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Mortgage purchase applications at 15-year low: MBA

The Mortgage Bankers Association said its seasonally adjusted index of mortgage application activity, which includes both refinancing and home purchase demand, fell 2.4 percent in the week ended August 19. The seasonally adjusted gauge of loan requests for home purchases tumbled 5.7 percent to its lowest level since December 1996, the MBA…

Planet is home to 8.7 million species: study

Some 8.7 million different species exist on Earth, though a tiny amount of those have actually been discovered and catalogued, researchers said Tuesday. The count, described by the open access journal PLoS Biology in which it is presented as “the most precise calculation ever offered,” replaces previous estimates that swung…

Under fire, Biden blasts ‘repugnant’ China policies

Under fire from angry Republicans, US Vice President Joe Biden’s office said Tuesday that he firmly opposes “repugnant” Chinese population control practices like “forced abortion and sterilization.” “The Obama Administration strongly opposes all aspects of China’s coercive birth limitation policies, including forced abortion and sterilization,” Biden spokeswoman Kendra Barkoff told…

Obama briefed on quake during golf round

US President Barack Obama broke away from a round of golf to conduct a conference call with top disaster officials Tuesday after a rare earthquake shook America’s east coast. White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Obama, playing a course on Martha’s Vineyard island, did not feel the impact of the…

Hurricane Irene threatens islands, US East Coast

Hurricane Irene bore down on the southeastern Bahamas Tuesday as the category one storm churned on a track that could see it slam the US mainland later in the week. Forecasters who downgraded Irene, now packing winds of 90 miles (150 kilometers) per hour, said it could still become a…

Johnny DuPree wins Democratic nomination for Mississippi governor

OXFORD, Miss (Reuters) – Mississippi voters chose Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree on Tuesday as the Democratic nominee for governor in one of four states due to hold gubernatorial contests in the fall. DuPree, 57, beat out Clarksdale businessman and attorney Bill Luckett, 63, in a primary runoff election. DuPree had…

Vice President Biden blasts ‘repugnant’ China policies

WASHINGTON — Under fire from angry Republicans, US Vice President Joe Biden’s office has said that he firmly opposes “repugnant” Chinese population control practices like “forced abortion and sterilization.” “The Obama administration strongly opposes all aspects of China’s coercive birth limitation policies, including forced abortion and sterilization,” Biden spokeswoman Kendra…

Perry campaign continues to disavow Perry’s 9-month-old book

Rick Perry’s campaign has tried to distance itself from Perry’s 9-month-old book Fed Up!: Our Fight to Save America from Washington for the second time since last week. In response to a query by The Washington Post, spokesman Mark Miner distanced Perry from his book’s proposal to repeal the 16th…

Congressman Kucinich: NATO must account for Libyan deaths

WASHINGTON — A US lawmaker fiercely opposed to NATO’s role in the Libya conflict called Tuesday for the alliance’s military chiefs to be held to account under international law for the deaths of Libyan civilians. “Otherwise we will have witnessed the triumph of a new international gangsterism,” Democratic Representative Dennis…

Rep. Frederica Wilson: The real enemy is the tea party

Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL), a member of the Congressional Black Caucus, blasted the tea party movement on Monday night at a jobs fair in Miami. “Let us all remember who the real enemy is,” she said. “The real enemy is the Tea Party. The Tea Party holds the Congress hostage.…

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