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Def Jam exec dies from self-inflicted gunshot

Posted: 11/03/2008 - The executive who succeeded Jay-Z as the head of hip-hop music label Def Jam Recordings died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound near Atlanta, police said Sunday.

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Sacha Baron Cohen crashes LA rally as 'Bruno'

Posted: 11/03/2008 - Sacha Baron Cohen went undercover as his alter ego Bruno on Sunday by crashing a rally in support of a ballot measure that would ban gay marriage in California.

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String of Bombings Shakes Baghdad, Kills Ten

Posted: 11/03/2008 - A series of bombings struck Baghdad and a neighboring province Monday, killing at least 10 people and wounding 40, including a deputy oil minister who was injured when a bomb went off in front of his house as he was leaving for work.

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American School In Syria Obeys Order To Close

Posted: 11/03/2008 - An American school in Damascus closed its doors and told students to go home Monday after the Syrian government ordered it shut down in response to a deadly U.S. cross-border raid near the Iraqi border.

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Hip-hop stars stump for Obama in South Florida

Posted: 11/03/2008 - With two days remaining until Election Day, Jay-Z and Sean "Diddy" Combs told voters in South Florida not to be scared away from the polls by long lines.

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The Onion plans wall-to-wall satire for election

Posted: 11/03/2008 - NEW YORK (AP) -- Days before the January 2001 inauguration of President Bush, the Onion ran a story headlined: "Bush: `Our Long National Nightmare of Peace and Prosperity Is Finally Over.'"

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Mourners gather for private Hudson family funeral

Posted: 11/03/2008 - Mourners are arriving at a church on Chicago's South Side to attend the private funeral service for singer-actress Jennifer Hudson's slain mother, brother and nephew.

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'High School Musical 3' is head of class at movies

Posted: 11/03/2008 - Hollywood made audiences repeat senior year. Disney's "High School Musical 3: Senior Year" hauled in $15 million to remain the top movie for the second straight weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday.

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Google's growth makes privacy advocates wary

Posted: 11/03/2008 - Perhaps the biggest threat to Google Inc.'s increasing dominance of Internet search and advertising is the rising fear, justified or not, that Google's broadening reach is giving it unchecked power.

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Police: Bombings kill 9, wound at least 33 in Iraq

Posted: 11/03/2008 - A series of bombings struck Baghdad and a neighboring province Monday, killing at least 10 people and wounding 40, including a deputy oil minister who was injured when a bomb went off in front of his house as he was leaving for work.

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Stocks advance cautiously ahead of election

Posted: 11/03/2008 - Wall Street started November with a cautious advance Monday, as investors largely overlooked a weak reading on the manufacturing sector in quiet trading ahead of the U.S. presidential election.

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Jury convicts Yemeni in 2nd Guantanamo trial

Posted: 11/03/2008 - A propagandist for Osama bin Laden who vowed to fight anyone who governs America faced a possible life sentence after being convicted Monday of making videos that encouraged al-Qaida members to commit terrorist attacks.

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Circuit City to close 155 stores, cut US jobs

Posted: 11/03/2008 - RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Circuit City Stores Inc. said Monday it is closing about 20 percent of its U.S. stores - cutting thousands of jobs - in an effort to return to profitability as it finds consumers reluctant to spend and its vendors less eager to give it credit. The nation's No. 2 consumer electronics retailer said it will shut 155 of its more than 700 stores and leave at least a dozen markets entirely, including Phoenix and Atlanta, by Dec. 31. It will lay off about 17 percent of its domestic work force, which could affect up to 7,300 people. Circuit City also said it will further cut back on new store openings and plans to work with landlords to renegotiate leases, lower rent or terminate agreements while it deals with tightening credit from its vendors. The moves renewed the specter of bankruptcy hanging over the Richmond, Va.-based company as it heads into a holiday shopping season that could determine its future, amid slower consumer spending that has even the least vulnerable retailers worried. "The weakened environment has resulted in a slowdown of consumer spending, further impacting our business as well as the business of our vendors," James A. Marcum, vice chairman and acting president and chief executive said in a statement. "The combination of these trends has strained severely our working capital and liquidity." Marcum called the decision to close stores "difficult, but necessary." Based on nearly 43,000 employees as of Feb. 29, 17 percent could be up to about 7,300 workers. But the company said the number would likely be lower in part because employees in some markets may become employed at other stores. It would not give further details. Circuit City shares, which have traded under $1 for more than a month, rose 10 cents, or about 40 percent, to 36 cents in midday trading Monday. The company said it expects the stores it is shuttering, which generated about $1.4 billion in net sales in fiscal 2008, will not open on Tuesday and store closing sales will begin Wednesday. Circuit City spokesman Bill Cimino said the decision to pull out of 12 markets was based on store performance. "There are some markets where we have more competitors, there are some markets where we have less competitors, in all, we're closing 155 stores that were underperforming," Cimino said. Circuit City also noted restrictive actions taken by its vendors, including limiting credit for purchases. The company said it is working to secure support from vendors, but the "current mix of terms and credit availability is becoming unmanageable." It also said it has been unable to collect an income tax refund of about $80 million that Circuit City believes it is owed from the federal government. Standard & Poor's Equity Research analyst Michael Souers told investors that Circuit City's decision was "rational and necessary to attempt to conserve capital," but said restrictive measures by some vendors may "ultimately prove too challenging." "We think there is a fair chance (Circuit City) will be forced to file for Chapter 11" bankruptcy protection, Souers wrote. The company has had only one profitable quarter in the past year, posting a wider second-quarter loss in September with a 13 percent decline in sales at stores open at least a year. Its results have weakened as the company faces significant declines in traffic, heightened competition from rival Best Buy Co. and others and a weakened brand position. Circuit City, which is exploring strategic alternatives, has also been working with advisers to determine how to substantially improve its operating and financial performance. The company said last week it received a warning from the New York Stock Exchange that its stock price is not high enough for continued listing. The NYSE said the shares had an average closing price of less than $1 over 30 consecutive trading days as of Oct. 22, falling short of the exchange's requirement. Its shares have closed under a dollar since Sept. 30, when they fell to 76 cents. Shares have traded between 17 cents and $8.24 in the last year. In order to regain compliance with the NYSE, Circuit City's common stock share price and the average share price over a consecutive 30-trading-day period must both exceed $1 within six months of it receiving the notice. A major Circuit City shareholder - Classic Fund Management AG, a Liechtenstein-based asset management company - also said last week that it cut its holdings to 8.2 million shares, or about 4.8 percent of the company, from 9.5 million shares, or 5.6 percent. Circuit City has been under new leadership since late September when Chief Executive Philip J. Schoonover agreed to step down. He was replaced by Marcum.

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Ford reports October sales dropped 30 percent

Posted: 11/03/2008 - Ford Motor Co.'s U.S. sales plummeted 30 percent in October as low consumer confidence and tight credit combined to scare customers away from its showrooms.

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Obama, McCain battle across campaign's closing day

Posted: 11/03/2008 - The presidential candidates are capping a history-making campaign with a dash from Florida through a half-dozen other crucial states as John McCain tries for an upset over Barack Obama.

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Iraq, Iran to swap bodies from war

Posted: 11/03/2008 - Iraq's government spokesman says Iraq and Iran have agreed to exchange bodies of soldiers killed during the eight-year Iran-Iraq war.

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US soldiers in Iraq focus on war in voting

Updated: 11/03/2008 - Car bombs rather than Obama, making it home rather than McCain dominate the talk among many U.S. soldiers in Iraq's deadliest city during the final countdown to America's presidential election.

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Iraq earmarks $15 billion for reconstruction

Posted: 11/03/2008 - Iraq has earmarked some $15 billion - nearly 25 percent of its 2009 draft budget - to help rebuild the country's crumbling infrastructure, energy and oil facilities, the finance minister said Saturday.

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Analysis: Al-Maliki stressing US departure

Posted: 11/03/2008 - Iraq's prime minister is pushing the idea that the U.S. departure is in sight in a bid to sell the security deal with Washington to Iran.

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