TURIN, Italy
Coach checked into psych hospital
An Austrian ski coach who bolted the Winter Games following a surprise anti-doping raid wound up in a psychiatric hospital – the latest stop on his bizarre flight from Turin, where authorities were still analyzing 100 syringes and other material seized from athletes’ housing.

Authorities took Walter Mayer into custody Sunday after he crashed his car into a police blockade 15 miles inside Austria’s border with Italy. Police later took him to a psychiatric facility, Austria’s ski federation president Peter Schroecksnadel said.

“Apparently he’s still in there,” Schroecksnadel said last night. “I believe that there was a danger of suicide – they had to take him to the hospital.”

Mayer was banished from the Olympics over allegations of blood doping at the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City. He resurfaced with the team in Turin, triggering police raids late Saturday – the first-ever doping sweep by police on athletes competing at the games.

Against the backdrop of the most stringent drug controls in Winter Games history, local authorities seized the syringes and 30 packages of antidepressants and asthma medication, Italian prosecutor Raffaele Guariniello told Austrian television. One Austrian athlete threw a bag out of a window containing needles and medicines as police swarmed the house, the Italian news agency ANSA reported.

CAIRO, Egypt
Bin Laden vows to never be captured
Osama bin Laden promised never to be captured alive and declared the United States had resorted to the same “barbaric” tactics used by Saddam Hussein, according to an audiotape purportedly by the al-Qaida leader that was posted yesterday on a militant Web site.

The tape appeared to be a complete version of one that was first broadcast Jan. 19 on Al-Jazeera, the pan-Arab satellite channel, in which bin Laden offered the United States a long-term truce but also said his al-Qaida terror network would soon launch a fresh attack on American soil.

“I have sworn to only live free. Even if I find bitter the taste of death, I don’t want to die humiliated or deceived,” bin Laden said, in the 11-minute, 26-second tape.

U.S. warns Iraq to settle on government
The U.S. ambassador delivered a blunt warning to Iraqi leaders yesterday that they risk losing American support unless they establish a national unity government with the police and the army out of the hands of religious parties.

Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad delivered the warning as another 24 people, including an American soldier, died in a string of bombings, underscoring the need for the country to establish a government capable of winning the trust of all communities and ending the violence.

RadioShack CEO resigns after inquiry
RadioShack Corp.’s embattled president and CEO, David Edmondson, resigned yesterday following questions about his resume’s accuracy.

The Fort Worth electronics retailer said that its board accepted his resignation and has promoted Claire Babrowski – executive vice president and chief operating officer – to acting CEO.

Leonard Roberts, RadioShack’s chairman and Edmondson’s predecessor as CEO, said the move was necessary to restore the company’s credibility.

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