Welcome to Overnight News Digest, where the usual crew, consisting of founder Magnifico, regular editors maggiejean, wader, Man Oh Man, side pocket, rfall, and JML9999, alumni editors palantir, Bentliberal, Oke, Interceptor7, jlms qkw, and ScottyUrb, guest editor annetteboardman, and current editor-in-chief Neon Vincent, along with anyone else who reads and comments, informs and entertains you with tonight's news.
The featured story comes from Reuters.
U.S. extends embassy closings, lawmakers say threat serious
By Tabassum Zakaria
WASHINGTON | Sun Aug 4, 2013 6:41pm EDT
(Reuters) - The United States extended embassy closures by a week in the Middle East and Africa as a precaution on Sunday after an al Qaeda threat that U.S. lawmakers said was the most serious in years.
The State Department said 19 U.S. embassies and consulates would be closed through Saturday "out of an abundance of caution" and that a number of them would have been closed anyway for most of the week due to the Eid celebration at the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
The United States initially closed 21 U.S. diplomatic posts for the day on Sunday. Some of those will reopen on Monday, including Kabul, Baghdad and Algiers.
Follow over the jump for the rest of tonight's news.
Analysis: Israeli-Palestinian riddle won't answer Middle East's wider woes
By Crispian Balmer
JERUSALEM | Sun Aug 4, 2013 7:38am EDT
(Reuters) - The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which once transfixed the Arab world, has lost much of its resonance in a Middle East riven by religious strife, political upheaval and economic woes.
News that the two sides had resumed peace talks last week after a three-year halt was largely overshadowed by turmoil in Egypt and the Syrian civil war, which has set Sunni and Shi'ite Muslims against one another.
U.S. officials still hope that resolving the decades-old confrontation will help to unlock the region's wider problems, but analysts say it no longer lies at the strategic heart of a troubled Middle East.
Thousands rally to support embattled Tunisia government
By Tarek Amara and Erika Solomon
TUNIS | Sat Aug 3, 2013 10:20pm EDT
(Reuters) - Tens of thousands of Tunisians came out in a show of force for the country's Islamist-led government on Saturday, in one of the largest demonstrations since the 2011 revolution.
Supporters of the ruling Ennahda party crowded into Kasbah Square next to the prime minister's office in the capital, Tunis. Ennahda officials said more than 150,000 attended. Fireworks flashed overhead and red Tunisian flags fluttered over a sea of demonstrators.
"No to coups, yes to elections," the crowd shouted, in a reference to the army-backed ouster of Egypt's elected Islamist president last month.
Egypt mediation gathers pace but Brotherhood leaders face trial
By Angus MacSwan and Shadia Nasralla
CAIRO | Sun Aug 4, 2013 6:43pm EDT
(Reuters) - Egypt's army-installed government said on Sunday it would give mediation a chance to resolve the crisis brought on by the overthrow of Islamist President Mohamed Mursi, but warned that time was limited.
At the same time, a Cairo court announced that the leader of Mursi's Muslim Brotherhood and two other top officials will face trial in three weeks' time for crimes including incitement to murder during protests in the days before he was toppled.
That could complicate efforts by international envoys and Egyptian factions to launch a political process, encourage national reconciliation and avert further bloodshed.
Whistleblowers pay price even as China vows to fight corruption
By Sui-Lee Wee
HUIZHOU, China | Sun Aug 4, 2013 5:13pm EDT
(Reuters) - Chinese bloggers trying to expose corruption say they are coming under increasing physical and verbal attack over their reports, in what anti-graft activists describe as another blow to efforts to make Chinese officials more accountable.
At least six self-styled whistleblowers have been assaulted or harassed in recent months, according to media reports, Internet postings and several of the bloggers who spoke to Reuters.
Two unidentified men stabbed blogger Li Jianxin in the face and splashed acid on his back on July 8. Li, now blind in his right eye, remains in hospital in the southern city of Huizhou.
The attacks coincide with a government crackdown on activists demanding officials disclose their wealth, underscoring the limits of an anti-corruption push by President Xi Jinping.
Republican Ryan wary of shutdown strategy on Obamacare
By Caren Bohan
WASHINGTON | Sun Aug 4, 2013 2:24pm EDT
(Reuters) - Influential Republican congressman Paul Ryan disagreed on Sunday with the idea of using the threat of a government shutdown as a means of trying to get rid of President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law known as "Obamacare."
Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee and a former vice presidential candidate, said he strongly backs the goal of repealing Obamacare but added there were other, more effective ways of achieving it than by refusing to approve any government funding bill that includes money for the program.
"I think there's going to be a better strategy to actually achieve our goal of ultimately delaying and ultimately replacing Obamacare," the Wisconsin congressman told the CBS talk show "Face the Nation."
Ryan said the shutdown strategy amounted to "swinging for the fences" and wouldn't succeed in gutting Obamacare.
U.S. grand jury probing contractor that vetted Snowden: WSJ
by Ayesha Rascoe and David Ingram
WASHINGTON | Sat Aug 3, 2013 2:41pm EDT
(Reuters) - The company that conducted the most recent security review of former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden is the subject of a federal grand jury investigation into its background check processes, the Wall Street Journal reported on Saturday, citing people involved with the probe.
Federal prosecutors and the Federal Bureau of Investigation are investigating whether USIS, a U.S. government contractor, rushed its cases without doing a proper review, which would be a violation of the False Claims Act, the Journal said.
The grand jury has issued subpoenas to former USIS officials in recent days, the paper reported.
Police shoot dead armed 14-year-old boy in New York City
By Jonathan Allen
NEW YORK | Sun Aug 4, 2013 5:19pm EDT
(Reuters) - A police officer shot an armed 14-year-old boy in New York City early on Sunday after he did not drop his gun when ordered, police said.
After hearing gunshots, two officers came across the boy, whom police identified as Shaaliver Douse, chasing another male down a street in the South Bronx, shooting after him with a 9-millimeter semi-automatic handgun as he ran, police said.
Man arrested after woman killed in California boardwalk hit-and-run rampage
By Dana Feldman
LOS ANGELES | Sun Aug 4, 2013 7:06pm EDT
(Reuters) - A California man has been arrested on suspicion of murder after a driver plowed his car into pedestrians on the popular Venice Beach boardwalk, killing an Italian woman on her honeymoon and injuring 11 other people, police said on Sunday.
Witnesses said it appeared the car's driver had been aiming for pedestrians on Saturday while driving down the popular oceanside walkway at speeds up to 20 miles per hour while people screamed and scrambled to get out of the way.
"Bodies were flying in the air and people were screaming. It was absolute mayhem," eyewitness Dave Blackburn told KABC-TV.
Business and the Economy
What student debt? How the other millennials think about money
By Beth Pinsker
NEW YORK | Sun Aug 4, 2013 9:18pm EDT
(Reuters) - When Josh McFarland graduated from Stanford he owed $40,000 in student loans and couldn't fathom a way he'd ever pay it off and have a future for himself - not unusual for the typical young adult these days. Then he went to work for Google.
As a product manager, he got stock options and cashed them in over the five years he worked there. He married a fellow Google employee, so she had stock too. Then she moved on to Yelp, and he quit to launch TellApart, which provides technology solutions for e-commerce sites.
Now 33, McFarland has a 3-year-old and a newborn and no longer has to think about his student loan: His company has $17.75 million in venture capital investment. While he doesn't consider himself retire-now rich, his piece of the company affords him what he calls "breathing room" and what other people might call wealth.
Tycoon's 10-year crusade to get a Big Mac in Vietnam
By Nguyen Phuong Linh and Martin Petty
HO CHI MINH CITY | Sun Aug 4, 2013 5:15pm EDT
(Reuters) - Tycoon Henry Nguyen mopped floors, flipped burgers and even cleaned toilets over a 10-year campaign to convince McDonald's Corp (MCD.N) to let him bring Big Macs and Happy Meals to communist Vietnam.
McDonald's is making a late entry into this market, where Yum Brands Inc (YUM.N) already has dozens of Pizza Hut and KFC outlets and Burger King Worldwide Inc (BKW.N) has 15 restaurants. Even Starbucks Corp (SBUX.O) debuted in Ho Chi Minh City in February and opened its second branch last week.
Capitalism has taken root in a country that many Americans associate more with an unpopular war than rising wealth. The super-rich are becoming household names in Vietnam, which showcased its first billionaire in June on the cover of its inaugural edition of Forbes magazine.
Entertainment and Sports
ABC in talks to develop TV shows based on 'Star Wars' characters
Sun Aug 4, 2013 3:17pm EDT
Aug 4 (Reuters) - ABC television executives are talking with George Lucas' Lucasfilm studio about making TV shows based on characters developed by the studio that created the "Star Wars" franchise, according to the president of Disney's ABC Entertainment Group.
UPDATE 1-'2 Guns' shoots past 'Smurfs,' 'Wolverine' to claim box office
By Ronald Grover and Chris Michaud
Sun Aug 4, 2013 1:32pm EDT
Aug 4 (Reuters) - "2 Guns," starring Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg as rival federal agents, shot through its weekend competition at movie theaters, collecting $27.4 million to lead the North American box office, according to studio estimates released on Sunday.
"The Wolverine," last weekend's box office leader, finished second with $21.7 million in ticket sales and has totaled $95 million during its two weeks in theaters.
Sony's "Smurfs 2," the newly released sequel to its 2011 movie "The Smurfs" starring Neil Patrick Harris and a band of small blue elf-like creatures, was third with $18.2 million in ticket sales.
Yankees list Rodriguez in lineup
by Julian Linden
NEW YORK | Sun Aug 4, 2013 7:27pm EDT
(Reuters) - The New York Yankees have penciled Alex Rodriguez into their lineup for Monday's game against the Chicago White Sox despite speculation he could be suspended for his alleged links to the Florida clinic accused of supplying performance enhancing drugs.
The Yankees manager Joe Girardi told reporters he planned to include Rodriguez in his team for the game in Chicago after the third baseman was passed fit to play following a long injury break.
"That's just a term. None of us use pencils or pens. We type," Girardi said. "I'm not going to bring him up to sit him."