Category: News

Weekend News Digest

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1 G20 aims at bank pay and capital; stimulus to stay

By Sumeet Desai and Louise Egan, Reuters

11 mins ago

LONDON (Reuters) – G20 finance leaders on Saturday took aim at excessive bank pay and risk-taking at the root of the financial crisis and insisted trillions of dollars of emergency economic supports would be needed for some time.

Although the global economy looks brighter than when the Group of 20 finance ministers and central bankers met in April, their closing statement said they would not remove economic stimulus until the recovery was well entrenched.

While the timing of these eventual policy reversals may vary, the G20 said for the first time there should be some coordination to avoid adverse international fallout.

Weekend News Digest

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From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Japan Democrats win landslide in historic election

By Linda Sieg and Chisa Fujioka, Reuters

2 hrs 56 mins ago

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese voters swept the opposition to a historic victory in an election on Sunday, ousting the ruling conservative party and handing the untested Democrats the job of breathing life into a struggling economy.

The win by the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) ended a half-century of almost unbroken rule by the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and breaks a deadlock in parliament, ushering in a government that has promised to focus spending on consumers, cut wasteful budget outlays and reduce the power of bureaucrats.

“The people are angry with politics now and the ruling coalition. We felt a great sense of people wanting change for their livelihoods and we fought this election for a change in government,” said Democratic Party leader Yukio Hatoyama, 62.

The Morning News

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1 Afghan vote fraud claims gather momentum

AFP

Sat Aug 29, 1:28 am ET

KABUL (AFP) – Allegations of vote-rigging in Afghanistan’s elections gathered momentum on Saturday as the main challenger said he would not accept a compromised outcome and Western powers called for transparency.

The French foreign ministry said Paris has called a meeting of senior Western envoys to Afghanistan to discuss their response to presidential elections that have been marred by fraud allegations.

The White House, following on from revelations that its envoy to Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke, had a testy meeting with President Hamid Karzai immediately after the August 20 vote, condemned any acts of fraud that might emerge.

The Morning News

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1 Democrats scramble on health reforms post-Kennedy

By Svea Herbst-Bayliss and Donna Smith, Reuters

Thu Aug 27, 8:03 pm ET

BOSTON/WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Democrats scrambled on Thursday to quickly fill the seat of Senator Edward Kennedy, to shore up President Barack Obama’s faltering effort to rally Congress behind an overhaul of the U.S. healthcare system.

Members of America’s most storied political dynasty said a private farewell to the Kennedy patriarch at a Mass in their Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, compound before accompanying his body to Boston for public tributes on Friday at the John F. Kennedy presidential library and for the funeral on Saturday.

Apart from depriving Congress of its most effective champion of healthcare reform, Kennedy’s death on Tuesday cost his Democratic party its essential 60th vote in the Senate, the number needed to beat Republican tactical blocking maneuvers.

The Morning News

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1 Head of troubled Darfur peacekeeping force resigns

By Louis Charbonneau, Reuters

Tue Aug 25, 5:45 pm ET

UNITED NATIONS (Reuters) – The head of the joint U.N.-African Union peacekeeping mission in Sudan’s conflict-torn Darfur region, who some diplomats say has been ineffective, is stepping down, the U.N. said on Tuesday.

The world body is working closely with the AU to find a replacement for Rodolphe Adada, a former foreign minister of the Republic of Congo, U.N. spokeswoman Marie Okabe said.

Other U.N. officials told Reuters on condition of anonymity that the United Nations and AU were considering several candidates from different parts of Africa.

Wednesday Morning Science Supplement

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From Yahoo News Science

1 Encyclopedia of Life grows; clues on ageing, pests

By Alister Doyle, Environment Correspondent, Reuters

Sun Aug 23, 10:11 am ET

OSLO (Reuters) – An online encyclopedia aiming to describe every type of animal and plant on the planet has reached 170,000 entries and is helping research into aging, climate change and even the spread of insect pests.

The “Encyclopedia of Life” (http://www.eol.org), a project likely to cost $100 million launched in 2007, says it wants to describe all the 1.8 million known species from apples to zebras within a decade.

“We’re picking up speed,” James Edwards, EOL Executive Director based at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, said Sunday of the 170,000 entries with content in a common format vetted by experts. A year ago, it had 30,000 entries.

Weekend News Digest

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1 UBS chairman says clients "not harmless victims": report

Reuters

Sun Aug 23, 9:33 am ET

ZURICH (Reuters) – Clients of UBS facing disclosure of their accounts to U.S. tax authorities were not harmless victims and legal cases against former UBS bankers did not affect the bank, its chairman told Swiss Sunday newspapers.

“The clients are not just harmless victims. They knew what they wanted to evade,” Kaspar Villiger, chairman of the world’s second-largest wealth manager, said in an interview with SonntagsBlick.

“But they trusted the bank that it would work. Now we have to correct that,” said Villiger, adding it was still not the responsibility of UBS to make sure clients paid their taxes.

Weekend News Digest

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1 Iraq’s Maliki pledges victory amid criticism

By Khalid al-Ansary, Reuters

1 hr 31 mins ago

BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki assured Iraq on Saturday that its forces would defeat terrorism despite the year’s deadliest bombings, ignoring remarks from a minister that the government had fallen into a false sense of security.

It was Maliki’s first public comment since massive truck bombs killed almost 100 people in Baghdad on Wednesday. A few hours earlier, his foreign minister said he suspected police or soldiers might have colluded in the attacks.

Foreign Minister Hoshiyar Zebari also criticized a decision by Maliki to remove most blast walls from Baghdad’s streets, saying it was one cause of the blasts.

Wednesday Morning Science Supplement

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From Yahoo News Science

1 Smoke-spewing Trabant poised for rebirth as electric car

by Audrey Kauffmann, AFP

Sun Aug 16, 7:53 pm ET

BERLIN (AFP) – Once the much-mocked symbol of drab communist East Germany, Trabant cars are revving up for a dramatic rebirth as electric cars — 20 years after they drove through the fallen Berlin Wall to freedom.

A team of German firms is developing the “new Trabi” or Trabant NT, a revamped version of the famously unreliable and unattractive cars, and is aiming to unveil a prototype at the Frankfurt motor show in September.

And in contrast to the old model, whose noisy two-stroke engine sent a polluting cloud of burnt oil and petrol into the air as it chugged slowly through the streets behind the Iron Curtain, the new 21st century Trabi could hardly be greener.

Weekend News Digest

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1 Exiled Afghan general returns as vote looms

By David Fox, Reuters

1 hr 21 mins ago

KABUL (Reuters) – Exiled Uzbek leader General Abdul Rashid Dostum, whose supporters could swing this week’s presidential election, returned to Afghanistan on Sunday after being given a government all-clear.

Dostum’s supporters, who gave him 10 percent of the vote in the 2004 election, had threatened to withdraw their backing for President Hamid Karzai on August 20 unless the former communist general was allowed to return.

The United States made clear its concern over any prospective role for Dostum, a controversial figure associated in the past with factional infighting and accused by human rights groups of abuses.

Weekend News Digest

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1 U.S. senator meets Suu Kyi, Myanmar junta leader

Reuters

Sat Aug 15, 11:50 am ET

YANGON (Reuters) – U.S. Senator Jim Webb met Myanmar top military leader Than Shwe and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Saturday and announced the release of an American jailed for visiting the Nobel peace laureate.

Webb met Than Shwe at the country’s remote new capital of Naypyidaw on the second day of his visit and later talked with Suu Kyi for about 45 minutes at a guest house arranged by government officials in Yangon.

Webb’s office later released a statement saying American John Yettaw, who was sentenced to seven years hard labor by Myanmar’s military government, would be released.

Wednesday Morning Science Supplement

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From Yahoo News Science

1 ‘Toxic’ seaweed spreading on France’s northern coast

by Clarisse Luca, AFP

Tue Aug 11, 7:08 am ET

SAINT-BRIEUC, France (AFP) – Mounds of putrified green algae are building up on France’s northern coast, releasing poisonous fumes blamed for the recent death of a horse and the collapse of the rider.

Part of the coastline has been declared off-limits as local authorities acknowledge they are unable to get rid of the decomposing seaweed that has washed up on shores in more than 80 communities across Brittany.

Green groups accuse President Nicolas Sarkozy’s government of turning a blind eye to an “environmental cancer” caused by the algae and blame intensive farming for producing nitrates that feed the seaweed’s toxicity.

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