April 12, 2013

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Controversial UCI Rule Postponed

Would have barred unsanctioned races

Following an angry backlash to regulations that would have banned UCI license-holders from participating in unsanctioned events, the governing body has suspended the rule for the rest of this season. But the UCI stated that it would like to reintroduce the rule next season.

The rule would have essentially banned any races falling outside of the UCI's or USA Cycling's global and national events. This would have hurt many riders, including professionals, who compete in unsanctioned races year-round and depend on these events for training and part of their income. 

The UCI defended the rule as protecting the work and resources that go into their events. But Jonathan Page, a veteran of European and American cycling, says power and money are more likely motives. "I hate to see anything take away from cycling," he says. "It's already such a small community."

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Armstrong Sells Austin Home

Facing several multimillion-dollar suits

Lance Armstrong sold his 1.7-acre Austin home to an oil and gas agent, according to paperwork filed in Travis County, Texas last week. Al Koehler, a founder of Royalty Clearinghouse, said he paid nowhere near the listed value of $10 million for the 7,850-square-foot house, where Armstrong had lived since 2004.

"I'm glad this house stayed with a loyal Austinite," Koehler told the Austin American-Statesman in an email. "We can do a lot of good for the city of Austin with this home."

Armstrong is currently facing several civil suits stemming from his January confession that he doped during his competitive cycling career. The biggest of these is a whistle-blower case filed by Armstrong's former teammate Floyd Landis, which could seek as much as $90 million in damages. Armstrong's lawyers are also fighting a $12 million suit from SCA Promotions, which paid millions of dollars worth of bonuses to Armstrong for his Tour victories.

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China to Demolish 1,300-Year-Old Temple

Making way for another UNESCO site

Chinese officials in the city of Xian are planning to demolish most of a 1,300-year-old Buddhist temple in order to boost their application for UNESCO World Heritage status for another site. While some of the older buildings in the temple complex are likely to escape the wrecking ball, two-thirds of the temple, including the dormitory and canteen, will be destroyed.

"The clearance will definitely hurt some ancient sites," an unidentified staff member told AFP on Thursday.

In an ironic twist, the buildings are being cleared to support China's application to have several spots along the Silk Road in Shaanxi province recognized as UNESCO World Heritage sites, though how the temple's destruction would help wasn't immediately clear. The Xingjiao Temple is famous as the home of relics of 7th-century Chinese monk Xuan Zang, who brough back Buddhist scriptures from India.

Via AFP

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Police Hunt For Dog Killer

30 dogs dead or missing in southern Idaho community

Someone is killing lots of dogs in Idaho. Four German Shepherd mixes were found beaten and shot to death on the side of a highway on Thursday in the southern farming region known as Magic Valley. Roughly 30 dogs have gone missing in the area since last month, with dozens turning up dead in horrific fashion.

One dog, another German Shepherd, suffered what officers called a “ritualistic execution,” in which its head was crushed and its carcass covered in a purple cloth. Residents are shaken. "We're staying on it and working with what leads we have,” said Gary Trostel of the Twin Falls County Sherriff’s office. “We know something is going on but we don't know what it all means. We're trying to find out.”

Pet owners are being advised to report any instances of stalking or disappearances, and to keep their dogs from roaming. The Humane Society is also offering a $5,000 reward for information leading to a conviction in the dog killings.

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