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Beijing smog continues as Chinese state media urge more action

China’s state media have called for environmental improvements in unusually frank discussions of the country’s pollution problem, as thick smog continues to shroud Beijing and other cities. Stores sold out of masks and the capital implemented its new pollution emergency response plan for the first time after visibility plummeted at…

Clinton to testify January 23 on Benghazi attack

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will appear before lawmakers on January 23 to be quizzed about the deadly attack on a US mission in Libya, just days before she steps aside as top US diplomat. The chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Ed Royce, announced the date in a…

Rahm Emanuel pushes to end investments in gun manufacturers

Rahm Emanuel, the mayor of Chicago who acted as White House chief of staff until 2010, is hoping to initiate a nationwide campaign of disinvestment from companies that make and sell military-style assault rifles along the lines of the 1980s disinvestment from apartheid South Africa. Emanuel has instructed the fund…

Volcano lava flows worry Italian island

Spectacular lava flows and smoke from an active volcano on the Italian island of Stromboli on Monday sparked fear among inhabitants but geophysicists said the situation was under control. Stromboli is part of the seven-island Eolian Archipelago just off Sicily in southern Italy. The volcano is active but on Monday…

New York school bus strike to strand 152,000 kids

Drivers of New York’s yellow school buses planned to go on strike Wednesday, leaving 152,000 children looking for a new way to get to class on time. The drivers’ union announced the strike Monday after failing to come to an agreement with the city over job security. The strike will…

Ilyse Hogue announced as next president of NARAL Pro-Choice America

Political strategist Ilyse Hogue has been chosen to succeed Nancy Keenan as president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, the organization announced Monday. “I am absolutely thrilled to be given the honor of leading this great organization,” Hogue said in a statement. “This is a critical moment to engage a new generation…

Lance Armstrong apologizes in person to Livestrong staff

Fallen cycling hero Lance Armstrong personally apologized Monday to staff members of the Livestrong cancer charity ahead of his much anticipated interview with talk show diva Oprah Winfrey. “Lance came to the Livestrong Foundation’s headquarters today for a private conversation with our staff and offered a sincere and heartfelt apology…

Obama: I like a good party

President Barack Obama on Monday dismissed the perception that he is aloof and disdains the backslapping bonhomie a US leader sometimes requires to drive his priorities through Congress. Obama put his often polarizing differences with Republicans down to politics rather than personal antipathy, arguing that though he had enjoyed a…

Bentley launches 202 mph convertible

Luxury carmaker Bentley wants you comfortable in a Force 5 hurricane — the four-seat convertible that it launched Monday can hit 202 miles per hour (325 kph) with the top down. The Continental GT Speed Convertible’s 12-cylinder engine throws out a huge amount of power — 616 horsepower that rockets…

Bernanke urges Congress to lift debt ceiling

US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Monday urged Congress to raise the nation’s borrowing limit as Democrats and Republicans battle over the federal budget. “It’s very, very important that Congress take the necessary action to raise the debt ceiling to avoid the situation where the government doesn’t pay its…

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