Published January 19 2013
BRIEFS: Lance Armstrong finally cracks...ESPN interviewing Te'o...moreArmstrong turns emotional in 2nd part of interview, recalling talk with son on defending him
CHICAGO — Lance Armstrong finally cracked.
Not while expressing deep remorse or regrets, though there was plenty of that in Friday night's second part of Armstrong's interview with Oprah Winfrey.
It wasn't over the $75 million in sponsorship deals that evaporated over the course of two days, or having to walk away from the Livestrong cancer charity he founded and called his “sixth child.” It wasn't even about his lifetime ban from competition, though he said that was more than he deserved.
It was another bit of collateral damage that Armstrong said he wasn't prepared to deal with.
“I saw my son defending me and saying, ‘That's not true. What you're saying about my dad is not true,’” Armstrong recalled.
ESPN interviewing Te'o off camera about dead girlfriend hoax, excerpts to be released later
SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Manti Te'o is doing an interview with ESPN in which the network says he will answer questions about the fake dead girlfriend hoax.
ESPN announced Friday night it was interviewing the star Notre Dame linebacker off camera and that audio clips of the session would be available on the network later.
Earlier, Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said during the taping of his weekly radio show that Te'o has to explain exactly how he was duped into an online relationship with a woman whose “death” was then faked by the perpetrators of the scheme.
Skeptics have questioned the versions of events laid out by Te'o and Notre Dame, wondering why Te'o never said his relationship was with someone online and why he waited to come forward about being duped.
Algeria's hardline military's clash with al-Qaida militants leaves many casualties
ALGIERS, Algeria (AP) — The militants had filled five jeeps with hostages and begun to move when Algerian government attack helicopters opened up on them, leaving four in smoking ruins. The fifth vehicle crashed, allowing an Irish hostage inside to clamber out to safety with an explosive belt still strapped around his neck.
Three days into the crisis at a natural gas plant deep in the Sahara, it remained unclear how many had perished in the faceoff between Africa's most uncompromising militant group and the region's most ruthless military.
By Friday, around 100 of the 135 foreign workers on the site had been freed and 18 of an estimated 30 kidnappers had been slain, according to the Algerian government, still leaving a major hostage situation centered on the plant's main refinery.
The government said 12 workers, both foreign and Algerian, were confirmed dead. But the extremists have put the number at 35. And the government attack Thursday on the convoy — as pieced together from official, witness and news media accounts — suggested the death toll could go higher.
In Washington, U.S. officials said one American — a Texan — was known to have died.
GOP leader says House to vote next week on 3-month debt limit increase tied to Congress’ pay
WASHINGTON (AP) — House Republican leaders Friday offered President Barack Obama a three-month reprieve to a looming, market-rattling debt crisis, backing off demands that any immediate extension of the government's borrowing authority be accompanied by stiff spending cuts.
The retreat came with a caveat aimed at prodding Senate Democrats to pass a budget after almost four years of failing to do so: a threat to cut off the pay of lawmakers in either House or Senate if their chamber fails to pass a budget this year. House Republicans have passed budgets for two consecutive years.
The idea got a frosty reception from House Democrats but a more measured response from the White House and Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada.
Republicans hadn't settled on full details, but the measure would give the government about three more months of borrowing authority beyond a deadline expected to hit as early as mid-February, No. 2 House Republican Eric Cantor of Virginia said Friday.
The legislation wouldn't require immediate spending cuts as earlier promised by GOP leaders like Speaker John Boehner of Ohio. Instead, it's aimed at forcing the Democratic-controlled Senate to join the House in debating the federal budget.
Fellow Americans: Obama seeks to turn the page on economic turmoil in second inaugural address
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama has been looking to historians for guidance on how to shape his second inaugural's words into a speech for the ages, eager to make good use of his twice-in-a-lifetime opportunity to command the world's attention.
He will take the oath of office Sunday in an intimate White House ceremony witnessed by family, and then again Monday at the Capitol before a crowd of hundreds of thousands on the National Mall. Washington will also play host to the traditional inaugural parade and formal balls Monday, as well as a day of service Saturday that kicks off the festivities.
But it's Obama's inaugural address that will be the centerpiece of the three-day affair. The president will seek to turn the page on a first term consumed by economic turmoil and set an optimistic tone for four more years that will help define his legacy.
The president has been working on his speech since early December, writing out draft after draft on yellow legal pads, aides say. He's read several second-term inaugural addressed delivered by his predecessors. And last week, he invited a small group of historians to the White House to discuss the potential — and the pitfalls — of second-term inaugurals.
Heading into his speech, Obama does have history on his mind, particularly two of the great American leaders he most deeply admires, Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr. The start of Obama's second term coincides with the 150th anniversary of Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation and the 50th anniversary of King's March on Washington, and he has chosen to take the public oath with his hand on both their bibles stacked together.
CDC chief: Flu hospitalizations spike in the elderly, season is shaping up to be a bad one
The number of older people hospitalized with the flu has risen sharply, prompting federal officials to take unusual steps to make more flu medicines available and to urge wider use of them as soon as symptoms appear.
The U.S. is about halfway through this flu season, and “it's shaping up to be a worse-than-average season” and a bad one for the elderly, said Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
It's not too late to get a flu shot, and “if you have symptoms, please stay home from work, keep your children home from school” and don't spread the virus, he said.
New figures from the CDC show widespread flu activity in all states but Tennessee and Hawaii. Some parts of the country are seeing an increase in flu activity “while overall activity is beginning to go down,” Frieden said. Flu activity is high in 30 states and New York City, up from 24 the previous week.
Nine more children or teens have died of the flu, bringing the nation's total this flu season to 29. That's close to the 34 pediatric deaths reported during all of the last flu season, although that one was unusually light. In a typical season, about 100 children die of the flu and officials said there is no way to know whether deaths this season will be higher or lower than usual.
Overcharging of batteries likely culprit in Boeing 787 incidents, experts say
WASHINGTON (AP) — It's likely that burning lithium ion batteries on two Boeing 787 Dreamliners were caused by overcharging, aviation safety and battery experts said Friday, pointing to developments in the investigation of the Boeing incidents as well as a battery fire in a business jet more than a year ago.
An investigator in Japan, where a 787 made an emergency landing earlier this week, said the charred insides of the plane's lithium ion battery show the battery received voltage in excess of its design limits.
The similarity of the burned battery from the All Nippon Airways flight to the burned battery in a Japan Airlines 787 that caught fire Jan. 7 while the jet was parked at Boston's Logan International Airport suggests a common cause, Japan transport ministry investigator Hideyo Kosugi said.
“If we compare data from the latest case here and that in the U.S., we can pretty much figure out what happened,” Kosugi said.
In the case of the 787 in Boston, the battery in the plane's auxiliary power unit had recently received a large demand on its power and was in the process of charging when the fire ignited, a source familiar with the investigation of the 787 fire in Boston told The Associated Press. The plane had landed a short time earlier and was empty of passengers, although a cleaning crew was working in the plane.
Justin Bieber's mother executive produces upcoming anti-abortion short film
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Justin Bieber's mother, Pattie Mallette, is an executive producer on an upcoming anti-abortion short film.
The makers of “Crescendo” hope to raise $10 million for pregnancy centers at screenings worldwide starting Feb. 28. Mallette herself will appear at some of these, said production company Movie to Movement on Friday.
The pop star's mother has written and spoken extensively about the addiction and abuse that led to her teenage pregnancy.
Mallette said in a statement she hopes her involvement with “Crescendo” will “encourage young women all over the world, just like me, to let them know that there is a place to go, people who will take care of you and a safe home to live in if you are pregnant and think you have nowhere else to turn.”
Obama supporters laying plans to defeat NRA, push his gun control proposals through Congress
WASHINGTON (AP) — Supporters of President Barack Obama's gun-control proposals are planning a methodical, state-by-state campaign to try to persuade key lawmakers that it's in their political interest to back his sweeping effort to crack down on firearms and ammunition sales and expand criminal background checks.
To succeed will require overturning two decades of conventional wisdom that gun control is bad politics.
The National Rifle Association is confident that argument won't sell. But with polls showing majorities supporting new gun laws a month after the Connecticut shooting deaths of 20 schoolchildren and six adults, gun-control activists say the political calculus has changed. Their goal in coming weeks is to convince lawmakers of that, too, and to counter the NRA's proven ability to mobilize voters against any proposals limiting access to guns.
The gun-control advocates are focused first on the Senate, which is expected to act before the House on Obama's gun proposals. How Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., proceeds will depend in part on what he hears from a handful of Democrats in more conservative states where voters favor gun rights. These include some who are eyeing re-election fights in 2014, such as Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Mark Begich of Alaska and Max Baucus of Montana.
“We need to tell our members of Congress that they've got to stand up for sensible gun laws, and if they do that, we will stand up for them, and if they don't we will stand up for whoever runs against them,” New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg told the U.S. Conference of Mayors Friday. “Because that's exactly what the NRA is trying to do.”
Baltimore actor Robert Chew dies at 52; played Proposition Joe on ‘The Wire’ TV series
BALTIMORE (AP) — Robert Chew, who played Proposition Joe on the HBO series “The Wire,” has died. He was 52.
His sister, Clarice Chew, said he suffered a heart attack and died at his Baltimore home Thursday.
Robert Chew grew up in Baltimore and studied music at Morgan State University for two years. His sister said he worked as music director for the Arena Players community theater.
The character Prop Joe was a highly intelligent and ruthless yet polite and diplomatic Baltimore drug lord. Another sister, Maureen Brown, said strangers would approach Chew on the street in Baltimore and tell him what a great job he did in that role.
He also appeared in TV shows “The Corner” and “Homicide: Life on the Street” and the 2004 TV movie “Something the Lord Made.”