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Nation & World Briefly

New accuser files 1st lawsuit against Penn State, Sandusky; says he was abused 100 times

PHILADELPHIA (AP) – Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky sexually abused a boy more than 100 times and threatened to harm his family to keep him quiet, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday by a new accuser who is not part of the criminal case.

The 29-year-old, identified only as John Doe, had never told anyone about the abuse he claims he suffered until Sandusky was charged this month with abusing other boys. His lawyer said he filed a complaint with law enforcement on Tuesday. He became the first plaintiff to file suit in the Penn State child sex abuse scandal a day later.

Sandusky has acknowledged that he showered with boys but denied molesting them. His lawyer did not immediately return a message about the lawsuit.

The lawsuit claims Sandusky abused the boy from 1992, when the boy was 10, until 1996 in encounters at the coach’s State College home, in a Penn State locker room and on trips, including to a bowl game. The account echoes a grand jury’s description of trips, gifts and attention lavished on other boys.

“I am hurting and have been for a long time because of what happened, but feel now even more tormented that I have learned of so many other kids were abused after me,” the plaintiff said in a handwritten statement his lawyer read aloud at a news conference.

Obama attacks GOP over payroll tax cut, though he says progress possible

NEW YORK (AP) – Blending governing with re-election politics, President Barack Obama roused a cheering northeast Pennsylvania crowd Wednesday as he warned of a “massive blow to the economy” if Republicans block a payroll tax extension.

But hours later, addressing donors in New York, he toned his rhetoric down and declared progress was possible.

Obama took to the road with a dual pitch for money, campaigning for more cash in the pockets of U.S. workers – and for his campaign treasury as well.

He pressed his case at a campaign-style rally in working-class Scranton, Pa., where he said Republicans had to choose between lower taxes for the wealthy, or a payroll tax cut that would help working Americans. Republicans say they would support extending the payroll tax cut, but reject new taxes to offset the costs.

“Are you going to cut taxes for the middle class and those who are trying to get into the middle class, or are you going to protect massive tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires?” he said. “Are you going to ask a few hundred thousand people who have done very, very well to do their fair share or are you going to raise taxes for hundreds of millions of people across the country?”

Despite buzz, presidential candidate Newt Gingrich racing on dual fronts to catch up in Iowa

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) – Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich leads the 2012 pack in buzz but trails his rivals in just about every other category in Iowa.

The former House speaker is striving for a remarkable comeback with the smallest staff and the fewest precinct-level campaign backers of the seven candidates competing in the Jan. 3 presidential caucuses that kick off voting in the fight for the GOP nomination.

Gingrich, who casts himself as the idea candidate bucking convention, is betting that his prescriptions for what ails America – more so than tried-and-true campaign tools – can help him win in Iowa, a state where a stellar organization traditionally has been the key to turning out supporters to local political meetings called caucuses on a cold, Midwestern winter night.

“The traditional ways might not be the most efficient way. Newt has shown us campaigning now is different,” said Katie Koberg, Gingrich’s deputy Iowa caucus director. “It’s not about how you many staff you can hire.”

Can it work? It’s a gamble.

GOP contender Herman Cain plows ahead but says he’ll say by next week whether he’ll keep going

DAYTON, Ohio (AP) – His campaign’s survival in question, Herman Cain plowed ahead Wednesday in an effort to move past a woman’s allegation that they had a longtime affair. But he acknowledged the toll was rising and said he would decide by next week whether to drop out of the Republican race after talking in person to his wife.

“I am not going to make a decision until after we talk face to face,” Cain told reporters Wednesday night in New Hampshire. He said that he had talked to Gloria Cain by phone but that campaigning had prevented him from sitting down with her and their family to discuss the allegations. He said he would do that Friday.

Beyond those comments, there were no signs that the former pizza company executive was calling it quits in his campaign for the GOP nomination. In fact, it was just the opposite: Aides were moving ahead with plans for events in New Hampshire, Tennessee, South Carolina and Georgia and prepared to launch a fresh round of TV ads in Iowa.

On a one-day bus tour of Ohio, Cain insisted he was seeing “a groundswell of positive support” after the latest allegation threatening his campaign. Still, he acknowledged “we are re-assessing and we are re-evaluating” in light of the woman’s account, which followed accusations of sexual harassment by other women in recent weeks.

In an interview with Fox News, Cain said the controversy had taken an “emotional toll” on his wife and that he would exit the race if the price of continuing proved too high.

Kanye is Grammy nominations leader with 7; Adele, Bruno Mars, Foos tie for 6 each

Adele scored six Grammy nominations on Wednesday, including for record, song and album of the year, but the owner of the 2011’s best-selling album with “21” wasn’t the night’s top nominee – and that wasn’t the evening’s only surprise.

Kanye West came away with a leading seven nominations, including a bid for song of the year for his all-star song “All of the Lights.” However, the album from which it came – “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,” heralded by many critics as the best album of 2010 – was not in the best album category, and all of his other nominations were relegated to the rap fields.

Other notable omissions in the top categories included country phenomenon Taylor Swift and veteran crooner Tony Bennett.

Bruno Mars and the Foo Fighters tied Adele with six nominations each, including in the album of the year category. Lil Wayne had five nods and critical-darling folky act Bon Iver scored four nominations, with two in the prestigious record and song of the year categories. But dubstep star Skrillex may have been the night’s biggest surprise, getting five nominations, including a bid for best new artist.

“It feels incredible. Me and these guys, we locked ourselves in the studio not too far from here and worked on this album, especially ‘Grenade,”‘ Mars said after the nominations were announced. “That’s the song we worked the hardest on. That’s like our trophy right there. Of all the songs we’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of this year, we were most proud of that one.”

GOP OK with extending payroll tax cut only if budget cuts pay for it, not a millionaires’ tax

WASHINGTON (AP) – Republican congressional leaders stressed a willingness Wednesday to extend a Social Security payroll tax cut due to expire Dec. 31, setting up a year-end clash with Democrats over how to pay for a provision at the heart of President Barack Obama’s jobs program.

“We just think we shouldn’t be punishing job creators to pay for it,” said Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, scorning a Democratic proposal to raise taxes on million-dollar income earners.

Instead, Senate Republicans called for a gradual reduction in the size of the federal bureaucracy, as well as steps to make sure that million-dollar earners don’t benefit from unemployment benefits or food stamps. They also recommended raising Medicare premiums for individuals with incomes over $750,000 a year.

House Speaker John Boehner said flatly that any tax cut extension will be offset by cuts elsewhere in the budget to avoid raising federal deficits. Numerous Republican officials noted that Obama had said the same thing was true of the plan he unveiled in a nationally televised speech to Congress in September.

The events in Congress, coupled with Obama’s fresh appeal for renewal of the payroll tax cut while speaking Wednesday in Scranton, Pa., indicated that leaders in both parties want to seek a compromise less than a week after Congress’ high-profile supercommittee failed to find common ground on a related economic issue, a plan to reduce deficits.

Preacher Billy Graham hospitalized in NC for cough, fever; will be tested for pneumonia

ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – The Rev. Billy Graham was admitted to a hospital Wednesday near his home in western North Carolina to be tested for pneumonia after suffering from congestion, a cough and a slight fever, his spokesman said.

The 93-year-old evangelist was taken to Mission Hospital in Asheville, spokesman A. Larry Ross said. His personal physician, Dr. Lucian Rice, said he was in stable condition.

A news release issued by the hospital said Graham was alert, smiling and waving to staff as he entered the hospital. Ross said Graham was admitted for observation and treatment and likely would spend the night there.

Ross said Graham was in good spirits after undergoing a full afternoon of medical tests. His daughter, Gigi, visited him after dinner for prayer and Bible reading, Ross said. As the two watched television in the hospital room, Ross said they found a replay of Graham’s 1973 crusade in St. Louis.

For six decades, Graham led a worldwide crusade-based ministry that packed stadiums with believers and allowed him to counsel every U.S. president since Harry Truman. His most recent book, “Nearing Home,” was published last month.

Move to lower cost of borrowing exhilarates Wall Street, sends Dow soaring 490 points

A move by the world’s central banks to lower the cost of borrowing exhilarated investors Wednesday, sending the Dow Jones industrial average soaring 490 points and easing fears of a global credit crisis similar to the one that followed the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers.

It was the Dow’s biggest gain since March 2009 and the seventh-largest of all time.

Large U.S. banks were among the top performers, jumping as much as 11 percent. Markets in Europe surged, too, with Germany’s DAX index climbing 5 percent.

“The central banks of the world have resolved that there will not be a liquidity shortage,” said David Kotok, chairman and chief investment officer of Cumberland Advisors. “And they have learned their lessons from 2008. They don’t want to take small steps and do anything incrementally, but make a big bold move that is credible.”

Wednesday’s action by the banks of Europe, the U.S., Britain, Canada, Japan and Switzerland represented an extraordinary coordinated effort.

Former Colorado sheriff accused of offering meth for sex held in jail named for him

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (AP) – The ex-Colorado sheriff was known for his no-nonsense style, his heroism in saving two deputies and for his concern about teenage drug use. He was even named the nation’s sheriff of the year.

Patrick Sullivan, 68, found himself on Wednesday in a jail that was named for him, facing charges of offering methamphetamine in exchange for sex from a male acquaintance.

Dressed in an orange jail uniform and walking with a cane, a handcuffed Sullivan watched as a judge raised his bail amount to a half-million dollars and sent him to the Patrick J. Sullivan Jr. Detention Facility.

Sullivan’s arrest has many in suburban Denver’s Arapahoe County where he held sway for nearly two decades wondering what happened to the tough-as-nails lawman they once knew.

“This isn’t the Pat I know,” said Peg Ackerman, a lobbyist for the County Sheriffs of Colorado who often worked with him on legislation. She said he was concerned about drug use in schools and was a chief of security at a school district.

With free agency talk heating up and players set to return, basketball moves back into focus

NEW YORK (AP) – These are the kinds of negotiations NBA fans have been waiting for.

Teams began talking to agents Wednesday as the lockout inched closer to its end, and basketball moved back into focus. Dwight Howard and Chris Paul were linked to trade speculation, while free agents such as Tyson Chandler and Nene were in the news after months of attorneys getting all the ink.

Now, the players are taking over and the league was set to reopen its facilities for workouts Thursday.

Some may arrive out of shape, just as was the case in January 1999 after the NBA’s only other shortened season. But they’re anxious to get back, with a little more than three weeks until they start playing games.

“The guys are going to come in and I’m sure they’re going to be in good shape. They want to play,” new Houston coach Kevin McHale told reporters.