BC-AP News Digest 6 pm

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Associated Press

Posted on October 18, 2012 at 6:00 AM

The world at 6 p.m. Times EDT.

At the Nerve Center, news producers Amir Bibawy, Suzanne McCrory and Mike Stewart can be reached at 800-845-8450 (ext. 1600). For photos, Dan Goodman (ext. 1900). For graphics and interactives, ext. 7635. 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 FEDERAL RESERVE PLOT, JACKSON-LEAVE OF ABSENCE.

— PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN — Obama has 6 p.m. event in Athens, Ohio. Ryan has 7:30 p.m. event in Columbus, Ohio.

— ROMNEY-BINDERS — Mass. coalition: Romney did get 'binders full of women' but effort started before he was governor.

— DEBATE-QUESTIONERS — Some debate questioners seeking more answers before deciding on presidential vote.

— FLAVOR FLAV ARRESTED — Entertainer Flavor Flav jailed in Las Vegas on felony domestic violence, assault charges.

TOP STORIES

PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN

MOUNT VERNON, Iowa — Fresh off a contentious second debate, President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney escalate their pitch for women voters across critical battleground states. With one debate remaining, the two have just 20 days to convince a small slice of undecided voters. By David Espo and Ken Thomas.

AP photos, video, interactive.

DEBATE-HOW PRESIDENTIAL

WASHINGTON — They interrupt each other, bicker and ignore the moderator. Romney poses his own questions and demands answers. "That's not true," Obama huffs over and over. This is presidential conduct? It was squirm-inducing for some viewers. But the candidates have little to lose by cranking up the heat in a tight face, where the focus is on persuading the undecided and firing up their fans. By Connie Cass.

AP photos

— OBAMA — Obama wastes little time in trying to capitalize on his strong debate performance, pushing on women's issues and Libya.

— ROMNEY — On immigration and women's issues, Romney has moved toward middle, far from conservative stances of the GOP primaries.

CRIME VICTIMIZATION

WASHINGTON — After falling steadily for nearly 20 years, violent crimes unexpectedly jumped 18 percent last year, and property crime increased for the first time in a decade. But experts say the new government data fall short of signaling a reversal of the long decline in crime. By Pete Yost.

AP graphic.

ARMSTRONG-LIVESTRONG

AUSTIN, Texas — Lance Armstrong steps down as chairman of Livestrong and gets dumped minutes later by Nike, the famed cyclist having become a liability to both his beloved charity and his top corporate sponsor because of mounting allegations that he used drugs to win the Tour de France. By Jim Vertuno.

AP photos, video, interactive.

FEDERAL RESERVE PLOT

NEW YORK — A Bangladeshi man who came to the United States to wage jihad is arrested in an elaborate FBI sting after attempting to blow up a fake car bomb outside the Federal Reserve building in Manhattan, authorities say. While the plot never posed an actual risk, officials say the case demonstrates the value of using sting operations to neutralize young extremists eager to harm Americans. By Tom Hays and Colleen Long.

AP photos.

GUANTANAMO-SEPT 11 TRIAL

GUANTANAMO BAY NAVAL BASE, Cuba — The self-styled terrorist mastermind of Sept. 11 lectures a military tribunal on what he perceives as government hypocrisy and wears a previously banned camouflage vest to the hearing. As lawyers discuss secrecy rules for his upcoming trial, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed says the government "uses national security as it chooses" and then is rebuked by the judge. By Ben Fox.

AP photos.

SUPERSONIC SKYDIVER-LESSONS

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — Now that the dust has settled in the New Mexico desert where supersonic skydiver "Fearless Felix" Baumgartner landed safely on his feet, researchers are excited over the possibility his exploits could someday help save the lives of pilots and space travelers in the event of a disaster. The death-defying jump yielded important information about the effects of extreme speed and altitude on the human body — insights that could inform the development of improved spacesuits, new training procedures and emergency medical treatment. By Marcia Dunn.

AP photo, interactive.

GREECE-MEN IN PINK

LARISSA, Greece — A cash-strapped Greek soccer team finds a new way to pay the bills with help from the world's oldest profession. The players now wear bright pink practice jerseys emblazoned with the logos of the Villa Erotica and Soula's House of History, two bordellos recruited as team sponsors after government spending cuts left the country's sports organizations facing ruin. By Derek Gatopoulos

AP photos.

MORE ON THE CAMPAIGN

ELECTION-LEGAL BATTLES

MIAMI — Tough new election laws aimed at forcing voters in many states to show photo identification at polling places have been blocked or delayed, delighting opponents who claim they were among a variety of partisan attempts to prevent minority voters from casting ballots. By Curt Anderson.

— CAMPAIGN-LEAVE ME OUT — What do a Navy mom, Big Bird and AARP have in common? They want Obama and Romney to leave them alone.

— WHY IT MATTERS-ISRAEL — The U.S. supports Israel, a top ally in a volatile region the U.S. depends on for oil. But if Israel attacks Iran over its disputed nuclear program, the U.S. could be drawn into a bloody regional conflict.

DEBATE-CHINA-ANALYSIS

BEIJING — In the narrative of U.S. presidential politics, China is a villain, a monetary cheat that is stealing American jobs. But the one-dimensional caricature offered up by Barack Obama and Mitt Romney obscures the crucial reality: For all the talk about getting tough on Beijing, the two countries are deeply entwined, defying easy solutions to the friction and troubles that beset their relations. An AP News Analysis by Charles Hutzler and Joe McDonald.

AP photos.

WASHINGTON

LEAVING CUBA

WASHINGTON — Cuba's surprise decision to make it easier for its citizens to leave the country doesn't mean large numbers of Cubans will soon be headed for U.S. shores. Would-be immigrants and tourists still need U.S. permission to enter legally, and there's a multi-year wait for a visa. By Alicia A. Caldwell.

AP photos.

INTERNATIONAL

SYRIA-BUSINESS SQUEEZE

CAIRO — Syria's wealthy, long cultivated by President Bashar Assad as a support for his regime, are seeing their businesses pummeled by the civil war. Factories have been burned down or damaged in fighting. International sanctions restrict their finances. Some warn that their companies are in danger of going under. Many of the business elite have fled abroad, hoping to ride out the turmoil. By Aya Batrawy.

AP photos.

ISRAEL-PALESTINIANS

JERUSALEM — Israelis blockading the Gaza Strip in 2008 went so far as to calculate how many calories per person would be needed to prevent a humanitarian disaster in the impoverished Palestinian territory, a declassified document shows. The military says the guidelines were never implemented. But critics reject the claim, saying limits on food imports reflected the guidelines — part of an Israeli policy to squeeze Gaza's economy in hopes of toppling its Hamas rulers. By Amy Teibel.

AP photos.

PAKISTAN-MILITARY OFFENSIVE

ISLAMABAD — Despite outrage over the Taliban attack on a teenage activist, Pakistani leaders are divided over whether the government should respond by targeting the militants' last major sanctuary along the Afghan border. The U.S. has long pressed Pakistan to launch an operation in the North Waziristan tribal area — home to both enemies of Islamabad and militants fighting U.S. troops in Afghanistan — and the shooting of Malala Yousufzai has given momentum to the debate. By Sebastian Abbot.

AP photos.

NETHERLANDS-ART HEIST

AMSTERDAM — In the movies, heists usually feature brilliant criminals using high-tech equipment to avoid detection. But thieves who stole paintings by Picasso, Matisse and Monet from a Dutch museum took a less glamorous approach, relying mostly on speed. In other words, the theft was likely more "smash and grab" than "Ocean's 11." By Toby Sterling.

AP photos.

NATIONAL

JACKSON-LEAVE OF ABSENCE

CHICAGO — With Election Day three weeks away, things could hardly be worse for U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.: He hasn't been to work in months as he recovers from hospitalization for depression. There are whispers he's under investigation for misusing campaign donations. Headlines announce he's been spotted at a Washington, D.C., bar, downing drinks. By Sara Burnett.

AP photos.

OIL PIPELINE-TEXAS LANDOWNERS

SUMNER, Texas — Oil has long lived in harmony with agriculture across the Texas landscape, where proud Texans welcome the cash it brings and see it as part of their responsibility to wean the U.S. from "foreign" oil. But as TransCanada seeks to build a cross-country pipeline that heads to the Gulf Coast refineries, it is finding opposition in the oil-loving state. The reason? Landowners think the company is acting like an arrogant foreigner. By Ramit Plushnick-Masti.

AP photos, video.

DEAD TEAMSTER'S CASH

NEW YORK — Cross a former bank robber from Boston, a Croatian terrorist, a Philadelphia mob chieftain and a dead man carrying a satchel stuffed with $180,000, and what do you get? Either a really crazy film project, or the real-life escapade that landed Joseph Burke back behind bars. Or maybe a little of both. In the weeks since Burke's arrest, new details emerge on how the former stickup man ran afoul of the law while trying to put together a movie deal. By David B. Caruso.

AP photos.

— JEWS-PROTESTANTS-ISRAEL — US Jewish groups cancel talks with Protestants over church protest against US aid to Israel.

HEALTH/SCIENCE

VITAMINS-CANCER

America's favorite dietary supplements, multivitamins, modestly lowered the risk of developing cancer in healthy men who took them daily for more than a decade, the first large study to test these pills has found. The result is a surprise because many studies of individual vitamins have found they do not help prevent chronic diseases and some have even caused problems. By Chief Medical Writer Marilynn Marchione.

AP photo.

BUSINESS

HOUSING STARTS

WASHINGTON — Home construction is making a comeback that could breathe new life into the fragile U.S. economy. Builders started single-family homes and apartments in September at the fastest rate in more than four years. And they requested permits to build even more homes in the coming months, a show of their confidence in the housing recovery. The pace of construction has increased steadily over the past year and is expected to keep rising, fueled by record-low mortgage rates and more stable home prices. More new homes could add to growth and help create jobs. By Martin Crutsinger and Alex Veiga.

AP photo.

CITI-WHAT'S NEXT

NEW YORK — It's the incredible shrinking bank, but it may shrink more. In the hours after the surprise announcement that Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit was stepping down, speculation was rife about what lay ahead for the nation's third largest bank. One possibility given high odds: More cost cutting, more shrinking and more focus on boring, traditional banking, like making loans. By Bernard Condon.

AP photo.

ALSO GETTING ATTENTION

— DENVER BAR FIRE — Denver police don't have any suspects yet in slayings of 5 people found in bar set on fire. AP photos.

— NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH —Trial for Trayvon Martin shooting set for June; 'stand your ground hearing' may be this spring.

— KERIK RETURNS — Disgraced 9/11 hero Bernard Kerik pulled from Md. prison to testify at NYC trial.

— MICROSOFT WINDOWS 8 — Analysts and PC makers are cool on Windows 8, see launch as 'non-event' and 'disappointment.'

— NEW SAINTS — Hawaii, NY women to be formally recognized as saints in Vatican ceremony this weekend. AP photos.

— FLIGHT DISRUPTION — Federal complaint alleges drunken Ukrainian man disrupted flight, believed wing was aflame.

— MILLION PUPPET MARCH — 'Million Puppet March' planned for DC to defend PBS funding 3 days before election.

___

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