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Julie Wilkins helps her grandson Griffin Brady, 3, put a box of crayons in a shopping cart while shopping for school supplies with their family at a Target store in Memphis, Tenn. Wednesday, July 23, 2014. Tennessee's annual sales tax holiday on school supplies is from August 1-3.  (AP Photo/The Commercial Appeal, Brandon Dill)

Shop Smart for Back-to-School Supplies

Friday, August 1, 2014

Anyone who has been to their local Target or Wal-Mart lately knows that back-to-school shopping season has begun. Just as with the holiday shopping season, the $75 billion industry that is back-to-school and college has crept up on the calendar. Promotions from some retailers were announced before Independence Day. According to a National Retail Federation survey, 23 percent of consumers …

Giraffe Dies After Head Hits Bridge transport, dies

Friday, August 1, 2014

A giraffe in South Africa has died after cracking its head on a bridge as it was being transported in an open vehicle down a freeway. As anger spread on Twitter, local media quoted the owner as saying the animal had craned its neck. Witness Thinus Botha, of Pretoria, talked to the Los Angeles Times on Thursday morning. The engineer, 32, had been …

U.S. Stocks Plunge, Wiping Out July’s Gains

Friday, August 1, 2014

New York — For investors, there were few havens on Thursday. The stock market had its worst one-day drop since February, driven down by a confluence of worries, from weak company earnings to the looming end of stimulus from the Federal Reserve. But it wasn’t just stocks that suffered; oil fell to its lowest level since March, gold dropped and even Treasury notes …

Teenage Girls Used in Multiple Nigerian Suicide Bombings

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Johannesburg — Wearing long hijabs, the anonymous women squeezed quietly into crowds, barely noticed. One slipped in among students gathered Wednesday at a notice board of a college campus in the northern Nigerian city of Kano. She detonated a hidden bomb, killing herself and at least five others. …

House GOP Votes to Sue Obama

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Washington — House Republicans voted to proceed with a lawsuit against President Obama on Wednesday, saying that his executive actions are so extreme that they violate the Constitution. The nearly party-line vote — all Democrats voted against it, and all but five Republicans voted for it — further …

Bank Fined $1.3 Billion in Loan Case

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Los Angeles — Countrywide Financial hustled to make the loans. Bank of America, once again, is picking up the bill for the damages caused — the latest buffeting since the bank’s disastrous acquisition of the Calabasas high-risk lender six years ago. A New York judge ordered Bank of …

U.N. Accuses Israel of Breaking International Law

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Gaza CitY, Gaza Strip — United Nations officials charged Israel had violated international law after artillery shells slammed into a school overflowing with evacuees on Wednesday, an attack that Palestinian and U.N. officials said killed at least 20 …

China Crackdown Snares Ex-Security Chief

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Beijing — China’s Communist Party has placed under investigation the highest-ranking official yet to be ensnared in its corruption crackdown: Zhou Yongkang, former security chief and oil czar. The investigation of Zhou had been rumored for months, but …

Study: Hundreds of Obama White House Rules Technically Illegal

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Washington — Over the past two years, the Obama administration has published hundreds and hundreds of rules — on how wheelchairs should be stowed aboard U.S. aircraft, how foreign trade zones should be regulated, how voting assistance should be provided for U.S. citizens overseas, and so on. There’s …

Texas: Gay-Marriage Ban Best for Kids

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Dallas — Texas’ ban on same-sex marriage allows the state to promote the birth and upbringing of children in “stable, lasting relationships,” the state’s attorney general argued Tuesday while asking a federal appeals court to reinstate the ban. Attorney General Greg Abbott, the GOP nominee for governor, said …

Past-Due Debt High in U.S.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Washington — Roughly one in three adult Americans has past-due debt that’s been turned over to a collections agency, according to a novel new study. Southern states fare worst in the study, with most having four in 10 residents with credit files that show debt in collection. The …

Senate OKs Short-Term Highway Fix

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Washington — The Senate on Tuesday voted to change the funding and timing of a House bill to keep federal highway funds flowing to states in an effort to force Congress to come to grips with chronic funding problems that have plagued transportation programs in recent years. The …

Obama Plans to Give Migrants Work Permits

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Washington — President Obama is developing plans to use executive action to let millions of undocumented immigrants obtain work permits that would allow them stay in the U.S. legally, said a Democratic Senate aide. White House officials have told allies in Congress to expect an announcement of a …