2011-12-28 / World

BRIEFS

Longshot Ron Paul’s rising chances in Iowa

SAN ANTONIO ( AP) — Ron Paul wants to legalize pot and shut down the Federal Reserve. He thinks the federal government has no authority to outlaw abortion, no business bombing Iran to keep it from acquiring a nuclear weapon, and no justification to print money unless it’s backed up by gold bars.

And he might win the Iowa caucuses.

The closer the first votes of the 2012 presidential campaign get, the more competitive the Texas congressman appears to become. It’s a moment his famously fervent supporters have longed for. Plenty of others are asking: What’s Ron Paul about, again?

As in his two prior quixotic campaigns for president, Paul has toiled for months as a fringe candidate best known for staking out libertarian positions. As every other Republican candidate lined up to attack President Barack Obama’s health care law and to promise tax cuts, Paul again demanded audits of the Federal Reserve and a return to the gold standard.

Leading in some state polls, Paul is getting a look from mainstream voters in Iowa, where the 76-year-old obstetrician has emerged as a serious contender in the Jan. 3 caucuses — and in other early voting states, should he pull off a victory.

Activists: 4 Syrian soldiers killed, 12 hurt

BEIRUT (AP) — Activists say at least four soldiers have been killed and 12 others wounded in southern Syria in an ambush carried out by a group of military defectors.

The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the ambush targeted a joint military and security convoy on the road between the villages of Khirbet Ghazaleh and Dael, in Daraa province.

Thousands of army defectors in Syria have grown increasingly bolder in attacking government forces.

Today’s ambush comes as Arab League observers began a second day of work touring districts in the flashpoint central city of Homs.

Cheetah the chimp from Tarzan flicks dies

PALM HARBOR, Fla. (AP) — A Florida animal sanctuary says Cheetah the chimpanzee sidekick in the Tarzan movies of the early 1930s has died at age 80.

The Suncoast Primate Sanctuary in Palm Harbor announced that Cheetah died Dec. 24 of kidney failure.

Sanctuary outreach director Debbie Cobb today told The Tampa Tribune that Cheetah was outgoing, loved finger painting and liked to see people laugh. She says he seemed to be tuned into human feelings.

Based on the works of author Edgar Rice Burroughs, the Tarzan stories, which have spawned scores of books and films over the years, chronicle the adventures of a man who was raised by apes in Africa.

Cheetah was the comic relief in the Tarzan films that starred American Olympic gold medal swimmer Johnny Weissmuller. Cobb says Cheetah came to the sanctuary from Weissmuller’s estate sometime around 1960.

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