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Just a second, 2009 — the Earth needs to catch up

Updated: 12/30/2008 - Just a second, 2009. It's going to take a little longer to say goodbye to the worst economic year since the Great Depression, but all for good cause. The custodians of time will ring in the New Year by tacking a "leap second" onto the clock Wednesday to account for the minute slowing of the Earth's rotation. The leap second has been used sporadically at the Royal Observatory at Greenwich since 1972, an adjustment that has kept Greenwich Mean Time the internationally agreed time standard.

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Obama's online backers key to pushing his agenda

Updated: 12/30/2008 - President-elect Barack Obama's top asset in pushing his agenda will not be his Cabinet secretaries or aides, but rather his online network. Obama's political e-mail list tops 13 million names, a digital force that the incoming White House can tap to push for his legislation, tamp down critics or bolster popular support. It's also a way for Obama to reach into every state, every city, and every neighborhood.

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Ex-Bush aides say he never recovered from Katrina

Updated: 12/30/2008 - Hurricane Katrina not only pulverized the Gulf Coast in 2005, it knocked the bully pulpit out from under President George W. Bush, according to two former advisers who spoke candidly about the political impact of the government's poor handling of the natural disaster.

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Vt. Man Wins $650K After Pulling Ticket From Trash

Updated: 12/30/2008 - A Vermont man who threw out a lottery ticket he'd been given for Christmas pulled it out of the trash and cashed it — winning $650,000. Steven LeClair, of Richford, got the ticket for the Dec. 24 Tri-State Megabucks drawing as a gift from his mother. But it was in a gift bag that LeClair threw away, not knowing it was inside.

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GM Slashes Financing Rates To Boost Sales

Updated: 12/30/2008 - General Motors Corp. said Tuesday it will offer financing as low as zero percent over the next week for several 2008 and 2009 models as the automaker makes a big year-end push to improve sales.

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Ill. Governor Names Burris to Replace Obama

Updated: 12/30/2008 - Gov. Rod Blagojevich has defied U.S. Senate leaders and his own state's lawmakers by appointing former Illinois Attorney General Roland Burris to replace President-elect Barack Obama in the U.S. Senate. Blagojevich announced his decision in Chicago on Tuesday with the 71-year-old Burris at his side.

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US Diplomat Says Afghan Road Bombings up in 2008

Updated: 12/30/2008 - The number of roadside bombs and kidnappings doubled in Afghanistan in 2008 from the year previous, the U.S. ambassador said Tuesday, grim statistics that underscore the country's deteriorating security situation.

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Man Accused of Ramming Wheelchair Into Officer

Updated: 12/30/2008 - A 45-year-old paraplegic rammed his wheelchair into an officer, threw urine from his catheter bag a patrol car and spat at the officer, police said Sunday. Ralph Evegan was arrested on charges of assaulting a police officer, obstructing official business, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct.

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Gary Coleman Has Habit of Police Involvement

Updated: 12/30/2008 - Gary Coleman, who makes it no secret that he likes his privacy and wants to be left alone, chose to settle in small-town Utah — far away from the paparazzi and autograph seekers of his former life as a TV star.

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Influx of Black Renters Raises Tension in Bay Area

Updated: 12/30/2008 - As more and more black renters began moving into this mostly white San Francisco Bay Area suburb a few years ago, neighbors started complaining about loud parties, mean pit bulls, blaring car radios, prostitution, drug dealing and muggings of schoolchildren.

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Banned Words List Offers no 'bailout' to Offenders

Updated: 12/30/2008 - A movie about a "maverick," his journey "from Wall Street to Main Street," his "desperate search" for a "monkey" and a "game-changing" revelation about his "carbon footprint" probably would make the nation's word-watchers physically ill.

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Fla. Woman Claims 'Merry Christmas' Got Her Fired

Updated: 12/30/2008 - A Christian woman claims she was fired from her job because she greeted callers with "Merry Christmas," but the vacation rental company says it's no Scrooge and the woman is just a disgruntled employee.

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Firefighters Break Down Wrong Door During Training

Updated: 12/30/2008 - Firefighters are apologizing after mixing up street addresses during a training exercise in Hamilton and smashing down the wrong door. Deputy Fire Chief Greg Robbins said he directed firefighters to what he thought was a vacant, city-owned home to run training drills on Friday. Instead the crew broke down the door at the home of Mike and Cathy Grosse, causing $1,000 in damage.

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"Jena Six" Teen Shoots Self, Is Treated

Updated: 12/30/2008 - A teen convicted in the "Jena Six" beating case shot himself in the chest and was taken to the hospital Monday, days after his arrest on a shoplifting charge, police said.

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Arab outrage over Gaza carnage targets Egypt

Updated: 12/30/2008 - The Israeli bombing campaign in the Gaza Strip has unleashed outrage across the Middle East — but the anger is being vented as much against Egypt as it is at Israel.

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Lark Previn, Daughter of Mia Farrow, Dies at 35

Updated: 12/30/2008 - Lark Previn, a daughter of actress Mia Farrow whose sister Soon-Yi Previn was at the center of Farrow's messy breakup with Woody Allen, has died. She was 35.

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Great jazz trumpeter Freddie Hubbard dies at 70

Updated: 12/30/2008 - Freddie Hubbard, the Grammy-winning jazz musician whose blazing virtuosity influenced a generation of trumpet players and who collaborated with such greats as Ornette Coleman, John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins, died Monday, a month after suffering a heart attack. He was 70.

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Gaza protest boat sails into Lebanon

Updated: 12/30/2008 - A boat carrying international peace activists and medical supplies to the embattled Gaza Strip was turned back and damaged by the Israeli navy on Tuesday, Israel and organizers of the trip said.

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Pakistan closes US supply route to hit militants

Updated: 12/30/2008 - Pakistan closed the main route used to ferry supplies to U.S. and allied troops in Afghanistan on Tuesday after launching a fresh offensive against militants in the area.

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