AP News in Brief at 5:58 a.m. EDT

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Associated Press

Posted on October 13, 2012 at 8:30 AM

Ahead of debate, Romney works in prep time and politicking in Ohio while Obama looks to Va.

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is preparing for his second debate with President Barack Obama but taking time to tell voters in Ohio that enthusiasm for him is surging both in this critical state and across the country.

Obama is prepping for their matchup by hunkering down Saturday in another battleground state, Virginia.

Romney is concluding a week of campaign rallies that saw him drawing larger, more excited crowds than he has through the fall campaign. More than 10,000 people turned out to several rallies, with the campaign saying that more people were signing up to attend events since Romney's strong debate performance last week in Nevada.

"I've had the fun of going back and forth across Ohio, and this week I was also in Florida and Iowa, I was in North Carolina and Virginia. And you know what? There is a growing crescendo of enthusiasm," Romney told a crowd of thousands at a sunset rally Friday in Lancaster, south of Columbus, where he and running mate Paul Ryan appeared together. "There's more energy and passion. People are getting behind this campaign. We are taking back this country."

Saturday will be the fourth of the last five days Romney will spend campaigning in this industrial, Midwestern state — with 18 electoral votes, it's critical to his hopes of winning the White House. His campaign swing comes as he and Republicans criticize Obama for the handling of the terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

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For Bill Clinton, 2012 election a chance to help Democrats and burnish his legacy as statesman

WASHINGTON (AP) — Twelve years after leaving the White House, Bill Clinton is campaigning as if he's in the political race of his life.

In some ways, he is. Clinton is endorsing President Barack Obama and Democrats in tight races for the House and Senate. But he's also burnishing a legacy as the party's elder statesman, rock star, global humanitarian and husband of Hillary Rodham Clinton, a once-and-perhaps-future presidential candidate herself.

In Indianapolis on Friday to boost Senate Democratic hopeful Joe Donnelly, Clinton said he hadn't expected to be so involved in the 2012 campaign. But Hillary Clinton is busy as secretary of state, and daughter Chelsea works for a broadcast network, he noted.

"So you're stuck with me," Clinton told the crowd.

Obama and other Democrats — maybe even Clinton himself — wouldn't have it any other way.

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Leaked video tarnishes moderate reputation of Tunisian Islamist party

TUNIS, Tunisia (AP) — Leaked conversations mentioning alcohol bans and the imposition of religious law have raised fears that Tunisia's new government may not be as moderate as it appears, especially in the context of mob attacks on the U.S. Embassy that coincided with the killing of the American ambassador in neighboring Libya.

The leaks, however, may also just be attempts by the secular opposition or religious conservatives to embarrass the moderate Islamist Ennahda Party before next year's elections.

Tunisia's social media sites were flooded Wednesday by first a video, then a phone recording showing Rachid Ghannouchi, the founder of the once-banned Ennahda Party that dominated recent elections, appearing to discuss how to gradually Islamize society and triumph over secularism.

Ennahda said in a statement the video, from February, was heavily edited to make Ghannouchi appear to be more extreme than the party's actual positions.

"A number of sentences and sections were taken out of context and edited in such a way as to misrepresent their meaning in a deplorable return to the old methods of vilification used by the former regime," party official Ameur Larayedh said in a statement.

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IMF ends annual meet with call for effective action to safeguard growth, deliver on reforms

TOKYO (AP) — Global financial ministers called Saturday for quick and effective action to safeguard faltering economic growth and rebuild shaken confidence as they ended an annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund.

"Global growth has decelerated and substantial uncertainties and downside risks remain," an IMF advisory committee said in a communique. It exhorted advanced economies to carry through with needed structural reforms and "credible fiscal plans."

Decisive action is needed to "break negative feedback loops and restore the global economy to a path of strong, sustainable and balanced growth," it said.

It also urged emerging economies to adapt their own policies to help counter slowing growth in Europe and the United States.

The annual meeting of the IMF and World Bank, convened in Tokyo this year, has highlighted frustrations among many countries over drag on growth from the lingering debt crisis in Europe, plus alarm over a possible blow to the world's largest economy if the U.S. fails to resolve an impasse over its budget deficit.

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Space shuttle Endeavour surmounts key obstacle, heads through LA streets to museum home

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Slowly surmounting a key obstacle, the shuttle Endeavour maintained a heading Saturday through the streets of Los Angeles toward its retirement home at a museum.

Endeavour's final mission began when it departed from the Los Angeles International Airport before dawn Friday, rolling on a 160-wheeled carrier past diamond-shaped "Shuttle Xing" signs.

Friday evening it stopped as crews spent hours transferring the shuttle to a special, lighter towing dolly. Then around midnight, it traveled over a bridge across Interstate 405, an especially tricky part of the complicated journey because of the size of the space craft and width of the bridge.

The shuttle was pulled across the Manchester Boulevard bridge by a Toyota Tundra pickup, and the car company filmed the event for a commercial after paying for a permit, turning then entire scene into a movie set complete with special lighting, sound and staging.

Police stopped traffic on the freeway below for the duration of the traverse, which took about three minutes.

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AP PHOTOS: Endeavour makes terrestrial journey

LOS ANGELES (AP) — It's a surreal sight residents won't soon forget: A hulking space shuttle strutting down city streets, pausing every so often to get its bearings as it creeps toward retirement.

The Endeavour's terrestrial journey began before dawn Friday when it departed from the Los Angeles International Airport, rolling on a 160-wheeled carrier past diamond-shaped "Shuttle Xing" signs.

Hundreds of camera-toting spectators gaped as the 170,000-pound Endeavour inched by with its tail towering over streetlights and its wings spanning the roadway.

Over two days, it will trundle 12 miles at a top speed of 2 mph to its final destination — the California Science Center where it will be the centerpiece of a new exhibit.

Janet Dion, a family therapist from nearby Manhattan Beach, marveled at the shuttle, its exterior weathered by millions of miles in space and two dozen re-entries.

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Predator at large: Search on for suspect who abducted, killed Colorado girl

WESTMINSTER, Colo. (AP) — The weeklong search for a 10-year-old Colorado girl became a murder investigation after authorities identified a body found in a suburban Denver park as that of fifth-grader Jessica Ridgeway.

"Our focus has changed from the search for Jessica to a mission of justice for Jessica," Westminster Police Chief Lee Birk said Friday. "We recognize there is a predator at large in our community."

Anxious parents kept close watch over their children. Fueling the frustration: The FBI again urged residents to report any suspicious activity by people they know.

"We want you to look for changes of habits, patterns, peculiar absences of those around you and report it to law enforcement," said Jim Yacone, FBI special agent in charge in Denver.

The U.S. Marshals Service, immigration officials and state Department of Corrections were reviewing registered sex offenders in the area, Yacone said without elaborating.

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With few options, Palestinian crowds line up in hopes of jobs in Israel

BEIT EL, West Bank (AP) — For Palestinians, the Israeli military coordination office on the outskirts of Jerusalem is a symbol of Israel's decades-long control over their lives. Now it has also become an unlikely source of hope for employment.

In response to an economic crisis gripping the West Bank, Israel has increased the number of permits for Palestinians to work in Israel. This has drawn large crowds of desperate men to the gray edifice each morning in chaotic scenes of long lines, frustrated faces and heated arguments as they try to secure a coveted permit.

At a time of double-digit unemployment in the West Bank, Palestinian workers, particularly people working in manual jobs like furniture moving, gardening and maintenance work, have few other options.

"It's a dream to get a permit and work in Israel," said Kayed Ashkar, 45, who is unemployed and a frequent visitor to the Israeli Civil Administration office. "I used to work there. I used to earn enough money for my family," said the former waiter, whose wife's modest salary in a local wedding hall supports their five children.

Israeli authorities have granted an additional 10,000 permits this year to work in Israel, raising the total number to 40,000. It's still well below the peak level of 200,000 in the 1990s, but the most since a violent Palestinian uprising erupted in late 2000. The uprising was characterized by suicide bombings and other attacks carried out by West Bank Palestinians, prompting Israel to revoke most permits.

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Canadian teen found dead weeks after posting wrenching YouTube video detailing bullying

TORONTO (AP) — Canada was in uproar Friday over a 15-year-old schoolgirl who was found dead, an apparent suicide, five weeks after she uploaded a video to YouTube describing years of bullying that drove her to drugs and alcohol.

Coroner Barb McLintock said Thursday night that preliminary indications suggest the British Columbia girl, Amanda Todd, killed herself. Her school district's spokeswoman, Cheryl Quinton, confirmed the girl in the video was her.

In the 9-minute video posted on Sept. 7, the 10th-grader and cheerleader didn't speak but told her story in haunting detail in a series of handwritten notes that she held up to the camera.

She said she was lured by a stranger to expose her breasts on a webcam and the picture ended up on a Facebook page made by the stranger, to which her friends were added.

She wrote of being plunged into anxiety, depression, drugs and alcohol. She said she changed schools but an encounter with another girl's boyfriend started the bullying again, which this time escalated into a physical attack in which she said she was beaten.

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'We never quit; that's our rule': Comeback Cards erase 6-run hole, beat Nats 9-7 to win NLDS

WASHINGTON (AP) — In the end, it made sense that Yadier Molina and David Freese would work those key walks, and that Daniel Descalso and Pete Kozma would come through with those tying and go-ahead, two-run hits.

The names might change. Not the outcomes. This is what the St. Louis Cardinals do.

Pushed to the brink, they never blink.

Trailing by three runs before they recorded an out Friday night, then six before the third inning was over, and still behind when down to their last strike over and over again with two outs in the ninth inning, the defending World Series champions fashioned the sort of comeback they've made their specialty.

Waiting until after midnight to finally take the lead, the never-give-up Cardinals erased the biggest deficit ever overcome in a winner-take-all postseason contest and beat the Washington Nationals 9-7 in Game 5 of the NL division series.

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