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Overnight News Digest

OND is a community feature  on Daily Kos, consisting of news stories from around the world, sometimes coupled with a daily theme, original research or commentary. Editors of OND impart their own presentation styles and content choices, typically publishing each day near 12:00AM Eastern Time.

OND Editors consisting of founder Magnifico, regular editors maggiejean, wader, Man Oh Man, side pocket, rfall, and JML9999, alumni editors palantir, Bentliberal, Oke, jlms qkw, Interceptor7, and ScottyUrb, guest editor annetteboardman, and current editor-in-chief Neon Vincent, along with anyone else who reads and comments, informs and entertains you.

BBC:Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer to retire within 12 months


Microsoft chief Steve Ballmer to retire within 12 months

Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer is to retire from the technology giant within the next 12 months.

Shares in Microsoft, criticised for its slow response to the booming market for mobile devices, leapt 9% on the news.

Mr Ballmer, who last month unveiled a restructuring to address the criticism, said in a statement: "There is never a perfect time for this type of transition, but now is the right time.

"We need a CEO who will be here longer term for this new direction."


BBC:San Diego mayor Bob Filner quits amid harassment claims

San Diego mayor Bob Filner quits amid harassment claims

The mayor of San Diego, who has been battling sexual harassment allegations by 18 women and a related lawsuit, has finally bowed to calls for him to quit.

Democrat Bob Filner stood aside with an apology to the women concerned, but denied sexually harassing anyone.

His departure follows negotiations with the Californian city's council over legal fees for the lawsuit he faces.

City Council President Todd Gloria will now become acting mayor and a special election will be held in 90 days.


BBC:Afghan massacre soldier Robert Bales gets life sentence

Afghan massacre soldier Robert Bales gets life sentence

The US soldier who murdered 16 Afghan villagers last year has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Staff Sgt Robert Bales, 40, opened fire on men, children and women during the attack in Kandahar on 11 March 2012.

He pleaded guilty to the massacre in June to avoid the death penalty.

He apologised during his sentencing hearing at a Washington state military base on Thursday, calling the attack an "act of cowardice".


BBC:Fort Hood gunman Maj Nidal Hasan guilty on all counts

Fort Hood gunman Maj Nidal Hasan guilty on all counts

The US Army psychiatrist who shot dead 13 comrades at a Texas Army base in 2009 has been convicted of all charges.

Maj Nidal Hasan faces the death penalty after being found guilty of 13 counts of pre-meditated murder and 32 counts of attempted murder.

Maj Hasan, 42, said he opened fire on the unarmed US soldiers to protect Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan.

The jury, which reached a unanimous verdict in seven hours, begins the penalty phase of the trial on Monday.


BBC:Bo Xilai rejects 'insane' wife Gu Kailai's testimony

Bo Xilai rejects 'insane' wife Gu Kailai's testimony

Former top Chinese politician Bo Xilai has dismissed his wife's testimony that implicates him in corruption, claiming she is insane.

Mr Bo's wife, Gu Kailai, testified that a rich Chinese entrepreneur bought gifts for the family to gain favours.

Gu Kailai was herself convicted last year of the murder of British businessman Neil Heywood.

The scandals involving Mr Bo's family, which used to be one of the most elite in China, have captivated the country.


BBC:Colombia recalls Farc peace talks team

Colombia recalls Farc peace talks team

Colombia's President Juan Manuel Santos says he has recalled government negotiators "immediately" after Farc rebels announced a "pause" in peace talks.

He said he wanted to assess the Farc's decision, adding that talks would resume "when we deem it appropriate".

The Farc said it wanted to study a proposal that any peace deal must be put to a referendum.

The talks have been taking place in Cuba since last November.


Reuters:Initial Western intelligence finds Syrian forces used chemical weapons

Initial Western intelligence finds Syrian forces used chemical weapons

(Reuters) - U.S. and allied intelligence agencies have made a preliminary assessment that chemical weapons were used by Syrian forces in an attack near Damascus this week, likely with high-level approval from the government of President Bashar al-Assad, according to American and European security sources.

The early intelligence finding could increase pressure for action by President Barack Obama, who made clear that he planned to tread cautiously even as his aides sought to narrow their differences in debate over possible military responses to the Syrian government.

The sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, cautioned that the assessment was preliminary and, at this stage, they were still seeking conclusive proof, which could take days, weeks or even longer to gather.

But with a mounting international outcry over the apparent mass poisoning of hundreds of people, the issue appeared to have taken on a sense of urgency for the Obama administration.


Reuters:Connectivity issue between Nasdaq and Arca preceded outage: source

Connectivity issue between Nasdaq and Arca preceded outage: source

(Reuters) - The vague "connectivity issue" that Nasdaq said triggered the outage that paralyzed a large part of the U.S. stock market on Thursday originated as a problem between Nasdaq and rival NYSE Arca, a source familiar with the matter said Friday.

Nasdaq said the problem started shortly before midday Thursday and quickly cascaded through its Securities Information Processor, or SIP, the system that receives all traffic on quotes and orders for stocks on the exchange, preventing it from disseminating quotes.

The source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said brief outages between exchanges occur from time to time but are short-lived.

In such instances, traders receive alerts from an exchange that essentially tell them to rout their order flow elsewhere for a period. Most of these episodes, which may occur several times a week, are resolved quickly.


Reuters:U.S. Navy expanding presence in Mediterranean due to Syria: official

U.S. Navy expanding presence in Mediterranean due to Syria: official

(Reuters) - The U.S. Navy will expand its presence in the Mediterranean with a fourth cruise-missile armed warship because of the escalating civil war in Syria, a defense official said on Friday.

The USS Mahan had finished its deployment and was due to head back to its home base in Norfolk, Virginia, but the commander of the U.S. Sixth Fleet has decided to keep the ship in the region, the defense official said.

The official, who was not authorized to speak publicly, stressed that the Navy had received no orders to prepare for any military operations regarding Syria.

U.S. officials are considering a range of options for responding to reports that Syria has used chemical weapons against civilians, including possible cruise missile attacks from the sea, a senior defense official told Reuters earlier.


Reuters:Electric carmaker Tesla hits roadblock in China over trademark

Electric carmaker Tesla hits roadblock in China over trademark

(Reuters) - Popular electric carmaker Tesla Motors Inc's (TSLA.O) plans to enter the world's biggest auto market have stalled after a businessman in China claimed trademark rights to the name, people close to the California-based company have told Reuters.

The maker of the best-selling U.S. electric car, the premium Model S sedan with a price tag of $70,000, had originally hoped to launch a flagship showroom in Beijing at the start of the year, according to three sources, but has had to put that idea on hold due in part to the trademark issue.

As a result, the 10-year-old company's first shop-front in China, at the Parkview Green Fangcaodi mall in the capital, sits boarded up. While there is no Tesla sign, the shop is adorned with billboards of the Model S, which was launched in the United States last year.

In addition to the trademark issue, Tesla has yet to complete product registration with Chinese authorities enabling the sale of the Model S, although one of the sources said Tesla was almost through with the process.


Reuters:New high-radiation spots found at quake-hit Fukushima plant

New high-radiation spots found at quake-hit Fukushima plant

(Reuters) - The operator of Japan's crippled Fukushima nuclear plant said on Thursday new spots of high radiation had been found near storage tanks holding highly contaminated water, raising fear of fresh leaks as the disaster goes from bad to worse.

The announcement comes after Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) said this week contaminated water with dangerously high levels of radiation was leaking from a storage tank.

A tsunami crashed into the Fukushima Daiichi power plant north of Tokyo on March 11, 2011, causing fuel-rod meltdowns at three reactors, radioactive contamination of air, sea and food and triggering the evacuation of 160,000 people.

It was the world's worst nuclear accident since Chernobyl in 1986 and no one seems to know how to bring the crisis to an end.


Reuters:Central banks don't need to rush ultra-easy money exit: IMF's Lagarde

Central banks don't need to rush ultra-easy money exit: IMF's Lagarde

(Reuters) - Central banks in Europe, the United States and Japan have no need to rush to exit the ultra-easy monetary policies they have put in place to spur growth, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said on Friday.

But in prepared remarks at the U.S. Federal Reserve's annual Jackson Hole policy symposium, she also said that central banks must work with each other to minimize spillover from any withdrawal of policy accommodation that could stifle world growth.

"Policies and policy coordination are not yet where they need to be. Failing to act at the global level, with each country playing its part, could put the global recovery at risk," she said.

Central bankers from around the world are attending the annual conference hosted by the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank in the mountainous splendor of Wyoming's Grand Teton National Park.


LA Times:No more 'real' gifts on Facebook - it's all cards from now on

No more 'real' gifts on Facebook - it's all cards from now on

If you were signing onto Facebook to send a friend a new LOLcat magnet or friendship bracelet, you'd better click fast — Facebook is taking physical gifts off the table and moving entirely to digitally-redeemable gifts and cards.

Perhaps the hassle of keeping track of stock, promotions and new products was a bit too much for the social network, especially when "real" gifts were only 20 percent of purchases. Facebook started the gifts program last November. The company gave NBC News the following statement Friday about the revamped gifts section:


    Today we're beginning to roll out a new design for Facebook Gifts focused on gift cards. Since launching Gifts in December last year, roughly 80% of gifts have been gift cards. So, we're now adding more digital codes and making the Facebook Card redeemable at more merchants. As a part of this shift in focus to Facebook Card and digital codes, we’re also phasing out physical gifts.

 
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