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Jan. 17, 2013 at 11:48 PM   |   Comments

Lance Armstrong: 'One big lie'

AUSTIN, Texas, Jan. 17 (UPI) -- U.S. cyclist Lance Armstrong told Oprah Winfrey he used banned substances and blood transfusions in all of his Tour de France wins, calling it "one big lie."

Armstrong, who was stripped of his seven Tour titles last year after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency determined he led "the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen," admitted to using erythropoietin, cortisone, testosterone, human growth hormone and other banned drugs.

He said he didn't believe it would have been "humanly possible" to achieve his success without cheating, but he believed he was operating on a "level playing field."

In a 90-minute interview recorded in Armstrong's hometown of Austin, Texas, Monday and broadcast on Winfrey's struggling OWN cable channel Thursday night, Armstrong said he had "no good answer" for why he was coming clean about cheating now, saying, "This is too late," and "that's my fault."

But he said the lie had become too big to sustain.

"I view this situation as one big lie that I repeated a lot of times. ... This story was so perfect for so long," he said, calling it a "mythic, perfect story that wasn't true."

"Behind that picture and behind that story was momentum" fueled by fans and the media, Armstrong explained. "I didn't invent the culture, but I didn't try to stop the culture."

He said performance-enhancing drugs were as standard for him and his team as "air in our tires" and "water in our bottles" -- and he "knew he was going to win."

"The winning was almost phoned in," he said.

"I viewed it as very simple. You had things that were oxygen-boosting drugs ... that were incredibly beneficial for endurance sports ... and that's all you needed."

It didn't feel wrong, and he didn't feel bad about it. It didn't even feel like cheating at the time, he said.

He said he and his team "sued so many people" for telling the truth about his doping that he lost count, describing himself as "a guy who expected to get whatever he wanted and to control every outcome."

"I'll spend the rest of my life trying to earn back trust and apologize to people -- for the rest of my life," he said.


Pakistani government agrees to dissolve

ISLAMABAD, Jan. 17 (UPI) -- Pakistan agreed Thursday to dissolve its parliament, in a deal with Muslim cleric Tahir ul Qadri to end a massive anti-government protest, officials said.

Tens of thousands of anti-government protesters gathered in Islamabad Thursday, calling for President Asif Ali Zardari to meet with Qadri over his demands that Pakistan's government be dissolved, CNN reported.

Qadri, a lawmaker under the presidency of former Gen. Pervez Musharraf, has repeatedly called for the government to be dissolved and replaced with an interim administration, with input from the judiciary and military.

Government officials agreed Thursday to dissolve the parliament by March 16, ahead of the elections scheduled for May, the BBC reported.

"We have reached an agreement," Qadri said after the deal was reached. "Allah granted us a victory and now you can go home."

Fasih Bokhari, the head of the Pakistan's anti-corruption National Accountability Bureau, told the Supreme Court Thursday he cannot comply with court orders to arrest Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, The New York Times reported.

Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry Tuesday ordered the arrest of Ashraf and 15 other government officials as part of a year-old corruption investigation.


Biden: 'Time has come' on gun violence

WASHINGTON, Jan. 17 (UPI) -- U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday the Newtown, Conn., massacre "affected the public psyche" and "the time has come" for action on gun violence.

Addressing the U.S. Conference of Mayors in Washington, Biden -- who led the White House task force that developed the Obama administration's proposals for addressing gun violence -- said the nation has "an obligation to respond intelligently" to the deaths of 20 students and six adult staffers at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

"Newtown ... affected the public psyche in a way I've never seen before," Biden said.

He said gun violence has become routine in U.S. society to the extent that it is "defining deviancy down," The Hill reported.

"We can't wait any longer to take action," Biden said. "The time has come."

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, told the gathering in Washington Thursday the Sandy Hook massacre is having an effect on the debate unlike that following other massacres, including those at Columbine and Aurora, Colo., Virginia Tech and Tucson.

"A tragedy in Newtown that even after all the others we still cannot imagine ... a terrible unforgivable moment in American history," Nutter said. "We cannot get those lives back ... we can and we must act to help protect the lives of those in the future.

"This has nothing to do with taking guns away from those who lawfully own them," he said. "We respect the Second Amendment ... but the right to own a firearm should not interfere with my right to live."


40 witness shooting of boy, none talking

LAS VEGAS, Jan. 17 (UPI) -- Police in Las Vegas say at least 40 people witnessed the shooting-death of a 14-year-old boy, but no one has come forward.

The shooting of Haji Mohamud happened early Saturday after a party outside a Las Vegas apartment complex, the Las Vegas Sun reported.

Metro Police Lt. Ray Steiber Wednesday pleaded for witnesses to come forward.

"There are people out there -- who were there -- that know exactly what happened ... and who killed a 14-year-old boy," Steiber said. "There's parents out there who may have overheard their children talking about what occurred that night. ... We're asking for anybody with information to come forward and help your community."

Steiber said police know Mohamud was attending a birthday party, during which some of the approximately 100 guests became rowdy and the host asked everyone to leave.

As Mohamud and other guests stepped outside, 20 bullets were fired. Mohamud was hit in the head and died. An 18-year-old man was injured in the incident.

Steiber said as many as three gunmen were involved in the shooting.

"I think there is information being withheld," Steiber said. "It's hard for me to believe that over 40 people were there -- and at one point over 100 -- but nobody saw anything."

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