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POSTED: August 31, 2012 8:15 a.m.

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Lifted by a show of Republican unity that once seemed so distant, Mitt Romney plunged into the presidential campaign's final 67 days focused more than ever on jobs and the economy, and depicting President Barack Obama as a well-meaning but inept man who must be replaced.

"America has been patient," he told the nation. "Americans have supported this president in good faith. But today, the time has come to turn the page."

Obama, who will hold his own convention next week, served notice that he will use his powers of incumbency to make Romney's mission hard. Obama planned to visit a Texas military base exactly two years after declaring the end of the U.S. combat mission in Iraq, the war that haunts the last Republican president. This, as Democrats prepare to gather in Charlotte, N.C., for Obama's convention.

Romney capped a high-energy night closing the Republican National Convention with a spirited and unusually personal speech infused with his family life, touching on his Mormon faith and recounting his youth. The cheers were loud and frequent, surely music to the ears of a candidate who struggled throughout the bruising primary season and beyond to bury doubts among many in his party that he was the authentic conservative in the field.

"Now is the time to restore the promise of America," Romney declared to a nation struggling with unemployment and the slowest economic recovery in decades.

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Not in Romney's speech: Social Security, Iraq, Afghanistan, border, welfare, Medicaid

WASHINGTON (AP) — Social Security. Medicare. Iraq. Afghanistan. Illegal immigration.

They're all costly to taxpayers and the next president presumably will have to address them to one degree or another. Yet GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney made no mention of those issues Thursday in his wide-ranging acceptance speech that closed the Republican National Convention.

The address was Romney's most sweeping attempt yet to outline the case for his candidacy. It was no time to get into the nitty-gritty of federal budgeting and solutions to the nation's ills. But Romney did find ways to talk about an array of other issues, some of them sensitive for him personally and politically.

Romney did, for example, pledge to "protect the sanctity of life," a reference to abortion, even though there are clear differences on the issue between him and running mate Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. He referred to his family as Mormons, a rarity for a candidate who typically refers to his religion as "my faith." And Romney even showed emotion, which he seldom does in public, when he spoke of longing to wake up again with a pile of children in the bedroom he shares with wife Ann.

But there was much Romney did not say, areas he didn't address. And those unmentioned topics say a lot about the challenges that face the Republican ticket in the final three months of the presidential campaign.

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Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich wins London court battle against fellow tycoon Berezovsky

LONDON (AP) — Russian tycoon Roman Abramovich has won a multibillion-dollar legal battle against another Russian oligarch in a London courtroom.

Judge Elizabeth Gloster ruled that the 45-year-old Abramovich was the more reliable witness in his long-running feud with the 66-year-old self-exiled tycoon Boris Berezovsky.

Berezovsky, a former Kremlin power broker, alleged that Abramovich, who he called his protege, betrayed and intimidated him into selling his stakes in the Russian oil company Sibneft vastly beneath their value.

Berezovsky alleged blackmail and breach of contract and was seeking more than 3 billion pounds ($4.8 billion) in damages.

Abramovich had denied the allegations.

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AP PHOTOS: Romney's special night in Tampa

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Mitt Romney introduced himself to the nation at the Republican National Convention on Thursday night, vowing to not raise taxes on the middle class and tackling social issues such as gay marriage and abortion.

The GOP presidential nominee made a triumphant entrance into the convention hall, walking slowly down the aisle and shaking hands with dozens of delegates. The hall erupted in cheers when he reached the stage and he waved to his shouting, chanting supporters before beginning to speak.

"I accept your nomination for president," he said as the crowd roared in approval.

Here are some images from Romney's special night.

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Days of misery ahead for Louisiana residents without power, clean water

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Isaac crawled into the nation's midsection early Friday, leaving a soggy mess in Louisiana. Neighborhoods were underwater, and many homes that stayed dry didn't have lights, air conditioning or clean water.

It will be a few days before the soupy brown water recedes and people who live in flooded neighborhoods can return home. The city, spared any major damage, lifted its curfew and returned to its usual liveliness, although it was dampened by heavy humidity.

"I have a battery-operated fan. This is the only thing keeping me going," said Rhyn Pate, a food services worker who sat under the eaves of a porch with other renters, making the best of the circumstances. "And a fly swatter to keep the bugs off me — and the most important thing, insect repellent."

The heat was getting to Marguerite Boudreaux, 85, in Gretna, a suburb of New Orleans.

"I have a daughter who is an invalid and then my husband is 90 years old, so he's slowing down a lot," she said, red in the face as she stood in the doorway of her house, damp and musky from the lack of air conditioning.

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Investors look to Bernanke speech for clues to Fed's next moves to strengthen US economy

WASHINGTON (AP) — Few expect Chairman Ben Bernanke to signal at a Federal Reserve conference Friday in Jackson Hole, Wyo., that the Fed is about to take major new action to boost the economy.

No one is sure, though.

Three years after the end of the Great Recession, the U.S. economy is still struggling to break out of a slog that's kept unemployment at a painfully high 8.3 percent.

After its last policy meeting, the Fed repeated a pledge to try to boost growth if hiring remains weak. And minutes of that meeting showed that some Fed officials felt the economy would need more support "fairly soon "unless it improved significantly.

Still, many analysts think slightly brighter economic news since then has diminished the need for the Fed to act soon. Bernanke may want to review the U.S. jobs report for August, due on Sept. 7, and perhaps other forthcoming economic reports, before seeking any policy changes.

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Palestinian government chips away at male divorce monopoly, easing women's ability to separate

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) — For decades, Palestinian women seeking to divorce their husbands risked years of miserable, expensive litigation or lengthy domestic battles as they begged their spouses for permission to leave.

Now Palestinian religious authorities announced sweeping reforms of divorce laws that will make it easier for a woman to end her marriage. The changes make a huge step forward in a society where many still believe that a woman should have no right to separate from her husband.

"In Islamic law, the relation between spouses should be based on tenderness, love and understanding," said Sheik Yousef al-Dais, head of the Islamic courts in the Palestinian Authority, as he announced the changes Thursday. "If there's hatred between them, should we force them to stay together?"

Marriage rules throughout the Middle East are based on Islamic law but have been heavily influenced by stricter tribal traditions that erode rights enshrined to women in Islam, such as a dignified divorce. Proponents say the reforms still conform to Islamic law.

Under Palestinian law, women cannot unilaterally demand a divorce. That is still the privilege of men, who can divorce their wives without recourse to a court.

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Small Ky. town focus of worldwide eclipse chasers, expecting huge turnout in 5 years

HOPKINSVILLE, Ky. (AP) — In Kentucky, two-minute events that grab the world's attention usually play out at Churchill Downs' racetrack. But in five years, another short-running spectacle will have people looking skyward as this southwestern Kentucky town hits the astronomical jackpot.

When a total eclipse of the sun darkens skies on Aug. 21, 2017, the show will last longer in a stretch of hilly countryside near Hopkinsville than any place on the planet. It will last two minutes and 40 seconds, not much longer than the Kentucky Derby.

The town of 32,000 near the Tennessee border is already making preparations to cash in on the fortuitous celestial alignment. And like the Derby, run three hours away in Louisville, the eclipse itself will be a blip in time compared to the buildup.

"We will be the Mecca of the solar eclipse because we are the dead center," said Cheryl Cook, executive director of the Hopkinsville-Christian County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

A few miles northwest of town, the countryside of crops, modest farmhouses and quaint churches is expected to draw bands of scientists and eclipse chasers. They'll be armed with telescopes and cameras to capture the first total solar eclipse visible from the U.S. mainland since 1979.

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Clint Eastwood mocked online for odd, rambling speech at Republican National Convention

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Clint Eastwood earned plenty of bad reviews for his latest performance: a bizarre, rambling endorsement of Mitt Romney.

"Clint, my hero, is coming across as sad and pathetic," tweeted film critic Roger Ebert as Eastwood adlibbed Thursday night to an audience of millions — and one empty chair — on stage at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Fla. "He didn't need to do this to himself. It's unworthy of him."

Eastwood carried on a kooky, long-winded conversation with an imaginary President Barack Obama, telling him that he failed to deliver on his promises, and it's time for Romney and his running mate, Paul Ryan, to take over.

"Mr. President, how do you handle promises that you have made when you were running for election, and how do you handle them? I mean, what do you say to people?" he said at one point to the empty chair.

Twitter was instantly ablaze with comments mocking the Oscar-winning director of "Unforgiven" and "Million Dollar Baby."

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Dallas suburb, undaunted by economy, to christen $60M high school football field of dreams

ALLEN, Texas (AP) — Call it the palace of high school football: A gleaming $60 million facility with seats for 18,000 roaring fans, a 38-foot-wide high-definition video screen, corporate sponsors and a towering upper deck.

Welcome to the new home of Eagles Football.

As school districts across the country struggle to retain teachers, replace outdated textbooks and keep class sizes from ballooning, the wealthy, burgeoning Dallas suburb of Allen is preparing to christen its new stadium with a sold-out Friday night matchup against defending state champions Southlake Carroll.

It's not the biggest high school stadium in football-mad Texas, but Eagle Stadium is the grandest, with a spacious weight room for the players and practice areas for Allen High School's wrestling and golf teams. The school district decided to build it in a down economy, knowing full well it will never recoup the costs.

It's a decision that local officials and team supporters defend, saying the stadium will serve as a community centerpiece and source of pride for years to come and will more than pay the costs of operating it.

 

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