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World briefly on Aug. 24

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POSTED: August 24, 2012 6:55 a.m.

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Never one to back away from a fight, Lance Armstrong is finally giving in and the cost of quitting is steep: His seven Tour de France titles could be gone as soon as Friday.

The superstar cyclist, whose stirring victories after his comeback from cancer helped him transcend sports, chose not to pursue arbitration in the drug case brought against him by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. That was his last option in his bitter fight with USADA and his decision set the stage for the titles to be stripped and his name to be all but wiped from the record books of the sport he once ruled.

Travis Tygart, USADA's chief executive, left no doubt that was the next step. He said Armstrong would lose the titles as soon as Friday and be hit with a lifetime ban, even though he is retired and turning 41 next month.

Still to be heard from was the sport's governing body, the International Cycling Union, which had backed Armstrong's legal challenge to USADA's authority. Tygart said the UCI was "bound to recognize our decision and impose it" as a signer of the World Anti-Doping Code.

"They have no choice but to strip the titles under the code," he said.

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Breivik deemed sane, sentenced to prison for bomb and gun attacks he calls anti-Muslim crusade

OSLO, Norway (AP) — A Norwegian court sentenced Anders Behring Breivik to prison on Friday, denying prosecutors the insanity ruling they hoped would show that his massacre of 77 people was the work of a madman, not part of an anti-Muslim crusade.

Breivik smiled with apparent satisfaction when Judge Wenche Elisabeth Arntzen read the ruling, declaring him sane enough to be held criminally responsible and sentencing him to "preventive detention," which means it is unlikely he will ever be released.

The sentence brings a form of closure to Norway, which was shaken to its core by the bomb and gun attacks on July 22, 2011, because Breivik's lawyers said before the ruling that he would not appeal any ruling that did not declare him insane.

Prosecutors had argued Breivik was crazy as he plotted his attacks to draw attention to a rambling "manifesto" that blamed Muslim immigration for the disintegration of European society.

Breivik argued that authorities were trying to cast him as sick to cast doubt on his political views, and said during the trial that being sent to an insane asylum would be the worst thing that could happen to him.

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Q&A: After Breivik declared sane and sentenced to prison, what comes next?

OSLO, Norway (AP) — A chapter of a terror case that has haunted Norway for 13 months ended Friday as confessed mass killer Anders Behring Breivik was declared sane and sent to prison for bomb and gun attacks that killed 77 people and injured 200 others last year.

After deliberating for two months, a five-judge panel in Oslo's district court handed down a sentence of "preventive detention" of at least 10 years and a maximum of 21 years for the right-wing extremist. However, such sentences can be extended under Norwegian law as long as an inmate is considered dangerous.

Breivik, a 33-year-old Norwegian on a mission to expel Muslims from Europe, set off a car bomb that killed eight people outside government headquarters in Oslo and he then killed 69 others in a shooting rampage on Utoya island, where young members of the governing Labor Party had gathered for their annual summer camp. Breivik says he would appeal an insanity ruling but accept a prison term.

Here are some questions and answers about the case and possible outcomes on Friday.

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Romney highlights role of offshore tax havens in helping ensure big business is 'doing fine'

HOPKINS, Minn. (AP) — Creating a potential headache for his campaign, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said big businesses in the U.S. were "doing fine" in part because they get advantages from offshore tax havens.

His comments echoed similar assertions about the state of big business by President Barack Obama which Romney has criticized. They're also a reminder that the GOP candidate has kept some of his personal fortune in low tax foreign accounts.

"Big business is doing fine in many places," Romney said during a campaign fundraiser Thursday. "They get the loans they need, they can deal with all the regulation. They know how to find ways to get through the tax code, save money by putting various things in the places where there are low tax havens around the world for their businesses."

Romney's assertions resembled Obama's declaration earlier this summer that the "private sector is doing fine." Romney and other Republicans pounced on the president's comments and cast them as an indication that he was out of touch with the nation's economic struggles.

Romney didn't mention Thursday that he has kept some of his personal money in offshore tax havens, including accounts in Switzerland and the Cayman Islands.

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AP Exclusive: Romney campaign uses secretive, high-tech data-mining to find wealthy donors

WASHINGTON (AP) — Mitt Romney's success in raising hundreds of millions of dollars in the costliest presidential race ever can be traced in part to a secretive data-mining project that sifts through Americans' personal information — including their purchasing history and church attendance — to identify new and likely, wealthy donors, The Associated Press has learned.

For the data-mining project, the Republican candidate has quietly employed since at least June a little-known but successful analytics firm that previously performed marketing work for a colleague tied to Bain & Co., the management-consulting firm that Romney once led.

The head of Buxton Co. of Fort Worth, Texas, chief executive Tom Buxton, confirmed to the AP his company's efforts to help Romney identify rich and previously untapped Republican donors across the country.

The Romney campaign declined to discuss on the record its work with Buxton or the project's overall success.

There are no records of payments to Buxton from Romney's campaign, the Republican National Committee or a joint fundraising committee. Under federal law, companies cannot use corporate money or resources, such as proprietary data analysis, for in-kind contributions to campaigns.

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Ill. police: Teen held 2 years escapes captors; man and his mother in custody, child recovered

WASHINGTON PARK, Ill. (AP) — A teen girl reported missing more than two years ago told police she escaped a home in southwestern Illinois where she had been held captive and repeatedly sexually assaulted.

Authorities in Washington Park, a village next to East St. Louis, raided the house Thursday afternoon and took into custody a 24-year-old man and his mother. They also recovered the teen's young child, which the girl said was the result of rape by her captor.

Washington Park Police Chief David Clark said they believe the man's mother aided the crimes. Police would not identify either of them by name because they had not been charged as of early Friday.

About two dozen members of a SWAT team wearing helmets and body armor swarmed the home with assault rifles drawn. They recovered the child and arrested a man and his mother.

One officer carried the child from the home, shielding the toddler with a sheet. The child was then taken away in an ambulance.

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Prosecutors say Colo. theater shooting suspect was angry over poor academic performance

CENTENNIAL, Colorado (AP) — James Holmes was a promising neuroscience doctoral candidate, but by the end of the program's first year, he had fallen out of favor with professors and failed a key exam, prosecutors said.

Details of his behavior before he became a suspect in a suburban Denver theater shooting were not released. But it raised enough concerns for campus police to run a background check on Holmes, although University of Colorado spokeswoman Jacque Montgomery declined to elaborate on the reason Thursday.

Prosecutors went before a judge Thursday to seek the school's records on Holmes, including his application, grades and course schedules, and anything concerning his termination or withdrawal from the school in June. He had failed an oral board exam on June 7, then withdrew from the school three days later.

Holmes faces charges in a July 20 shooting during the new Batman movie that left 12 dead and 58 others wounded.

"What's going on in the defendant's life at the time is extremely relevant to this case," Chief Deputy District Attorney Karen Pearson said of their need for the documents.

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Adm. McRaven threatens legal action against troops telling secrets, after raid book announced

WASHINGTON (AP) — Special operations chief Adm. Bill McRaven is warning he will take legal action against anyone under his command if they're found guilty of exposing sensitive information that could cause fellow forces harm.

In an email Thursday to special operations forces and obtained by The Associated Press, McRaven threatens to pursue "every option available to hold members accountable, including criminal prosecution."

The warning comes a day after a retired Navy commando revealed he's publishing a first-hand account of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. Pentagon officials say they have not been given a chance to review the book.

McRaven also took former special operators to task for "using their 'celebrity' status to advance their personal or professional agendas."

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Tropical Storm Isaac heads for Hispaniola, but less likely to strike as a hurricane

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Tropical Storm Isaac strengthened slightly as it spun toward the Dominican Republic and Haiti, but seemed unlikely to gain enough steam early Friday to strike the island of Hispaniola as a hurricane.

The storm's failure to gain the kind of strength in the Caribbean that forecasters initially projected made it more likely that Isaac won't become a hurricane until it enters the Gulf of Mexico, said Eric Blake, a forecaster with U.S. National Hurricane Center in Miami.

"We think it could become a hurricane on Monday," Blake said late Thursday. "It would be somewhere over the Gulf of Mexico."

The latest five-day forecast showed the storm's path shifting to the west, possibly making landfall near the Alabama-Mississippi border, Blake said. But he said it was "too early to know" the exact course and stressed that Florida's Gulf Coast, including Tampa, the site of next week's Republican National Convention, was still in the forecast cone.

The storm dumped heavy rain Thursday across eastern and southern Puerto Rico and whipped up waves as high as 10 feet (3 meters) in the Caribbean as it churned across the region.

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South Korean court rules Samsung didn't copy Apple's iPhone design, but both infringed patents

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — South Korea's Samsung won a home court ruling in its global smartphone battle against Apple on Friday when Seoul judges said the company didn't copy the look and feel of the U.S. company's iPhone, and that Apple infringed on Samsung's wireless technology.

However, in a split decision on patents, the panel also said Samsung violated Apple technology behind the bounce-back feature when scrolling on touch screens, and ordered both sides to pay limited damages.

The Seoul Central District Court ruling called for a partial ban on sales of products, including Apple's iPads and smartphones from both companies, though the verdict did not affect any latest-generation smartphone.

The ruling affects only the South Korean market, and is part of a larger, epic struggle over patents and innovation unfolding in nine countries. The biggest stakes are in the U.S., where Apple is suing Samsung for $2.5 billion over allegations it has created illegal knockoffs of iPhones and iPads.

The Seoul ruling was a rare victory for Samsung in its arguments that Apple has infringed on its wireless technology patents, which previously have been shot down by courts in Europe.

 

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