Wednesday, July 25, 2012
Colorado shooting suspect allegedly planned attack while surrounded by brain experts
CENTENNIAL, Colo. (AP) — James Holmes spent a year in a small neuroscience doctoral program, surrounded by scientists and roughly three dozen classmates delving into the inner workings of the brain.
The University of Colorado, Denver, isn't saying if they had any warning signs.
Experts say, however, the intimacy of the program and its focus on the brain may not have been enough for staff and students to detect that Holmes was on a course that police say ended with a deadly rampage at a midnight showing of the new Batman movie.
Supported by a prestigious federal grant, Holmes, 24, was in the first year of a program at the Anschutz Medical Campus dedicated to neuroscience, studying such topics as how the brain works or malfunctions or helping develop drugs to treat epilepsy and other disorders.
But it is not behavioral science or psychology, experts say.
Son of ex-Syrian defense minister, friend of president, confirms defection, calls for unity
BEIRUT (AP) — Fighter jets unleashed sonic booms and helicopter gunships strafed rebels as they pressed their fight Tuesday into new neighborhoods in Aleppo, Syria's largest city. Farther south, ground troops combed Damascus after the nearly complete rout of the largest rebel assault yet on the capital.
After a series of setbacks, President Bashar Assad's forces are solidifying their grip on Aleppo and Damascus, knowing that their fall would almost certainly spell the regime's end.
The regime appears to be regaining momentum after a series of setbacks that put it on the defensive. But while its forces easily outgun the rebels in direct confrontations, the rebellion has spread them thin — pointing to a drawn-out civil war.
Syria's two biggest cities, home to more than one-third of the country's 22 million people and centers of its political and economic life, have remained largely insulated from the unrest that has ravaged much of the rest of the country during the 16-month conflict.
But this month, rebels from surrounding areas have pushed into both, bringing street battles to previously calm urban neighborhoods.
Nonpartisan budget office says Obama's health law still reduces deficit, fewer will be covered
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama's health care overhaul will shrink rather than increase the nation's huge federal deficits over the next decade, Congress' nonpartisan budget scorekeepers said Tuesday, supporting Obama's contention in a major election-year dispute with Republicans.
About 3 million fewer uninsured people will gain health coverage because of last month's Supreme Court ruling granting states more leeway, and that will cut the federal costs by $84 billion, the Congressional Budget Office said in the biggest changes from earlier estimates.
Republicans have insisted that "Obamacare" will actually raise deficits — by "trillions," according to presidential candidate Mitt Romney. But that's not so, the budget office said.
The office gave no updated estimate for total deficit reductions from the law, approved by Congress and signed by Obama in 2010. But it did estimate that Republican legislation to repeal the overhaul — passed recently by the House — would itself boost the deficit by $109 billion from 2013 to 2022.
"Repealing the (health care law) will lead to an increase in budget deficits over the coming decade, though a smaller one than previously reported," budget office director Douglas Elmendorf said in a letter to House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio.
In sweeping indictment, Romney says Obama threatens US security; White House dismisses claim
RENO, Nev. (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Tuesday called for an independent investigation into claims the White House had leaked national security information for President Barack Obama's political gain, part of a searing speech that marked a wholesale indictment of the Democrat's foreign policy.
In a race that has so far focused almost entirely on the sluggish economy, Romney also critiqued Obama's handling of Iran's nuclear threat, the violence in Syria and relations with Israel during a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention.
In his first foreign policy speech since emerging as the likely Republican presidential nominee, Romney accused Obama of putting politics over national security, a serious charge that went straight at a policy area where national polls show the president with the edge.
The turn also was a reminder that the increasingly biting campaign, which paused over the weekend in deference to the deadly movie theater shooting in Colorado, was on again in earnest.
"This conduct is contemptible," Romney said of the leaks of classified information. "It betrays our national interest. It compromises our men and women in the field. And it demands a full and prompt investigation by a special prosecutor, with explanation and consequence."
EYES ON LONDON: British gymnasts feel the magnitude of competing in a home Olympics
LONDON (AP) — Around the 2012 Olympics and its host city with journalists from The Associated Press bringing the flavor and details of the games to you:
KEEP CALM, CARRY ON
LONDON — Get off Twitter, keep your eyes on the ground in the Olympic village and, whatever you do, don't gape at all those British flags or messages of encouragement from what seems like the entire country. Like all British athletes, the gymnasts are feeling the magnitude of competing in a home Olympics. Add to that the heightened expectations for a program that's become an emerging power since Beijing and, well, it can be a little much. "It's been overwhelming, definitely," says Rebbeca Tunney, who, at 15, is the youngest member of the entire British delegation. "I wasn't expecting it to be like this. I was expecting it to be huge. But this is different."
—Nancy Armour — Twitter http://twitter.com/nrarmour
Stocks slide again on Wall Street as companies report weak earnings; Europe still looms large
NEW YORK (AP) — A parade of grim news, from weak corporate earnings to a pullback at U.S. factories to spreading fault lines in Europe's debt crisis, sent investors fleeing stocks for a third straight day on Tuesday.
As if that weren't bad enough, Apple delivered a rare earnings disappointment after the closing bell, boding poorly for Wednesday's trading.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 104.14 points, or 0.8 percent, to 12,617.32. It was the third triple-digit point loss in a row for the blue chip index. The last time that happened was September, when fears were rife that the U.S. was on the brink of another recession.
Lower earnings forecasts from corporate bellwethers like United Parcel Service, combined with a weak report on manufacturing, fed fears of more disappointing results from Corporate America in the coming days.
"Our guess is we haven't seen the worst," said Carl Yingst, chief market analyst at Joseph Gunner, an investment bank.
Satellites spot melting nearly all over Greenland, a sudden freak event not seen since 1889
WASHINGTON (AP) — Nearly all of Greenland's massive ice sheet suddenly started melting a bit this month, a freak event that surprised scientists.
Even Greenland's coldest and highest place, Summit station, showed melting. Ice core records show that last happened in 1889 and occurs about once every 150 years.
Three satellites show what NASA calls unprecedented melting of the ice sheet that blankets the island, starting on July 8 and lasting four days. Most of the thick ice remains. While some ice usually melts during the summer, what was unusual was that the melting happened in a flash and over a widespread area.
"You literally had this wave of warm air wash over the Greenland ice sheet and melt it," NASA ice scientist Tom Wagner said Tuesday.
The ice melt area went from 40 percent of the ice sheet to 97 percent in four days, according to NASA. Until now, the most extensive melt seen by satellites in the past three decades was about 55 percent.
Ghana's vice president sworn in hours after President Atta Mills dies at 68 before term ends
ACCRA, Ghana (AP) — President John Atta Mills' election victory secured Ghana's reputation as one of the most mature democracies in West Africa, a position further solidified Tuesday when the vice president took over only hours after the 68-year-old president died five months before finishing his first term.
John Mahama's swift inauguration underscored Ghana's stability in a part of the world where the deaths of other leaders have sparked coups.
"We are deeply distraught, devastated as a country," Mahama said after his swearing-in ceremony, where he raised the golden staff of office above his head.
Ghanaian state-run television stations GTV and TV3 broke into their regular programming to announce the president's death Tuesday afternoon. Government officials did not release the cause of his death, which came three days after his 68th birthday.
Rumors had swirled about Atta Mills' health in recent months after he made several trips to the United States, and opposition newspapers had reported he was not well enough to run for a second term.
Penn State loses one sponsor, others could follow; cost of child sex abuse scandal rises
STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — State Farm is pulling its ads from Penn State football broadcasts, while General Motors is reconsidering its sponsorship deal and Wall Street is threatening to downgrade the school's credit rating, suggesting the price of the sexual abuse scandal could go well beyond the $60 million fine and other penalties imposed by the NCAA.
Bloomington, Ill.-based State Farm said it had been reviewing its connection to Penn State since the arrest of retired assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky last November. The insurance company said it will pull ads from broadcasts of Nittany Lions home games but continue to advertise during Penn State's away contests.
"We will not directly support Penn State football this year," State Farm spokesman Dave Phillips said Tuesday. "We just feel it was the best decision."
State Farm had no immediate information on how much money is at stake.
The NCAA imposed unprecedented sanctions against Penn State on Monday, including the fine, a four-year bowl ban and a sharp reduction in the number of football scholarships it may offer.
US beats Spain 100-78 in rematch of Olympic basketball gold-medal game
BARCELONA, Spain (AP) — Gold medal at stake or nothing at all, the U.S. Olympic basketball team was bringing its best Tuesday.
Being back on the Dream Team's turf required it.
Carmelo Anthony came off the bench to score 23 of his 27 points in the first half, and the Americans beat Spain 100-78 in a rematch of the gold-medal game — and possible preview of the next one.
LeBron James added 25 and Kevin Durant had 13, including 10 in the first 3 ½ minutes of the third quarter to help the U.S. break open the teams' final exhibition game before heading to London.
"We knew that this was a big game," U.S. guard Chris Paul said. "When Coach K talked to us, he told us this was probably the biggest game here in Barcelona since the '92 team was here, so we approached it like that and it was a good win for us."