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World briefly for Oct. 26

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POSTED: October 26, 2012 8:55 a.m.

DEFIANCE, Ohio (AP) — Republican Mitt Romney is renewing his focus on the nation's economy while facing continued pressure to break his silence on a GOP Senate candidate's statement that any pregnancy resulting from rape is "something God intended."

As Election Day looms less than two weeks away, the Republican presidential contender is also trying to move past new questions about his role in a key supporter's divorce. Court documents released Thursday reveal that Romney created a special class of company stock for Staples founder Tom Stemberg's then-wife as a "favor."

Romney has so far ignored the criticism and is instead accusing President Barack Obama of playing partisan politics in an "incredibly shrinking campaign."

"This campaign is growing. The momentum is building. We're taking back America," Romney told 12,000 supporters in Ohio late Thursday, the same night that media trackers confirmed the Republican's campaign was expanding its television advertising into Minnesota.

The economy was to play prominently in the presidential contest Friday.

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East Coast preps for pre-Halloween 'Frankenstorm': high wind, flooding, $1B potential damage

WASHINGTON (AP) — The pre-Halloween hybrid weather monster that federal forecasters call "Frankenstorm" is looking more ominous by the hour for the East Coast, and utilities and local governments are getting ready.

Meteorologists expect a natural horror show of high wind, heavy rain, extreme tides and maybe snow to the west beginning early Sunday, peaking with the arrival of Hurricane Sandy on Tuesday and lingering past Halloween on Wednesday.

With a rare mix of three big merging weather systems over a densely populated region, experts predict at least $1 billion in damage.

The stage is set as Hurricane Sandy, having blown through Haiti and Cuba, continues to barrel north. A wintry storm is chugging across the country from the west. And frigid air is streaming south from Canada.

And if they meet Tuesday morning around New York or New Jersey, as forecasters predict, they could create a big, wet mess that settles over the nation's most heavily populated corridor and reaches as far west as Ohio.

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Economists think US remains stuck in sluggish recovery, unable to generate robust job growth

WASHINGTON (AP) — The government's snapshot Friday of the U.S. economy's growth will be its last before Americans choose a president in 11 days.

It probably won't sway many undecided voters.

The first of three estimates of growth for the July-September quarter will likely sketch a picture that's been familiar all year: The economy is growing at a tepid rate, slowed by high unemployment, corporate anxiety over an unresolved budget crisis and a global economic slowdown.

Economists' consensus forecast is that the government will estimate that the economy grew at an annual rate of 1.8 percent last quarter. That would exceed the 1.3 percent annual rate in the April-June quarter. But it would be too slight to signal robust job creation, which is what the economy needs most.

And it would give Mitt Romney's team evidence to argue that the economy is growing at an unacceptably subpar pace.

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Official: Suicide bomber kills 36 worshippers at mosque in northern Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A suicide bomber blew himself up outside a mosque in northern Afghanistan on Friday, killing 36 people and wounding 23, officials said.

The attack in the town of Maymana, capital of northern Faryab province, came as people were gathering at the mosque to celebrate the Eid al-Adha holiday.

Top provincial officials, including the governor and the police chief, were inside the building when the bomber set off his explosives outside, where a large crowd had gathered, officials said. The officials were not hurt, but most of the dead were police officers and soldiers.

"The targets of the bomber were all the officials inside the mosque," Deputy Governor Abdul Satar Barez said. He said the dead included 14 civilians.

"There was blood and dead bodies everywhere," said Khaled, a doctor who was in the mosque at the time of the blast. "It was a massacre," said Khaled, who like many Afghans uses only one name.

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Where do I click, again? A guide past Windows 8 features that could trip up users

NEW YORK (AP) — With the launch of Windows 8, buyers are about to discover a computing experience unlike anything they've seen before. Here's a guide to getting past some of the hurdles.

The main thing to know is that Windows 8 is designed especially for touch-screen computers, to make desktops and laptops work more like tablets. It is Microsoft's way of addressing the popularity of tablets, namely the iPad. But Windows 8 will work with mouse and keyboard shortcuts, too. It'll take some getting used to, though.

There are two versions of Windows 8, or more precisely, there's Windows 8 and there's Windows RT. They look the same, but they run on different processing chips. Windows 8 runs on standard chips from Intel and AMD and is the version you'd get if you're upgrading your home desktop or notebook PC. Windows RT is the version for light, small tablets and laptop-tablet hybrids.

Windows 8 will run programs written for older versions of Windows. Windows RT won't. It's limited to applications specifically written for it and available through Microsoft's store. (As a consolation, a version of Microsoft Office is included free on Windows RT devices).

Here are some tips on how to navigate the new Windows:

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George McGovern, called 'father of modern Democratic Party,' given final send-off from SD

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — As a presidential hopeful marked in history for his futile 1972 finish, George McGovern wore the badge of an unapologetic liberal. As a longtime Democratic officeholder from conservative South Dakota, the former senator had admirers who spanned the political spectrum.

The view of McGovern as a public servant with broader appeal prevailed as South Dakota prepared for a final send-off Friday of the man many knew simply as George. A large memorial service was to follow a more intimate prayer service held Thursday night and attended by the state's luminaries and Vice President Joe Biden.

In Biden's 25-minute reflection on his former Senate colleague, the vice president hailed McGovern as "the father of the modern Democratic Party." Without his resolve, Biden said, the country would have remained mired in the Vietnam War for longer and "so much more blood and so much more treasure would have been wasted."

"The war would never have ended when it did. It would never have ended when it did," Biden said, his voice rising as he turned his body toward McGovern's daughters. "Your father gave courage to people who didn't have the courage to speak up to finally stand up. Your father stood there and took all of that beating."

Speaker after speaker said McGovern never wavered from his guiding principles.

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Hurricane Sandy rages through Bahamas, after killing 21 in Caribbean, en route to US coast

NASSAU, Bahamas (AP) — Hurricane Sandy raged through the Bahamas early Friday after leaving 21 people dead across the Caribbean, following a path that could see it blend with a winter storm and reach the U.S. East Coast as a super-storm next week.

Sandy knocked out power, flooded roads and cut off islands in the storm-hardened Bahamas as it swirled past Cat Island and Eleuthera, but authorities reported no deaths in the scattered archipelago.

"Generally people are realizing it is serious," said Caroline Turnquest, head of the Red Cross in the Bahamas, who said 20 shelters were opened on the main island of New Providence.

Sandy, which weakened to a category 1 hurricane Thursday night, caused havoc in Cuba early in the day, killing 11 people in eastern Santiago and Guantanamo provinces as its howling winds and rain toppled houses and ripped off roofs. Authorities said it was Cuba's deadliest storm since July 2005, when category 5 Hurricane Dennis killed 16 people and caused $2.4 billion in damage.

Sandy also killed one person while crossing Jamaica on Wednesday and 10 in Haiti, where heavy rains from the storm's outer bands caused flooding in the impoverished and deforested country.

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2 dead after Texas trooper shoots at vehicle from helicopter during high-speed chase

MCALLEN, Texas (AP) — Three people were found wounded, two fatally, in a vehicle that was fired upon by a Texas state trooper in a helicopter.

The incident happened Thursday afternoon near the South Texas border with Mexico near the town of La Joya (HOY'-yah), about 70 miles northwest of Brownsville.

Katherine Cesinger (SEHS'-ihn-jur) of the Texas Department of Public Safety says a DPS aircraft was helping a state game warden in a high-speed pursuit when the DPS officer on the aircraft opened fire.

She says two people from the vehicle died, one was injured and six others were arrested. She called the shooting "an enforcement action" but declined to say whether police caused the deaths and injuries. She says the Texas Rangers are investigating and no other information was available.

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Jacques Barzun, cultural historian and best-selling author of "From Dawn to Decadence," dies

Jacques Barzun, a pioneering cultural historian, reigning public intellectual and longtime Ivy League professor who became a best-selling author in his 90s with the acclaimed "From Dawn to Decadence," has died. He was 104.

Barzun, who taught for nearly 50 years at Columbia University, passed away Thursday evening in San Antonio, where he had lived in recent years, his son-in-law Gavin Parfit said.

Praised by Cynthia Ozick as among "the last of the thoroughgoing generalists," the tall, courtly Barzun wrote dozens of books and essays on everything from philosophy and music to baseball and detective novels.

In 2000, he capped his career with "From Dawn to Decadence," a survey of Western civilization from the Renaissance to the end of the 20th century. The length topped 800 pages, and the theme was uninspiring — the collapse of traditions in modern times — yet it received wide acclaim from reviewers, stayed on best-seller lists for months and was nominated for the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle prize.

Even the Rolling Stones' Keith Richards said he was reading it.

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Halfway to title: Giants beat Tigers 2-0 behind Bumgarner & bunt, take 2-0 World Series lead.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The Giants' extended family lingered on the field long after the final out, posing for pictures and savoring the win. Cars honked in the streets outside AT&T Park and fans celebrated in the bars.

San Francisco is halfway to the World Series title, not all the way there. Yet, after two days of beneficial bounces and pivotal plays that went their way, the Giants and their supporters seem to think the team's second championship in three years is only a couple of days away.

"When things are going well," Marco Scutaro said, "things are bouncing your way."

Madison Bumgarner pitched two-hit ball over seven innings, the Giants threw out a runner at the plate and then took advantage of a bunt that stayed fair to push across the go-ahead run in a 2-0 win over the Detroit Tigers on Thursday night that gave them a World Series edge.

"It's a lot less stressful for sure," Bumgarner said, "but at the same time I don't think we can stop pushing or we're going to find ourselves in the same spot we've been in in the last two series."

 

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