100 days left: In remarkably tight race between Obama and Romney, debates, economy loom large

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Stubbornly close and deeply divisive, the presidential race throttles into its last 100 days as an enormous clash over economic vision, with the outcome likely to come down to fall debates, final unemployment numbers and fierce efforts to mobilize voters. It may seem like an election for the whole nation, but only about eight states will decide who wins the White House.

Polling shows the contest between President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney remains remarkably static across the country and in those pivotal states even as both men and their allies pour money into largely negative television advertising to sway opinions.

The two candidates will intensify their time before voters in the weeks ahead, knowing much of the public will not truly start paying attention until after Labor Day.

Column: The target might be blurry, but South Korean archer's arrows always fly true

LONDON (AP) -- The headline sounded too good to be true: "Legally Blind Archer Smashes World Record."

Turns out it almost certainly was.

A day after setting the first world records of the 2012 Games, Im Dong-hyun led South Korea to a bronze medal in the team event Saturday and somehow managed to leave behind more questions than answers about exactly how impaired his eyesight is.

At one moment, speaking through an interpreter, Im described himself as farsighted and said the colors in the target - almost 77 yards away - appeared "blurry, not bad ... like a drop of paint in the water."

A moment later, he said he didn't need glasses to drive or read, unless he was tired, describing his problem as "old man's eyes." At yet another, he said the vision in his left eye was 20 percent of a normal sighted person and 30 percent in the right. Not long after that, his coach, Oh Seon-Tek, raised that number to 60 percent and laughed at the notion that his star pupil had any problem seeing the target at all.

Costas recalls Israel athletes killed at '72 Games

NEW YORK (AP) -- NBC's Bob Costas noted a controversy over honoring Israeli athletes killed at the Olympics 40 years ago during his coverage of the opening ceremony but stopped short of offering his own protest.

The International Olympic Committee had declined a request to hold a moment of silence during the ceremony to acknowledge the 11 Israeli athletes and coaches killed by Palestinian gunmen in Munich in 1972. Costas called that decision insensitive during an interview this month and indicated he would call for his own moment of silence when Israeli athletes marched into the Olympic Stadium on Friday.

Costas' comments took his bosses by surprise. Jim Bell, executive producer of the NBC's telecast, said this week that Costas hadn't brought it up with him before the interview.

States could leave millions of low-income people uninsured in a new Medicaid 'doughnut hole'

WASHINGTON (AP) -- For Gov. Rick Perry, saying "no" to the federal health care law could also mean turning away up to 1.3 million Texans, nearly half the uninsured people who could be newly eligible for coverage in his state.

Gov. Chris Christie not only would be saying "no" to President Barack Obama, but to as many as 245,000 uninsured New Jersey residents as well.

The Supreme Court's recent ruling gave governors new flexibility to reject what some Republicans deride as "Obamacare." But there's a downside, too.

States that reject the law's Medicaid expansion risk leaving behind many of their low-income uninsured residents in a coverage gap already being called the new "doughnut hole" - a reference to a Medicare gap faced by seniors.

London Olympics organizers insist that early woes are minor, games will be safe, secure

LONDON (AP) -- London Games officials dismissed concerns Tuesday over a lost bus driver, a scramble for more security guards and some rain-soaked venues - embarrassments that had one tabloid newspaper headline using the Olympic rings to spell out the word "OOPS!"

Organizers said some of the complaints were exaggerated and tried to put the best face on the unfolding security debacle, as well as other concerns about the games, which start in 10 days.

"Let's put this in proportion," London Olympics head Sebastian Coe told reporters. "This has not, nor will it, impact on the safety and security of these games. That, of course, is our No. 1 priority."

Police: Eva Rausing's body was badly decomposed

LONDON (AP) -- The body of Eva Rausing, one of Britain's richest women, was badly decomposed and covered by layers of clothing and garbage bags when it was found in the luxury London home she shared with her husband, police said in court Wednesday.

Hans Kristian Rausing, gaunt and frail, was granted bail after making his first court appearance on a charge of preventing the lawful burial of the body of his wife.

Rausing, whose father made billions selling his stake in the Tetra Pak drinks-carton empire, had been receiving medical care since his wife's body was discovered on July 9.

District Judge James Henderson granted Rausing bail on two conditions: That he reside at a psychiatric hospital and not leave unless accompanied by a member of the staff.

Japan utility takes out 2 Fukushima nuke fuel rods

TOKYO (AP) -- A giant crane removed two fuel rods from the damaged Fukushima nuclear plant Wednesday, starting the long and delicate process to reduce the risk of more radiation escaping into the environment.

All of the 1,535 rods in a spent-fuel pool next to reactor No. 4 at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant in northeastern Japan must eventually be moved to safer storage - an effort expected to take until the end of next year, according to the government.

The building containing the pool and reactor was destroyed by an explosion following the failure of cooling systems after a massive earthquake and tsunami on March, 11, 2011. The cores of three reactors melted in the world's second-worst nuclear disaster after Chernobyl.

Fears run deep about the large amounts of radioactive material stored in the pool, which unlike fuel in the cores of the reactors is not protected by thick containment vessels.

Yahoo CEO's pregnancy reignites a perennial debate

NEW YORK (AP) -- "Another piece of good news today," tweeted the expectant mom, announcing to her online followers that she and her husband are awaiting a baby boy.

But this wasn't just any excited mom-to-be. This was 37-year-old Marissa Mayer, the newly named CEO of Yahoo - obviously a huge achievement for anyone, but especially for a woman in the male-dominated tech industry. And she was about six months pregnant, to boot.

Exciting news - especially for Mayer and her husband, of course - but did it mean something for the rest of us, too? Was it a watershed moment in the perennial debate over whether women can "have it all," with the pendulum swinging happily in the positive direction?

Or was it, as some claimed in the inevitable back-and-forth on Twitter, actually a development that would increase pressure on other working moms, who might not have nearly the resources that Mayer does, in terms of wealth, power, talent and flexibility on the job?

Yahoo turns to former nemesis to be its CEO savior

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- As a top executive at Google for the past 13 years, Marissa Mayer played an instrumental role in developing many of the services that have tormented Yahoo as its appeal waned among Web surfers, advertisers and investors.

Now, Yahoo is turning to its longtime nemesis to fix everything that has gone wrong while Google Inc. has been cementing its position as the Internet's most powerful company.

Mayer, 37, will tackle the imposing challenge Tuesday when she takes over as Yahoo's fifth CEO in the past five years.

The surprise hiring announced late Monday indicates Yahoo still believes it can be an Internet innovator instead of merely an online way station where people pass through to read a news story or watch a video clip before moving on to more compelling Internet destinations.

"I just saw a huge opportunity to have a global impact on users and really help the company in terms of managing its portfolio, attracting great talent and really inspiring and delighting people," Mayer said during a Monday interview with The Associated Press.

Havana's historic quarter begins small-biz rentals

HAVANA (AP) -- At first blush, Mama Ines seems to be just the latest in a long line of private restaurants that have opened in Havana as part of President Raul Castro's fledgling free-market reforms.

But a tiny sign on the facade, easily overlooked, tells the tale: "Tenant of the Office of the Historian."

The government's Havana historian, Eusebio Leal, has long overseen the capital's colonial core with unusually wide latitude to call his own shots. Now he's out in front of other state agencies again - this time by leasing government-owned buildings as retail space to Mama Ines and a handful of other private small businesses: here a beauty salon, there a massage parlor, down the street a nursery specializing in bonsai.

Until now, most independent restaurateurs have been operating out of their own homes, restricting their access to good locations and forcing them to cannibalize their living space.

Michael Jordan memo to Kobe Bryant: 'No comparison' between Dream Team and 2012 Olympic squad

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Michael Jordan said there's no way Kobe Bryant and this year's USA Olympic basketball team could've beaten the 1992 Dream Team.

Jordan told The Associated Press Thursday that he laughed - "I absolutely laughed" - when hearing Bryant's comments that the squad training in Las Vegas could take Jordan and company.

Jordan said there's "no comparison" which team is better.

"For him to compare those two teams is not one of the smarter things he ever could have done," Jordan said prior playing in a celebrity golf tournament in Charlotte.

Jordan said the 1992 team, which included 11 future Hall of Famers and won its six Olympic games by an average of more than 43 points en route to capturing the gold medal, was a better overall team largely because of the experience it put on the floor.

Trainer Doug O'Neill drops appeal of suspension, will serve 40-day punishment starting Aug. 19

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Kentucky Derby and Preakness-winning trainer Doug O'Neill on Wednesday dropped his appeal of a 45-day suspension stemming from an excess of carbon dioxide in one of his horses in 2010. He will serve the penalty starting Aug. 19.

O'Neill said the suspension was reduced to 40 days, and California Horse Racing Board spokesman Mike Marten confirmed it.

The punishment runs until Sept. 27, which means O'Neill will miss the final 2 1/2 weeks of the Del Mar meet that ends Sept. 5. California's three major tracks then take a two-week break before racing resumes at Santa Anita on Sept. 28. During his suspension, O'Neill's barn and horses will be supervised by assistant Leandro Mora.

O'Neill originally said he would appeal the suspension because he questioned the test findings that showed excessive carbon dioxide. The 40-day punishment is contingent upon him not having any Class 1, 2 or 3 drug violations within 18 months in any jurisdiction. He still must pay a $15,000 fine.

Arafat medical file released in death probe portrays him as robust before sudden health crisis

RAMALLAH, West Bank (AP) -- Medical files released for the first time Thursday portray Yasser Arafat as a robust 75-year-old whose sudden health crisis, a month before his mysterious 2004 death, was initially blamed on viral gastroenteritis.

The treatment notes by Arafat's Arab doctors who cared for him at his West Bank compound before he was airlifted to France are part of a renewed push to find out what killed the Palestinian leader.

For years, little was heard about official Palestinian efforts to uncover Arafat's cause of death. An investigation by the Arabic satellite TV channel Al-Jazeera, in collaboration with Arafat's widow, Suha, has put new pressure on Arafat's successor, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, to be seen as vigorously searching for the truth.

Tony-winning costume designer Pakledinaz dies

NEW YORK (AP) -- Two-time Tony Award winner Martin Pakledinaz, who designed hundreds of costumes for stars such as Sutton Foster and Patti LuPone, has died, his agent said Monday. He was 58.

Pakledinaz died Sunday at his home in New York after a long battle with cancer, according to Patrick Herold, his agent.

Pakledinaz received Tonys for his designs for "Kiss Me Kate" in 2000 - with Marin Mazzie and Brian Stokes Mitchell - and "Thoroughly Modern Millie," two years later with Foster, whom he also dressed for her Tony-winning turn in "Anything Goes."

"My characters were defined from the fabric, the seams, the details of his work, his eye. I feel honored to know him, to love him, to call him a friend and collaborator and to be graced by his talent," Foster said in a statement.

Nolan says no to 'Justice League' superhero film

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. (AP) -- Now that Christopher Nolan is done with his epic Batman trilogy, the filmmaker has quashed speculation that he might be involved in a "Justice League" movie featuring the Dark Knight.

Writer-director Nolan said his take on Batman wraps up with "The Dark Knight Rises," his third and final film centered on the DC Comics superhero. In an interview over the weekend to promote the finale, Nolan said he has no "Justice League" plans.

"No, none at all," Nolan said. "We're finished with all we're doing with Batman. This is the end of our take on this character."

Fans have conjectured that Nolan might return to Batman by producing a big-screen take on "Justice League," DC Comics' "Avengers"-style ensemble whose key superheroes include the Dark Knight, Superman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern.

Nolan guesses that the "Justice League" rumors started because of his involvement as a producer on next summer's Superman relaunch, "Man of Steel."

R&B's Anthony Hamilton among Essence Fest closers

NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- For years, R&B singer Anthony Hamilton has packed the smaller stages at the Essence Music Festival. This year, though, Hamilton scored a closing Sunday night spot on the festival's main stage, something he's been seeking ever since he got a taste of the event.

"So many years have gone by with me wanting to be on that stage," Hamilton told The Associated Press. "This is such a huge accomplishment for me that didn't come easily."

The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, wearing a flowing tangerine-colored dress, opened her show with "(Your Love has Lifted me) Higher and Higher" "Natural Woman" and "Think." Midway through her performance, she left the stage so the festival could pay special tribute to her life and career as part of a ceremony where she received its Power Award. A video montage and brief history of her career was played for the audience before she returned wearing an olive- and gold-colored dress.

"We honor Ms. Aretha Franklin for having the greatest voice of all time," said Michelle Ebanks, president of Essence Communications Inc.

Ann Romney's says husband is considering a female running mate: 'I love that option as well'

WOLFEBORO, N.H. (AP) -- Mitt Romney's wife has confirmed a tidbit about the vice presidential search process her husband largely has been keeping secret: He's considering choosing a woman.

"We've been looking at that, and I love that option as well," Ann Romney told CBS News in a joint interview with her husband that was broadcast Thursday. She added: "There's a lot of people that Mitt is considering right now."

The disclosure came as the Republican presidential candidate, vacationing with his family at their lakeside estate in Wolfeboro, faced mounting criticism from inside the party about the state of his campaign.

Officially, the campaign says Romney is doing what he's done for the past decade - enjoying family time during a weeklong holiday in New Hampshire. It's also a break from the campaign trail and a chance to relax before the pre-convention push. But unofficially, the bit of down time is a chance for the contemplative Romney to consider who to tap for the No. 2 slot, how the campaign is going and whether to adjust strategy in a contest that polls show is close.

Montreal police: Head found in a park belongs to Chinese student in Canada body parts case

MONTREAL (AP) -- A human head found in a park belongs to a Chinese student who police say was dismembered by a Canadian porn actor, authorities in Montreal confirmed Wednesday.

The head of Jun Lin was the last body part still missing since he was killed and dismembered in May.

Luka Magnotta is accused of dismembering his lover Lin and mailing the body parts to Canadian political parties and schools. He pleaded not guilty to murder charges last month.

Lin's head was the only remaining missing body part until Sunday, when Lemieux said investigators found it in Park Angrignon after the major crimes unit received a tip. The park is a few miles (kilometers) south of Magnotta's apartment.

"It had been there for quite some time, but we won't go into details, partly out of respect for the family and friends of the victim," said Lemieux.

'Savages' boss Oliver Stone knows good weed

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Oliver Stone has smoked great marijuana all over the world, from Vietnam and Thailand to Jamaica and South Sudan. But the filmmaker says the best weed is made in the USA and that pot could be a huge growth industry for taxpayers if it were legalized.

Stone, whose drug-war thriller "Savages" opens Friday, has been a regular toker since his days as an infantryman in Vietnam in the late 1960s and knows a good herb when he inhales one. He insisted in a recent interview that no one is producing better stuff now than U.S. growers.

"There's good weed everywhere in the world, but my God, these Americans are brilliant," said Stone, 65, who sees only benefits from legalizing marijuana. "It can be done. It can be done legally, safely, healthy, and it can be taxed and the government can pay for education and stuff like that. Also, you can save a fortune by not putting kids in jail."

Target shooting blamed for wildfires in parched West, but gun rights prevail over restrictions

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) -- Campfires, fireworks and even lit cigarettes can spark wildfires. In the tinder-dry West, there is growing concern about the threat from guns.

This year, officials believe target shooting or other firearms use sparked at least 21 wildfires in Utah and nearly a dozen in Idaho. Shooting is also believed to have caused fires in Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico.

Those concerns come as states grapple with ways to cut the risk of new fires ahead of the Fourth of July holiday when many people fire their guns to celebrate the nation's independence.

Officials have been asking the public to scale back shooting as legions of firefighters contend with one of the busiest and most destructive wildfire seasons to ever hit the West.

Air India pilots end long strike after court order

NEW DELHI (AP) -- Hundreds of striking pilots of India's national carrier have ended a 58 day strike following a court order for them to return to work within two days.

Tauseef Mukadam, a spokesman for the Indian Pilots' Guild which represents Air India's striking pilots, said Wednesday that the group would follow the instructions of the Delhi High Court.

About a third of the airline's 1,500 pilots were on strike. Their absence led to dozens of canceled flights for the beleaguered state-owned carrier.

The court order Tuesday said the carrier should be sympathetic to the pilots' grievances.

Mukadam said that Judge Reva Khetrapal also asked Air India to work towards reinstating 100 pilots who had been fired during the strike.

Eureka! After long quest, top physicists celebrate evidence of subatomic 'God particle'

GENEVA (AP) -- Scientists at the world's biggest atom smasher hailed the discovery of "the missing cornerstone of physics" Wednesday, cheering the apparent end of a decades-long quest for a new subatomic particle called the Higgs boson, or "God particle," which could help explain why all matter has mass and crack open a new realm of subatomic science.

First proposed as a theory in the 1960s, the maddeningly elusive Higgs had been hunted by at least two generations of physicists who believed it would help shape our understanding of how the universe began and how its most elemental pieces fit together.

As the highly technical findings were announced by two independent teams involving more than 5,000 researchers, the usually sedate corridors of the European Center for Nuclear Research, or CERN, erupted in frequent applause and standing ovations. Physicists who spent their careers in pursuit of the particle shed tears.

Critics continue objections, but Arctic offshore drilling moves forward for 2012, future years

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) -- In choppy water under blue sky off Bellingham, Wash., a Shell Oil crew on Monday lowered a "capping stack" 200 feet in the water and put it through maneuvers with underwater robots connected by cable to operators on the surface, a test that fulfilled one of the final steps required for permission to drill exploratory wells in Arctic waters.

The capping stack looks like a giant spark plug and is designed to kill an undersea oil well blowout by providing a metal-to-metal seal on a malfunctioning blowout preventer.

Shell is sending the capping stack, skimmers, boom and a containment dome on board a flotilla accompanying drill ships to Alaska's northern shores as part of a spill response plan that has the blessing of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. Shell expects final approvals within weeks and drilling by late this month.

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Supreme Court upholds Obama health care overhaul by 5-4 vote, approving insurance requirement

WASHINGTON (AP) -- America's historic health care overhaul, certain now to touch virtually every citizen's life, narrowly survived an election-year battle at the Supreme Court Thursday with the improbable help of conservative Chief Justice John Roberts.

But the ruling, by a 5-4 vote, also gave Republicans unexpected ammunition to energize supporters for the fall campaign against President Barack Obama, the bill's champion - and for next year's vigorous efforts to repeal the law as a new federal tax

Roberts' vote, along with those of the court's four liberal justices, preserved the largest expansion of the nation's social safety net in more than 45 years, including the hotly debated core requirement that nearly everyone have health insurance or pay a penalty. The aim is to extend coverage to more than 30 million people who now are uninsured

The decision meant the huge overhaul, still taking effect, could proceed and pick up momentum over the next several years, with an impact on the way that countless Americans receive and pay for their personal medical care.