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World Briefly

Dead scientist wins Nobel

NEW YORK (AP) – Ralph Steinman, a pioneer in understanding how cells fight disease, tried to help his own immune system thwart his pancreatic cancer.

Steinman survived until Friday. Three days later, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for medicine.

The Nobel committee, unaware of his death, announced the award Monday in Stockholm. Steinman’s employer, Rockefeller University in New York, learned of his death after the Nobel announcement.

Steinman’s wife, Claudia, said the family had planned to disclose his death Monday – only to discover an email to his cellphone from the Nobel committee.

Friends and colleagues were stunned by his death.

Freed Knox due to leave Italy on today

PERUGIA, Italy (AP) – Witnesses say Amanda Knox has left prison after her 2009 conviction for killing her British roommate was thrown out on appeal.

Italian lawmaker Rocco Girlanda, who has spearheaded Knox’s case and is close to the American, says she and her family will leave Italy on Tuesday aboard a commercial flight from Rome.

A convoy of cars was seen leaving Perugia’s Campanne prison about 90 minutes after the verdict was handed down, and witnesses reported seeing Knox in one of the cars.

Obama is running against the economy

WASHINGTON (AP) – Maybe even more than the Republicans, President Barack Obama is looking forward to the GOP picking a candidate to challenge him.

For now and months to come, Obama is an incumbent with no specific rival, a campaigner against various forces but not one in particular.

He is running against a staggering economy. And Congress. And himself – that history-making version of Obama that many voters remember from 2008.

The longer it takes for Republicans to rally around a nominee, the more the election remains a referendum on Obama and jobs. That’s not what the White House and his campaign eagerly want: a clear choice between the president and another candidate who holds starkly different views about how to improve the economy.

With polls showing his approval rating in the low 40s, Obama even contended on Monday that he’s the underdog.

Activists says regime detains more than 3,000 over 3 days

BEIRUT (AP) – Syrian troops going house to house have detained more than 3,000 people in the past three days in the rebellious town of Rastan, which saw some of the worst fighting of the 6-month-old uprising recently, activists said Monday.

Over the past week, the military fought hundreds of army defectors who sided with anti-regime protesters in Rastan. The fighting demonstrated the increasingly militarized nature of the uprising and heightened fears that Syria may be sliding toward civil war.

The activist group Local Coordination Committees said fighting in the town has now stopped after the military operation that left dozens dead. The group and a Rastan-based activist confirmed about 3,000 in the town of 70,000 had been detained. The activist told The Associated Press by telephone that the detainees are being held at a cement factory, as well as some schools and the Sports Club, a massive, four-story compound.

“Ten of my relatives have been detained,” said the activist, who asked that he be identified only by his first name Hassan for fear of retaliation. He said he was speaking from hiding in Rastan.

Syria’s opposition movement has until now focused on peaceful demonstrations, although recently there have been reports of protesters taking up arms to defend themselves against military attacks. Army defectors have also been fighting government troops, particularly in Rastan, the town just north of Homs that government forces retook on Saturday.

Texas prosecutors agree to release Austin man sentenced to life

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) – Texas prosecutors have agreed to release a man who spent nearly 25 years in prison for murdering his wife after reviewing evidence that the man is innocent.

The case will likely raise more questions about John Bradley, a Williamson County district attorney and Gov. Rick Perry appointee whose tenure on the Texas Forensic Science Commission was controversial. The Innocence Project has accused Bradley of suppressing evidence that could have cleared Michael Morton.

A judge said Morton will be released Tuesday or Wednesday.

Morton was convicted on circumstantial evidence and sentenced to life in prison for his wife’s 1986 beating death. But new DNA tests done on a bandana found near Morton’s home found blood from his wife and a California felon.

ER doctor: Jackson physician never mentioned anesthetic dose

LOS ANGELES (AP) – Michael Jackson was clinically dead when he arrived at a hospital and two emergency room doctors said they thought it was futile to attempt to revive him. His doctor, however, insisted that they try.

Both doctors, testifying at Dr. Conrad Murray’s involuntary manslaughter trial Monday, said Murray failed to tell them that he had been giving Jackson the anesthetic propofol or when Jackson had been medicated or stopped breathing.

“He said he did not have any concept of time, that he did not have a watch,” said Dr. Thao Nguyen, a cardiologist at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, where Jackson was taken on June 25, 2009.

“Dr. Murray asked that we not give up easily and try to save Michael Jackson’s life,” she said. “…In Dr. Murray’s mind, if we called it quits, we would be giving up easily.”

Nguyen said Murray “sounded desperate and he looked devastated.” But, she said, without knowing how much time had passed since he stopped breathing, resuscitation was a remote hope.