Saturday, February 12, 2011

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Two University of Connecticut business school graduates have received support from the state's venture capital fund to begin an online social network.

Nick Jaensch (Yensh) and Keith Bessette received $350,000 in private and state money to develop, a corner of the Internet dedicated to college students and 20-somethings.

Shizzlr is intended to bring together friends who text message their social plans. Users opt in those they want to include.

Jaensch said that while most people are in touch with a wide range of people through Facebook, shizzlr is designed for a small circle of close friends.

Peter V. Longo, president of the state investment agency Connecticut Innovations, said he was eager to support the Internet start-up because he believes it will eventually generate jobs.

ISLAMABAD (AP) -- Any U.S. pressure on Islamabad to release an American held for shooting dead two Pakistanis will be "counterproductive," a senior government official said Saturday.

Foreign Secretary Salman Bashir issued the warning as the dispute between the two countries over the man's fate reached new levels, with U.S. officials threatening to take a variety of measures to get him freed.

The U.S. insists the American, Raymond Davis, is an embassy staffer who has diplomatic immunity and that he shot the two Pakistanis in self-defense when they tried to rob him at gunpoint in the eastern city of Lahore in late January.

Pakistani officials, fearful of a backlash in a population where anti-American fervor is widespread, have avoided verifying his diplomatic status and have referred the case to the courts. Police are pushing for murder charges against the 36-year-old Davis, a former U.S. Army Special Forces soldier.

U.S. officials have said they are considering several ways to display Washington's displeasure over the man's detention, which they say violates international agreements covering diplomatic ties.

Options include delaying a Washington meeting on the war in Afghanistan scheduled for later this month and slowing down visa processing for Pakistanis wanting to come to America.

Also on the table is the possibility of cutting back on military and educational training programs with the Pakistani armed forces and civilian educational, scientific, cultural and local and state government exchanges, said American officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because the case is before a court.

Pakistan is considered a key to U.S. success in neighboring Afghanistan, making it difficult for Washington to sever too many ties. At the same time, Pakistan relies on large amounts of U.S. aid and protection, but the government seems paralyzed in the face of outrage over the shootings, much of it driven by the media.

JOHANNESBURG (AP) -- A South African man accused of threatening to unleash biological weapons on Britain and the United States unless he was paid millions of dollars was arrested Saturday, police said. Authorities said they had not found evidence he was capable of carrying out the threats.

In a statement, South African police said a six-month terror investigation by South African, British and U.S. officials culminated with the arrest of the suspect in northwestern South Africa. Police spokeswoman Sally de Beer said the businessman would not be named until he appears in court Monday in Johannesburg.

"This biological agent, if deployed, would have caused the destruction of property and resulted in major economic loss," the police statement said. "This was therefore regarded as a very serious threat."

De Beer said the threats were made repeatedly in letters and e-mails. Police were searching the man's home and other sites, de Beer said Saturday.

The suspect threatened to carry out the threats unless he was given $4 million.

U.S. Embassy spokeswoman Elizabeth Trudeau said she could not discuss the specifics of the investigation.

"However we can confirm that this was an ongoing and close collaboration with the South African Police Service, Scotland Yard and American law enforcement based at the U.S. Embassy," she said.

Scotland Yard confirmed that its counterterrorism officers had provided support to the investigation but declined further comment.

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. -- LeBron James took a moment during Friday's game against the Detroit Pistons to fire back at a heckling fan who insulted his mother.

After hearing a fan sitting near the court behind the Heat's bench mention his mother's name, James walked toward the scorer's table and addressed the male fan.

"I don't care what you say to me. I don't give a [expletive] what you say," James said to the fan. "But don't be disrespectful."

The exchange came during a break in action with 1.7 seconds left in the first quarter and was picked up by television microphones.

James responded to the fan, who shouted the comments within earshot of James' two young sons who sat courtside near the Heat's bench.

The fan, who declined to give his name to, said he was offended by James' cursing. He was also told by security to refrain from heckling the rest of the game or he would be escorted out.

BOKAPAHARI, India (AP) -- The villagers set out from this shattered hamlet long before dawn, walking without flashlights on trails they can navigate without looking.

They pass small mountains of mining slag that, in the darkness, are just blurry silhouettes. They weave barefoot through brush. When the trail reaches a dirt road, they descend into the open pit of a coal mine. Then, as the night sky starts turning to gray, they begin hacking coal from an exposed black seam.

A few hours later the scavengers return to their villages, their baskets filled with stolen coal.

They return to visions of the apocalypse.

They come back to villages where smoke pours from fissures in the earth, where flames from underground fires lick at trails, where oily fumes leave visitors gagging. In places, Bokapahari looks like nearly every other village around here - cramped stone houses plastered with mud, children playing in dirt roads, tangled electricity lines - until, off at the edge of town, the earth is buckled and warped, riven by cracks and scorched by burn marks.

Beneath the scavengers' villages are dozens of underground coal fires, one dating to 1918. Above the fires are thousands of people living at the ragged edge of existence.

This is home.

"There's no beauty here," said Mahesh Prasad Verma, 40, who has spent his life on the fringes of the thriving but deeply troubled coal city of Jharia, in the remote eastern state of Jharkhand. "Everywhere there is just mines and fire, smoke and dust."

Behind that smoke, though, the dozen or so villages where fires have erupted into the open reveal a complex portrait of modern Indian life. There is economic opportunity, government incompetence and environmental afflictions. There are nearly 700 families who have reluctantly moved to an isolated resettlement project, and 54,000 more families across Jharia who officials say need to move.

There are thousands of people who desperately fear losing their grip on the bottom rungs of India's economic ladder.

"The government officials visit us and say we have to leave, because of the fire," said Verma. "But where could we go? Where would we live?"

And, most important: What would he do to survive?

"We scavenge coal and we sell it," said Verma, a seventh-grade dropout, standing amid the smoke of a half-dozen bonfires lit to reduce raw coal to sellable chunks. "That's all we do here."

India is increasingly a land of opportunity, a country of 1.2 billion where galloping economic growth created 40,000 new millionaires just in 2009. There's an exploding middle class buying up flat-screen TVs and sending their children to English-language private schools.

If much of the new money is concentrated in a handful of cities, with their clusters of software engineers and real estate developers, hints of wealth have reached deep into India, even to Jharia, a city of 500,000 in the heart of the country's coal belt.

In a country ravenous for energy, and largely dependent on coal, the city has boomed. Today, shoppers in Jharia's dusty, potholed streets can buy Whirlpool washing machines and Sony televisions. They can shop for used Hondas at the glass-fronted motorcycle dealership. It's an ugly city beset by troubles, but it still offers far more opportunities than it once did.

Bokapahari, and its grim neighboring villages, are the dark reflection of India's new world. Here the only opportunities lie in scavenged coal.

Because as one segment of Indian society has been lifted into the middle class, hundreds of millions of others have been left behind, widening an ever-expanding chasm between rich and poor.

If the Indian government hails the country as a modern economic powerhouse, many statistics tell a different story: 20 percent of all children are malnourished; rural unemployment is nearly 30 percent and more than a third of the population lives on less than $1 per day.

In places like Bokapahari, they say, at least they earn more than that. They are villages where misery meets opportunity, and where what looks like hell to an outsider looks like survival to the residents.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- News reports since last fall have said criminal charges against seven-time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong could be just around the corner. But a decision on whether to indict America's most famous cyclist in performance-enhancing drug case is not imminent and the federal investigation has encountered serious hurdles, according to lawyers familiar with the matter.

What is clear is that it will be some time before the probe ends and a decision is made.

One of Armstrong's former teammates, Floyd Landis, made headlines last May when he accused Armstrong of cheating to win - using performance-enhancing drugs and teaching others how to beat drug testing. Speculation ran rampant that criminal charges soon would follow. They didn't.

A grand jury investigation based in Los Angeles appeared to be moving fast last summer. Then the published reports emerged. The new year and the Super Bowl, both reported target dates for a decision, came and went without charges.

In fact, the nine months since Landis made his allegations have only served to illustrate the difficulty of translating them into legal charges.

Armstrong has never been found to have failed a drug test and there is a dispute over whether any forensic evidence exists that could be used against him. So far, Landis, whose credibility is open to question, is the only person to say publicly he saw Armstrong doping. Whether investigators have found other eyewitnesses among current or former Armstrong associates remains unclear.

Investigators have many more witnesses to interview, and the assistant U.S. attorney supervising the investigation, Doug Miller, is set to handle an unrelated criminal case, according to lawyers familiar with the investigation.

The reports of an impending indictment led Armstrong's lawyers to reach out to the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles. Over the past month and a half, that office has assured Armstrong's legal team that no decision on whether to indict is imminent, according to the lawyers. They spoke on condition of anonymity because the criminal probe is continuing.

In line with Justice Department policy, Armstrong's lawyers will get time to argue privately against indictment if the government decides to move toward charging their client, three of the lawyers said.

The only certainty is that it will be quite a while before the Armstrong probe ends.

Thom Mrozak, a spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles, and Mark Fabiani, a spokesman for Armstrong, declined comment.

Armstrong, Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens

The lead investigator in the Armstrong probe, Jeff Novitzky, was instrumental in getting federal criminal charges filed against baseball home run king Barry Bonds and seven-time Cy Young award winner Roger Clemens related to their alleged involvement with performance-enhancing drugs.

The Bonds trial is to begin in March; Clemens' case in July.

Armstrong, 39, stands near the end of a storied career, just as Bonds and Clemens did when they became the focus of investigations into steroid use.

But there's one major difference: The probe of Armstrong seems to lack a defining event, the kind that led to charges against Bonds, who is accused of lying to a federal grand jury, or Clemens, who allegedly lied to a congressional committee in a nationally televised hearing.

Armstrong, if anything, has been even more vehement than Clemens and Bonds in denying he engaged in doping.
The Canadian government has launched a formal challenge against the EU over its ban on Canadian seal products.

Canada asked the World Trade Organization (WTO) to establish a formal dispute resolution panel to review the EU ban and determine whether the ban complies with WTO rules.

The ban was approved by the EU's 27 member states in 2009 and went into effect last year.

The market for seal products has been cut by more than half in recent years.

Canadian fisheries minister Gail Shea told reporters on Friday that Canada's fight was "a matter of principle".

"By moving ahead with this World Trade Organization challenge, we stand behind the thousands of Canadians in coastal and northern communities who depend on the seal harvest to provide a livelihood for their families," Ms Shea said.

She added that she believed the European Parliament had "sided with animal rights lobbyists".
Previous requests

Canada requested WTO consultations on the ban in November 2009.

Two sets of consultations took place following the request, but neither set resolved the issue.

In 2006, Canada exported about $5.5m (£3.5m) worth of seal products to the EU, but the market has been drastically cut in recent years.

And even if Canada succeeds in convincing the WTO panel the ban breaks its rules, more than three years could pass before the WTO acts and the EU responds, Canadian officials said.

Roughly 6,000 licensed seal hunters reside on the eastern coast of Canada, but only a few hundred hunted in 2009.

About 67,000 seals were killed during the 2009 hunting season in the province of Newfoundland, which set its hunt limit at 350,000.

The population of harp seals has been estimated at about 6.9m, more than three times what it was in the 1970s.

(Reuters) - NYSE Euronext and Deutsche Boerse plan to call a combined company DB NYSE Group and will likely sidestep thorny issues of technology in a bid to strike a deal by Tuesday, two persons close to the negotiations said.

The Frankfurt and the New York-based exchange operators are edging toward an outline deal to be agreed on Tuesday or Wednesday of next week, one source said on Saturday.

Both figures said the sides have still not finalized a merger document which can be presented to Deutsche Boerse's board of directors, confirming earlier reports.

Decisions over leadership, including the composition of a combined company's board, have been made, sources said earlier this week.

In their talks, the two sides are hammering out a framework deal which focuses on functions and personalities but key issues such as over information technology (IT) are likely to be postponed.

"How you make the details work later on is a different matter," one of these people said.

So rather than deciding right now which technology platform to use for derivatives trading on a group level, the parties are seeking to agree on "a person for IT coordination."

This person will later decide whether to use Deutsche Boerse's Eurex or Euronext's Liffe technology, or whether to develop a new platform using staff from both camps.

It is not yet decided whether the combined group will take the legal form of SE or an NV (the corporate designation) for the Amsterdam based legal entity, the person said.

Despite the uncertainty, there is quiet optimism that the two sides will be able to make an announcement early next week.

Unlike when talks between the two companies were disrupted by a leak in December 2008, negotiations have now reached "a much more mature level," and are more likely to bear fruit, a person close to the deal said.

The two powerhouse exchange operators said on Wednesday they were in advanced talks to merge, just hours after London Stock Exchange unveiled a bid for Canadian market operator TMX Group Inc.

Deutsche Boerse declined to comment, NYSE Euronext could not be reached for comment.

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- The largest study ever on stroke rehabilitation found that doing physical therapy at home improved walking just as well as a high-tech treadmill program.

More surprising, patients who started rehab late - six months after their strokes - still improved. It's long been thought that there was little to gain from rehab after half a year.

"We now have evidence, for the first time, that a prolonged course of therapy will have benefits," said Dr. Jeffrey Saver, director of the stroke center at the University of California, Los Angeles. "For virtually everyone, we should be doing more intensive therapy than we are."

He had no role in the federally funded study, which was led by Duke University researchers and discussed Friday at an American Stroke Association conference in Los Angeles.

Each year, nearly 800,000 Americans suffer a stroke, and up to two-thirds of survivors have problems walking. Sophisticated machines like robots and weight-supporting treadmills increasingly are being used, but there's limited research on how well they work compared to more traditional therapy.

Such equipment is popular in high-end rehab hospitals like the one in Houston where Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is being treated after her gunshot wound to the head.

The new study included 408 stroke survivors who had trouble walking. On average, they took 1,700 steps a day; normal is 10,000 steps a day. They either traveled to a facility to get high-tech rehab or received physical therapy at home. Some began therapy two months after a stroke; others started six months after the stroke to see if there was a difference.

In high-tech rehab, patients exercised on a treadmill while their weight was supported by an overhead harness. As they gained speed and endurance, they could practice walking on their own.

Baghdad (CNN) -- At least 32 people were killed and 28 others wounded Saturday when a suicide bomber stepped onto a bus carrying Shiite pilgrims in Iraq and detonated himself, police and interior ministry officials said.

The attack -- which occurred between Baghdad and Samarra -- was the second targeting pilgrims in the last three days. Most of the casualties were Shiite pilgrims heading back south to Nasiriya from Samarra in the north.

They made the trip to commemorate the death of Imam al-Askri, who died in 874 A.D and is buried at a Samarra mosque.

On Thursday, a suicide bomber drove into a rest tent for Shiite pilgrims north of Baghdad, killing eight people and injuring 30 others, police said.

LONDON (AP) -- A British scout troop's outdoor exercise depicting the fictional kidnapping of Prince William's bride-to-be has raised some eyebrows.

The scouts' annual "quest" in the small English town of Amersham, west of London, last week involved watching an actress playing Kate Middleton being allegedly kidnapped by a team of balaclava-clad men. An actor playing Prince William then appealed to the 300 scouts, aged 11 to 13, to help him find his princess.

The scouts spent eight hours hiking around the area looking for clues to the location of the missing Middleton.

The game angered some local councilors and led to national media coverage.

Buckingham Palace declined comment on the topic of England's future queen being kidnapped - fake or not - and the scouting group did not return requests for comment Saturday.

William and Middleton are being married April 29 at London's Westminster Abbey. The government is expected to deploy a massive security presence for the event.

CAIRO (AP) -- The ruling military pledged Saturday to eventually hand power to an elected civilian government and reassured allies that Egypt will abide by its peace treaty with Israel after the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak, as it outlined the first cautious steps in a promised transition to greater democracy.

The military's statement Saturday had been eagerly awaited by the public and thousands of protesters still massed in Cairo's central Tahrir Square. The crowds were still riding high on jubiliation over the success in removing Mubarak on Friday after 18 days of unprecedented popular protests, but they were looking for a sign of the military's plans.

Appearing on state TV, a military spokesman said the Armed Forces Supreme Council asked the current government appointed by Mubarak in his final weeks to continue operating until a new one is formed. The step appeared to be a stop-gap measure to keep the state and economy functioning while a transitional administration is set up.

Protesters have called for dramatic steps to ensure Egypt moves to a real democracy after nearly 30 years of autocratic rule under Mubarak and his ruling party. Protest organizers have called for the dissolving of parliament - which is almost entirely made up of ruling party lawmakers - the forming of a new, broad-based transitional government and creation of a committee to either amend the constitution or totally re-write it.

The Armed Forces Supreme Council, a body of the top-most generals that now rules Egypt, has not said whether it will carry out any of those steps. But Saturday's statement also did not rule it out.

In the square, some protesters welcomed the cautious first measures, despite distrust of the government put together by Mubarak as a gesture early in the wave of protests.

"It was a good thing," said Muhammed Ibrahim, a 21-year-old from the Nile Delta town of Banha who joined the crowds in Tahrir. "We don't want there to be a political void."

The spokesman, Gen. Mohsen el-Fangari, appeared on state TV in front of a row of Egyptian military and national flags and read the council statement, proclaiming respect for the rule of law - perhaps a sign that the military aims to avoid imposing martial law.

NEW YORK (AP) -- New York City police are searching for a 23-year-old man they say fatally stabbed three people and ran over a pedestrian.

The New York Police Department says Maksim Gelman stabbed Aleksandr Kuznetsov "numerous" times at around 5 a.m. Friday. Police found the 54-year-old's body inside his Brooklyn home after receiving a 911 call reporting a stabbing

About 11 hours later, police received another 911 call reporting a stabbing a few blocks away. When they arrived, police discovered the bodies of Gelman's girlfriend and her mother. They have been identified as 20-year-old Yelena Bulchenko and 56-year-old Anna Bulchenko.

Police say Gelman escaped in a Lexus he had stolen. He then carjacked another vehicle and stabbed another driver, then hit a pedestrian as he escaped. The pedestrian later died at a hospital. The driver is stable.

BAGHDAD (AP) -- A suicide bomber blew himself up Saturday on a bus carrying Shiite pilgrims, officials said, killing 26 people on their way to a revered shrine north of Baghdad that has been a flash point in Iraqi sectarian strife.
It was the second attack in three days targeting pilgrims traveling to the al-Askari mosque in the former insurgent stronghold of Samarra for commemorations of the death of a ninth century religious figure who is buried there.

The shrine is still being rebuilt after its golden dome was destroyed in a Feb. 22, 2006, bombing that was blamed on al-Qaida in Iraq and sparked years of retaliatory bloodshed between Sunnis and Shiites. Officials said the mosque was not damaged in Saturday's attack.

A Samarra policeman said the bomber joined the busload of pilgrims in a parking lot about two miles (four kilometers) from the mosque and detonated his explosives-packed vest. The blast set fire to at least eight cars and buses parked in the lot, he said.

Samarra is 60 miles (95 kilometers) north of Baghdad.

(Reuters) - Greece slammed the EU and IMF on Saturday and told them to stop interfering in its domestic affairs after the lenders said Athens was broadly on track but must speed up reforms, sell more assets and fight vested interests.

EU and IMF inspectors monitoring the bailout plan that saved Greece from bankruptcy gave on Friday the green light for more aid but adopted a more critical tone than on previous visits.

"The behavior of EU, IMF and ECB officials was unacceptable. We asked nobody to interfere in domestic affairs," government spokesman George Petalotis said in a statement.

"We have needs but also limits, and we are not negotiating with anybody the limits of our self-respect. We only take orders from the Greek people," Petalotis said, in a rare, harsh public criticism of the country's international lenders.

The statement was published after media criticized the government for not standing up to the comments from the visiting inspectors on people holding anti-austerity strikes, as well as criticism over a plan to sell more public assets.

Referring to groups opposing plans to open up highly regulated professions -- a key part of the EU/IMF deal -- the IMF mission chief Poul Thomsen told a news conference on Friday:

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Stevie Wonder, Tony Bennett and a trio of "Glee" stars led Barbra Streisand on a musical journey through her nearly 50-year career.

They joined Faith Hill, Barry Manilow and Seal in launching Grammy weekend by honoring the Oscar-winning singer and actress as MusiCares Person of the Year on Friday night.

Streisand, who turns 69 in April, was singled out for her musical achievements and philanthropic work.

"I said yes because it's such a wonderful organization that takes care of their own - the people who actually create the music," she told the audience.

The evening's standing ovations went to Wonder, Bennett and Streisand, who closed the show with what she called "the leftovers" of her hits at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Wonder played piano and harmonica on "People," accompanied by trumpeter Arturo Sandoval.

"I want you to know when I was 12 years old, I said, `I wish she could be my girlfriend because she sounds so good,'" Wonder told more than 2,000 guests.

Bennett did "Smile," a song he and Streisand dueted on in his 2006 TV special.

With Herbie Hancock at the piano, 17-year-old Canadian Nikki Yanofsky sang a jazzy take of "On a Clear Day You Can See Forever" from Streisand's 1970 movie of the same name.

Diana Krall played piano on "Down with Love" from 1963, while Lea Michele of "Glee" belted out "My Man" from 1965.

Egypt's military: Key facts

(CNN) -- Egypt's military has produced all four presidents the country has had since a 1952 revolution led by Lt. Col. Gamal Abdel Nasser ended the monarchy, and the army remains a powerful force.

Key facts about Egypt's military:

-- It is one of the world's largest recipients of U.S. military aid. Washington agreed to a $13 billion, 10-year aid package to Egypt in 2007.

-- Because military service is mandatory, enlisted personnel generally reflect the country's demographics.

-- Mid-level officers are usually career professionals who aren't part of the political side of the military, and they enjoy widespread respect, though their earning power has lost status, according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

-- Military conscripts are men between 18 and 30 years of age.

-- Mandatory service is 12 to 36 months, followed by a 9-year reserve obligation.

-- The supreme commander of the armed forces was ousted President Hosni Mubarak.

-- The military's supreme council is now running Egypt's affairs and includes leaders of the army, air force, navy and air defense command.

-- The head of the supreme council is Defense Minister and Field Marshal Mohammed Hussein Tantawi, 75, who has combat experience in three wars -- 1956, 1967 and 1973. His background is in the infantry, and he's also commander-in-chief of the armed forces. Before Mubarak stepped down, Tantawi was promoted to deputy prime minister.

-- Decision-making within the Ministry of Defense has rested almost solely with Tantawi, but during his tenure since 1991, "the tactical and operational readiness of the Egyptian Armed Forces has degraded," according to

-- Beneath him is Lt. Gen. Sami Hafez Enan, chief of staff for armed forces. His service has been in the air defense, and his age is either 62 or 63; the Egyptian armed forces website only lists his date of birth as February 1948. He was in Washington, D.C., holding military talks when the protests first broke out.

(CNN) -- China's foreign minister pushed Friday for the lifting of sanctions against Zimbabwe, saying no country has a right to dictate the internal affairs of another nation, state-run media reported.

Starting in 2002, the European Union and the United States imposed targeted sanctions on Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe and some senior party members amid rampant reports of stifling his political opposition, human rights violations and his controversial land reform policy that has targeted white commercial farmers.

Mugabe blames the sanctions for his country's woes, which late last year included an unemployment rate of more than 90% and an inflation rate of 231,000,000%.

Speaking Friday during a two-day visit to Harare, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said that "China believes that Africans have the right to choose their own way of development, as they are masters of the African continent. All others are just guests."

"We think that (lifting sanctions) is the voice of the Zimbabwean people, and that is also the view of all the parties concerned here in Zimbabwe," Yang said, according to the Chinese state-run Xinhua news agency.

As part of his trip, China extended an additional 50 million yuan ($7.5 million) in aid to the economically ravaged African nation, Xinhua reported. In addition, Yang and Zimbabwe Foreign Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi signed an agreement on behalf of the two countries.

According to Xinhua, Mugabe on Friday said sanctions flew in the face of a 1979 agreement with Great Britain that land would be redistributed to compensate farmers.

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) -- Tiger Woods overcame a poor start in windy conditions to shoot a par 72, one shot behind leader Rory McIlroy and two others going into the final round of the Dubai Desert Classic.

On dusty day in the desert, Woods showed an uncanny ability to repeatedly rally. He finished with a total of 7-under 209, behind second-round leader McIlroy (75), Denmark's Anders Hansen (71) and South Africa's Thomas Aiken (74).

Woods shouldn't even be in contention going into Sunday. But the tough conditions took their toll on most of the top players, with McIlroy finishing at 3 over and Sergio Garcia - who was eight shots ahead of Woods after nine holes - finishing at 3 over and tied with Woods and five other players.

In an uneven round, Woods had an eagle, four birdies, four bogeys and a double bogey.

"The fact I was able to battle from 4 over par and put myself with a chance going into tomorrow, I'm proud of that," Woods said. "Hopefully, I can build on that."

Woods started badly with bogeys on the first two holes, mostly from errant drives that went well left of the fairway. He pulled a shot back on the third with a birdie. But he bogeyed the eighth and ended up with a double bogey on the ninth after his approach shot got caught up in the wind, dropped just short of the green and rolled in the water.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- As Egypt's army led a hoped-for drive to democracy, President Barack Obama sent his senior military adviser to the Mideast to reassure allies Jordan, also facing rumblings of civil unrest, and Israel, which sees its security at stake in a wider Arab world transformation.

Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, planned meetings Sunday with King Abdullah II and other senior officials in Jordan, the scene of weeks of protests inspired by unrest in Tunisia and Egypt.

Mullen's schedule for Israel included talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Shimon Peres. Mullen had no plans to visit Egypt.

Israel is deeply worried about the prospect that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's ouster could lead to a government less friendly to the Jewish state.

Israel and Egypt fought four wars before a peace treaty in 1979. Mubarak, who gave up power Friday after 30 years of rule, steadfastly honored the peace deal after succeeding Anwar Sadat, who was assassinated by Egyptian extremists two years after signing that agreement.

Netanyahu has warned that any new government in Cairo must maintain thedeal - Israel's first with an Arab nation.

Egypt's military rulers announced Saturday that they would abide by international agreements, a move apparently designed to allay concerns in Israel.

Much is at stake for the U.S. as Egypt tries to create a democracy out of the autocratic system over which Mubarak presided, with Washington's political and financial help.

Both Egypt and Jordan have played leading roles, along with the U.S., in seeking a peace settlement between Israel and the Palestinians. Egypt also controls the Suez Canal, a critical route for global oil shipments.

NEW DELHI (AP) -- Three weeks, 29 questions and more than a billion heads to count.

India is busily conducting its 15th national census, with millions of government workers deploying across the country to tally its estimated 1.17 billion people and ask questions on housing, work and education that should give a clearer picture of the world's most populous democracy and its vast needs.

It's a monumental effort. The census workers - most of them school teachers armed with clipboards and computer surveys - are out negotiating skyscrapers, navigating farm roads and forest paths, visiting village huts and knocking on slum doors to find everyone they can before the census deadline of March 1. Anyone older than 15 must be questioned.

"There is so little time," one census worker said, tapping his temple. "This mind will bifurcate in two pieces! But it is the national work. It must be done."

And this year, following a decade of liberalization and unprecedented economic growth, there is an eagerness among many citizens to participate. They know the 10-year census may help authorities identify areas where neglect is high, where poverty is particularly rife and where high numbers of people are unable to read or to work.

"It can lead to help for the poor and maybe help establish some reforms," said 16-year-old Jatin Anand, who excitedly signed off on his first census survey in the cramped New Delhi neighborhood of Baljeet Nagar.

His mother, Meena, agreed. "We also come to know about the children ... their education, services," she said.

This is the second census phase, with the first last year listing some 300 million Indian households. Baljeet Nagar holds some 7,000 of those homes, many no wider than their front door and divided by narrow alleys strewn with garlands of laundry lines and loose electrical wires.

Former army soldier Hira Lal, sitting on the broken concrete steps of his modest home, said he hoped the census would lead to better benefits. "The way inflation is going, maybe they will see a need to raise pensions," the 67-year-old Lal said.

Baghdad (CNN) -- Security forces in northern Iraq found a mass grave containing scores of people killed during the height of sectarian violence last decade, police told CNN on Saturday.

At least 153 bodies were discovered in Buhriz, just south of Baquba in Diyala province -- a region north and east of Baghdad that endured waves of violence during the Iraqi war.

Baquba police Lt. Col. Ghalib Atiya al-Jabouri said the victims included civilians, police and soldiers slain during the height of sectarian violence between 2005 and 2008. Iraq had been engulfed by fighting between Sunni and Shiite Muslims.

Buhriz, he said, had been controlled by al Qaeda in Iraq between 2006 and 2008. Some victims were blindfolded and others had their hands tied behind their backs, signs of al Qaeda in Iraq activity.

The Iraqi Red Crescent has registered thousands of missing persons in Iraq since just after the war started.

ISLAMABAD (AP) -- An anti-terrorism court judge issued an arrest warrant Saturday for former Pakistani military ruler Pervez Musharraf in connection with the 2007 assassination of ex-premier Benazir Bhutto, state-run television reported.

The warrant is the latest legal trouble to face the retired general, a one-time U.S. ally who left Pakistan for Britain in 2008 after being forced out of the presidency he secured in 1999 military coup. Despite his promises to return to Pakistan and lead a new political party, court motions against the former ruler make it increasingly unlikely he will.

Along with issuing the warrant Saturday, Judge Rana Nisar Ahmad also ordered Musharraf to appear before the court on Feb. 19, Pakistan Television reported. Lawyers in the case could not immediately be reached for comment.

Bhutto was killed Dec. 27, 2007, in a gun and suicide bomb blast during a rally weeks after returning to Pakistan to campaign in new elections that Musharraf reluctantly agreed to allow after months of domestic and international pressure.

It was not immediately clear on what basis the arrest warrant was issued. But many of Bhutto's supporters accuse the former president of intentionally not doing enough to ensure her protection, and trying to cover up government ineptitude in the case afterward.

Musharraf spokesman Saif Ali Khan told a private channel that the former leader will defend himself before the court "at an appropriate time." He did not elaborate.

After her death, Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party rode a wave of public sympathy to garner the most seats in the February 2008 elections. Months later, the party forced Musharraf to quit the presidency by threatening impeachment. He left for London later in the year, and has since spent a good deal of time on the lecture circuit, including in the United States.

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) -- The FBI file of the late U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens adds colorful detail to the life of the longtime Alaska lawmaker, but reveals few new facts about the 2008 corruption case that ended his political career.

Friday's release of a roughly 3,600-page file comes six months after Stevens' death in a plane crash in Alaska, the state he represented for 40 years in the U.S. Senate.

It includes documents detailing threats made against Stevens during his time in office, complaints against Stevens that seemingly went nowhere and requests from the senator that his office be swept for listening devices amid the Watergate scandal.

It had been expected to shed greater light on the circumstances surrounding Stevens' indictment and trial. But aside from the copious amount of news clippings, there's little mention of the case.

Stevens was convicted on counts of lying on financial disclosure forms about gifts, including renovations of his Alaska home, which was investigated by the FBI. But a federal judge later tossed the case, finding prosecutors withheld evidence at trial.

The agency's public records' officer did not immediately return a message from The Associated Press. Efforts to reach Stevens' widow were not immediately successful; a recording for the phone number listed said it had been disconnected.

The FBI often releases the files of high-profile public figures after they die.

The file also detailed a boozy night on the town with a federal judge in the 1950s, when Stevens was a U.S. attorney, as well as official correspondence - sometimes cordial - between the former senator and the FBI.