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TOP HEADLINES: Talks collapse in Greece; Facebook CEO turning 28

Sunday, May 13, 2012 | 9:29 p.m. CDT; updated 10:29 a.m. CDT, Monday, May 14, 2012

Here are today's top headlines from The Associated Press.

Greek coalition talks collapse, elections seen likely

ATHENS, Greece — Critical talks to form a governing coalition in crisis-struck Greece foundered once more, leading the country one step closer to new elections — and bringing its continued presence in the euro into serious doubt.

Last-ditch efforts by President Karolos Papoulias to broker a deal between wrangling party leaders ended with no deal in sight late Sunday, a week after national elections produced a deadlock, with no party winning enough seats to form a government.

State television said talks would continue Monday evening between the heads of the parties that came in the top three spots in the elections, the conservative New Democracy, radical left-wing Syriza and socialist PASOK, plus the head of the small Democratic Left party, which is in a king-maker position.

But Syriza said it would not attend the talks, state television said, throwing the entire meeting into question.

Syriza head Alexis Tsipras campaigned on a platform for Greece to pull out of its commitments in the international bailout agreement, which has given the country billions in rescue loans. He has insisted he can't back a government that won't overturn the harsh austerity measures taken in return for the bailout.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg turns 28 Monday: Does age matter?

NEW YORK — Don't let the hoodie and sneakers fool you. Mark Zuckerberg is no wet-behind-the-ears CEO.

Facebook's chief executive turns 28 on Monday, setting in motion the social network's biggest week ever. The company is expected to start selling stock to the public for the first time and begin trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market on Friday. The IPO could value Facebook at nearly $100 billion, making it worth more than such iconic companies as Disney, Ford and Kraft Foods.

At 28, Zuckerberg is exactly half the age of the average S&P 500 CEO, according to executive search firm Spencer Stuart. With eight years on the job, he's logged more time as leader than the average CEO, whose tenure is a little more than seven years, according to Spencer Stuart. Even so, the pressures of running a public company will undoubtedly take some getting used to. Once Facebook begins selling stock, Zuckerberg will be expected to please a host of new stakeholders, including Wall Street investment firms, hedge funds and pension funds who will pressure him to keep the company growing.

Young as he may seem — especially in that hooded sweatshirt — Zuckerberg will be about the same age as Michael Dell and older than Steve Jobs when those two took their companies, Dell Inc. and Apple Inc., public. In his years as Facebook's CEO, he has met world leaders, rode a bull in Vietnam while on vacation, started learning Mandarin Chinese and as a personal challenge, wore a tie for the better part of a year.

Facebook, of course, got its start in Zuckerberg's messy Harvard dorm room in early 2004. Known as Thefacebook.com back in those days, the site was created to help Harvard students — and later other college students — connect with one another online. The scrappy website later grew to include high-schoolers, then anyone else with an Internet connection. Today more than 900 million people log in at least once a month, making Facebook the world's definitive social network.

49 bodies found on Mexican highway leading to US border

MONTERREY, Mexico — Forty-nine bodies with their heads, hands and feet hacked off were found Sunday dumped on a northern Mexico highway leading to the Texas border in what appeared to be the latest carnage in an escalating war between Mexico's two dominant drug cartels.

Local and federal authorities discovered the bodies before dawn lying in a pool of blood at the entrance to the desert town of San Juan, on a highway leading from the metropolis of Monterrey to the border city of Reynosa. A white stone arch welcoming visitors was spray-painted with black letters: "100% Zeta."

Nuevo Leon state security spokesman Jorge Domene said at a news conference that the 43 men and six women would be hard to identify because of the lack of heads, hands and feet. The bodies were being taken to a Monterrey auditorium for DNA tests.

The victims could have been killed as long as two days ago at another location, then transported to San Juan, a town in Cadereyta municipality about 105 miles west-southwest of McAllen, Texas, and 75 miles southwest of the Roma, Texas, border crossing, state Attorney General Adrian de la Garza said.

De la Garza said he did not rule out the possibility that the victims were U.S.-bound migrants.

Afghan peace negotiator assassinated; Afghan forces taking charge in more areas of the nation

KABUL, Afghanistan — A gunman in a car assassinated a former high-ranking Taliban official working to end the decade-long war in Afghanistan, dealing a powerful blow Sunday to the fragile, U.S.-backed effort to bring peace to the country.

Arsala Rahmani, a top member of the Afghan peace council and a senator in Parliament, was killed a week before a key NATO summit and just hours before President Hamid Karzai announced the third stage of a five-part transition that is supposed to put Afghan security forces in control of their country by the end of 2014.

Police said an assassin with a silencer-equipped pistol shot Rahmani, who was in his 70s, as he was riding in his car in one of the capital's most secure areas, near Kabul University. The gunman fired from a white Toyota Corolla that pulled up alongside Rahmani's vehicle at an intersection. Rahmani's driver rushed him to a hospital, but he died on the way, police said.

Rahmani was a former deputy minister of higher education in the Taliban regime that was ousted by the U.S.-led invasion in 2001. He eventually reconciled with the government and was trying to set up formal talks with the insurgents.

The killing was another setback to efforts to negotiate a political resolution to the war. In September 2011, former Afghan President Burhanuddin Rabbani, who was head of the peace council, was assassinated in his Kabul home by a suicide bomber posing as a peace emissary from the Taliban.

Yahoo names Ross Levinsohn interim CEO, replacing embattled Scott Thompson

NEW YORK — Yahoo swept out Scott Thompson as CEO Sunday in an effort to clean up a mess created by an exaggeration about his education that destroyed his credibility as he set out to turnaround the long-troubled Internet company.

Ross Levinsohn, who oversees Yahoo's content and advertising services, is taking over as interim CEO. He becomes the fourth person to run Yahoo in eight months.

Yahoo hired Thompson, the former head of eBay's PayPal, in January to orchestrate a reversal. Although, Yahoo is one of the Internet's most-visited websites, the company has struggled to grow in face of competition from the likes of Google and Facebook. The company's difficulties have irked investors. Thompson took the helm as Yahoo's fourth chief executive in less than five years.

Thompson's abrupt exit after just four months on the job came as part of the latest shake-up on Yahoo's board of directors, which has been in a state of flux for several months.

Yahoo Chairman Roy Bostock and four other directors who had already announced plans to step down at the company's annual meeting later this year are leaving the board immediately. Three of the spots will be filled by activist hedge fund manager Daniel Loeb, a disgruntled shareholder who dropped a bombshell that led to Thompson's departure, and two of his allies, former MTV Networks executive Michael Wolf and turnaround specialist Harry Wilson.

Drawing of structure said to shed light on Iran's secret nuclear work

VIENNA — A drawing based on information from inside an Iranian military site shows an explosives containment chamber of the type needed for nuclear arms-related tests that U.N. inspectors suspect Tehran has conducted there. Iran denies such testing and has neither confirmed nor denied the existence of such a chamber.

The computer-generated drawing was provided to The Associated Press by an official of a country tracking Iran's nuclear program who said it proves the structure exists, despite Tehran's refusal to acknowledge it.

That official said the image is based on information from a person who had seen the chamber at the Parchin military site, adding that going into detail would endanger the life of that informant. The official comes from an IAEA member country that is severely critical of Iran's assertions that its nuclear activities are peaceful and asserts they are a springboard for making atomic arms.

A former senior IAEA official said he believes the drawing is accurate. Olli Heinonen, until last year the U.N. nuclear agency's deputy director general in charge of the Iran file, said it was "very similar" to a photo he recently saw that he believes to be the pressure chamber the IAEA suspects is at Parchin.

He said even the colors of the computer-generated drawing matched that of the photo he had but declined to go into the origins of the photo to protect his source.

Democracy vs. austerity: Will Irish vote deal mortal blow to Europe's deficit-fighting treaty?

DUBLIN — When voters in Greece and France got the chance, they dealt a resounding "No!" to parties backing austerity measures. The Irish could be next to give the European Union's austerity plans a black eye.

A May 31 referendum here asks the public to approve an EU treaty that aims to control nations' annual deficits and longer-term debts. But critics say the treaty ignores the competing need to stimulate growth.

Ireland, once staunchly pro-EU but increasingly euroskeptical, is the only member of the bloc putting the agreement to a national vote.

Analysts of the 3-year-old euro-zone crisis say an Irish rejection of the treaty, combined with Francois Hollande's victory as France's president and a hard-left turn in Greece's parliamentary elections, could force the continent to shift in favor of less cutting and greater investment in growth.

And they agree that, even if the fiscal treaty is ratified by the minimum 12 nations required, it is likely to be an economic dead letter before it comes into force next year. Its key goal — to bind nations into tighter debt and deficit limits under the threat of EU fines — seems downright perverse in the face of widening recession.

Space shuttle is lifted from the NASA 747 aircraft, getting ready for museum home

The space shuttle Enterprise has been separated from the NASA 747 Shuttle Carrier at John F. Kennedy International Airport, just weeks after flying over New York City.

The shuttle is now resting under a de-icing shed at the airport. Next month it will be taken by barge to the aircraft carrier USS Intrepid, the floating air-and-space museum that will be the shuttle's permanent home. The shuttle is scheduled to open to the public in mid-July.

Enterprise never went on an actual space mission; it was a full-scale test vehicle used for flights in the atmosphere and experiments on the ground.

A trophy, then a win: James scores 32, Wade adds 29 and Heat top Pacers 95-86 in Game 1

MIAMI — LeBron James was promised some rest. It never came.

The MVP didn't care, not after he and the Miami Heat struck the first blow against the Indiana Pacers.

James accepted his third MVP trophy from Commissioner David Stern before the game, then scored 26 of his game-high 32 points while playing every second of the second half — adding a season-high 15 rebounds as well — as the Heat survived some rough stretches to beat the Pacers 95-86 on Sunday in Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series.

"I just looked at him straight in the eyes and said, 'You can flat-out not get tired, period,'" Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "And he made MVP plays on both ends of the court."

Dwyane Wade scored 29 points for the Heat, who won the game but lost Chris Bosh for the second half and possibly longer. Bosh scored 13 points before leaving late in the first half with a lower abdominal strain, with the team saying he was being scheduled for an MRI exam to determine the severity.


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