AP Top News at 2:41 p.m. EDT

Associated Press
President Barack Obama hugs outgoing White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel in the East Room of the White House in Washington, Friday, Oct. 1, 2010, during an announcement that Emanuel will be stepping down to run for Mayor of Chicago . Obama announced that Pete Rouse will be interim Chief of Staff. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

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President Barack Obama hugs outgoing White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel in the East Room of the …

President Barack Obama on Friday said a bittersweet goodbye to the energetic and fierce manager of his White House, chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, and elevated a quiet and seasoned adviser, Pete Rouse, to the most important gate-keeping job in American politics. "We could not have accomplished what we've accomplished without Rahm's leadership," Obama said. Emanuel is departing after nearly two grueling years to run for Chicago mayor.

WASHINGTON (AP) — American scientists deliberately infected prisoners and patients in a mental hospital in Guatemala with syphilis 60 years ago, a recently unearthed experiment that prompted U.S. officials to apologize Friday and declare outrage over "such reprehensible research." The U.S. government-funded experiment, which ran from 1946 to 1948, was discovered by a Wellesley College medical historian. It apparently was conducted to test if penicillin, then relatively new, could prevent infection with sexually transmitted diseases. The study came up with no useful information and was hidden for decades.

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. counterterrorism officials say they believe that senior al-Qaida leaders, including Osama bin Laden, are involved in the latest terror plot against European cities. The multi-pronged scope of the emerging plan - which aimed to launch coordinated shooting sprees or attacks in Britain, France and Germany - is an al-Qaida hallmark. One U.S. intelligence official added, however, that the details of how the plan was directed or coordinated by the group's core leaders is not yet clear.

BAGHDAD (AP) — Powerful Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr backed Iraq's prime minister to retain power Friday in a move that could speed an end to the country's seven-month political impasse but could also hand al-Sadr's anti-American bloc considerable influence in the next government. The decision marks a significant boost for Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's Shiite-led coalition toward securing enough parliament seats to form a new government. For months, the Sadrists have demanded al-Maliki be replaced.

LEVITTOWN, N.Y. (AP) — Torrential downpours from a faded tropical storm inundated the Northeast on Friday, forcing evacuations, toppling trees, cutting power to thousands and washing out roads during a snarled morning commute. Water pooled so deeply in a Philadelphia suburb that a car literally floated on top of another car. Hard rain began falling in Boston early Friday afternoon as the city braced for the sustained rains that have plagued the Eastern Seaboard over the last two days. The deluge was blamed for five deaths in North Carolina on Thursday and a sixth in Pennsylvania on Friday — a woman who apparently drove her car into a rain-swollen creek before daybreak.

CAIRO (AP) — Al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden called for the creation of a new relief body to help Muslims in an audiotape released Friday, seeking to exploit discontent following this summer's devastating floods in Pakistan by depicting the region's governments as uncaring. It was the third message in recent weeks from al-Qaida figures concerning the massive floods that affected around 20 million people in Pakistan, signaling a concentrated campaign by the terror group to tap into anger over the flooding to rally support.

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) — Assailants in Pakistan launched two separate attacks Friday on vehicles carrying fuel for NATO and American forces in Afghanistan, highlighting the vulnerability of the U.S.-led mission a day after Pakistan closed a major border crossing. A truck driver and his assistant were burned alive in the second attack on a single tanker in the parking lot of a restaurant in southeastern Baluchistan province, said police officer Mohammad Azam. He said "anti-state elements" were behind the attack.

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J. (AP) — Rutgers University students wore black on Friday to remember a classmate who committed suicide as a lawmaker proposed stiffer penalties for invasion of privacy — the charge against the roommate accused of secretly streaming video of the victim's sexual tryst with a man. Calling it "Black Friday," students at New Jersey's largest university were encouraged to leave flowers or mementoes at a makeshift memorial for 18-year-old Tyler Clementi, the violin-playing freshman who jumped off the George Washington Bridge into the Hudson River last week.

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — For hundreds of years, indigenous South Africans have chewed a plant they say reduces stress, relieves hunger, sedates and elevates moods. Now they have a license to study and market it, and plan to sell it over-the-counter worldwide. Researchers say the plant, called sceletium tortuosum, has great potential and could also help boost the local economy. Still, the American pharmaceutical company working on the project says it doesn't know whether the plant has been approved by U.S. regulators or how soon it may be available to consumers.

NEWPORT, Wales (AP) — After a long rain delay, the Americans have rallied for a narrow Ryder Cup lead at the end of the first day. None of the four matches was completed, but the U.S. team was leading in two and all-square in another. Europe was leading one match, a swing from the situation when play was halted at midmorning because drenching showers made Celtic Manor unplayable.

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