Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Kristina Johnson, left, and Kathleen Rogers
Building a low-carbon economy is the scientific, political and moral challenge of our time, and a tremendous opportunity for women.

But are we marshaling the talent and resources necessary to tackle this problem?

Half of the population is not being encouraged to pursue studies that in addition to providing productive and rewarding careers, work on climate change mitigation to help save the planet for future generations.

As the 55th session of the U.N.'s Commission on the Status of Women begins this week, it's time to launch an international campaign to aggressively encourage and enlist women in the fight to make the world's economy low-carbon.

Women need to be recruited for leadership positions in renewable energy, urban planning, international sustainable development policy; life sciences and engineering in order to retool our traditional, carbon-based economy. Women are taking up leadership positions in government, nonprofit and increasingly in business and science, but not in sufficient numbers to match the enormity of this fossil-fueled-to-green-economy transition.

Women are important as leaders because of their collaborative approach to problem-solving and their position as role models for the next generation.
Independent political committees with ties to former White House adviser Karl Rove are planning to raise $120 million to help Republicans in 2012.

American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS on Tuesday said they would raise the money to compete with unions that spent a collective $400 million on behalf of President Barack Obama and Democrats in 2008. The group says it won't be able to outspend the unions but the organization can outpace them in efficiency.

American Crossroads also announced a fund to do poling and get-out-the-vote plans for the eventual nominee.

The groups, founded by President George W. Bush strategist Rove and former Republican National Committee chairmen Ed Gillespie and Mike Duncan, were among the highest profile groups in 2010, when they aimed for $52 million and raised $71 million.

Morgan Stanley experienced a "very sensitive" break-in to its network by the same China-based hackers who attacked Google Inc's computers more than a year ago, Bloomberg reported, citing leaked emails from an Internet security company.

The emails from the Sacramento, California-based computer security firm HBGary Inc said that Morgan Stanley -- the first financial institution identified in the series of attacks -- considered details of the intrusion a closely guarded secret, the report said.

Bloomberg quoted Phil Wallisch, a senior security engineer at HBGary, as saying that he read an internal Morgan Stanley report detailing the so-called Aurora attacks.

The HBGary emails don't indicate what information may have been stolen from Morgan Stanley's databanks or which of the world's largest merger adviser's multinational operations were targeted, according to the report.
The British Museum is exhibiting scores of artifacts from ancient Afghanistan that were thought lost during decades of invasion, war and Taliban rule.

The show includes gold, glass, stone and ivory objects dating back as much as 4,000 years. The highlight is a trove of gold jewelry from a 2,000-year-old nomadic burial ground.

Many of the objects survived because staff at Afghanistan's National Museum hid them away during years of civil war and rule by the fundamentalist Taliban, who demolished much pre-Islamic art in the belief that it was idolatrous.

In recent years the items have been touring the world to showcase Afghanistan's rich cultural heritage.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai is opening the show Tuesday at the London museum, where it will run until July.
Anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks, the Internet and a Russian human rights activist are among a record 241 nominations for the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize.

The Norwegian Nobel Committee said on Tuesday that the 2011 field includes 53 organizations and tops last year's 237 nominees.

Known nominees also include Afghan rights advocate Sima Samar, the European Union, former German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, Cuban dissident Oswaldo Paya Sardinas, Russian rights group Memorial and its founder Svetlana Gannushkina.
Matti Heikkinen has won the first gold medal for Finland at the Nordic world skiing championships, holding off two Norwegians in the 15-kilometer classical-style race.

This is Heikkinen's first world title. He took the bronze in the same event two years ago in Liberec, Czech Republic.

He was timed Tuesday in 38 minutes, 14.7 seconds. Eldar Roenning was 13.3 seconds behind and Martin Johnsrud Sundby was third, 31.9 seconds back. Sprint champion Marcus Hellner of Sweden finished in 34th place.

Norway's Petter Northug, winner of the 30-kilometer pursuit, skipped the race to rest for other events.

Oil prices are climbing again as demonstrations in Iran add to concerns that anti-government movements will keep pressure on the oil-rich Middle East for months to come.

Benchmark West Texas Intermediate for April delivery added $1.55 at $98.52 per barrel as trading opened Tuesday on the New York Mercantile Exchange. In London, Brent crude gained $2.03 at $113.83 per barrel on the ICE Futures Exchange.

Oil prices surged 13 percent last week as Libyan protesters expanded their control over the country. While the Libyan uprising continued Tuesday, Iranian authorities imprisoned opposition leaders in Tehran. Tensions are escalating in the OPEC heavyweight as groups challenge the ruling government.

Russia's top diplomat ruled out the idea of creating a no-fly zone over Libya on Tuesday as embattled leader Moammar Gadhafi unleashed bombing raids, special forces and army troops in a desperate bid to retain power.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov described the idea of imposing limits on Libyan air space as "superfluous" and said world powers must instead focus on fully using the sanctions the U.N. Security Council approved over the weekend.

Leaders in the U.S., Europe and Australia have suggested the military tactic - used successfully in northern Iraq and Bosnia - to prevent Gadhafi from bombing his own people. But Russia's consent is required as a veto-wielding member of the Security Council.

Russian newswires quoted a Kremlin source Tuesday saying Gadhafi must step down, since by using force against civilians he has become a "political corpse." Still, Russian NATO ambassador Dmitry Rogozin also cautioned against moving militarily against Gadhafi without U.N. authorization.
It consists of two round, textbook-thick, palm-sized chocolate cakes that sandwich a creamy vanilla filling to create one sinfully rich snack. It's the whoopie pie, a snack so beloved that residents in two states have cooked up a good-natured tug of war over which place is its rightful home - Maine or Pennsylvania?

A state legislator in Maine whipped up passions when he introduced a bill in January to make the whoopie pie Maine's official state dessert. Like a group of chefs tweaking a recipe, a legislative committee has since dropped "dessert" in favor of making the snack Maine's official "treat."

No matter - residents in Pennsylvania's Lancaster County say that's just baloney. Those round mounds of cakey goodness originated from kitchens of the area's Amish families, dating back generations, they say.
Residents of the rebel-held city closest to Libya's capital passed out sweets and cold drinks to fighters Tuesday and celebrated with a victory march after they managed to repel an overnight attack by pro-Gadhafi forces.

"Allahu Akbar (God is Great) for our victory," residents of Zawiya chanted as they paraded through the city's main square. Some carried on their shoulders an air force colonel they said had just defected to the rebels' side.

Witnesses said pro-Gadhafi forces battled rebels for six hours overnight but could not retake control of the city 30 miles (50 kilometers) west of Tripoli. They said the last of several assaults by the Gadhafi loyalists came at around 3 a.m. local time.

Apple bet big on the App Store -- and 350,000 apps later, competitors are struggling to catch up. Now, there's Google's Android Market, BlackBerry's App World, HP's Palm App Catalog, and Microsoft's Apps Marketplace.

But while Apple still leads the pack with an astonishing 82.7% market share, the app race is far from over.

According to a new report by Forrester Research, the app market will explode to a $38 billion industry by 2015, riding the huge growth in popularity of mobile devices from smartphones to tablets to whatever Apple dreams up next.

In 2010, apps on these devices pulled in $1.7 billion globally, meaning the market will blossom exponentially in the coming years.

"The explosion of app development that started on the iPhone only scratches the surface of what's about to emerge," the report says.

What's more, the average cost of paid apps is only $2.43, with just 33% of smartphone users downloading apps on a monthly basis, says Forrester. Once more smartphones from Google, Microsoft, and RIM roll out, and more tablets from Motorola and Samsung, app sales and volume will only increase.
A top federal safety official is promising to take "every step possible" to prevent another gas pipeline explosion like the one in San Bruno, California, last September that killed eight people.

National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Deborah Hersman opened a special three-day hearing on the San Bruno accident on Tuesday. She acknowledged the pipeline rupture that sent a giant pillar of fire into the air and left dozens of homes in the suburban San Francisco neighborhood in fiery ruins has caused investigators to question whether the same thing could happen elsewhere.

Eight Pacific Gas and Electric Co. officials are scheduled to testify.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

Officials for a California gas company are facing questions about decisions they made prior to a pipeline explosion in September that killed eight people, injured many more and left dozens of homes in smoking ruins.

A new survey from casual gaming company PopCap shows that an incredibly high percentage of adults in the UK and U.S. is into mobile gaming.

This stat may be due in part to the uptick in smartphone adoption. According to a separate Nielsen survey, 31% of U.S. mobile users now own smartphones, and a Pew survey shows nearly half of cellphone users download and use mobile apps, too.

In PopCap's research, more than half (52%) of 2,425 respondents said they had played a game on a mobile device, whether their own device or someone else's, at some time in the past. The percentage for UK respondents was significantly higher (73%) than the rate for U.S. respondents (44%).

Spring is in the air, and now, on the ground. CNN talked to garden experts to get the scoop on this year's best destinations to view beautiful, budding flowers.

Missouri Botanical Garden's Orchid Show
When: Through March 27
Where: St. Louis
Cost: $4 to $8

For an unforgettable display of orchids, the Missouri Botanical Garden offers 7,500 individual orchid plants. This year's Mayan theme pays homage to the Long Count calendar, which some say predicts the world's end in 2012.

Moss-covered mannequins wearing imposing headpieces made of dried botanicals, a serpent fountain and replicas of Mayan stone sculptures are mixed into the tropical display.

"You're going to see a pretty diverse landscape when you go to Missouri," Daniel J. Stark, executive director of the American Public Gardens Association, said of the Botanical Garden. "They have wonderful and different kinds of gardens."

European inflation risks have mounted as a result of turmoil in the Middle East, the European Commission has warned as a fall in eurozone unemployment highlighted the robust pace of economic growth across the continent at the start of the year.

Surging energy and commodity prices mean inflation this year will be "markedly" stronger than thought with risks to forecasts "somewhat tilted to the upside" because of recent geo-political tensions, the European Union's executive arm warned in its latest update on the region's economy.

Tuesday's comments came as Eurostat, the EU's statistical office, reported the eurozone annual inflation rate hit 2.4 percent in February, up from 2.3 percent in January and the highest since October 2008.

The Commission's forecasts and latest economic data strengthen the case for the European Central Bank taking a harder line on inflation threats at its council meeting on Thursday.
Saudi Arabia's main benchmark stock index took an almost 6.8 percent dive on Tuesday, in a drop fueled by mounting unrest in neighboring Gulf countries and reports of the arrest of a prominent Shiite cleric in the Sunni Muslim nation.

The Saudi All Shares Index slid nearly 7.8 percent before rebounding slightly to close the day 6.78 percent down at 5,538 points. The slide built on an almost 6 percent decline over the past two days and brought the market's year-to-date losses to almost 16.5 percent. Much of that loss accrued over the past three days.

Other Gulf exchanges that take their cues from the Saudi market had closed by the time the exchange in Riyadh had changed course from a session-starting gain and shifted deep into the red. Whatever moderate gains the other markets posted Tuesday were likely to be erased on Wednesday, analysts said.

"These are huge losses for one day," said John Sfakianakis, chief economist with the Riyadh, Saudi Arabia-based Banque Saudi-Fransi, noting that a key catalyst was the unrest in Libya and other Arab countries, including Saudi neighbors Oman and Bahrain. "There is a definite selling off, and observing of the market from far away."

The unrest in the Arab region, brewing for the past few weeks, has spread to the Gulf nations, raising concerns that it could affect the OPEC kingpin. Saudi Arabia sits atop the world's largest reserves of conventional crude and crude traders and investors are worried that anti-government demonstrations in the kingdom could cause a supply cut that would send global oil prices to stratospheric levels.
A weapon that was used in the fatal attack on a U.S. immigration agent in Mexico originated in the United States, Mexico's state-run Notimex news agency reported, citing a U.S. official.

Agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives arrested three men in a Dallas suburb Monday in connection with the purchase of weapons that were smuggled into Mexico, ATF spokesman Tom Crowley told Notimex.

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Jaime Zapata was killed and another agent injured when they were ambushed on a highway in the Mexican state of San Luis Potosi last month.

One of the weapons used by the drug cartel members who attacked the agents was purchased by one of the men arrested in Texas, Crowley said.
Moscow's thousands of stray dogs have something to wag their tails about - animal rights activists say the city has dropped a plan to round up the strays and ship them to a camp far out of town.

Animal rights activists had been pressuring the city to abandon the plan, which they said would endanger the dogs by placing them in an environment where diseases would run rampant.

The city government was expected to endorse the plan Tuesday, but Natalya Yunitsyna, head of The Hope Bringers charity, said the deportation proposal was taken off the agenda.

City hall officials were not immediately available for comment.

Yemen's embattled U.S.-backed president accused Washington on Tuesday of instigating protests against his regime, as hundreds of thousands marched in cities across Yemen in the largest rallies yet seeking the longtime ruler's ouster.

President Ali Abdullah Saleh's allegations, unprecedented in their harshness, signaled a growing rift with the United States that could hurt a joint campaign against the al-Qaida terror network in Yemen.

Saleh's comments Tuesday, including charges that the U.S. Embassy in the capital of Sanaa is giving instructions to the protesters, appeared to be part of an attempt to silence the calls for his resignation. Saleh has come under mounting pressure to step down since anti-government protests erupted a month ago.
The mass demonstrations sweeping the Middle East are touching the Palestinian territories, where West Bank and Gaza Strip activists are trying to organize their own "Facebook revolutions."

The Palestinian activists are inspired by the calls for democracy that toppled autocratic leaders in Egypt and Tunisia and threaten longtime rulers in Libya and Bahrain.

In recent weeks, activists using Facebook have brought hundreds of people onto streets of the West Bank, waving Palestinian flags and calling for change. Smaller gatherings have taken place in Gaza. The protesters hope to stage a massive demonstration in both areas on March 15.

Whether they can succeed is far from certain because of the unique situation of the Palestinians. In contrast to countries where crowds have rallied against a single, despised leader, the Palestinians face a series of intertwined problems, making it harder to rally around a common cause.

A jury is scheduled to hear opening statements in the New Jersey trial of one of six men charged in the brutal slayings of three college-bound friends in 2007.

Alexander Alfaro was 16 at the time of the murders, which focused attention on Newark and shocked New Jersey's largest city into taking steps to handle its crime problem.

Dashon Harvey, Terrance Aeriel and Iofemi (eye-OH'-feh-mee) Hightower were enrolled or planning to enroll at Delaware State University. The Associated Press isn't identifying a fourth victim because of sexual assault charges against other defendants.

Prosecutors contend Alfaro attacked at least two of the victims with a machete.

U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice on Tuesday urged defiant Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi to consider exile, saying she's worried the African nation could plummet into a "humanitarian disaster."

"It's important that he get off the stage," Rice said in an interview on CBS's "The Early Show."

She said that exile "may be an option that he looks at." But the ambassador added that not even that scenario would inoculate the iron-fisted rule from possible prosecution "for the crimes that he and those closest to him have committed."

White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters Monday that getting Gadhafi to flee Libya "would be a quick option. And it would comport with our desire to see him step down."
Stocks are headed for a higher opening Tuesday ahead of reports on auto sales, manufacturing and construction spending.

Automotive website Edmunds.com and J.D. Power and Associates predict that auto sales rose 20 percent in February from the same time last year. Financial analysts say car companies are beginning to offer more discounts and incentives to boost sales.

Manufacturers, meanwhile, likely increased production at a slightly faster pace in February than in January, when output rose at the quickest rate since May 2004. Economists forecast that the Institute for Supply Management's manufacturing index rose to 60.9 in February from 60.8 the previous month. It would be the 19th straight month of manufacturing growth.

Yet economists expect more bad news in housing. Builders likely began work on fewer homes and projects in January, marking the third straight monthly decline in construction spending.

The European Union's highest court on Tuesday barred the insurance industry from charging different rates for men and women, saying the widespread practices amounts to sex discrimination against millions.

The ruling ordered changes effective Dec. 21, 2012, to auto insurance, life insurance, medical coverage and other plans, potentially affecting tens of millions of customers across the continent. For example, many women driver would see their car insurance costs rise even though they are considered safer on the road.

Insurers grudgingly accepted the ruling, but say their current policies are statistically fair and the change will be bad for customers because it will force cost hikes across the board.

"The judgment ignores the fact that taking a person's gender into account, where relevant to the risk, enables men and women alike to get a more accurate price for their insurance," said Maggie Craig, the acting Director General of the Association of British Insurers.
Oscar-winning actress Natalie Portman says she is "shocked and disgusted" by a video in which designer John Galliano says he loves Adolf Hitler.

Portman says in a statement that "as an individual who is proud to be Jewish, I will not be associated with Mr. Galliano in any way."

Both stars work with Christian Dior. Portman is spokesmodel for Miss Dior Cherie perfume. Galliano has been suspended as Dior's creative director pending an investigation into an alleged anti-Semitic incident in a Paris cafe last week.

Portman's statement was provided Tuesday to The Associated Press after a video posted online showed Galliano, in a different incident, drunkenly telling a cafe patron, "I love Hitler."

Portman won the best actress Oscar on Sunday for "Black Swan."

New Jersey's largest university will offer a gender-neutral housing program in three dorms that aims to make the campus more inclusive for gay students.

Starting this fall, gay, lesbian and transgender students at Rutgers University's New Brunswick campus can choose either male or female roommates under the pilot program.

Heterosexual students will also be permitted to live in rooms with students of the opposite sex. Men and women will share bathrooms.

Rutgers drew scrutiny after freshman Tyler Clementi killed himself days after authorities said his dorm roommate used a webcam to capture Clementi in an intimate encounter with a man.

Rutgers Residence Life director Joan Carbone told The Home News Tribune of East Brunswick that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students explained it was difficult to find an accepting roommate.

Iran's foreign ministry spokesman says the country will not respond to international questions about the whereabouts of top opposition leaders who purportedly have been jailed.

Rights groups and family members claim that Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mahdi Karroubi have been taken from their homes and jailed.

The spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast told reporters Tuesday that the issue is a domestic matter and denounced outside pressures to clarify the status of the two opposition figures.

Officials have not supplied clear answers on the location of Mousavi and Karroubi.

The semiofficial news agency ISNA quotes prosecutor Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejehi as saying that the two men are not in a prison, but the report gives no further details.

The U.N. education agency says that 67 million children are not attending school, including 28 million caught in armed conflicts.

UNESCO's 2011 Global Monitoring Report released Tuesday concluded that the world is not on track to achieve the 2015 U.N. target for ensuring universal primary education.

From 1999 to 2008, UNESCO said an additional 52 million children enrolled in primary school - but it said the number of children out school is falling too slowly.

"If current trends continue," the report warned, "there could be more children out of school in 2015 than there are today."

The report calls for tougher action against human rights violations, an overhaul of global aid priorities and strengthened rights for displaced people.
A Danish family whose sailboat was seized by pirates in the Indian Ocean wrote on a travel blog that they were in daily contact with anti-piracy forces and had prepared a "piracy plan" in case of an attack.

The family - a couple with three teenage children, aged 12 to 16 - and two adult crew members, also Danes, were captured Thursday by pirates after sending a distress signal, Denmark's government said.

Most hostages captured in the pirate-infested waters off East Africa are professional sailors. Pirates rarely capture families and children, but a 3-year-old boy was aboard a French yacht captured in 2009. His father was killed in the rescue operation by French navy commandos. Two pirates were killed and four French citizens were freed, including the child.

Blog postings chronicling the Danes' round-the-world journey showed they entered the area well aware that an American yacht had been hijacked by pirates just days before but comforted by the presence of counter-piracy forces.

"Of course, we talked quite a lot about it but this is far over thousands of kilometers (miles) away and the Arabian Sea that we sail in is the size of Europe," the family said a Feb. 20 posting on ING jordenrundt.info. ING is the name of their boat.

Two days later, that standoff ended with four Americans being killed by their Somali captors.
Tour de France champion Alberto Contador says he wants international doping authorities to read his entire case file before deciding whether to appeal the decision by the Spanish cycling federation to clear him of doping.

Contador tells Gazzetto dello Sport on Tuesday "I believe in the system, but they have to show that they believe us too."

The Spanish cyclist tested positive for the banned substance clenbuterol while winning last year's Tour de France. Last month, the Spanish federation accepted Contador's defense that he unintentionally ingested clenbuterol in contaminated beef.

The International Cycling Union and World Anti-Doping Agency can appeal the decision to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Pakistan hiked oil prices by 9.9 percent Tuesday, a move that threatens the stability of the fragile, U.S.-allied civilian government at a time of economic turmoil in the impoverished country.

Jawad Nasim, a spokesman for the country's oil regulator, said the decision was forced by international oil market price increases - spurred by uprisings in Libya and other North African and the Middle Eastern countries. The price of a gallon of gas went from roughly $3.28 per gallon (72.96 rupees per liter) to $3.59 per gallon (80.19 rupees per liter.)

But the increase drew criticism from opposition parties and even some members of Pakistan's governing coalition, and a group representing public transportation workers in Karachi, the country's largest city, threatened to go on strike.

Several lawmakers from both sides also walked out of the National Assembly Tuesday to protest the price hike. Siddiqul Farooq, a spokesman for the main opposition Pakistan Muslim League-N party, said the government should cut its budget instead of "transferring the burden to already overburdened masses."

Oman deployed troops north of the capital Muscat and near the border with the United Arab Emirates on Tuesday, following three straight days of anti-government protests, a government official said.

Oman, ruled by a powerful family dynasty, is the latest Arab nation to be swept up in a wave of regional unrest that has already brought down two leaders and threatened the rule of others.

The center of protests in Oman has been the port town of Sohar, about 120 miles (200 kilometers) northwest of Muscat, where demonstrators demanding higher salaries and jobs have clashed with security forces.

Police killed a protester in Sohar on Saturday, after demonstrations turned violent. Several government buildings and a supermarket were set on fire, local media reported.

Anticipating more unrest, the government deployed troops and military vehicles around the capital and near Oman's border with the UAE, a government official said Tuesday. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to release information to the media.

Protests have been rare in Oman and the ruler, Sultan Qaboos bin Said, is offering reforms to try to quell the demonstrations. On Sunday, he ordered 50,000 civil service jobs be created and offered a monthly stipend of 150 rials ($390) for job seekers. A day earlier, the sultan replaced six Cabinet members.

About a thousand people participated in a pro-government rally on Tuesday afternoon. They rallied in central Muscat, in front of the capital's biggest mosque, chanting slogans in support of Oman's long-serving ruler and calling on the anti-government protesters in Sohar to refrain from destroying state and private property.
Pakistan hiked oil prices by 9.9 percent Tuesday, a move that threatens the stability of the fragile, U.S.-allied civilian government at a time of economic turmoil in the impoverished country.

Spikes in international oil market prices - spurred by uprisings in Libya and other parts of North Africa and the Middle East - forced the raise in Pakistani prices, said Jawad Nasim, a spokesman for the country's oil regulator. The price of a liter (0.26 gallon) of petrol went from 72.96 rupees (85 cents) to 80.19 rupees (94 cents).

Opposition parties and even some members of Pakistan's governing coalition immediately denounced the raise.

Haider Abbas Rizvi, a senior member of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, said the price increase was unacceptable because it would further burden Pakistan citizens, who are already struggling to deal with double-digit inflation and chronic power shortages.

The MQM briefly left the governing coalition in January when the government tried to raise fuel prices, and Rizvi hinted that the party may once again defect to the opposition unless the ruling Pakistan People's Party reverses its decision in three days.

The ruling party backed off on that earlier increase to keep the MQM onboard and save its majority in parliament, upsetting the United States and international lenders whose billions are keeping Pakistan's economy afloat. The U.S. in particular has an interest in seeing Pakistan stay economically and politically stable because it relies on the country's cooperation to further its war aims in Afghanistan.

It was not immediately clear if the People's Party could afford to avoid another price hike this time.

Mohammad Sohail, an economic analyst, estimated the government had lost out on 17 billion rupees ($200 million) by failing to increase gasoline prices since November. Even the 9.9. percent increase on gasoline and other petroleum products wasn't enough to cover losses, he said.
Eight girls were injured when two militants on motorbikes tossed grenades inside a girls' school in northwest Pakistan on Tuesday, a police official told CNN.

The attack took place in a village in Mardan, a district 40 km north of Peshawar.

The region has seen a drop in militant attacks in recent weeks, but during the past two years militants have attacked and bombed hundreds of schools in northwest Pakistan because girls' education is against the Taliban's interpretation of Islamic law.
Just when carmakers thought it safe to roll out new models in the wake of the economic crisis - 170 premiers are advertised for the Geneva Auto Show opening this week - a spike in fuel prices has cast a new shadow over the industry and redoubled attention on green technologies.

Ford Motor Co. said Tuesday it is boosting its offering of low-emissions technologies and will have five alternative powertrains to market in Europe by 2013.

Stephen Odell, the chief of Ford Europe, told reporters that the new powertrains will include hybrid, pure electric and plug-in hybrid technologies.

Fuel prices, driven sharply higher in the past month by tensions in the Middle East, have raised worries that consumers may shy away again from buying a new vehicle.

"With our capabilities in regular combustion engines and with five electric vehicles in production we are well placed," Odell said.
Democratic senators on Tuesday expressed concern that companies hired to help pay and oversee medical claims under the Medicare health insurance program may have costly conflicts of interest.

Subsidiaries of WellPoint Inc, Hewlett Packard Co's EDS Corp., now called HP Enterprise Services, and other companies have "numerous relationships" that raise concern, the lawmakers' staff wrote in memo released on Tuesday.

Congressional staffers said they looked at those and several other Medicare contractors that the government has hired to monitor the bills that doctors and other healthcare providers send the government after treating Medicare patients.

The staffers found that some companies had "clear financial relationships" such as being a subsidiary of another company charged with actually paying out a claim and processing it, according to the memo.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), oversees Medicare, the federal program that provides health insurance to about 47 million elderly and disabled Americans.

CMS uses private companies for a range of activities from billing services and payment oversight to providing alternative, privately run drug benefits or health coverage.

"We need a thorough examination of relationships between the contractors paying Medicare claims and their related corporate entities in charge of overseeing those same payments to make sure taxpayer dollars aren't being wasted," Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus said in a statement.

CONGRESS HOLDS HEARINGS

The findings by congressional staffers come as both houses of Congress this week prepare to look at healthcare waste and fraud.

On Wednesday, the Senate Finance Committee and the House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Committee plan to question Obama administration officials and others about Medicare and Medicaid fraud. Medicaid is the state-federal health insurance program for the poor.

Overall, incorrectly paying healthcare providers too much money is estimated to cost the federal government nearly $50 billion a year while abuse costs about $60 billion, according to the staff findings.

Such lost revenue is a major concern for lawmakers struggling to pass the federal government's budget while grappling with a soaring deficit.

Medicare is the nation's largest buyer of healthcare services in the United States -- it paid out, for example, $502 billion in 2009 benefits. It also is the government's biggest entitlement program.

Experts had expected the program to go bankrupt as early as 2017 but now see it surviving until 2029 in the wake of payment cuts and other changes made under President Barack Obama's healthcare reform law passed last year.

Lawmakers of both parties and the Obama administration have pointed to curbing financial waste as one way to save the government billions of dollars.

Along with Senators Tom Carper and Claire McCaskill, who chair subcommittees on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, Baucus is asking the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' inspector general to investigate.

If there are conflicts of interest, that does not necessarily mean the companies are engaged in fraud or waste, the lawmakers' staff said in their memo. But even if they are not, it could still lead to the appearance of a problem, they added.
An Indian court sentenced 11 Muslims to death Tuesday after finding them guilty of setting a train fire that killed 60 Hindu nationalists nine years ago and triggered one of India's worst outbursts of communal violence.

Judge P.R. Patel last week convicted 31 Muslims of being part of a criminal conspiracy that led to the deaths of 60 people when a Sabarmati Express train coach packed with Hindu pilgrims was set on fire in western Gujarat state in 2002.

The court on Tuesday sentenced the other 20 people convicted in the case to life imprisonment, prosecutor J.M. Panchal said.

Those convicted have 90 days appeal their sentence.

About 1,000 people were killed after the fire when groups of Hindus rampaged through Muslim neighborhoods and towns in Gujarat from February to April 2002. Most of the dead were Muslims.

The religious violence was among India's worst since its independence from Britain in 1947. The state government, which has been controlled by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, has been accused by the opposition and media of not doing enough to stop the violence and of even stoking it. Gujarat officials deny that.
Indian authorities are seeking the extradition of an army officer who is accused of the gruesome killing of a Kashmiri human rights lawyer 15 years ago and is now living in California.

Avtar Singh was a major in the Indian army in the 1990s and fled the country after he was accused of killing Jaleel Andrabi in Indian-controlled Kashmir's main city, Srinagar.

A top police officer in Indian Kashmir said Tuesday that Singh's location was discovered after he was arrested Feb. 21 in California in a domestic violence case.

Officer Raja Ajaz Ali said authorities had obtained a fresh arrest warrant and were pushing for Singh's extradition.
Canadian pop singer Nelly Furtado's Twitter admission that she performed for members of embattled Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's family puts her on a select but growing list of top-flight entertainers who have done so.

"In 2007, I received 1million$ from the Qaddafi clan to perform a 45 min. Show for guests at a hotel in Italy," read a tweet on Furtado's official account Monday. "I am going to donate the $."

Between U.S diplomatic cables posted on WikiLeaks and artists' own admissions, no less than five performers have entertained the Gadhafis at a host of international locales.

The Caribbean island of St. Barts was the site for a New Year's Eve party thrown by Mutassim Gadhafi, Libya's national security advisor and one of the dictator's sons, in 2009. R&B stars Beyonce and Usher were the entertainment in what the cables called a $1 million personal concert.

The same son on the same island a year earlier paid another million dollars to hear Mariah Carey sing, the cables said. She sang four songs.

In 2006, the Gadhafis brought pop star Lionel Richie to Libya to perform. The concert marked the 20th anniversary of a U.S. raid on the North African country.

U.S. President Ronald Reagan ordered the attack after Libya was implicated in the fatal bombing at a West Berlin nightclub that left one American service member dead.

CNN tried to reach Libya's representative in Washington on the WikiLeaks cables, but got no response. CNN also reached out to representatives for Beyonce, Usher, Mariah Carey and Lionel Richie for comment.

The only one who responded was a representative for Beyonce, who said "no comment."
U.S. auto sales are expected to show a gain of about 20 percent from the still-depressed levels of a year earlier in February, but the recent rise in oil prices could slow or even derail the industry's recovery, analysts and industry executives say.

Major automakers are set to report auto sales data for February on Tuesday.

The sales results represent one of the first snapshots of U.S. consumer demand, and the February data are expected to show steady demand without evidence of the kind of accelerating turnaround that some analysts had forecast.

For the fifth consecutive month, the annualized sales rate is expected to hold above 12 million vehicles in February.

The average forecast of 41 economists surveyed by Reuters was 12.6 million vehicles on that basis for February, about flat from the sales rate in December and January.

Ford Motor Co's sales analyst George Pipas said the consistent pace of sales was encouraging even though there was a risk that the recovery might not find a higher gear as quickly as expected.

"I think this could be seen as the base for an increase in sales in spring and summer, potentially," Ford Motor Co's sales analyst George Pipas told reporters in a briefing Monday. "Maybe there are things like oil that could jeopardize that."

U.S. crude futures have pulled back from highs above $100 per barrel but investors remain concerned about the security of oil supplies from the Middle East.

The trial of an ex-CIA operative from Cuba is resuming after it was suspended for a day by a defense attorney's family emergency.

One of the three lawyers representing 83-year-old Luis Posada Carriles (loo-EES' poh-SAH'-duh cah-REE'-lehs) is leaving for at least a week, but the case will continue Tuesday.

Testifying is Omar Vega, the FBI agent who headed the Posada investigation.

Posada is an anti-communist militant considered Public Enemy No. 1 in his native Cuba. He's charged with perjury, obstruction and immigration fraud for allegedly lying during citizenship hearings in El Paso.

Vega is expected to discuss the recruitment of an informant whose testimony disputes Posada's claims of how he entered the U.S.

Posada also is accused of lying about planning 1997 Cuban hotel bombings.
Bolivia's president pledged that his government will build new houses for thousands of people who are homeless after a "mega-mudslide" triggered by heavy rainfall in the nation's capital, state media reported.

Nearly a day of uninterrupted downpours caused the Sunday mudslide, the state-run ABI news agency reported.

"Natural phenomena unfortunately are causing a lot of damage. Something is changing on the planet," Bolivian President Evo Morales said, according to a statement posted on the La Paz government website Monday.

The homes of at least 4,000 people were destroyed, ABI said.

Victims left homeless by the disaster struggled to salvage their belongings Monday, ABI said. A massive crack in the ground split a cemetery in two, leaving bones exposed beside crucifixes and cracked headstones.

The news agency said construction along steep hillsides has become common as La Paz expands beyond the valley where it was founded in 1548.
In real life, Steven Demink didn't have children, a college degree or a lasting career. Online, prosecutors say, he presented himself as Dalton St. Clair, an attractive single father and psychologist - a fantasy image authorities say the Michigan man used to persuade mothers across the country to commit unspeakable acts on their children.

Demink, 41, of Redford Township, preyed on single mothers for more than a year, prosecutors say, convincing them to sexually assault their children as a form of therapy. After pleading guilty Monday to six charges related to the sexual exploitation of children, Demink faces 15 years to life in prison when he is sentenced in June.

Demink's alter-ego was a single father of a 14-year-old girl, prosecutors said, and he posted pictures of male models as his headshots. In some cases, court documents say, Demink promised the women a date if they followed through with his directions.

Since authorities arrested him in October, seven children were rescued and at least three mothers have been arrested. Prosecutors say all of the children are now safe.

Authorities say Demink chatted with mothers from New Hampshire, Florida, Idaho and elsewhere, persuading them to engage in sexual acts with their children and send images via e-mail or through a live web stream. The children ranged in age from 3 to 15.

Demink told U.S. District Judge Gerald Rosen that before his arrest, he worked as a car salesman for about six months and before that for about five years at a local bank. He said he completed a U.S. Customs and Border Protection training program in 2002 and worked for the Immigration and Naturalization Service for about a year. He attended college for about two years but did not earn a degree, he said.

As part of his plea agreement with prosecutors, seven charges against Demink were dropped.