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Britons abandon thousands of pets amid economic pain

Nearly 16,000 more animals were abandoned last year than in 2007 as pet owners struggled with tough economic conditions, the RSPCA said Thursday. The charity reported that 40,595 animals were abandoned in 2011, a 65 percent increase on 2007 when the figure was 24,638. It also said convictions for animal…

Three women killed in Madrid Halloween stampede

Three young women were crushed to death in a stampede at a Halloween celebration in Madrid apparently sparked when a partygoer threw a firework, police said Thursday. “Three victims were trampled to death and two others were injured,” a police spokesman told AFP. The disaster struck some time before 4…

Hurricane Sandy freeze on politics impacts key races for Congress

Hurricane Sandy: Freeze on politics affects key races for Congress, too The presidential campaigns aren’t the only political operations trying to decide what to do after hurricane Sandy swept aside the final-week playbook of this election. The superstorm has upended some tight congressional races as well – putting a weather-related…

Four wounded in USC campus shooting: police

At least four people were wounded overnight in a shooting on the campus of the University of Southern California, police said early Thursday. An officer with the Los Angeles Police Department confirmed there had been a shooting on campus and said four people had been taken to hospital, but could…

Cash earmarked for Japan’s tsunami reconstruction ‘misspent’ according to government audit

Cash earmarked for tsunami reconstruction work was diverted to unrelated projects, a Japanese government audit showed as residents of the devastated northeast voiced frustration over the slow pace of rebuilding. Parts of the 14.9 trillion yen ($187 billion) were used to fund an array of unconnected works, including road-building on…

China’s Communist Party prepares for power handover

China’s political elite are expected to oust disgraced figure Bo Xilai and jostle for leadership roles in their last formal meeting which opened Thursday ahead of next week’s landmark power handover. The Communist Party’s Central Committee convened behind closed doors, state media said, with 500 senior members to debate key…

U.S. military forces train for zombie apocalypse

No prank: On Halloween, US military forces train for zombie apocalypse Why is the US military preparing for a zombie apocalypse? That’s the latest training exercise that US Marines and Navy special-operations forces will be taking part in on an island off the coast of San Diego – starting on…

East coast travel chaos continues with 20,000 flights cancelled

NEW YORK — Travel chaos from Hurricane Sandy dragged into a fourth day with roads still covered in floodwater and debris, New York’s subway still closed and flights cancellations reaching nearly 20,000 Wednesday. Massive cleanup efforts have restored power and most public services to millions caught in Sandy’s destructive path…

Campaigns to spend $6 billion in 2012: report

WASHINGTON — US political campaigns will spend $6 billion in federal races this year, making the 2012 general election the most expensive poll in American history, experts said Wednesday. The presidential election pitting President Barack Obama against Republican challenger Mitt Romney, alone accounts for $2.6 billion, according to the Center…

Homeland Security faces lawsuit over details of domestic drone flights

SAN FRANCISCO — The Electronic Frontier Foundation said Wednesday it has sued the US Department of Homeland Security to obtain details about Predator drones on loan to domestic police departments. EFF Internet freedom and privacy champions contended that they filed suit in federal court in San Francisco because the DHS…

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