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July 23, 2012 at 11:59 AM
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Penn State fined, hit with bowl ban

INDIANAPOLIS, July 23 (UPI) -- Penn State's football program, as a result of child-abuse allegations, was hit with a $60 million fine and a four-year post-season ban Monday by the NCAA.

NCAA officials repeatedly referred to the victims of child abuse in discussing what NCAA Executive Committee Chairman Ed Ray, the president of Oregon State University, said were "historically unprecedented actions" due to "reckless and callous disregard for children."

He said sanctions were "warranted by the conspiracy of silence" at Penn State.

The fine, said by the NCAA to amount to one year's gross revenue for the Penn State football program, the post-season ban and reduction in initial scholarships for four seasons, a vacating of records from 1998-2011 and a 5-year probation period reflect some of the stiffest penalties ever handed down by the NCAA.

NCAA President Mark Emmert said his decision regarding the "very, very, very serious sanctions" were the result of the "perverse and unconscionable" actions that led to years of child sex abuse by former Penn State assistant coach Jerry Sandusky.

"As we evaluated the situation, the victims affected by Jerry Sandusky and the efforts by many to conceal his crimes informed our actions," Emmert said Monday. "At our core, we are educators. Penn State leadership lost sight of that."

Series of attacks kill dozens across Iraq

BAGHDAD, July 23 (UPI) -- Iraqi militants initiated at least 37 attacks across Iraq Monday, killing at least 97 people and wounding more than 300, officials said.

Officials said the insurgents set off car bombs, rushed a military base and ambushed checkpoints in the single most bloody day of 2012 so far, The New York Times reported.

Local Iraqi officials said they feared the death toll could rise as reports of more attacks surface from northern and central Iraq.

The offensive started on the third day of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan and a day after an audio message attributed to al-Qaida in Iraq pledged to conduct a new offensive, called "Breaking Down Walls," the Times said.

"We are returning again to dominate territories we used to dominate, as well as more," the statement said.

One of the hardest hit areas was Taji, a Sunni community about 12 miles north of Baghdad where at least 24 people were killed.

Deadly car bombings hit Baghdad and a government building in Baghdad's Sadr City, as well as the northern oil city of Kirkuk, the BBC said. Also reporting attacks were Duluiya, Saadiya, Khan Beni-Saad, Tuz Khurmatu and Dibis.

'Sticky bombs' showing up in Afghanistan

KABUL, Afghanistan, July 23 (UPI) -- Sticky bombs, magnetically adhesive improvised explosive devices that were prevalent in the war in Iraq, are showing up in Afghanistan, officials said.

Military officials said four incidents in a week's span used the hard-to-detect bombs typically placed near a vehicle's gas tank, Stars and Stripes reported.

Afghan officials said nearly two dozen NATO trucks were damaged or destroyed in one sticky bomb attack, saying Iran and Pakistan were the likely sources of the bombs -- a statement a Taliban official denied.

"All the proof and evidence is that these come from a neighboring country," said Sediq Sediqqi, spokesman for the Afghan Interior Ministry.

International Security Assistance Force officials said none of the trucks was contracted for NATO bases although local security officials and Taliban representatives said the vehicles were traveling to coalition facilities and the route taken is heavily traveled by NATO supply trucks, Stars and Stripes said.

At least 19 killed in ethnic violence

KOKRAJHAR, India, July 23 (UPI) -- The military has been called into the northeast Indian state of Assam to help put an end to violence and rioting that has killed at least 19 people.

Violence between ethnic Bodo residents and immigrant Muslims in Kokrajhar district began last Thursday after two student leaders were shot, Indio-Asian News Service reported Monday.

The Hindustan Times said four members of the Bodo tribal community were later hacked to death by Muslims.

The area is under curfew from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.

Officials said two people were killed and several others were injured Sunday evening when a gunmen opened fire at the crowded Mongolian Bazaar market in Chirang district. Police, however, say the shooting was not related to the communal violence.

China recovering from deadly rains

BEIJING, July 23 (UPI) -- Heavy rain in 17 of China's 33 provinces since last week are to blame for 95 deaths and the evacuation of more than a half-million people, officials said.

The Civil Affairs Ministry said disasters caused by rain that began June 20 affected about 6.23 million people in 17 central province such as Beijing, Hebei, Shanxi, Sichuan and Guizhou, and forced about 567,000 evacuations, China's state-run Xinhua news agency reported Monday.

The ministry's statement reported 37 deaths in Beijing alone, as well as 17 deaths and 21 missing in Hebei. The ministry also said the storms destroyed 29,000 houses and damaged another 55,000.

Among the victims in Beijing, the city's information office said, 25 were drowned, six were killed when their homes collapsed, one was struck by lightning and five were electrocuted.

Weekend downpours submerged some power supply facilities, interrupting power in parts of the city, Xinhua said.

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