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.
Washington warns Assad over 'undeniable' chemical weapons attack
By Lesley Wroughton and Erika Solomon
WASHINGTON/BEIRUT | Mon Aug 26, 2013 5:57pm EDT
(Reuters) - The United States put Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on notice on Monday that it believes he was responsible for using chemical weapons against civilians last week in what Secretary of State John Kerry called a "moral obscenity."
"President (Barack) Obama believes there must be accountability for those who would use the world's most heinous weapons against the world's most vulnerable people," Kerry said in the most forceful U.S. reaction yet to the August 21 attack.
Speaking after U.N. chemical weapons experts came under sniper fire on their way to investigate the scene of the attack, White House spokesman Jay Carney said the use of chemical weapons was undeniable and "there is very little doubt in our mind that the Syrian regime is culpable."
Follow over the jump for the rest of tonight's news.
Palestinians killed in Israeli raid, peace talks continue
By Ali Sawafta and Noah Browning
RAMALLAH, West Bank | Mon Aug 26, 2013 5:50pm EDT
(Reuters) - Israeli troops shot dead three Palestinians during an early morning raid in a West Bank refugee camp on Monday, hours before negotiators met for another round of peace talks, Palestinian sources said.
Israeli border police said they entered the Qalandiya camp, near Jerusalem, to arrest a man and were confronted by a crowd throwing firebombs and rocks.
Witnesses said the Israeli forces opened fire and hospital officials told Reuters three men were killed.
Obama to see Putin at G20 summit in St Petersburg but meeting unclear
By Steve Holland
WASHINGTON | Mon Aug 26, 2013 5:39pm EDT
(Reuters) - President Barack Obama will see Russian President Vladimir Putin next week at the G20 summit in St Petersburg, White House spokesman Jay Carney said on Monday, but whether they will hold an individual meeting was unclear.
Fukushima operator to seek foreign advice on toxic water
By Antoni Slodkowski
HIRONO, Japan | Mon Aug 26, 2013 6:09pm EDT
(Reuters) - Tokyo Electric Power Co, the operator of the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant, said it would invite foreign decommissioning experts to advise it on how to deal with highly radioactive water leaking from the site, and Japan signaled it may dip into a $3.6 billion emergency reserve fund to help pay for the clean-up.
Visiting the plant crippled by an earthquake and tsunami in March 2011, Toshimitsu Motegi, the trade and industry minister, said on Monday he would set up a taskforce to take charge of the clean-up, and send officials to Fukushima to oversee operations.
"I strongly feel that the government should get fully involved," he told reporters after touring the Fukushima Daiichi facility, which is 220 km (137 miles) north of Tokyo.
U.S. lawmakers call on Obama to consult them on Syria
By Patricia Zengerle
WASHINGTON | Mon Aug 26, 2013 6:43pm EDT
(Reuters) - U.S. lawmakers urged President Barack Obama on Monday to consult them as he decides how to respond to last week's apparent poison gas attack in the Damascus suburbs, with some complaining that they have not been fully informed.
Secretary of State John Kerry issued a tough statement on Monday, saying that the suspected chemical weapons attack was a "moral obscenity" and accused Syria's government of covering it up.
He added that the Obama administration was consulting with allies and members of Congress and would decide soon how to respond.
Obama administration sees mid-October default deadline
By Jason Lange
WASHINGTON | Mon Aug 26, 2013 5:51pm EDT
(Reuters) - The Obama administration warned Congress on Monday that the United States could run out of money to pay its bills soon after mid-October if lawmakers do not move swiftly to raise a limit on government borrowing.
"Congress should act as soon as possible to protect America's good credit," Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said in a letter to congressional leaders, urging action "well before any risk of default becomes imminent."
The government has been scraping up against its $16.7 trillion debt limit since May, but has avoid defaulting on any of its obligations by employing a number of emergency measures to manage its cash, like suspending investments in pension funds for federal workers.
Yosemite blaze rages closer to reservoir for San Francisco
By Laila Kearney
SAN FRANCISCO | Mon Aug 26, 2013 7:28pm EDT
(Reuters) - One of the largest California wildfires in decades roared largely unchecked for a 10th day through forests in and around Yosemite National Park on Monday and threatened a reservoir that supplies most of San Francisco's water.
As of midday, the eastern flank of the so-called Rim Fire had burned to within a mile of Yosemite's Hetch Hetchy reservoir on the Tuolumne River, raising concerns about the possibility of ash and soot contaminating the sprawling artificial lake.
On Saturday, flames had been no closer than 4 miles from the reservoir, which supplies 85 percent of the water consumed by 2.6 million people in San Francisco and several communities in three adjacent counties about 200 miles to the west.
Business and the Economy
Wall Street ends lower after Kerry blasts Syria on chemical weapons
By Angela Moon
NEW YORK | Mon Aug 26, 2013 5:05pm EDT
(Reuters) - U.S. stocks fell in light volume on Monday after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called Syria's use of chemical weapons "undeniable."
In a kneejerk reaction to Kerry's strong words against Syria, major U.S. stock indexes gave up their gains and turned negative in the last hour of trading. Stocks had traded higher for most of the session, as sharply weaker orders for long-lasting manufactured goods eased investors' worries of a cutback in the Federal Reserve's economic stimulus.
"The turnaround (in stocks) is probably a reaction to Secretary of State Kerry's comments. We are seeing signs of escalation here and geopolitical concerns are trumping," said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Rockwell Global Capital in New York.
Nasdaq trading halt exposes communication gaps when crisis hits
By Herbert Lash
NEW YORK | Mon Aug 26, 2013 5:46pm EDT
(Reuters) - The three-hour trading halt last week in Nasdaq stocks has raised questions about the exchange's communications effort and whether procedures need to be established to keep the investing public informed when mishaps occur.
Trading in about 3,200 Nasdaq-listed stocks, including Apple Inc, Google Inc and Facebook Inc, ground to a halt on Thursday after an unexplained "connectivity issue" with the system that disseminates last sale prices and stock quotes.
Nasdaq, a unit of Nasdaq OMX Group Inc, began sending alerts to trading desks when trading was halted shortly after noon, though some people in the market question whether the exchange released enough information.
U.S. judge tosses BofA suit vs FDIC over $1.7 billion investor losses
By Jonathan Stempel
Mon Aug 26, 2013 6:51pm EDT
(Reuters) - A federal judge on Monday threw out Bank of America Corp's (BAC.N) lawsuit against the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp over $1.7 billion of investor losses stemming from the collapses in 2009 of a large regional bank and a large mortgage lender.
The lawsuit concerned the FDIC's role as receiver for an banking unit of Alabama's Colonial BancGroup Inc and the implosion of Taylor, Bean & Whitaker Mortgage Corp, home to what federal prosecutors called a $2.9 billion mortgage fraud.
Bank of America, as trustee for notes issued by Taylor Bean's Ocala Funding LLC unit, had contended that the FDIC wrongly denied claims by Ocala noteholders to recover from Colonial Bank. Among the buyers of Ocala's notes were Deutsche Bank AG (DBKGn.DE) and France's BNP Paribas SA (BNPP.PA).
U.S. judge approves Facebook privacy settlement over ads
By Dan Levine
SAN FRANCISCO | Mon Aug 26, 2013 5:36pm EDT
(Reuters) - A U.S. judge on Monday granted final approval to Facebook's $20 million settlement of a lawsuit over targeted advertising despite objections that the deal did not go far enough to protect children's privacy.
Five plaintiffs filed a class action against Facebook in 2011, saying the social networking giant's "Sponsored Stories" program shared users' "likes" of certain advertisers with friends without paying them or allowing them to opt out.
The case has highlighted tension between privacy concerns and Facebook's drive to monetize user content.
Dodgers owner could be interested in Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune
By Jennifer Saba
Mon Aug 26, 2013 4:42pm EDT
(Reuters) - Another sports team owner is eyeing the possibility of becoming a newspaper publisher.
Mark Walter, the controlling partner of the group that owns the Los Angeles Dodgers, said he could be interested in buying the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune for the right price.
"The Los Angeles Times says something," Walter told the Los Angeles Times late on Friday. "It means something. It's a brand. I think people have undervalued that. If the price were right, I would buy it."
Entertainment and Sports
Dodgers series defeat a blip in resurgent season
By Mark Lamport-Stokes
LOS ANGELES | Mon Aug 26, 2013 6:48pm EDT
(Reuters) - Such has been the extraordinary dominance of the resurgent Los Angeles Dodgers over the past two months that a series loss to the Boston Red Sox over the weekend barely dented their collective stride.
The Dodgers were beaten 8-1 by the Red Sox in the rubber match of a three-game series in Los Angeles on Sunday, the first series they have lost since June 14-16 at Pittsburgh.
During that span, they had won or split 18 series in a row to set a franchise record.
Hollywood reflects on race in year of black, civil rights films
By Mary Milliken
LOS ANGELES | Mon Aug 26, 2013 12:31pm EDT
(Reuters) - Race in America has been a hot topic of debate this summer and Hollywood, as if on cue, has muscled its way into the conversation.
This year is shaping up to be a big one in film for African American, black and civil rights themes, offering audiences different lenses through which to consider the complex question of racial equality, both historically and in the present day.
In 2011, Hollywood had "The Help," a story of the civil rights struggle among maids in 1960s Mississippi, and in 2012, director Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained" produced a novel take on slavery. Both were nominated for best picture Oscars and did well at the box office.
In 2013, there are half a dozen films to choose from, several from black directors. They include civil rights drama "Lee Daniels' The Butler," which has led the box office for the past two weekends, and Steve McQueen's "12 Years a Slave," the true story of free man who is enslaved, which premieres in October.
Madonna top-earning celebrity, trumping Spielberg, Winfrey: Forbes
By Chris Michaud
NEW YORK | Mon Aug 26, 2013 6:08pm EDT
(Reuters) - She's still the Material Girl.
Pop diva Madonna 55, is the world's top-earning celebrity, according to a Forbes list released on Monday, raking in an estimated $125 million in the past year, mainly from her $305 million-grossing MDNA tour, but helped by sales of clothing, fragrance and various investments.
Director Steven Spielberg, who had a big hit last year with "Lincoln," was a distant second with earnings of $100 million in the year ended June 2013, most of which came from his catalog of past hits such as "E.T." and "Jurassic Park," which continue to bring in big bucks.
"Madonna's success, at age 55, just goes to show the incredible power of a successful music career," Forbes reporter Dorothy Pomerantz said, noting that 27-year-old pop singer Lady Gaga has often been said to be channeling Madonna's four-decade-long career.