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A worried America chooses its course for change

Updated: 12/31/2008 - In a season of profound political and cultural fissures, the American people stood together at the ballot box Tuesday with a resounding chorus that drowned out their deep differences: Something, they said, has got to give.

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Bloody, then buddies: It's still the American way

Updated: 12/31/2008 - The seat of Clinton County sits along a river at the foot of a spectacular mountain range in rural central Pennsylvania. On Election Day, what happened here was a microcosm of American duality: Just 327 votes separated John McCain, who won the county, and Barack Obama, who didn't.

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Shhh! Gadget racket threatens pulsar research

Updated: 12/31/2008 - Of all the threats to scientific research Wesley Sizemore has stymied over the years, satellites and cell phone towers don't stick in his memory quite like the possessive old hound and its treasured heating pad.

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Some women threaten no sex if men shoot fireworks

Updated: 12/31/2008 - Some women in Naples said they won't make love if their men shoot off dangerous fireworks on New Year's Eve. "Se Spari, Niente Sesso" (If you shoot, no sex), as the reported group calls itself, claims to have signed up hundreds of women in the Naples area to combat celebrations that injure or maim hundreds each year.

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Smoking ban leads to major drop in heart attacks

Updated: 12/31/2008 - A smoking ban in one Colorado city led to a dramatic drop in heart attack hospitalizations within three years, a sign of just how serious a health threat secondhand smoke is, government researchers said Wednesday.

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Official: Pakistani confesses to Mumbai attacks

Updated: 12/31/2008 - A militant arrested in Pakistan has confessed involvement in the Mumbai terror attacks and is giving investigators details of the plot, a senior Pakistani government official said Wednesday.

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Ill. governor adds to woes by making appointment

Updated: 12/31/2008 - Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich created a new distraction for his state by making an appointment to the U.S. Senate even while he faces federal corruption charges for, in part, allegedly trying to sell the very seat he now is trying to fill.

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Madoff lawyer says client will provide asset list

Updated: 12/31/2008 - An attorney for Bernard Madoff said the disgraced Wall Street money manager would give the Securities and Exchange Commission a list of his personal assets by 5 p.m. EST Wednesday to comply with a court order.

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White House says cease-fire depends on Hamas

Updated: 12/31/2008 - President George W. Bush believes the first steps in any cease-fire in the ongoing violence in the Mideast will require the Islamic militant group Hamas to agree to stop firing rockets into Israel now and in the future, the White House said Wednesday. From his ranch in Crawford, Texas, Bush called Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert for the first time since the conflict escalated between Israel and Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip.

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Israel rejects truce call, pursues bombing Gaza

Updated: 12/31/2008 - Israel resisted mounting international pressure Wednesday to suspend its devastating air offensive against militants in Hamas-ruled Gaza, sending more troops and tanks to the border as signs of an impending ground invasion multiplied. A long column of tanks and other army vehicles, two and three abreast, was strung out along an access road to Gaza.

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Kennedy's 'You Knows' Become Political Fodder

Updated: 12/31/2008 - If Caroline Kennedy had, you know, only known. Tracking the would-be New York senator's verbal tics has become a political parlor game in the days since she gave her first round of in-depth interviews, even spawning a hip-hop-style mash-up online blending her "you knows" with President-elect Barack Obama's "uhs."

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China Dairy Boss Delayed Reporting Quality Issues

Updated: 12/31/2008 - A former dairy boss who could face the death penalty in China's tainted milk scandal testified Wednesday that she began investigating product quality issues in May but did not notify authorities until August, a state news agency said.

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