Tag: Open Thread

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1 GM may close 2 more plants under deal
By TOM KRISHER, AP Auto Writer
1 hour, 1 minute ago

DETROIT – The tentative contract between General Motors Corp. and the United Auto Workers would allow GM to close a plant each in Michigan and Indiana and possibly shut down several other facilities, according to a detailed copy of the agreement.

The moves are the downside of job security pledges that the UAW won in the negotiations, including commitments for new products at 16 plants. About 74,000 hourly GM workers will vote on the pact starting this week, with a final tally to be done by Oct. 10.

Gregg Shotwell, a GM worker and frequent critic of the UAW, posted most of the contract details on the Internet. He said he received the agreement from a local union official who attended a Friday meeting in Detroit. He would not identify the official, but the accuracy of its contents was confirmed for The Associated Press by a union leader who requested anonymity because members have not yet voted on the pact.

The Morning News

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1 Taliban rebuffs Karzai’s offer
By JASON STRAZIUSO, Associated Press Writer
30 minutes ago

KABUL, Afghanistan – President Hamid Karzai offered to meet with the Taliban leader and give militants a government position, but a spokesman for the militant group on Sunday said it will “never” negotiate with Afghan authorities until U.S. and NATO forces leave the country.

Karzai made the offer only hours after a suicide bomber in army disguise attacked a military bus Saturday, killing 30 people – nearly all of them Afghan soldiers.

Strengthening a call for negotiations he has made with increasing frequency in recent weeks, Karzai said he was willing to meet with the reclusive leader Mullah Omar and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, a former prime minister and factional warlord leader.

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1 Troops take back control in Myanmar
Associated Press
57 minutes ago

YANGON, Myanmar – Soldiers and police took control of the streets Friday, firing warning shots and tear gas to scatter the few pro-democracy protesters who ventured out as Myanmar’s military junta sealed off Buddhist monasteries and cut public Internet access.

On the third day of a harsh government crackdown, the streets were empty of the mass gatherings that had peacefully challenged the regime daily for nearly two weeks, leaving only small groups of activists to be chased around by security forces.

“Bloodbath again! Bloodbath again!” a Yangon resident yelled while watching soldiers break up one march by shooting into air, firing tear gas and beating people with clubs.

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1 Myanmar troops kill 9 more protesters
Associated Press
24 minutes ago

YANGON, Myanmar – Soldiers with automatic rifles fired into crowds of anti-government demonstrators Thursday, killing at least nine people in the bloodiest day in more than a month of protests demanding an end to military rule.

Bloody sandals lay scattered on some streets as protesters fled shouting “Give us freedom, give us freedom!”

On the second day of a brutal crackdown, truckloads of troops in riot gear also raided Buddhist monasteries on the outskirts of Yangon, beating and arresting dozens of monks, witnesses and Western diplomats said. Japan protested the killing of a Japanese photographer.

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1 Myanmar monasteries raided as world pleads for calm
By Aung Hla Tun, Reuters
17 minutes ago

YANGON (Reuters) – Protesters returned to the streets of central Yangon on Thursday, undeterred by reports of security forces killing several monks as Myanmar’s generals tried to end the biggest anti-military uprising in nearly 20 years.

People gathered around four monks standing on a traffic island in the middle of a four-lane highway leading to Sule Pagoda — the end-point of mass demonstrations this week and now locked.

More than 1,000 people surrounded them as riot police watched from behind their shields, witnesses said.

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1 White House drops choice for CIA lawyer
By MATTHEW DALY, Associated Press Writer
Tue Sep 25, 5:56 PM ET

WASHINGTON – The White House withdrew its nominee to become the CIA’s top lawyer on Tuesday after Democrats raised concerns that the agency’s interrogation techniques may be illegal.

John Rizzo, the president’s choice to become the CIA’s general counsel, asked President Bush to withdraw his name, saying it would be in his best interest and that of the agency where he has worked for 32 years.

The Senate Intelligence Committee had been expected to consider Rizzo’s nomination at a hearing Tuesday afternoon.

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1 U.S. snipers accused of ‘baiting’ Iraqis
By PAULINE JELINEK and ROBERT BURNS, Associated Press Writers
34 minutes ago

WASHINGTON – Army snipers hunting insurgents in Iraq were under orders to “bait” their targets with suspicious materials, such as detonation cords, and then kill whoever picked up the items, according to the defense attorney for a soldier accused of planting evidence on an Iraqi he killed. Gary Myers, an attorney for Sgt. Evan Vela, said Monday his client had acted “pursuant to orders.”

“We believe that our client has done nothing more than he was instructed to do by superiors,” Myers said in a telephone interview.

Myers and Vela’s father, Curtis Carnahan of Idaho Falls, Idaho, said in separate interviews that sworn statements and testimony in the cases of two other accused Ranger snipers indicate that the Army has a classified program that encourages snipers to “bait” potential targets and then kill whoever takes the bait.

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1 US says Iran smuggling missiles to Iraq
By SAMEER N. YACOUB, Associated Press Writer
59 minutes ago

BAGHDAD – The U.S. military accused Iran on Sunday of smuggling surface-to-air missiles and other advanced weapons into Iraq for use against American troops. The new allegations came as Iraqi leaders condemned the latest U.S. detention of an Iranian in northern Iraq, saying the man was in their country on official business.

Military spokesman Rear Adm. Mark Fox said U.S. troops were continuing to find Iranian-supplied weaponry including the Misagh 1, a portable surface-to-air missile that uses an infrared guidance system.

Other advanced Iranian weaponry found in Iraq includes the RPG-29 rocket-propelled grenade, 240 mm rockets and armor-piercing roadside bombs known as explosively formed penetrators, or EFPs, Fox said.

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1 Iraq: Blackwater guards fired unprovoked
By ROBERT H. REID, Associated Press Writer
30 minutes ago

BAGHDAD – Iraqi investigators have a videotape that shows Blackwater USA guards opened fire against civilians without provocation in a shooting last week that left 11 people dead, a senior Iraqi official said Saturday. He said the case was referred to the Iraqi judiciary.

Iraq’s president, meanwhile, demanded that the Americans release an Iranian arrested this week on suspicion of smuggling weapons to Shiite militias. The demand adds new strains to U.S.-Iraqi relations only days before a meeting between President Bush and Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Abdul-Karim Khalaf said Iraqi authorities had completed an investigation into the Sept. 16 shooting in Nisoor Square in western Baghdad and concluded that Blackwater guards were responsible for the deaths.

My emphasis.

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1 Feds target Blackwater in weapons probe
By MATTHEW LEE, Associated Press Writer
1 minute ago

WASHINGTON – Federal prosecutors are investigating whether employees of the private security firm Blackwater USA illegally smuggled into Iraq weapons that may have been sold on the black market and ended up in the hands of a U.S.-designated terrorist organization, officials said Friday.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Raleigh, N.C., is handling the investigation with help from Pentagon and State Department auditors, who have concluded there is enough evidence to file charges, the officials told The Associated Press. Blackwater is based in Moyock, N.C.

A spokeswoman for Blackwater did not return calls seeking comment Friday. The U.S. attorney for the eastern district of North Carolina, George Holding, declined to comment, as did Pentagon and State Department spokesmen.

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1 Rather: Government influencing newsrooms
By SAMANTHA GROSS, Associated Press Writer
1 hour, 21 minutes ago

NEW YORK – Dan Rather said Thursday that the undue influence of the government and large corporations over newsrooms spurred his decision to file a $70 million lawsuit against CBS and its former parent company.

“Somebody, sometime has got to take a stand and say democracy cannot survive, much less thrive with the level of big corporate and big government interference and intimidation in news,” he said on CNN’s “Larry King Live.”

“They sacrificed support for independent journalism for corporate financial gain, and in so doing, I think they undermined a lot at CBS News,” he told King.

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1 Public’s views on Iraq war barely budge
By Peter Grier, The Christain Science Monitor
Wed Sep 19, 4:00 AM ET

Washington – In Florida, retiree Robert Lacey says he believes the US military “surge” in Iraq has failed. Iraqi politicians were supposed to take advantage of increased security to settle their differences peacefully, and “that hasn’t happened,” he notes.

San Diego saleswoman Connie Howard agrees. Her father, husband, and son all have served in the military, and her son-in-law, a marine, is set for an Iraq tour, but she still judges the war a folly. “I don’t want to see any of them go,” she says of troops on their way to Iraq. “It’s enough.”

But Doug Brown, a Lockheed Martin employee from Buffalo, N.Y., says US troops need to stay the course. “If we pull out now, everything we’ve done will collapse and we’ll have to go back in again 10 years from now,” he says.

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