Google News has been under pressure over the inclusion of some news sources in their index -- they even lost a court battle in Belgium which forced them to put the embarrassing court ruling on the main page of Google.be. Google News Sitemaps were just launched today, giving current news sources more flexibility over which content is crawled on their sites.
Could this new "feature" be their backup plan for a torrent of legal battles that might crop up over the service in the future? One thing is sure, uploading a sitemap is as much of an "opt-in" for Google News as an "opt-out" for any type of legal action against Google.
This could also be the first steps of a Google News prototype being tested that gives authors of articles found on the service to participate in discussions/debates around the topic covered.