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U.S. consumer spending picked up in September

US consumer spending picked up pace in September, sustaining a three month surge that also represents a downturn in household saving, the Commerce Department reported Monday. Personal consumption expenditures last month rose 0.8 percent, or $87.9 billion, to $11.25 trillion, after an 0.5 percent pickup in August. Higher gasoline prices…

French judge orders release of breast implant founder

A French judge on Monday ordered the release of the founder of breast implant company PIP, which sparked a global health scare over potentially faulty products, after eight months in preventive detention. Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) boss Jean-Claude Mas, 73, was ordered released but will be “placed under judicial supervision,”…

New York road tunnels to close amid hurricane threat

NEW YORK — New York state authorities on Monday ordered the closure of two of three key Manhattan road tunnels because of the risk of floods from Hurricane Sandy. Governor Andrew Cuomo said the Holland and Battery tunnels would close from 2:00 pm (1800 GMT). He told a press conference…

Debate rages over benefits of organic food

The debate over whether organic food is better for our health and worth its higher price keeps raging on in the United States as the conclusion of four decades of studies seems far from clear. The controversy was back in the news last month when a large-scale study by researchers…

iPhone’s Chinese Siri directs users to brothels

Concerns that the Chinese version of the Apple iPhone’s new voice-activated assistant “Siri” directs users to brothels has been raised by netizens and lawyers, state media said Monday. Users of the recently released Mandarin version of Siri were given several options for finding prostitutes upon request, but could not verify…

Tea Party ‘lying low’ on presidential race, but still active locally

The Tea Party has been relatively quiet during the presidential election but supporters of the right-wing movement which burst on to the political scene three years ago say it has not gone away. “They say that the Tea Party is dead because we’re not probably as active out there with…

Eastern U.S. in lockdown ahead of Hurricane Sandy

Much of the eastern United States was in lockdown mode Monday awaiting the arrival of a hurricane dubbed “Frankenstorm” that threatened to wreak havoc on the area with storm surges, driving rain and gale-force winds. New York authorities ordered the evacuation Sunday of 375,000 people from low-lying coastal areas as…

Early results put ruling party ahead in Ukrainian elections

Ukraine’s ruling party was set for victory in legislative polls, comfortably ahead of the party of ex-premier Yulia Tymoshenko, whose jailing sparked Western concerns of foul play, early official results showed Monday. With ballots counted from 14.6 percent of polling booths following Sunday’s vote, the Regions Party of President Viktor…

Egypt’s Copts to choose new pope

Egypt’s Coptic Christians vote on Monday for a new leader to succeed Pope Shenuda III, who died in March leaving behind a community anxious about its status under an Islamist-led government. The death of Shenuda, who headed the church for four decades, set in motion the process to elect a…

New species of lizard found in Australia

Scientists announced Monday the discovery of a new species of lizard fighting to survive among the sand dunes outside Perth in Western Australia. They fear it is only a matter of time before the six-centimetre (two-inch) long Ctenotus ora, or the coastal plains skink, will be extinct with urban sprawl…

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