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Gay senator ends bid for high office in flap

DUBLIN (AP) -- Ireland's most prominent gay politician, Sen. David Norris, has ended his campaign for president after declaring he was wrong to seek clemency for an ex-partner jailed in Israel for child rape.

Norris was considered the front-runner for the November election of Ireland's next ceremonial head of state.

However, Norris faced rising pressure to quit ever since Irish newspapers last week were tipped off about his 1997 letter to an Israeli court seeking a shorter sentence for Ezra Nawi. His one-time partner had been convicted of raping a 15-year-old Palestinian boy.

Key campaign aides resigned over the weekend. Norris faced an uphill struggle to be listed on the ballot as an official candidate.

Norris told a Dublin news conference Tuesday he was quitting the race.


Pact awarded to build world's tallest tower

CAIRO (AP) -- Saudi Arabia took a key step Tuesday in its plan to build the world's tallest tower and outdo Persian Gulf neighbor Dubai, which currently has the world's tallest structure.

The Saudis awarded a more than $1 billion contract for a spire that will be named Kingdom Tower and stand two-thirds of a mile high. It will have a Four Seasons hotel, serviced apartments, luxury condominiums and offices. In all, it will encompass about 5.4 million square feet.

Kingdom Holding Co. said that it signed a $1.2 billion deal with the Saudi Binladen Group to build Kingdom Tower on the outskirts of the Red Sea city of Jiddah.

The Saudi construction giant is owned by the family of Osama bin Laden, the late leader of the al-Qaida terrorist network. Years ago, he was disavowed by the family.

The tower, designed by Chicago-based Adrian Smith & Gordon Gill Architecture, is the first phase of the planned Kingdom City, a sprawling, $20 billion, 2-square-mile urban development project.


Demands 'unrealistic' by defendant in attacks

OSLO, Norway (AP) -- Anders Behring Breivik, confessed killer in the twin attacks that claimed 77 lives, has presented long lists of "unrealistic" demands, including the resignation of the government and that his mental condition be investigated by Japanese specialists, his defense attorney said Tuesday.

Geir Lippestad told the Associated Press that his client has two lists of demands. One consists of requests common among inmates, including cigarettes and civilian clothing. The other is "unrealistic, far, far from the real world, and shows he doesn't know how society works," Lippestad said by telephone.

Lippestad said Breivik, 32, links this second list to his willingness to share information about two alleged terrorist cells that Breivik has mentioned during questioning.

"They are completely impossible to fulfill," Lippestad said.

Lippestad said his client has also demanded complete political reform, in which he wants to be assigned a key role.