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World briefly for Oct. 12

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POSTED: October 12, 2012 9:21 a.m.

DANVILLE, Ky. (AP) — In a spirited debate that laid out stark choices, Joe Biden and Paul Ryan teed up pointed arguments on the economy, social policy and America's place in the world that President Barack Obama and GOP rival Mitt Romney now will drive forward into the campaign's final stretch.

With just 25 days to go in Campaign 2012 and throngs of people already voting, Obama and Romney will try to answer two questions that their running mates posed to the tens of millions of Americans who watched Thursday's hard-fought, 90-minute debate.

"Who do you trust?" Biden asked.

"Wouldn't it be nice to have a job-creator in the White House?" asked Ryan.

Biden, eager to make up for the president's lackluster performance in his first debate with Romney, played the aggressor throughout. And the president gave his running mate a quick thumbs up for delivering with the energy and feeling that he did not.

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FACT CHECK: An unaware Biden on Libya; Ryan slips on stimulus and more in veep debate

WASHINGTON (AP) — Anyone who paid attention to a hearing in Congress this week knew that the administration had been implored to beef up security at the U.S. Consulate in Libya before the deadly terrorist attack there. But in the vice presidential debate Thursday night, Joe Biden seemed unaware.

"We weren't told they wanted more security there," the vice president asserted flatly. During a night in which Biden and Republican rival Paul Ryan both drifted from the facts on a range of domestic and foreign issues, that was a standout.

A look at some of their claims:

BIDEN: "Well, we weren't told they wanted more security there. We did not know they wanted more security again. And by the way, at the time we were told exactly — we said exactly what the intelligence community told us that they knew. That was the assessment. And as the intelligence community changed their view, we made it clear they changed their view."

RYAN: "There were requests for more security."

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Crisis-ridden European Union wins Nobel Peace Prize for fostering peace, democracy in Europe

OSLO, Norway (AP) — The European Union won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday for its efforts to promote peace and democracy in Europe — despite being in the midst of its biggest crisis since the bloc was created in the 1950s.

The Norwegian prize committee said the EU received the award for six decades of contributions "to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe.

"The stabilizing part played by the European Union has helped to transform a once torn Europe from a continent of war to a continent of peace," Nobel committee chairman Thorbjoern Jagland said.

The EU rose from the ashes of World War II, born of the conviction that ever-closer economic ties would make sure that century-old enemies never turned on each other again. It's now made up of 500 million people in 27 nations, with other nations lined up, waiting to join.

The idea of a united Europe began to take on a more defined shape when, on May 9, 1950, French Foreign Minister Robert Schuman proposed that France and the Federal Republic of Germany pool their coal and steel resources in a new organization that other European countries could join.

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Winners of the Nobel Peace Prize since 1998

Winners of the Nobel Peace Prize since 1998:

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— 2012: The European Union.

— 2011: Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberian activist Leymah Gbowee and Tawakkul Karman of Yemen.

— 2010: Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo.

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Military official: Condition of Pakistani girl activist shot by Taliban 'satisfactory'

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan (AP) — A 14-year-old Pakistani activist who was shot by a Taliban gunman after speaking out for girls' education is in "satisfactory" condition at a military hospital, a spokesman said Friday, cautioning that the next few days will be critical.

The shooting of Malala Yousufzai on Tuesday as she was coming home from school set off an international outcry.

Maj. Gen. Asim Saleem Bajwa said she is being kept unconscious and on a ventilator, and doctors will decide when to take her off.

"Her blood pressure is normal. Heartbeat is normal, and thanks to God, her condition is satisfactory," Bajwa said.

Bajwa said the bullet entered her head and went into her neck toward her spine, but it was too soon to say whether she had any significant head injury.

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Official: Iranian hackers responsible for cyberattcks; Panetta says US prepared to act

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. authorities believe that Iranian-based hackers were responsible for cyberattacks that devastated Persian Gulf oil and gas companies, a former U.S. government official said. Just hours later, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the cyberthreat from Iran has grown, and he declared that the Pentagon is prepared to take action if American is threatened by a computer-based assault.

The former official, who is familiar with the investigation, said U.S. authorities believe the cyberattacks were likely supported by the Tehran government and came in retaliation for the latest round of American sanctions against Iran.

Before Panetta's remarks on Thursday, U.S. officials had said nothing publicly about the Gulf attacks or the investigation. But Panetta described them in a speech to business leaders in New York City, saying they were probably the most destructive cyber assault the private sector has seen to date.

Panetta did not directly link Iran to the Gulf attacks, but he said Tehran has "undertaken a concerted effort to use cyberspace to its advantage." And, he said the Pentagon has poured billions into beefing up its ability to identify the origin of a cyberattacks, block them and respond when needed.

"Potential aggressors should be aware that the United States has the capacity to locate them and hold them accountable for actions that harm America or its interests," said Panetta in a speech to the Business Executives for National Security.

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Last ride: Shuttle Endeavour begin final journey — to LA museum

LOS ANGELES (AP) — At its prime, the space shuttle Endeavour cruised around the Earth at 17,500 mph, faster than a speeding bullet.

In retirement, it's crawling along at a sluggish 2 mph, a pace that rush-hour commuters can sympathize with.

Endeavour's 12-mile road trip kicked off shortly before midnight Thursday as it moved from its Los Angeles International Airport hangar en route to the California Science Center, its ultimate destination, said Benjamin Scheier of the center.

The space craft was escorted by a security entourage as it moved across the tarmac but was briefly delayed after a minor problem developed with its trailer, Los Angeles police Sgt. Rudy Lopez said. The problem was quickly repaired and Scheier said it reached the street shortly after 2 a.m. PDT Friday.

Endeavour was to travel slowly on the street for about two hours to a private parking lot where it will have a nine-hour layover as crews deal with power lines father ahead on the route.

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Names of alleged prostitute's customers to be released in small Maine town

KENNEBUNK, Maine (AP) — Townspeople were waiting with curiosity for the names of people who have been issued summons for allegedly giving business to a local fitness instructor charged with running a prostitution operation out of her Zumba fitness studio and a small office in this southern Maine town.

Alexis Wright, a 29-year-old fitness instructor from Wells, has pleaded not guilty to 106 counts of prostitution, invasion of privacy, tax evasion and other charges for allegedly accepting money for sex and secretly videotaping her encounters. Her business partner, Mark Strong Sr., a 57-year-old insurance agent and private investigator from Thomaston, has pleaded not guilty to 59 misdemeanor charges for his alleged role.

Searches of Wright's studio and office have turned up video recordings of sexual acts, billing information and meticulous records about clients, according to court documents.

Based on that information, Kennebunk police have been begun issuing summons to Wright's johns on misdemeanor charges of engaging a prostitute. The names are to be released Friday in police activity reports that are made public every other week, said Lt. Anthony Burpee.

The existence of such a list has fueled speculation about who is on it. Residents have said they've heard it could include lawyers, law enforcement officers and some well-known names. On Thursday, a lawyer for two alleged clients filed a motion to block the release of the names.

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FBI appeals to public for help in finding suspect in Colo. missing girl case after body found

WESTMINSTER, Colo. (AP) — Authorities have shifted their focus from searching for a missing 10-year-old girl to appealing for help in tracking down her apparent kidnapper, as concern mounts in a Denver suburb where the girl disappeared a week ago and a body was found.

Police on Friday expect to positively identify a body found in a park seven miles from where Jessica Ridgeway went missing Oct. 5. Police have not linked the body to Jessica or even revealed if it belongs to a child. The body found at Pattridge Park in Arvada was "not intact," which has delayed identification, police said.

Notably missing Thursday were more appeals by authorities to spread word of Jessica's disappearance via social media. Instead, the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit released a list of changes that a person committing a crime against a child would exhibit. Among them: sudden differences in appearance, missed appointments, being absent from work, or leaving town with no explanation.

"It could be your boss, it could be your friend, and ultimately it could be your family member," FBI spokesman Dave Joly said. "Bring this information to law enforcement and let us vet that to a close. If that person is not the suspect, 'Thank you for your call.' Next lead."

Joly said agents are searching for a man, based on statistics for this type of crime.

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Barbra Streisand is full of Brooklyn pride at Barclays Center concert

NEW YORK (AP) — Barbra Streisand was full of Brooklyn pride as she belted out well-known tunes with passion during a concert at the newly built Barclays Center.

Thursday night's three-hour show was Streisand's return to her hometown, where she's also performing Saturday on her "Back to Brooklyn" tour.

The 70-year-old told the crowd of 18,000 that the last time she performed solo in the New York City borough was "on somebody's stoop on Pulaski Street" as an 8-year-old.

She entered the stage in a shimmery black blazer and long skirt, holding her hands close to the microphone as she hit the right notes on more than two dozen songs, including "People," ''Evergreen" and "The Way We Were."

"Hello Brooklyn," she yelled. "Who said you can't come home again, right? Just Thomas Wolfe."

 

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