Turkish Military Heads Resign

ANKARA, Turkey, July 29 (UPI) — High-ranking members of the Turkish military resigned Friday over apparent controversy surrounding the appointment of generals, state media reports.

Turkish Chief of Staff Isik Kosaner and the top commanders in the Turkish air force, navy and army announced they have resigned, Turkish newspaper Today’s Zaman reports.

The newspaper reports there is a controversy between members of the military and the ruling Justice and Development Party. The ruling party said it wouldn’t approve the promotions for some military officials suspected of being involved in a shadowy coup against the government.

There are 195 suspects in the military accused of plotting against the government.

Kosaner met with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in recent days as the government considered promotions for top military officers.

The military last year tried to promote a number of high-ranking officers who were on trial for various criminal cases, the Turkish newspaper adds. The government blocked several appointments.

Erdogan is to meet with senior military officials Monday. He denied there were major tensions with the military.

“The laws regarding dismissals and promotions are obvious,” he was quoted as saying.

Chicago Dedicates Library To Daley

CHICAGO, July 29 (UPI) — Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined former Mayor Richard M. Daley and other city leaders for a ceremony renaming a library after Daley.

The library in the West Humboldt Park neighborhood became the first public building named after Daley, who had served 22 years, the Chicago Tribune reported.

The Thursday ceremony marked the first time Emanuel and Daley have appeared together publicly since Emanuel became mayor in May.

But Emanuel said they had spoken privately several times and had dinner.

Emanuel called Daley “our mayor,” said introducing him was “the greatest of honors that I have ever had” and thanked his predecessor for his public service.

DePaul University named a building after Daley and his wife, Maggie, while the former mayor was in office.

After the ceremony, Daley posed with people in the library in front of a painting of him reading from the 1909 plan for Chicago co-authored by Daniel Burnham and Edward H. Bennett.

The name of Daley’s father, Richard J. Daley, appears on a Loop building that’s part of the Cook County court system, a campus of the City Colleges of Chicago and an elementary school.

Report: Cost Cuts Threaten U.K. Patients

LONDON, July 29 (UPI) — Managers in Britain’s public health service are deliberately delaying operations to save money, an official report says.

The report by the Cooperation and Competition Panel, an independent watchdog that advises the National Health Service, said operations are being delayed in hopes patients will opt for private treatment, The Daily Telegraph reported Thursday.

Some NHS executives insist the delays would lead to savings as “experience suggests that if patients wait longer, then some will remove themselves from the list.”

Interpreting that statement, the panel said: “We understand that patients will ‘remove themselves from the waiting list’ either by dying or by paying for their own treatment at private sector providers.”

But NHS managers, who are already limiting surgeries for cataracts, hips, knees and tonsils, say they must withhold or delay some treatments because the government has ordered the NHS to cut costs by $33 billion by 2015.

Patient advocates say that is unacceptable.

“It is outrageous that some primary care trusts are imposing minimum waiting times,” said Katherine Murphy, chief executive of the Patients Association.

“The suggestion that it could save money because patients will remove themselves from the list by going private or dying is a callous and cynical manipulation of people’s lives and should not be tolerated.”

South Sudan Becomes Newest Member Of AU

LONDON, July 29 (UPI) — The decision to accept South Sudan into the African Union demonstrates the country is taking its place on the international stage, a British official said.

The African Union announced this week that it received the requisite number of written approvals for the admission of South Sudan following the country’s request to join the bloc.

The 53-member African Union noted that 33 member states, including Sudan, backed South Sudan’s request. Admission is decided by a simple majority.

British Foreign Secretary William Hague in a statement said London welcomed South Sudan as the 54th member of the African Union.

“Following accession to the United Nations, this is a further demonstration of South Sudan taking its rightful place among the international community,” he said in a statement.

South Sudan was welcomed as the 193rd member of the U.N. General Assembly shortly after gaining independence July 9. Independence was part of a comprehensive peace agreement reached in 2005 that ended Sudan’s bloody civil war.

Issues like revenue-sharing, currency and border demarcation continue to hamper the security situation in the region.

The United Nations sent peacekeepers to the disputed region of Abyei and rights groups have called for similar action in South Kordofan, the site of alleged ethnic killings along the border between the two Sudans.

U.N. Official Urges Transition In Libya

UNITED NATIONS, July 29 (UPI) — A cease-fire that leads to political transition is the only sustainable way to end the crisis in Libya, a U.N. official told the U.N. Security Council.

Members of the NATO-led military intervention in Libya are lining up behind the rebel-backed Transitional National Council. London this week said the TNC was the sole governmental authority in Libya and that Moammar Gadhafi has lost his legitimacy as a leader.

B. Lynn Pascoe, the U.N. undersecretary-general for political affairs, told members of the Security Council that transitional agreements were needed in Libya as the conflict moves closer to its sixth month.

“As we have said many times, a cease-fire tied to transitional arrangements, which address the aspirations of the Libyan people, is the only sustainable political solution to the crisis in Libya,” he said.

Pascoe said that rebel leaders and members of the Gadhafi regime are talking but their talking points at this stage are miles apart.

In terms of the situation on the ground, the United Nations’ political affairs chief said the situation was fluid.

“The frontlines remain in flux as opposition forces attempt to advance toward Tripoli, while government forces target strategic cities and areas under opposition control,” Pascoe said.”NATO operations continue, primarily against sites in and around Tripoli.”

Air France Report Cites Pilots And Gear

PARIS, July 29 (UPI) — The French agency investigating the crash of an Air France jet into the Atlantic Ocean called Friday for better pilot training and equipment upgrades.

An interim report cites both gear malfunctions and pilot error in the June 1, 2009, Rio-to-Paris Flight 447 crash, which killed all 228 people aboard.

The Bureau d’Enquêtes et d’Analyses made 10 safety recommendations, including placing an image recorder in the cockpit that can observe the whole instrument panel and better “task sharing” with relief crews, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The cockpit crew of the Airbus A330 was distracted by fluctuating air-speed indications and kept pulling back on the controls while reducing engine thrust as the jet fell into the sea, a violation of standard procedure, the report said.

Air France said Friday, “at this stage, there is no reason to question the crew’s technical skills” and pointed to faulty equipment.

The BEA said the air-speed instruments gave conflicting readings, probably because ice was blocking sensors on the exterior of the plane. But the engines functioned throughout and responded to pilot directions.

The agency said airlines must train pilots in manual airplane handling, especially during high-altitude stalls.

Autos To Average 54.5 Mpg By 2025

WASHINGTON, July 29 (UPI) — U.S. President Barack Obama announced fuel economy standards Friday that would push the average rate to 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025.

Thirteen major automakers embraced the new standards, which Obama called “the single most important step we’ve ever taken as a nation to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.”

Obama was joined by representatives of Ford, General Motors, Chrysler, BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Jaguar/Land Rover, Kia, Mazda, Mitsubishi, Nissan, Toyota and Volvo — which account for 90 percent of vehicles sold in the United States — at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington to announce the standards.

“Most of the companies here today were part of an agreement we reached two years ago to raise the fuel efficiency of their cars over the next five years,” Obama said. “We’ve set an aggressive target and the companies are stepping up to the plate. By 2025, the average fuel economy of their vehicles will nearly double to almost 55 miles per gallon.”

Mileage standards are set to rise to 35.5 mpg for the 2012-16 car and light truck models.

Experts estimate the initial increase will save U.S. drivers $1.7 trillion in fuel costs, increasing to more than $8,000 per vehicle by 2025.

“Additionally, these programs will dramatically cut the oil we consume, saving a total of 12 billion barrels of oil, and by 2025 reduce oil consumption by 2.2 million barrels a day — as much as half of the oil we import from OPEC every day,” the White House said.

The administration, which originally wanted 56.2 mpg by 2025, gave Detroit’s Big Three leeway to keep building profitable sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks, officials told The Detroit News.

The agreement includes average increases in fuel economy of 5 percent for passenger cars and 3.5 percent for light trucks through 2021, with a 5 percent increase for all vehicles after that, officials said.

The proposal will be formalized by Sept. 30 and the final rule will be completed next July, the officials said.

Poll: Bicycle Helmets Should Not Be Forced

LONDON, July 29 (UPI) — Forcing people to wear bicycle helmets may cause people to give up cycling altogether and lose the health benefits of regular exercise, a British journal says.

In a poll published in the British Medical Journal, two thirds of the publication’s readers said they opposed compulsory helmets for adults, The Daily Telegraph reported Friday.

“It gives out the message that cycling is dangerous, which it is not,” one respondent said. “The evidence that cycling helmets work to reduce injury is not conclusive.

“What has, however, been shown is that laws that make wearing helmets compulsory decrease cycling activity. Cycling is a healthy activity and cyclists live longer on average than non-cyclists.”

Australia made bicycle helmets compulsory in 1991 but Sydney University researchers say the law should be repealed, arguing a decrease in head injuries was because of road safety improvements rather than the law, The Daily Telegraph reported.

The researchers cited figures from Western Australia indicating a 30 percent drop in cycling rates after the passage of the legislation.

“Since nowhere with a helmet law can show any reduction in risk to cyclists, only a reduction in cyclists, why would anyone want to bring in a law for something, which is clearly not effective at reducing the risk to cyclists?” asked one respondent in the BMJ poll of 1,427 people.

Kerry Releases Funds For Cuban Dissidents

WASHINGTON, July 29 (UPI) — A key U.S. senator has stopped blocking $20 million in aid to Cuban dissidents, a spokesman said.

Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, officially lifted his hold on the funds Thursday after the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development agreed to a “thorough review of the programs,” spokesman Frederick Jones told The Miami Herald.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., still has his own hold on some of the money, but Senate staff said his concerns were likely to be resolved soon as well.

Kerry was said to view the democracy program, which the Castro regime calls subversion, as ineffective and wasteful, and fears it could delay the release of Alan Gross, a U.S. government subcontractor jailed in Cuba.

Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., a Cuban-American, was considering blocking Senate action on all ambassadorial nominations until Kerry called off his block, staffers said.

Chicago Adopts New Curfews For Children

CHICAGO, July 29 (UPI) — The Chicago City Council has established new curfews for children under 12 and parents of repeat violators could pay heavy fines, officials in City Hall said.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has given his blessing to the curfews, which require the young children to be inside by 8:30 p.m. weekdays and 9 p.m. on weekends, the Chicago Tribune reported Friday.

Emanuel said parents who exercise “insufficient control” could be fined up to $500 or community service if their young children receive two curfew citations in a calendar year, and fines up to $1,500 for “three strikes.”

“I grew up with a curfew,” Emanuel said. “When the lights on the street went on, you took your tail and made it home and [got] in the house. And that’s what I believe is the right policy for the safety and security of our kids … it means that we’re aligning good parenting and the laws of the city.”

Former Mayor Richard Daley set the curfew times two years ago at 10 p.m. weekdays and 11 p.m. weekends for children under 17. The same curfew had also applied to younger children.