated Press Writer

24 mins ago

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Til death do us part? The vow would really hold true in California if a Sacramento Web designer gets his way.

In a movement that seems ripped from the pages of Comedy Channel writers, John Marcotte wants to put a measure on the ballot next year to ban divorce in California.

The effort is meant to be a satirical statement after California voters outlawed gay marriage in 2008, largely on the argument that a ban is needed to protect the sanctity of traditional marriage. If that’s the case, then Marcotte reasons voters should have no problem banning divorce.

22 Las Vegas rebound riding on $8.5B CityCenter

By OSKAR GARCIA, Associated Press Writer

Mon Nov 30, 5:35 am ET

LAS VEGAS – Sin City is pinning its biggest bet ever – $8.5 billion – on a 67-acre, six-tower complex of striking hotels, gourmet restaurants, swank shops and a single casino that starts opening Tuesday in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip.

Many watching the high-stakes roll of the dice shudder at the thought that nearly 5,900 rooms in three hotels will be awaiting guests when CityCenter’s crown jewel – the 4,004-room Aria Resort & Casino – opens Dec. 16. That will increase Las Vegas’ already saturated inventory by more than 4 percent at a time when fewer visitors are coming and room prices have fallen 25 percent from last year.

CityCenter’s debut might pull rates even lower, but state leaders hope the complex leads Nevada out of two years of economic misery that has hit the state with record unemployment, foreclosures and bankruptcies.

23 Amid Skid Row bedlam, activist makes a difference

By CHRISTINA HOAG, Associated Press Writer

Mon Nov 30, 3:35 am ET

LOS ANGELES – Jeff Page barely walks half a block along Skid Row’s teeming streets before he’s waved down by someone with a problem – taco trucks parked in front of a restaurant, drug dealing in a residential hotel or just a case of hard-luck blues.

In this neighborhood awash in woe, there’s no shortage of tasks for Page, better known as “General Jeff” – Skid Row’s go-to-guy who’s made it his mission to turn the squalid, square-mile neighborhood into a decent place to live.

“The bottom of the barrel doesn’t have to be that deep,” said Page, whose 6-foot-4 frame makes him easy to spot as he strides down the sidewalk where’s he constantly stopping to greet people with a knucklebump and a “how ya doin,’ brother?” “We’re trying to get people to see this is a community, that people are putting down roots.”

24 Brigade teams bring mental health to Fort Campbell

By KRISTIN M. HALL, Associated Press Writer

Mon Nov 30, 3:23 am ET

FORT CAMPBELL, Ky. – Army brigade leaders at Fort Campbell have begun monthly meetings of officers, doctors and counselors to catch early signs of emotional or mental stress among their troops and intervene before soldiers hurt themselves or others.

It’s a unique effort at this sprawling base on the Tennessee-Kentucky line that fits with broader Army initiatives to deal with a rise in suicides among troops. The Army has bolstered suicide prevention since February after a record 140 cases in 2008, but this month said the number may rise again this year. It had recorded 140 suspected cases as of Nov. 11.

The brigade teams are part of Fort Campbell’s plans that also include moving counselors and social workers out of hospitals and clinics and embedding them in the brigades to break down barriers and overcome the stigma of seeking help.

From Yahoo News World

25 Rights watchdog hints Swiss minaret ban could go

By FRANK JORDANS, Associated Press Writer

1 hr 38 mins ago

GENEVA – A Swiss ban on minarets could violate fundamental liberties, Europe’s top human-rights watchdog said Monday in an indication that the heavily criticized vote could be overturned.

The Swiss justice minister also said the European Court of Human Rights could strike down the Sunday vote, which incurred swift condemnation at home and abroad for banning the towers used to put out the Islamic call to prayer.

The 47-nation Council of Europe said that banning “new minarets in Switzerland raises concerns as to whether fundamental rights of individuals, protected by international treaties, should be subject to popular votes.” Switzerland presides over the council, which is associated with the European Court of Human Rights. The court rules on breaches of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Ya think?

26 US retailing fears weigh on world markets

By PAN PYLAS, AP Business Writer

2 hrs 52 mins ago

LONDON – European and U.S. stock markets fell Monday amid concerns about the start of the Christmas shopping season in the U.S. and despite relief over the pledge from the United Arab Emirates’ central bank to back lenders exposed to Dubai’s debt problems.

In Europe, the FTSE 100 index of leading British shares closed down 55.05 points, or 1.1 percent, at 5,190.68 while Germany’s DAX ended 59.66 points, or 1.1 percent, lower at 5,625.95. The CAC-40 in France was 41.30 points, or 1.1 percent, lower at 3,680.15.

Earlier, European stocks had steadied as concerns about the fallout from Dubai’s debt woes were soothed by the UAE central bank pledge to stand behind local and foreign banks.

27 Plan to breed lab monkeys splits Puerto Rican town

By JILL LASTER, Associated Press Writer

Mon Nov 30, 11:08 am ET

GUAYAMA, Puerto Rico – Puerto Rico has such a bad history with research monkeys running amok that some residents are stunned that its government has tentatively approved a plan to import and breed thousands of primates for sale to U.S. researchers.

Bioculture Ltd., with facilities at 19 sites around the world, has secured construction permits and hopes to begin operating next summer in Guayama, a small, depressed mountain district in southeastern Puerto Rico.

They want to turn the Caribbean territory into a major supplier of primates, much to the dismay of islanders already dealing with a plague of patas monkeys – descendants of lab escapees that run though backyards, stop traffic and destroy crops.

28 Germany’s Merkel makes wobbly start to 2nd term

By GEIR MOULSON, Associated Press Writer

Mon Nov 30, 6:10 am ET

BERLIN – Chancellor Angela Merkel’s new government was supposed to be a harmonious alliance that would focus energetically on reviving Europe’s biggest economy.

So far, it hasn’t worked that way. A month into her second term, Merkel has presided over public squabbling on tax plans, a spat rooted in World War II history, and a hasty Cabinet reshuffle triggered by fallout from an airstrike in Afghanistan.

“This isn’t a stumbling start, it is a belly flop,” the deputy editor of the mass-circulation Bild am Sonntag newspaper, Michael Backhaus, wrote this week.

29 China shrugs off EU appeal for help on currency

By ELAINE KURTENBACH, AP Business Writer

Mon Nov 30, 6:30 am ET

NANJING, China – Summit talks between Chinese and European leaders ended on an off key note Monday as Premier Wen Jiabao rejected calls for a stronger Chinese currency and accused critics of seeking to undermine his country’s rise.

The one-day summit with the 27-member European Union was the most substantive dialogue between China and its largest trading partner, a market of more than 500 million people, in more than two years.

It ended with the signing of five mostly technical agreements on energy, environmental cooperation, trade and investment, but no fresh initiatives on pressing global issues such as climate change.

30 Nazi guard Demjanjuk wheeled into Munich trial

By Madeline Chambers, Reuters

2 hrs 16 mins ago

MUNICH, Germany (Reuters) – John Demjanjuk was wheeled into a packed Munich court on Monday to face charges he helped kill 27,900 Jews during the Holocaust in what is likely to be Germany’s last major Nazi-era war crimes trial.

Lying on a mobile hospital bed, the expressionless 89-year-old former U.S. carworker complained of pain to medics in the afternoon session and was given an injection, causing a 30-minute delay in the proceedings.

German state prosecutors accuse Demjanjuk, who was top of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s list of most-wanted war criminals, of assisting in killings at the Sobibor death camp in Poland, where prosecutors say at least 250,000 Jews were killed.

31 Swiss minaret ban may signal new right-wing surge

By Sam Cage, Reuters

1 hr 12 mins ago

ZURICH (Reuters) – A Swiss vote to ban the construction of new minarets puts the spotlight on the Alpine country’s social and political divisions and could herald a new surge in populist, anti-immigrant sentiment.

The unexpected vote and high turnout in Sunday’s referendum gives a boost to the right-wing populist Swiss People’s Party (SVP), a relatively new political force that has shaken up the country’s traditionally cozy power-sharing system.

“It could well be the beginnings of a new right-wing surge,” said Clive Church, a Swiss politics expert from Kent University.

32 War crimes court to press Serbia on arrests

By David Brunnstrom, Reuters

Mon Nov 30, 11:24 am ET

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Serbia’s cooperation with the U.N. war crimes tribunal in The Hague has improved but Belgrade must keep up efforts to arrest the remaining fugitives, the court said in a report obtained by Reuters on Monday.

Serbia is hoping the report by the court’s chief prosecutor, Serge Brammertz, will help accelerate its long-stalled progress toward European Union membership.

“The Office of the Prosecutor is satisfied with the current level of efforts undertaken by Serbia’s authorities in their cooperation,” Brammertz wrote in a draft of the report he is due to submit to the U.N. Security Council this week.

33 Honduras president must convince world of legitimate vote

by Sophie Nicholson, AFP

1 hr 32 mins ago

TEGUCIGALPA (AFP) – Newly elected president Porfirio Lobo faced the challenge Monday of steering Honduras clear of the five-month crisis that isolated the nation after the ouster of his predecessor Manuel Zelaya in a June coup.

Lobo became the third leader at play in the deep turmoil set off by the June 28 coup after claiming victory in Sunday’s elections, which took place under a de facto regime criticized for its heavy-handed control of dissent.

The conservative Lobo must now convince backers of Zelaya, and the world, that he was legitimately elected as the new president of Honduras.

34 Dubai Debt: Global Economic Recovery Still in Danger

By MICHAEL SCHUMAN / HONG KONG, Time Magazine

Mon Nov 30, 10:30 am ET

As we reach the end of a miserable 2009, signs continue to mount across the globe that the world economy is stirring back to life. The U.S. finally returned to growth in the third quarter, with its strongest showing in two years, India posted inspiring 7.9% growth and the results out of tiny Taiwan, one of the economies slammed the hardest by the global recession, were so impressive one economist beamed that the island “got its groove on.” Stock markets, aside from a downward blip here and there, have generally been buoyant. During this season of Thanksgiving and holiday cheer, there seems to be good reason to give thanks and be cheerful.
From Yahoo News U.S. News

35 Officials: Progress made on virtual fence project

By JACQUES BILLEAUD, Associated Press Writer

39 mins ago

PHOENIX – Government officials overseeing the construction of a “virtual fence” along the 2,000-mile U.S.-Mexico border hope to turn over the first segment to the Border Patrol in January, while beginning construction on a second stretch in coming weeks.

Although the government has plans to extend the network of cameras, ground sensors and radars along most of the border, officials said they’ll draw on lessons from the first two segments in southern Arizona as they contemplate if and where to build more sections and how fast to complete them.

The government estimated it would cost $6.7 billion to cover most of the Mexican border by 2014.

36 Boston brewer pushes new limits on extreme beer

By RUSSELL CONTRERAS, Associated Press Writer

Mon Nov 30, 7:30 am ET

BOSTON – It is banned in 13 states and sure doesn’t come in a six-pack.

The maker of Samuel Adams beer has released an updated version of its biennial beer Utopias – now the highest alcohol content beer on the market. At 27 percent alcohol by volume and $150 a bottle, the limited release of the brandy-colored Utopias comes as more brewers take advantage of improvements in science to boost potency and enhance taste.

“Just part of trying to push the envelope,” said Jim Koch, founder and owner of the Boston Beer Co. the maker of Sam Adams. “I’m pushing it beyond what the laws of these 13 states ever contemplated when they passed those laws decades ago.”

37 Doctors in training still learn from cadavers

By LAURAN NEERGAARD, AP Medical Writer

2 hrs 29 mins ago

WASHINGTON – Color-coded denim cloths cover the row upon row of black body bags atop cold metal tables. Blue means a body that eventually will go into a common grave. Tan, the family wants those remains back for burial, eventually.

These are bodies donated to science, awaiting one of the most sensitive rites in becoming a doctor. Before first-year medical students lay their hands on the living, they learn anatomy from the dead.

Week after week, for six months, teams of students will file into in a laboratory at Georgetown University to slowly take apart “their” body.

38 Engineered edible cottonseed could feed millions

By BETSY BLANEY, Associated Press Writer

Mon Nov 30, 7:08 am ET

LUBBOCK, Texas – “The Fabric of Our Lives” may soon feed millions.

A Texas researcher has found a way to reduce toxin in cottonseed that until now could only be eaten by cattle. The bovines’ multiple stomachs gradually digested the poisonous substance called gossypol.

The new seeds can be eaten by pigs, chickens, fish and humans and could show up in protein bars, shakes, breads, cookies and other foods within about 10 years. The amount of cotton already grown worldwide contains enough protein to feed 500 million people per year, researchers said.

39 US says ‘playing leadership role’ at WTO

by P. Parameswaran, AFP

Sun Nov 29, 3:18 pm ET

GENEVA (AFP) – The United States said Sunday it was “playing a leadership role” at the World Trade Organisation, even as some developing nations pointed the finger at Washington for holding up global trade talks.

On the eve of a WTO meeting of ministers, President Barack Obama’s trade envoy Ron Kirk stressed that Washington remained committed to bringing the elusive Doha Round of trade negotiations to a successful conclusion.

“The United States engages with other economies and plays a leadership role at the World Trade Organization in order to boost American exports and grow the well-paid jobs Americans want and need,” Kirk said in a statement.

6 comments

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  1. Well, the news stream has yet to recover.  Even so we’ll make our marks today.

  2. …seem to be some pretty big stories–wonder how long it will take this news to start penetrating our holiday-fogged brains?  

    • Miep on December 1, 2009 at 4:49 am

    that was good, thanks for promoting it.

    • Miep on December 1, 2009 at 4:55 am

    http://www.usnews.com/science/

    From AP via Albuquerque Journal (and no, the ABQ journal won’t let me look at the article without subscribing, but this link was posted today)

    BANDELIER NATIONAL MONUMENT, N.M.

    The scientists found 88 cases in which increased temperatures and drought had caused increased mortality in forest trees, including examples in all types of forest and on most continents.

    “This really looks pretty darn serious,” said ecologist David Breshears, a co-author and leading expert on the effect of climate on pinon-juniper forests.

    University of Arizona forest researcher Tom Swetnam, who was not involved in the project, praised the work, calling it “the most comprehensive review of tree and forest mortality patterns.”

    • TMC on December 1, 2009 at 9:40 am

    we have become by prosecuting an elderly, ill old man to prove how “just” we are. While I don’t disagree with the pursuit of justice, how just is it to be carrying this man in on a stretcher, loaded up with pain killers? What a circus.

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