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May 2, 2012 at 4:59 PM
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Cairo protest demands end to military rule

CAIRO, May 2 (UPI) -- Protesters in Cairo said Wednesday the deadly violence that has erupted there was sparked by mobs aligned with the military government.

A volunteer doctor treating the wounded said at least 15 people had been killed, Bikyamasr.com reported. Khaled Ali, a leftist lawyer and presidential candidate, told Egypt Independent he had counted at least 20 bodies, while the official death toll was nine.

Protesters said the men who attacked them with rocks and Molotov cocktails were carrying meals supplied by the military. The army also deployed tanks around Abbasiya Square, site of the Defense Ministry.

The protests began late last week as a demonstration by supporters of Hazem Saleh Abu Ismail, a Salafist candidate who was disqualified from running for president. But activists say it grew into a protest against military rule that united the Salafists and Muslim Brotherhood with those on the left end of the political spectrum.

Gingrich ends campaign

WASHINGTON, May 2 (UPI) -- Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich Wednesday ended his quest for the Republican presidential nomination but vowed to stay an activist.

The announcement at an Arlington, Va., news conference came one week after Gingrich lost five more contests to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Since the caucus-primary season began, Gingrich has won only two contests: South Carolina and his home state of Georgia, garnering 137 of the 1,141 delegates needed to secure the nomination.

"Today I am suspending the campaign," Gingrich said. "But suspending the campaign does not mean suspending citizenship. Callista and I are committed to being active citizens. Now we're going to put down the roles of candidate and candidate's spouse and take up the role of active citizens."

Gingrich gave lukewarm support to Romney, saying compared with President Obama, Romney is the conservative choice.

"This is not a choice between Mitt Romney and Ronald Reagan," Gingrich said.

Operation targets $452M in Medicare fraud

WASHINGTON, May 2 (UPI) -- A nationwide operation against Medicare fraud has resulted in charges against 107 suspects, including doctors and nurses, U.S. officials said Wednesday.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and other officials said the Medicare fraud schemes involved about $452 million in false billing in seven cities.

The coordinated operation involved the highest number of false Medicare billings in a single sweep in the history of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force.

Department of Health and Human Services also suspended or took administrative action against 52 healthcare providers following a data-driven analysis and credible allegations of fraud. Officials said the new healthcare law, the Affordable Care Act, significantly increased HHS's ability to suspend payments until an investigation is complete.

Court documents said the defendants allegedly participated in schemes to submit claims to Medicare for treatments that were medically unnecessary and often never provided.

Scott denies gun ban request during RNC

TAMPA, Fla., May 2 (UPI) -- Florida Gov. Rick Scott turned down Tampa's request to ban concealed weapons outside of the Republican National Convention in August.

Mayor Bob Buckhorn wrote to Scott Tuesday, asking that the governor issue an executive order to bar the carrying of firearms in downtown Tampa during the convention, the Tampa Bay Times reported Wednesday.

In a response, also on Tuesday, Scott suggests that Tampa mayor was overreaching in his request because the U.S. Secret Service will ban firearms inside the Tampa Bay Times Forum and inside a security perimeter immediately around the convention site.

"You are now requesting that citizens be disarmed in all of downtown Tampa, including in areas across the river, and distant, from the convention center and Secret Service safe zone," Scott wrote.

Tampa officials plan to ban many weapons and items that could be a weapon from outside the Aug. 27-30 convention, but can't ban guns carried with a concealed weapons permit, the Times said.

In his letter to Scott, Buckhorn said Florida's firearms laws do not allow anyone with a concealed weapon permit to take a gun into certain venues, such as athletic events, polling places and legislative meetings.

Obama's 'ascetic, serious' existence

NEW YORK, May 2 (UPI) -- President Obama says he led an "ascetic" existence as an undergraduate in New York, but it helped him prepare for bigger things, including the White House.

"I was leading a very ascetic existence, way too serious for my own good," Obama told Vanity Fair writer David Maraniss during an Oval Office interview for the upcoming book, "Barack Obama: The Story," to be published this month by Simon & Schuster.

When Obama transferred from Occidental College in Los Angeles to Columbia University in New York during his junior year in 1981, he left behind a life of extroversion to look inward and dig into his biracial, multinational identity, a journey of self-discovery documented by Maraniss through conversations with Obama and two of his early girlfriends, Alex McNear and Genevieve Cook -- two women Obama now admits he "compressed" into one character for his 1995 autobiography, "Dreams From My Father."

McNear, who met Obama at Occidental and spent time with him in New York in the summer of 1982, told Maraniss the future president exhibited his now-famous penchant for deliberation from the moment they met.

Decades later, Obama said in an Oval Office interview his obsession with the concept of choice "was a deliberate effort on my part to press the pause button, essentially, and try to orient myself and say, 'OK, which way, where am I going?'"

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