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HUD director tapped to lead Sandy recovery

President Obama appointed the director of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Shaun Donovan, to lead the government’s efforts to help states in the wake of Hurricane Sandy’s havoc, reported the Los Angeles Times. “We are going to be here until the rebuilding is complete,” Obama said during the announcement, which…

Four dead after train hits veterans float in Texas parade

Four area dead and 17 injured after a train hit a float carrying wounded veterans in a Texas parade, reported the AP. The float was driving across a railroad crossing en route to a banquet. Seven are in critical condition while the others are stable. The accident occurred around 4:40…

Appeals court ends Michigan ban on race-conscious admissions

An appeals court struck down a 2006 Michigan public referendum that banned public colleges and universities from allowing college admissions decisions to be influenced by race, reported the Christian Science Monitor. The Sixth U.S Circuit Court of Appeals didn’t rule on whether race-based admissions violate Michigan’s constitution; instead, the court…

U.S. sees diabetes rates skyrocket

The United States saw a dramatic rise in the number of adults suffering from diabetes between 1995 and 2010, according to official statistics released Thursday. The prevalence of the disease increased by at least 50 percent in 42 of the country’s 50 states. In 18 of those, the rate at…

Israel and Hamas fight on social media

The state of Israel and Hamas are not only fighting with rockets and weapons, but are using social media platforms as new arenas for battle, reported the Washington Post. The Israeli military media office has a Twitter account, @IDFSpokesperson, which tweeted on Nov. 14 to announce a “widespread campaign on…

Synthetic drug use rising in Europe

Europe is being bombarded with an array of new, synthetic drugs of which the ingredients and effects on users are unknown, the continent’s drug agency warned in a report on Thursday. While cocaine and cannabis remain the most popular illicit drugs, new synthetic substances are being detected at a rate…

Rappers’ brains shift when freestyling, says study

Freestyle rap, an improvised style of the music genre associated with back-to-front baseball caps, baggy jeans and gold chains, has burst onto the science stage, shedding light on the workings of the brain. Researchers at the National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders in the United States have examined…

Hostess threatens to liquidate due to striking bakers

Hostess, maker of the cream-filled treat Twinkies, is threatening to shut its doors and liquidate the company if striking employees don’t return to work, reported Fox News. Hostess filed for bankruptcy in January after the company failed to resolve wage and health care disputes with unions. While Hostess eventually struck…

Postal Service losses tripled to $16 billion

The US Postal Service tripled its losses in 2012, bleeding $15.9 billion as the state-owned enterprise faces tough competition and what it calls onerous and unfair retirement funding requirements. The US mail said its losses rocketed in the year to September 30 from a $5.1 billion loss last year, with…

Deadline extended for state decisions on health care exchanges

The Obama administration has extended the deadline for states to decide whether to set up health care exchanges in accordance with the Affordable Care Act one month, till Dec. 14, reported The Hill. Originally, that deadline was Friday, Nov. 16. However, states that decline to create such exchanges — likely…

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