Nation & World Briefly

'Not my time' - Christie won't seek Republican nomination

TRENTON, N.J. (AP) - New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie firmly declared Tuesday that "now is not my time" to run for president, dashing the hopes of Republicans still searching for someone other than former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who has failed to win over skeptical conservatives, or Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who is falling in polls as quickly as he had risen.

After months of insisting that no, no, he wouldn't run - and then a long weekend of well maybe - Christie made it final in a news conference at the New Jersey Statehouse. That means it's basically down to Romney and Perry battling to take on President Barack Obama, three months before the first GOP nomination voting.

Christie was the latest, perhaps last, hope of some establishment Republicans who had already been rejected by Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan and others who declined to run for president in 2012. He's been governor of New Jersey for less than two years, but he's cut the budget, curtailed public sector unions, and dealt with a Democratic legislature with disarming and combative confidence.

Christie disputed the idea that his name was just the latest on that list.

"They weren't searching. They came right to one target, and it was me," he said Tuesday. "And it has always been me."

Knox leaves Italy for US after acquittal

LONDON (AP) - After Italian prisoners gave her a boisterous send-off, Amanda Knox made her way home to America on Tuesday, holing up with family on the upper deck of a jetliner to Seattle as she enjoyed her first full day of freedom since her murder conviction was reversed.

Reporters on board the British Airways flight hoping to talk to Knox, now a tabloid staple on two continents, were blocked on the stairs by a flight attendant who politely informed them that the family would speak publicly only after the plane touched down at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. It was unclear whether Knox herself would speak then.

Knox's life, spent in prison for the last four years, turned around dramatically Monday when an Italian appeals court threw out her murder conviction in the death of her British roommate. The decision, fueled by doubts over DNA evidence, stunned the victim's family and angered the prosecution, which insists that she was among three people who killed 21-year-old Meredith Kercher.

Knox left Perugia's Capanne prison Monday night amid cheers that a companion compared to those at a soccer stadium.

Hundreds of inmates - most of them in the men's wing - shouted "Amanda, ciao!" and "Freedom!" as she walked into the central courtyard, said Corrado Maria Daclon, head of the Italy-US Foundation, which championed Knox's cause.

Airline attack suspect shows tendency to make outbursts

DETROIT (AP) - A Nigerian man accused of trying to bring down a jetliner with a bomb in his underwear made a defiant political outburst Tuesday, demonstrating again why his courtroom behavior will be closely watched throughout the trial where he's representing himself.

"The mujahadeen will wipe out the U.S. - the cancer U.S.," said Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, scowling as he referred to Muslim guerrilla fighters.

When marshals removed his handcuffs, he also claimed that a radical Muslim cleric killed last week by the American military is still alive.

In nearly two years of legal proceedings, Abdulmutallab has normally been polite and studious in front of the judge and prospective jurors. But in the moments before court, he's shown a tendency to make comments reflecting loyalty to al-Qaida and contempt for the United States.

The 24-year-old is charged in federal court with trying to destroy the Amsterdam-to-Detroit flight on Christmas 2009. He has pleaded not guilty, and his trial is expected to last three or four weeks.

3 win Nobel in physics for revealing the universe is expanding faster

NEW YORK (AP) - Three U.S.-born scientists won the Nobel Prize in physics Tuesday for discovering that the universe is expanding at an accelerating pace, a stunning revelation that suggests the cosmos could be headed for a colder, bleaker future, nearly devoid of light.

In 1998, Saul Perlmutter, Brian Schmidt and Adam Riess presented findings that overturned the conventional idea that the expansion was slowing 13.7 billion years after the big bang.

Their discovery raised a question: What is pushing the universe apart? Scientists have labeled it "dark energy," but nobody knows what it is.

It's "an enigma, perhaps the greatest in physics today," the Nobel committee said.

Perlmutter, 52, of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and University of California, Berkeley, will receive half the $1.5 million prize. The other half will go to Schmidt, 44, at the Australian National University in Weston Creek, Australia, and Riess, 41, an astronomy professor at Johns Hopkins University and Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore.

Jackson doctor's girlfriend testifies about calls, shipments and interactions with superstar

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Prosecutors on Tuesday called the girlfriend of the doctor charged in Michael Jackson's death to detail the physician's busy schedule on the day the singer died and her own interactions with the late King of Pop.

Nicole Alvarez told jurors during the involuntary manslaughter trial of Dr. Conrad Murray that the doctor had first told her that he was Jackson's personal physician for a year before the singer's June 2009 death.

Alvarez beamed as she described meeting Jackson for the first time in Las Vegas, where Murray maintains a medical practice.

"I was speechless," Alvarez said. "I couldn't believe I was meeting Michael Jackson."

Alvarez said she and Murray met Jackson several other times, including after the birth of the couple's young son.


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