National briefs (9/8/12)
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CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Clint Eastwood says his widely panned improvisational bit at the Republican National Convention last week was conceived on the fly -- just a few minutes before going on stage -- and that he had promised Mitt Romney's campaign only that he would say "nice" things about the candidate.
In an extensive interview with his hometown paper, the Carmel Pine Cone, Mr. Eastwood for the first time told his version of the strange back story behind his prime-time appearance, which involved the 82-year-old actor and director berating an imaginary, seated President Barack Obama.
"They vet most of the people, but I told them, 'You can't do that with me, because I don't know what I'm going to say,'" he told the paper.
CLEVELAND -- A murder defendant freed after spending nearly 25 years on death row in a botched prosecution had a chance to watch an unobstructed sunrise Friday -- and then plan a family reunion.
Michael Keenan, 62, was freed Thursday evening after a judge dismissed the murder charge against him in the 1988 throat-slashing death of a man found dead in a brook in a Cleveland park. It was the second reversal for a defendant in the case.
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Federal authorities say Marysville, Ohio-based lawn and garden company Scotts Miracle-Gro will pay $12.5 million in criminal and civil penalties for violating pesticide laws.
Scotts pleaded guilty to applying toxic insecticide to its wild bird food products and falsifying pesticide registrations. It also pleaded guilty to distributing pesticides with misleading and unapproved labels and distributing unregistered pesticides.
NEW YORK -- The artist who created the "HOPE" poster that came to symbolize Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign was ordered Friday to do 300 hours of community service and pay a $25,000 fine to the U.S. government for a criminal contempt conviction but was spared jail time.
During remarks before the sentence was announced, Shepard Fairey, 42, of Los Angeles called his decision to fabricate evidence in a civil lawsuit he brought against The Associated Press in 2009 the "worst thing I've done in my life." He also apologized.
WASHINGTON -- The White House has drafted a preliminary executive order aimed at strengthening the nation's computer systems against attack, an effort to begin to accomplish through fiat what could not be achieved through Congress.
The draft order, whose contours are being debated, would create voluntary standards to guide companies in guarding themselves against cyberattacks, according to administration officials. It would also establish a special council made up of key government agencies to identify threats that could compromise critical sectors.
Compromise legislation to bolster the nation's defenses against cyberattacks that could affect electric grids, communications networks and other infrastructure failed this summer in the face of strong opposition from the Chamber of Commerce and Republicans who decried even voluntary standards as a regulatory burden on business.
-- Compiled from news services
First Published September 8, 2012 12:00 am