BC-AP News Digest 6 pm

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Associated Press

Posted on October 2, 2012 at 4:00 PM

The world at 6 p.m. Times EDT.

At the Nerve Center, news producers Suzanne McCrory, Marco Mulcahy and Mike Stewart can be reached at 800-845-8450 (ext. 1600). For photos, Dan Goodman (ext. 1900). For graphics and interactives, ext. 7636. Expanded AP content can be obtained from http://www.apexchange.com. For access to AP Exchange and other technical issues, contact customersupport(at)ap.org or call 877-836-9477.

A selection of top photos can be found at: http://bit.ly/APTopPhotos

NEW & DEVELOPING

— Adds AP EXCLUSIVE: MEXICO-EMBASSY VEHICLE SHOOTING.

— SECOND CHANCE — Game starts at 7:10 p.m.

Has moved:

— PENN STATE-ABUSE — McQueary files defamation lawsuit against Penn State over treatment in Sandusky scandal.

— BIDEN — Republicans pounce after Biden says middle class has been 'buried' the last four years.

— HOFFA SEARCH — False alarm: Soil tests show there's no sign that Teamsters boss Jimmy Hoffa — or anyone else — was buried under a shed in Michigan decades ago. AP photos.

— MEDICAL MARIJUANA-LOS ANGELES — Los Angeles City Council votes to repeal ban dealing with medical marijuana dispensaries.

— EDUCATION SECRETARY-TEXTBOOKS — Education secretary calls for making textbooks obsolete, using digital instead.

TOP STORIES

US-NORTH AFRICA-TERROR

WASHINGTON — Small teams of U.S. special operations forces with a counterterrorism mission arrived at American embassies throughout North Africa months before militants attacked the consulate in Libya, killing the U.S. ambassador. The revelation comes as Congress complains that requests for extra security at the consulate were ignored. The force is the clearest sign yet of Obama administration's growing concern about al-Qaida and its offshoots in recent months. By Intelligence Writer Kimberly Dozier.

AP photos.

— US-CONGRESS-LIBYA — House committee says requests for more security for US diplomats in Libya were denied.

GOP ROMNEY WORRIES

WASHINGTON — On the eve of the first presidential debate, a lot of Republican reviews already are in for Mitt Romney's campaign, and they are not pretty. In some states, candidates who will share the Nov. 6 ballot are distancing themselves amid fears that he is headed for defeat. By Special Correspondent David Espo.

AP photos.

— CAMPAIGN-DEBATE-THREE PARTS — A presidential debate is more than just the 90 minutes onstage. For the campaigns, it's a three-part performance, and the first one's already started. AP photos.

— PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN — Romney sparks new flashpoint with Obama on immigration before their first debate Wednesday.

US-TERRORISM CENTERS, HFR

WASHINGTON — The government's multibillion-dollar program to share information with state and local authorities in the aftermath of 9/11 has improperly monitored innocent Americans and produced no valuable intelligence on terrorism, contends a new Senate report. It portrays an effort that ballooned far beyond anyone's ability to control or even understand. By Matt Apuzzo and Eileen Sullivan. For release at 10 p.m.

SYRIA

BEIRUT — A Hezbollah commander and several of his fighters are killed in Syria, a development that could stoke already high tensions over the Lebanese militant group's role in the civil war next door. Hezbollah's reputation has taken a beating over its support for the Syrian regime, but any sign that the group's fighters are taking part in the fighting raises fears that the conflict could engulf Lebanon and the region. By Elizabeth A. Kennedy.

AP photos, video.

TEXAS TESTING SCANDAL

EL PASO, Texas — When they pressured the three Avalos brothers to drop out of high school, administrators cited excessive tardiness. But the siblings suspect they were targeted as part of a detailed scheme to push out hundreds of low-performing sophomores to prevent them from taking accountability tests. The system was supposed to help El Paso schools qualify for federal money and ensure the superintendent got hefty bonuses. But three years later, the former superintendent faces prison time, and the district is trying to contact ousted students to help them complete their education. By Juan Carlos Llorca.

AP photos.

GANG CRACKDOWN-NYC

NEW YORK — Police investigating the Very Cripsy Gangsters and Rockstarz street gangs in Brooklyn didn't have to spend all their time pounding the pavement. Instead, they turned on their computers and followed the trash talk on Facebook. "Rockstarz up 3-0," one suspect boasted — a reference to the body count of the gangs' bloody turf war. Authorities say a new generation of gang members can't resist using social media to taunt, threaten and intimidate rivals. Police and prosecutors in New York have responded by doubling the size of the NYPD's anti-gang unit to more closely monitor Facebook and other social media for leads and evidence — a tactic raising questions of privacy. By Tom Hays.

BIRTH DECLINE, HFR

NEW YORK — U.S. births fell for a fourth year, the government reported Wednesday, with experts calling it more proof that the weak economy has continued to dampen enthusiasm for having children. But there may be a silver lining: The decline last year was just 1 percent — not as sharp a fall-off as earlier years. "It may be that the effect of the recession is slowly coming to an end," said one demographer. By Medical Writer Mike Stobbe. For release at 12:01 a.m.

MORE ON THE CAMPAIGN

VOTER ID-PENNSYLVANIA

HARRISBURG, Pa. — A judge blocks Pennsylvania's tough voter identification law from going into effect this election, ruling that less advantaged people who couldn't meet the strict photo IDs would be kept from voting. Democrats hail the decision as a victory for President Obama in a presidential swing state, saying the law would have targeted the elderly and minorities. The 6-month-old law — one of nearly a dozen recently passed nationwide — has sparked a divisive debate over voting rights in a presidential election year. By Marc Levy.

AP photos, interactive.

— VOTER ID-PENNSYLVANIA-GLANCE.

COLORADO POLITICAL PORTRAIT

DENVER — Not too long ago, Colorado was a reliable vote for the Republican presidential candidate. Now it's become a focus of national politics, a battleground state fought over by both sides. What changed? Demographics. By Nicholas Riccardi.

AP photos.

— ROMNEY-OVERSEAS BALLOTS — Romney campaign seeks extended deadline for receipt of ballots from military, overseas voters.

— ANN ROMNEY — She's her husband's chief defender, even taking on his GOP critics. Ann Romney has been venturing out on her own and working to woo women who polls show like Obama more than her husband. AP photos.

— WHY IT MATTERS-DEFENSE SPENDING — Candidates part ways on defense spending during times of lean budgets. AP photos.

— SOULS TO THE POLLS — Leaders at hundreds of mainly African-American and Latino churches in battleground states step up efforts to get out the vote. AP photos.

— STEWART-O'REILLY-DEBATE — Jon Stewart and Bill O'Reilly get ready to 'Rumble' in mock debate.

INTERNATIONAL

AP EXCLUSIVE: MEXICO-EMBASSY VEHICLE SHOOTING

MEXICO CITY — Evidence suggests that Mexican federal police who fired on a U.S. Embassy vehicle, wounding two CIA officers, were working for organized crime on a targeted assassination attempt, a senior U.S. official says. By E. Eduardo Castillo.

AP photo.

GEORGIA-PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION

TBILISI, Georgia — Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili concedes defeat in the parliamentary election and says an opposition coalition led by a businessman who made his billions in Russia has the right to form a government. The concession belied opposition claims that the government intended to steal the election, and allows Saakashvili to preserve his legacy as a pro-Western leader who brought democracy to this former Soviet republic. By Lynn Berry.

AP photos.

— GEORGIA-IVANISHVILI PROFILE — He collects rare animals, buys priceless art and professes to be a psychoanalyst. Bidzina Ivanishvili, a onetime barefoot village boy turned eccentric billionaire philanthropist, looks poised to become the new leader of Georgia, a strategic South Caucasus country that lives in the shadows of giant neighbor Russia.

VATICAN-SCANDAL

VATICAN CITY — Pope Benedict XVI's onetime butler declares he is innocent of the aggravated theft of the pope's private correspondence, but acknowledges he photocopied the papers and says he feels guilty that he betrayed the trust of the pontiff he loves like a father. By Nicole Winfield.

AP photos.

BRITAIN-JIMMY SAVILE

LONDON — For decades, Jimmy Savile was a fixture on British television — an eccentric, aggressively jocular host of children's shows and a tireless charity fundraiser. A year after he died, aged 84 and honored as Sir Jimmy, several women have come forward to claim he was also a sexual predator and serial abuser of underage girls. The allegations have set off ripples of shock — but not of surprise. There had, colleagues said, long been rumors. The main question being asked now is: Why did no one do anything? By Jill Lawless.

AP photos.

— ISRAEL-POLITICS — Israel's prime minister holds the prospect of early elections over the heads of his coalition partners, opening a drive to get his budget approved, a campaign that could have foreign policy implications.

— MEXICO-DEPORTEE FLIGHTS — US begins flying home deported Mexicans from Texas in effort to relieve border cities.

— HONDURAS-CAMPAIGN COFFINS — With Honduras escalating murder rate, some say coffins are now political swag.

— EGYPT-CONSTITUTION — Liberals struggling to prevent Islamist domination in writing of Egypt's new constitution.

— US-TAIWAN-VISAS — US grants visa-free travel to Taiwan residents, a privilege not enjoyed by China.

NATIONAL

BORDER SHOOTING

NACO, Ariz. — A Border Patrol agent is shot to death near the U.S.-Mexico border, the first fatal shooting of a border agent since one died in a 2010 firefight with bandits. That shooting spawned congressional inquiries into a botched government investigation that allowed guns to flow into Mexico. While it wasn't clear whether guns were seized in southern Arizona, longtime critics of the gun-smuggling probe say any shooting along the border now will raise the specter that those illegal weapons were used. By Jacques Billeaud and Paul Davenport.

AFFIRMATIVE ACTION-COLLEGES, HFR

As the Supreme Court revisits the use of race in college admissions next week, critics of affirmative action hope the justices are poised to roll back the practice. A new report offers a big reason for their optimism: evidence the nine states where public universities don't use affirmative action have still succeeded in bringing diversity through race-neutral means. By Education Writer Justin Pope. For release at 12:01 a.m.

— ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT-LAW LICENSE — Illegal immigrant in Florida fights for law license; state Supreme Court appears skeptical.

— SUPREME COURT-SUING THE GOVERNMENT — Supreme Court questions lawsuit against US government over credit card printing violation.

GAYS IN CONGRESS

NEW YORK — Of the four openly gay members of Congress, the two longest-serving stalwarts are vacating their seats. Instead of fretting, their activist admirers are excited about a record crop of gays vying to win seats in the next Congress — and to make history in the process. When it reconvenes in January, Congress could have its first openly gay Asian-American, its first openly bisexual member, and its first openly gay senator. By National Writer David Crary.

AP photos.

— INDIANA STUDENTS-SEX ABUSE SUIT — Ind. parents say son, 8, faced 'horrific' sex abuse from fellow second-graders who acted out scenes from porn videos they downloaded on school computers.

HEALTH

MENOPAUSE HORMONES, HFR

A new study may reassure some women considering short-term use of hormones to relieve hot flashes and other menopause symptoms. Starting low-dose treatment early in menopause made women feel better and did not seem to raise heart risks. By Chief Medical Writer Marilynn Marchione. For release at 12:01 a.m.

BUSINESS

ECONOMY

WASHINGTON — The U.S. economy is looking more resilient, thanks in part to rising auto sales and home prices. Americans bought new vehicles at a brisk pace last month, and they enjoyed another surge in home prices — a trend that could boost confidence as more homeowners sell and more buyers decide a home is a good investment. But job growth remains weak, and many worry about the threat of tax increases and spending cuts set to take effect next year. By Christopher S. Rugaber and Tom Krisher.

AP photos.

AMERICAN AIRLINES-SEATS

DALLAS — American Airlines says passenger seats on a third flight came loose during flight and it's continuing to inspect other jets with similar seating. The discovery occurred after similar incidents since last week. The airline says the loose seats are not the result of sabotage by workers. By Airlines Writer David Koenig.

AP photos.

— RETAIL-HOLIDAY FORECAST — National Retail Federation says holiday sales to rise 4.1 percent amid uncertainties.

— ISRAEL-ELECTRIC CAR — Israeli electric car company Better Place replaces CEO and founder.

ENTERTAINMENT

BOND AT 50

LONDON — He's come a long way in the 50 years since the release of a modestly budgeted spy movie called "Dr. No." It introduced a dapper but deadly secret agent who wore Savile Row suits, drove an Aston Martin, liked his martinis shaken, not stirred, and announced himself as "Bond, James Bond." Somehow, Agent 007 has survived countless showdowns with uber-villains, the social revolution of the 1960s, internal financial and legal woes, multiple changes of lead actors, the end of the Cold War and the dawn of the War on Terror. Yet through it all, James Bond is in pretty good shape at 50, but will he be around for another half century? As one super fan put it, "Bond, like diamonds, is forever." By Jill Lawless.

AP photos, video.

— BOND AT 50-007 BEST — Movie Critic Christy Lemire picks her favorite Bond bit in seven categories, including fave stunt, gizmo, villain and more. AP photos.

— BOND AT 50-FILMOGRAPHY — A list of the Bond films.

— MUSIC-FOO FIGHTERS — Frontman Dave Grohl says Foo Fighters 'to go away for a while.'

— LONG-DISTANCE MUSICIANS — Real-time musical duet of musicians hundreds of miles apart gets ovation at Philly tech event

— TV-CARTOON NETWORK ANNIVERSARY — Cartoon Network celebrates 20th anniversary, commemorating birthday with month-long tribute

SPORTS

SECOND CHANCE

MIAMI — His major league career had lasted all of one at-bat. Adam Greenberg was beaned in his debut for the Cubs while making his debut in 2005. He never made it to the big leagues again. Until now, at 31. The Marlins signed him to a one-day contract and he's to pinch-hit against the Mets on Tuesday night. By Steven Wine.

AP photos.

ALSO GETTING ATTENTION

— OBAMA-ANNIVERSARY — Forget about date night. Obama's 20th wedding anniversary falls on debate night.

— HONG KONG-FERRY COLLISION — Hong Kong police arrest 7 crew members from both boats in holiday collision that left 38 dead. AP photos.

— BCS-VIRAL VIDEO — A University of Alabama fan pleads guilty to obscenity charges for sexually assaulting an unconscious backer of rival Louisiana State in a New Orleans attack that was videotaped and spread across the Internet.

— DANCE CUT SHORT — Utah principal apologizes after dozens of girls are turned away from homecoming dance because their dresses are deemed too short.

— HOGS EAT FARMER — Oregon farmer apparently eaten by his hogs; authorities investigating how he died.

— POOCH'S WILD RIDE — Lucky dog: Poodle mix hit by car, wedged into grill, survives 11-mile ride from Mass. into RI.

— PEOPLE-BEN AFFLECK — Ben Affleck compares Mitt Romney to past failed presidential candidates — including Al Gore. AP photo.

___

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