Monday, January 14, 2013

Published:

AP source: Armstrong tells Oprah Winfrey in interview he used performance-enhancing drugs

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) -- After a decade of denial, Lance Armstrong has finally come clean: He used performance-enhancing drugs to win the Tour de France.

The disgraced cyclist made the confession to Oprah Winfrey during an interview taped Monday, a person familiar with the situation told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the interview is to be broadcast Thursday on Winfrey's network.

The admission Monday came hours after an emotional apology by Armstrong to the Livestrong charity that he founded and took global on the strength of his celebrity as a cancer survivor who came back to win one of sport's most grueling events.

The confession was a stunning reversal, after years of public statements, interviews and court battles in which he denied doping and zealously protected his reputation.

Winfrey tweeted afterward, "Just wrapped with (at)lancearmstrong More than 2 1/2 hours. He came READY!" She was scheduled to appear on "CBS This Morning" on Tuesday to discuss the interview.

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'Examine your conscience' on guns: Obama backs ban on assault weapons, sees tough fight ahead

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama endorsed controversial bans on assault weapons and high-capacity ammunition magazines on Monday, as well as stricter background checks for gun buyers -- but conceded he may not win approval of all in a Congress reluctant to tighten restrictions.

"Will all of them get through this Congress? I don't know," said Obama. He said lawmakers would have to "examine their own conscience" as they tackle gun control legislation after the horrifying Connecticut school shootings but in the face of opposition from the National Rifle Association and other pro-gun rights groups.

Obama spoke at a midday White House news conference one month after the Newtown elementary school rampage, which ignited a national discussion on preventing mass shootings.

The president will unveil a comprehensive roadmap for curbing gun violence within days, perhaps as early as Wednesday. His plan will be based on recommendations from Vice President Joe Biden's gun task force and is expected to include both legislative proposals and several steps Obama can implement himself using his presidential powers.

Biden identified 19 potential executive actions the president could enact on his own, said Jenny Werwa, communications director for California Rep. Jackie Speier, who joined other Democratic House members at a meeting with the vice president Monday.

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Obama: Debt ceiling fight could threaten timely payment of Social Security, veterans benefits

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Declaring "we are not a deadbeat nation," President Obama warned on Monday that Social Security checks and veterans' benefits will be delayed if congressional Republicans fail to increase the government's borrowing authority in a looming showdown over the nation's debt and spending.

Obama said he was willing to negotiate deficit reduction with GOP leaders but insisted that those talks be separate from decisions to raise the $16.4 trillion debt ceiling and avert a possible first-ever national default.

"They will not collect a ransom in exchange for not crashing the American economy," Obama said in a news conference one week before he is sworn in for a second term. "What I will not do is to have that negotiation with a gun at the head of the American people."

Bitter brinkmanship between the White House and congressional Republicans over spending has become a defining event over the past four years, testing both Obama's leverage and his resolve at different moments of his presidency. House Speaker John Boehner brushed off Obama's insistence on separating the debt ceiling from negotiations over spending cuts.

"The American people do not support raising the debt ceiling without reducing government spending at the same time," Boehner said. "The consequences of failing to increase the debt ceiling are real, but so, too, are the consequences of allowing our spending problem to go unresolved.

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10 Things to Know for Tuesday

Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Tuesday:

1. ARMSTRONG CONFESSES TO DOPING

The disgraced cyclist tells Oprah during an interview that he used performance-enhancing drugs in winning the Tour de France.

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Mali Islamists gain ground, threaten to avenge French airstrikes

BAMAKO, Mali (AP) -- Despite a punishing bombardment by French warplanes, al-Qaida-linked insurgents grabbed more territory in Mali on Monday, seizing a strategic military camp that brought them far closer to the government's seat of power.

Declaring France had "opened the gates of hell" with its assault, the rebels threatened retribution.

"France ... has fallen into a trap much more dangerous than Iraq, Afghanistan or Somalia," said Omar Ould Hamaha, a leader of the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa, one of the rebel groups controlling the north, speaking on radio Europe 1.

French fighter jets have been pummeling the insurgents' desert stronghold in the north since Friday, determined to shatter the Islamist domination of a region many fear could become a launch pad for terrorist attacks on the West and a base for coordination with al-Qaida in Yemen, Somalia and Pakistan.

The Islamist fighters responded with a counter-offensive Monday, overrunning the garrison town of Diabaly, about 100 miles (160 kilometers) north of Segou, the administrative capital of central Mali, said French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian.

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Lawmaker: Clinton to testify Jan. 23 before House Foreign Affairs Committee

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will testify Jan. 23 before the House Foreign Affairs Committee about the deadly Sept. 11 assault on the US mission in Libya.

That's the word from Rep. Ed Royce, chairman of the panel. He said in a statement late Monday that Clinton will answer questions about the raid that killed US Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans in Benghazi.

Clinton had been scheduled to testify last month but she suffered a concussion when she fell during an illness. She was later hospitalized with a blood clot in her head.

She has planned to step down and President Barack Obama has nominated Sen. John Kerry to replace her.

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Thousands rally in Pakistan capital against gov't as cleric demands political leaders resign

ISLAMABAD (AP) -- A cleric who has fired up Pakistanis angry at perceived government corruption and indifference demanded the country's political leaders resign in a speech to thousands of his supporters who amassed in the capital early Tuesday.

The dramatic entry into Pakistani politics of Tahir-ul-Qadri, a preacher who until recently lived in Canada, has sparked concern from some that he is seeking to derail elections at the behest of the powerful army. Polls are expected this spring.

Qadri has denied that and insisted his vague demands for election reform are simply meant to root out corruption in the political system. He pledged several weeks ago to lead a "million-man march" on Islamabad to press his demands.

During a 40-minute speech delivered behind bullet-proof glass in the early morning, Qadri told his supporters that the government's mandate was finished.

"I give you time until tomorrow to dissolve national and all four provincial assemblies otherwise the nation will dissolve them on their own," he said. He vowed to address his followers again in the morning in front of the parliament building.

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In surprise move, Arizona's GOP governor pushes for Medicaid expansion under health care law

PHOENIX (AP) -- Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer said Monday she plans to push for an expansion of the state's Medicaid program under the federal health care law, a surprising decision that could have an impact on other Republican governors weighing a similar decision.

Brewer has opposed the federal health care law known as the Affordable Care Act, citing worries over a potential overreliance on federal funding.

A provision in the 2010 law allows for states to increase Medicaid coverage, and Brewer told lawmakers in her annual State of the State address on Monday that virtually all of the expansion would be funded by the federal government. Not taking the money wouldn't contribute to the lowering of federal deficits, she said.

Any increase would also "include a circuit-breaker that automatically" would roll back enrollment if federal reimbursement rates decrease, Brewer said.

"I won't allow Obamacare to become a bait-and-switch," she said.

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CNET reporter quits after CBS vetoes best CES gadget pick due to dispute with Dish Network

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Technology reviews by website CNET have long been respected for their thoroughness and integrity, but that reputation has come under scrutiny after a top reporter quit over what he says is editorial interference by its parent company, CBS Corp.

The dispute centers on CNET's choice of best gadgets from last week's International CES show in Las Vegas.

CNET voted Dish Network Corp.'s "Hopper with Sling" the best home theater and audio product. Because CBS is in a legal fight with Dish over the Hopper's ad-skipping capabilities, CBS vetoed the selection, saying the product couldn't be considered "Best of CES." Instead, CNET's official selection was a sound bar from TV maker Vizio.

Reporter Greg Sandoval tweeted on Monday morning that he was resigning, saying he had lost confidence that CBS is committed to editorial independence.

"I just want to be known as an honest reporter," he tweeted, adding "CNET wasn't honest about what occurred regarding Dish."

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Government orders JPMorgan to fix oversight tied to $6 billion trading loss, money laundering

WASHINGTON (AP) -- JPMorgan Chase & Co. has been ordered to take steps to correct poor risk management that led to a surprise trading loss last year of more than $6 billion.

Federal regulators also on Monday cited the bank for lapses in oversight that could allow the bank to be used for money laundering.

JPMorgan, the nation's largest bank by assets, will not pay a fine under the agreements with the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Comptroller of the Currency, a Treasury Department agency. The bank promised to strengthen its policies and procedures to control risk and to screen customers to prevent money laundering.

The regulators each issued two cease-and-desist orders against JPMorgan, a sanction that requires a bank to change its practices. They said they had found "deficiencies" in the bank's procedures for preventing money laundering, and also uncovered "unsafe or unsound practices" regarding management of risk. The orders said the regulators and other government agencies could pursue further action.

Britain's Financial Services Authority, meanwhile, said in a statement Monday that its own investigation into JPMorgan's trading loss continues.