NATO air strike kills fighter linked to Afghan hotel attack

NATO aircraft killed an dissatisfied leader linked to a deadly hotel attack in the Afghan capital this week, the coalition said on Thursday, a raid that raise questions about whether Afghan forces are ready for the frightening security transition.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the harass on the Intercontinental, one of two major hotels used by foreigners and Afghan government officials, a unusual night-time raid that began on Tuesday and ended five hours later on with 12 killed.

The NATO-led Security Assistance Force (ISAF) said the al Qaeda-linked Haqqani system had also been involved in the physical attack by nine suicide bombers and gunmen.ISAF identified the Haqqani network leader kill in an air strike as Ismail Jan, who it describe as a deputy to the senior Haqqani leader in Afghanistan, Haji Mali Khan.

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Senate cancels break as budget battle heats up


Democrats stepped up their harass in a tense budget battle with Republicans on Thursday as the Senate disregarded its July 4 recess and a top lawmaker accuse Republicans of deliberately sabotaging the financial recovery.

With time running short before a likely default in early August, Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid said he would hold the chamber in session after that week to work on a budget deal that would permit the country to keep paying all its bills.

One day after President Barack Obama compares Senate Republicans to lazy schoolchildren, the Senate's top Republican, Mitch McConnell, said Obama be supposed to come to Capitol Hill as soon as possible to talk about what could pass Congress.

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The Argentine national soccer team for the upcoming Copa America tournament

The Argentine national soccer team for the upcoming Copa America tournament poses for their official photo at the squad's camp on the outskirts of Buenos Aires June 27, 2011. Back row from left: masseur Marcelo Dandrea, kit manager Juan Cruz Souto, video editor Alejandro Manograsso, physician Alejandro Rolon, physical trainer Alejandro Tocalli, coach assistant Alberto Rodr?guez, kinesiologist Luis Garc?a, goalkeeper trainer Mart?n Tocalli, coach assistant Jose Luis Brown, physician Daniel Mart?nez, video editor Eduardo Gimenez and kit man Mario De Stefano. Middle row from left: players Mariano Andujar, Javier Pastore, Diego Milito, Nicolas Pareja, Gonzalo Higuain, Ezequiel Garay, Sergio Romero, Javier Zanetti, Esteban Cambiasso, Nicolas Burdisso, Gabriel Milito, Javier Mascherano, Juan Pablo Carrizo and kinesilogist Ruben Araguas. Front row from left: players Marcos Rojo, Lucas Biglia, Angel D? Maria, Sergio Aguero, Carlos Tevez, coach Sergio Batista, Lionel Messi, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Fernando Gago, Ever Banega and Pablo Zabaleta.

Blagojevich jury reaches verdicts on 18 counts


Jurors deliberating in the bribery retrial of Rod Blagojevich told a judge Monday they have reached a verdict on 18 of the 20 counts beside the ousted Illinois governor, and attorneys in the case decided that the verdicts should be read.

Judge James Zagel said that will occur Monday afternoon. The jury had returned to the federal courthouse Monday morning subsequent to nine days of deliberations. They had been talking through the confirmation over a three-week period.

Blagojevich, 54, faces allegations that he sought after to sell or trade an appointment to President Barack Obama's vacated U.S. Senate seat in swap over for a high-paying job, and schemed to shake down executive for campaign donations. He took the stand at the retrial and unused to all the charges.

Court: Calif. can't ban violent video game sales

violent video game

The Supreme Court on Monday refuse to let California clamp downstairs on the sale or rental of violent video games to children, saying governments require authority to "restrict the ideas to which children may be uncovered" despite complaints that the popular and fast-changing technology allows the little to simulate acts of brutality.

On a 7-2 vote, the high court upheld a federal appeal court conclusion to throw out California's ban on the sale or leasing of violent video games to minors. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Sacramento had lined that the law violated minors' rights under the First Amendment, and the high court agreed.

"No doubt a state possesses legitimate authority to protect children from harm," said Justice Antonin Scalia, who wrote the majority opinion. "But that does not take in a free-floating power to restrict the thoughts to which children may be uncovered."

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Mexico's team celebrates their victory over the U.S. in the CONCACAF Gold Cup

Mexico's team celebrates their victory over the U.S. in the CONCACAF Gold Cup final soccer match at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California June 25, 2011

Women's World Cup 2011

Steffi Jones (L), head of the Women's World Cup 2011 organisation committee, and World Cup ambassador Renate Lingor (3rd L) hold the cup trophy as Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit (2nd L) and mascot Karla Kick watch after it arrived at Berlin's main train station June 25, 2011.

House rejects measure to continue US role in Libya

House rejected

The House refuses to vote President Barack Obama the ability for U.S. military operations against Libya on Friday but stopped short of cutting off money for the mission, a mixed message reminiscent of congressional disquiet on Vietnam and more recent wars.

In a repudiation of the commander in chief, the House voted overwhelmingly touching a resolution that would have favored letting the task continue for one year while barring U.S. ground forces, a decision the president said he would welcome.The vote was 295-123, with 70 Democrats abandoning Obama one day behind Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton had completed a last-minute plea in a Capitol Hill meeting.

But shortly after that vote, the House turned back a Republican-led effort to cut off currency for military hostilities in the Libyan war. The vote was 238-180. The funding compute would have barred drone attack and airstrikes but allowed the United States to carry on actions in support of NATO.

PetPeter Falker Falk, TV's rumpled Columbo, has died

Peter Falk

The best way to celebrate Peter Falk's life is to savor how Columbo, his autograph character, fortified our lives. Thanks to Falk's lovingly genuine portrayal, Lt. Columbo established himself for all time as a winner of any viewer who ever felt less than graceful, elegant or well-spoken.

Falk died Thursday at age 83 in his Beverly Hills, Calif., home, according to a announcement released Friday by family friend Larry Larson. In a court text filed in December 2008, Falk's daughter Catherine Falk said her father was pain from Alzheimer's disease.But Columbo lives on as the ideal of anyone with a stain on his tie, whose car isn't the sportiest, who typically seems clueless, and who get dissed by fancy people.

As a police detective, Columbo's interview system was famously disjointed, with his inevitable awkward after-thought ("Ahhh, there's just one more thing...") trying the tolerance of his suspect when he was previously halfway out the door.Columbo was underestimated, patronized or simply overlooked by practically everyone he met — especially the culprit.

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قتال الشوارع: الحكام العرب vs الشعب Rulers Street Fighter

Santos won 2-0 Uruguay's Penarol

Brazil's Santos' players celebrate at the end of the Copa Libertadores final soccer match against Uruguay's Penarol in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Wednesday, June 22, 2011. Santos won 2-0.

Players of Brazil's Santos and players of Uruguay's Penarol fight

Players of Brazil's Santos and players of Uruguay's Penarol fight after their Copa Libertadores final soccer match at Pacaembu stadium in Sao Paulo June 22, 2011.

Copa Libertadores soccer final match between Brazil's Santos and Uruguay's Penarol

Former Brazilian soccer player Pele, left, celebrates at the end of the Copa Libertadores soccer final match between Brazil's Santos and Uruguay's Penarol in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Wednesday, June 22, 2011. Santos won 2-1.

Obama's task: Maintaining support for Afghan war


President Obama will face a stiff supporting challenge Wednesday in presenting his plan for a gradual end to the U.S. military contribution in Afghanistan. His prime-time address must remind a skeptical electorate and a anxious Congress that the country’s longest war remains worth fighting — and funding — for several more years.

Obama’s generals have requested more time to combine the gain they say have been made since the president dispatch 33,000 additional U.S. troops to the country last year. The escalation, which angered his party’s antiwar base, follows a months-long strategy review to decide how to salvage a flagging war effort.

Since then, public opinion has turned more and more against the war, except for a now-diminishing boost in hold after the killing of Osama bin Laden in May.As he begins the promised withdrawal, Obama’s face will be to provide his generals with the resources to wage the war’s final phase while persuade Congress that, at a time of fiscal strain, maintain most of a $10 billion-a-month war effort is worthwhile.

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A twist in Obama's health care law


President Barack Obama's health care law would let several million middle-class public get nearly free assurance meant for the poor, a twist government amount crunchers say they discovered only after the multipart bill was signed.

The change would involve early retirees: A married couple could have an yearly income of about $64,000 and still get Medicaid, said officials who create long-range cost estimates for the Health and Human Services department.

Up to 3 million more public could qualify for Medicaid in 2014 as a result of the anomaly. That's because, in a major modify from today, most of their Social Security remuneration would no longer be counted as income for decisive eligibility. It might be compared to allow middle-class people to be eligible for food stamps.

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2011 Tour de France cycling race

Spanish cyclist Alberto Contador (1) was entrained, with his teammate around Grenoble, French Alps, on June 16, 2011 in preparation for the 2011 Tour de France cycling race.

Syrian tanks, troops extend reach in border areas

Syrian tanks pushed on the way to more towns and villages near the Turkish and Iraqi borders on Tuesday, increasing the crackdown against a 12-week uprising to the north and east as more Syrians flee their homes.

Syrian President Bashar Assad appear to have abandoned all pretense of contribution reform, sending tanks, helicopter gunships and only his most loyal services into population centers to crush dissent.

Anti-government activists report tanks in the northern market township of Maaret al-Numan and in lesser villages near Jisr al-Shughour, a town stormed Sunday by Syrian elite services backed by helicopters. Human rights protester Mustafa Osso said tanks were also moving in the huge eastern province of Deir el-Zour, which borders Iraq. The Syrian government claim to have thwarted cross-border guns smuggling in that area.

Govt postpones plan to sell mountain peaks

Mountain Peaks

An Austrian government agency suddenly pull two sky-high piece of real estate — majestic peaks contribution stupendous alpine views — off the open market Tuesday after an expression of national outrage over the supposed sellout of the nation's heritage.

BIG, the agency which purchase state material goods and then resells it to the private sector, announce the decision after planning among Economics Minister Reinhold Mitterlehner and top officials in charge of the agency.

"We have suspended the sale to assess alternative possibilities," agency spokesman Ernst Eichinger said on the telephone. He said the transaction would possible go ahead but buyers would be restricted to "Austrian institutions" instead of the maximum free-market bidders. The peaks are in the easternmost part of Tyrol province, home to a few of Europe's highest mountain ranges.

Criterium of Dauphine cycling race

The pack rides during the sixth stage of the 63rd edition of the Criterium of Dauphine cycling race on June 11, 2011 between Les Gets and Le Collet d'Allevard, French Alps.

Mexico's soccer team

In this photo taken Sunday, June 5, 2011, Mexico's starting line up gathers for a team photo before a CONCACAF Gold Cup soccer match at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Back row from left, midfielder Gerardo Torrado (6), defender Francisco Rodriguez (2), goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa (1), nidfielder Israel Castro (8), defender Hector Moreno (15); front row from left, midfielder Efrain Juarez (16), midfielder Andres Guardado (18), defender Carlos Salcido (3), midfielder Pablo Barrera (7), forward Giovani dos Santos (10) and forward Javier Hernandez (14), Five players on Mexico's soccer team, including Rodriguez and Ochoa, have tested positive for a banned substance and are out of the CONCACAF Gold Cup, said Decio de Maria, the secretary general of the Mexican soccer federation. De Maria said he believes the positive results for clenbuterol come from the players eating contaminated beef.

Helicopter gunships fire at Syria protest: witnesses

Helicopter gunships

Syrian helicopter gunships fired up machineguns to disperse a huge pro-democracy protest in the town of Maarat al-Numaan on Friday, witness said, in the first report use of air power to quell protest in Syria's uprising.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that helicopters fired at the town after safety forces on the land killed five protesters, but said no killings were report in the assault by the helicopters.

"At least five helicopters fly over Maarat al-Numaan and began firing their machineguns to break up the tens of thousands who marched in the protest," one of the witness said by telephone.

Gates blasts NATO, questions future of alliance

Gates blasts

America's military association with Europe — the cornerstone of U.S. security rule for six decades — faces a "dim, if not dismal" future, U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates said Friday in a rounded valedictory address.

In his final policy talking as Pentagon chief, Gates questioned the viability of NATO, saying its members' penny-pinching and lack of political will might hasten the end of U.S. support. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization was created in 1949 as a U.S.-led bulwark alongside Soviet aggression, but in the post-Cold War era it has struggle to find a purpose.

"Future U.S. political leaders - those for whom the Cold War was not the formative knowledge that it was for me - may not consider the return on America's asset in NATO worth the cost," he told a European think tank on the last day of an 11-day overseas journey.

2012 London Olympic Torch

The newly unveiled 2012 London Olympic Torch is pictured at St Pancras International Rail Station, central London, on June 8, 2011. The 2012 London Olympics organisers unveiled Wednesday the golden torch that thousands of runners will use to carry the Olympic flame 8,000 miles (13,000 kilometres) to the opening ceremony. The flame will burn from a triangular aluminium tube made of a mesh stamped with 8,000 holes -- one to represent each torchbearer.

London 2012 Olympic Torch

Two views of a prototype of the London 2012 Olympic Torch are seen in this handout image received from the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) in London on June 8, 2011.

Santorum in White House race; 'In it to win'

santorum in white house

SOMERSET, Pa. – Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, just the once the No. 3 Republican in Senate leadership ranks, said Monday he's looking for the GOP nomination for president to protect American freedoms below warning from President Barack Obama.

A blunt-talking favorite between party social conservatives, Santorum said Obama has work to undermine Americans' freedoms and pushed throughout a national health care arrangement that reduces individual choice. He accused Obama of spend billions of dollars that add to future generations' debts and said the president worries the nation's potential.

"I'm ready to lead. I'm ready to do what has to be done for the next generation, with the bravery to fight for freedom, with the bravery to clash for America," Santorum said, speaking the sun-splashed steps of a district courthouse in western Pennsylvania. "That's why I'm announcing today that I'm in succession for president of the United States of America."

Strauss-Kahn pleads not guilty to sexual assault charges

strauss kahn

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn pleaded not responsible on Monday to charges he sexually assaulted a New York hotel maid in a case that price him his job and a opportunity at the French presidency.

Wearing a dark suit, Strauss-Kahn arrived at the courthouse with his wife, French television journalist Anne Sinclair, walking beside him, arm-in-arm. They were flanked by two private security guards hired to prevent him from skipping bail.

The couples walk past a throng of media and a large crowd of hotel workers there in solidarity with the female who said Strauss-Kahn attacked her. "Shame on you," they chanted. Strauss-Kahn, 62, faces up to 25 years in prison if convict on charges as well as attempt rape, sex abuse, a criminal sex act, unlawful custody and forcible touching.

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Tuen Ng or Dragon Boat Festival

Participants compete in a dragon boat race to mark the annual Tuen Ng or Dragon Boat Festival at Hong Kong's Aberdeen fishing port June 6, 2011. The festival is commemorated in memory of Chinese patriotic poet Qu Yuan, who drowned himself on the day in 277 B.C.

England's goalkeeper Joe Hart (R) fails to stop a shot from Switzerland's Tranquillo Barnetta

England's goalkeeper Joe Hart (R) fails to stop a shot from Switzerland's Tranquillo Barnetta (not pictured) during their Euro 2012 Group G qualifying soccer match at Wembley Stadium in London June 4, 2011.

Brazil's soccer team

Brazil's soccer team poses for pictures before a friendly match against Netherlands, in Goiania, Brazil, Saturday, June 4, 2011. Form left to right, bottom row: Neymar, Robinho, Daniel Alves, Lucas and Elano. Top row, from left: Julio Cesar, Andre Santos, Thiago Silva, Fred, Lucio and Ramires.