Uncategorized / October 24, 2012

News briefs: Armstrong stripped of endorsements, seven Tour de France medals

Armstrong loses cycling medals 

GENEVA — Lance Armstrong was stripped last week of his record seven Tour de France titles. The International Cycling Union announced the decision after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency found “overwhelming” evidence Armstrong used performance-enhancing drugs. Armstrong, a 41-year-old cancer survivor, stepped down last week as head of the Livestrong charity, which promotes cancer awareness. Armstrong has long denied the accusations, but chose this month not to fight the USADA in arbitration hearings. The decision came after several of Armstrong’s former teammates admitted to doping and accused the Texas native of partaking as well. Several testified under oath before the USADA regarding the alleged indiscretions. In the days following the UCI’s announcement, Armstrong lost all his sponsors, which included Nike, RadioShack and Anheuser-Busch. The French Cycling Federation has asked that Armstrong return the $4 million he earned from the Tour de France titles. A Texas insurance firm could seek as much as $12 million in reimbursed bonuses from Armstrong. (Source: ESPN)

Sources: Bernanke may step down in 2014 

UNITED STATES — US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke plans to resign in January 2014 regardless of whether President Barack Obama is reelected, sources close to the two-term chairman said. Bernanke has not commented publicly on whether he will seek a third term. He was originally appointed by former President George W. Bush and was retained by Obama. If Bernanke steps down, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has said he will also resign. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has said if elected, he will not retain Bernanke. He will instead appoint economic advisors from the Bush administration. Reports have identified former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers as a possible replacement for Bernanke. Opponents of Obama’s economic policies have criticized the federal reserve for making decisions they believe will increase inflation and debt. In September, the Federal Reserve announced plans to purchase $40 billion in mortgage securities per month until the economy has “improved substantially.” Critics believe that plan will eventually cause a drastic spike in inflation. Bernanke has awarded nearly $8 trillion in bailouts as chairman.  (Source: New York Times)

New hearings for alleged torture victims

CHICAGO — More than 100 inmates allegedly tortured by Chicago police officers will testify at hearings to describe abuses they faced. A group of Chicago attorneys filed a class-action lawsuit to demand the new hearings.For more than four decades, Lt. Jon Burge, Sgt. John Byrne and officers under their command allegedly tortured African-American men arrested on the south and west sides of Chicago. Burge, 64, is currently serving a four-and-a-half-year prison sentence for the abuses. Victims were subjected to electric shock, mock execution, suffocation with a plastic bag and beating, according to the criminal complaint. The hearings follow criticism from alleged victims that Burge’s sentence did not fit the breadth of his alleged crimes. Victims Johnnie Plummer and Vincent Wade spearheaded the hearings. Plummer, who was convicted of murder at 15, said he gave a forced confession after he was beaten by officers. Wade has spent 28 years in prison after he was allegedly beaten and forced to falsely confess to murder and home invasion. The hearings will begin Oct. 29. (Source: Chicago Tribune)

CIA whistleblower convicted of espionage

UNITED STATES — Former CIA agent John Kiriakou was sentenced to two and a half years in prison Tuesday after he pleaded guilty to leaking to reporters that the U.S. government had tortured terrorist suspects. Kiriakou, 48, told media outlets that the CIA had performed simulated drownings — waterboarding — on captured insurgents following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. He originally pleaded not guilty to charges that he exposed two intelligence agents connected to the case, but agreed to plead guilty to a lesser charge in exchange for an abbreviated sentence. Kiriakou’s defense attorneys originally hoped that prosecutors would have to prove that the ex-agent had intended to harm the U.S. by leaking the information. Instead, they only had to prove that he was aware of the potential consequences of his actions. He planned to subpoena three journalists. Kiriakou was charged under the Espionage Act of 1917. He is one of six people the Obama administration has charged under the act, more than all previous presidents combined. (Source: Wall Street Journal)

TKS Staff

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