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Michelle Obama: Debate ‘worst way’ to spend anniversary

DENVER, Colorado — US President Barack Obama is marking his 20th wedding anniversary by squaring off against rival Mitt Romney in their first debate — and First Lady Michelle is less than thrilled. “I told Barack, ‘This, you know, attending a presidential debate on my 20th anniversary is probably the…

Obama campaign ad spending dominates Romney’s in key states

The Obama campaign has dominated the airwaves with ads in key battleground states in the last three weeks, contrary to expectations that the war chest of Republican-friendly Super Pacs would eclipse Democratic spending, according to a new study. The president’s campaign and his supporters have have topped all other spenders…

Stay of execution upheld for sexual abuse victim

WASHINGTON — Hours before he was set to die Wednesday, a convicted murderer who has spent two decades on death row over the killing of two men who abused him sexually as a child won a stay of execution. Last week, Philadelphia Judge Teresa Sarmina suspended the execution of Terry…

Costa Rica set to ban hunting, a first in the Americas

SAN JOSE — Costa Rica is set to be the first country in the American continent to ban recreational hunting after the country’s legislature approved the popular measure by a wide margin. The bill, which bans hunting for sport but still allows culling and subsistence hunting, was approved late Tuesday…

Sensitive U.S. files unguarded in Libya embassy: report

WASHINGTON — A trove of documents, including travel plans and security contracts, lay unguarded at what remains of the American consulate in Benghazi, said a reporter who entered the building on Wednesday. A Washington Post journalist discovered the papers after he gained access to the diplomatic mission where US ambassador…

U.S., British universities top in academic excellence

LONDON — US and British universities continue to dominate in academic excellence but Asia is catching up fast, said an influential education rankings report published Wednesday. The California Institute of Technology kept its top spot in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings for 2012-2013 which also saw the University…

Life of mouse at stake in online election parody

WASHINGTON — A little white mouse risks being devoured by a hungry snake in an online parody of cutthroat American politics that went online Wednesday just hours before the US presidential debate. Snakeormouse.com invites visitors to cast ballots on whether the “MouseOn President” will be fed to the “Friends of…

Humans added plenty greenhouse gases before industrialization: study

PARIS — Humans were big emitters of greenhouse gases long before the Industrial Revolution, a finding that raises worrying questions about the benchmark for measuring global warming, a study published on Wednesday said. For 1,800 years before industrialisation took off in the 19th century, emissions of methane rose in line…

Cell phones being built with fewer toxic substances

WASHINGTON — Mobile phone manufacturers, responding to consumer and regulatory pressure, are using fewer toxic substances in their products, researchers in the United States said Wednesday. The Motorola Citrus, Apple iPhone 4S and LE Remarq emerged as the least toxic cell phones in a study of 36 different models that…

NASA rover checks in online from Mars

SAN FRANCISCO — NASA’s Mars rover took the post-PC revolution into space on Wednesday by using location-sharing mobile application Foursquare to “check-in” on the Red Planet. “NASA is using Foursquare as a tool to share the rover’s new locations while exploring Mars,” said NASA spokesman David Weaver. “This will help…

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