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Top News & Analysis North America

  • WEIRD WEATHER: Spring freezes and a historic drought have stripped some charm from rustic fall destinations, especially in the Midwest, leaving some corn too short to create mazes, orchards with few apples and fall colors muted.

  • CANTON, Miss.-- A health care company has donated $30,000 to help children in Mississippi stay healthy. The money was donated over the weekend to the Mississippi 4- H club's Eat4-Health campaign. United Healthcare is sponsoring four community events in Jackson, Canton, Belzoni and Clarksdale to promote fitness, nutrition and healthy living.

  • NEW YORK-- Red Bull is rolling out three fruity flavors this spring, as the company looks to boost its stake in the rapidly growing market for energy drinks. The fruity flavors were first sold in Europe, but a representative for Red Bull didn't know how long they had been on sale there.

  • NEW YORK, Oct 8- U.S. stocks slipped in light trading on Monday, pulling back from recent five-year highs ahead of an earnings season expected to be weak. The Dow Jones industrial average dropped 26.50 points, or 0.19 percent, to end unofficially at 13,583.65. The Nasdaq Composite Index fell 23.83 points, or 0.76 percent, to close unofficially at 3,112.35.

  • *No agreement yet by Britain, France, Germany on stakes. LONDON/ PARIS, Oct 8- Britain turned up the volume in a dispute over French state involvement in any tie-up of aerospace groups EADS and BAE Systems on Monday, leaving the European mega-merger on a knife-edge less than 48 hours before a deadline for the deal.

  • LAS VEGAS-- The owners of a business featured in the cable television show "Pawn Stars" and the network that handles the show are being sued in Nevada state court by a Las Vegas promoter who claims he was wrongly fired in January and denied a share of profits.

  • Oct 8- An outage that cut phone and data service to Sprint customers in parts of California, Oregon and Washington also grounded some Alaska Airlines passengers on Monday as it knocked the air carrier's reservations system off line.

  • SEATTLE-- Alaska Airlines computer connection restored, airport operations slowly returning to normal.

  • NEW YORK, Oct 8- U.S. natural gas futures ended higher on Monday, backed by forecasts for mostly chilly U.S. weather this week that should stir more heating demand despite concerns about record high supplies and an outlook for milder mid-month forecasts.

  • *World Bank says China economic slowdown may worsen. *Turkey retaliates again after mortar fire from Syria. NEW YORK, Oct 8- Oil prices eased on Monday in choppy trading on concerns that slower economic growth in China and the debt crisis in Europe will curb demand for petroleum, while the potential for Middle East turmoil to disrupt supplies limited losses.

  • WASHINGTON, Oct 8- Wal-Mart and American Express have teamed up for a useful kind of financial innovation. It's a smooth move by Wal-Mart. The partners aren't disclosing financial terms, but it seems unlikely Wal-Mart would pay as much as it does to other card issuers.

  • Raytheon Co. said Monday that it has won a $349 million five-year contract to provide anti-tank missiles for the U.S. government. Under the contract, Raytheon will deliver 6,676 of the new wireless missiles for the U.S. Army. The defense contractor is based in Waltham, Mass. Its shares fell 14 cents to $55.34 by late afternoon.

  • NEW YORK-- A strong warning from the World Bank that growth in Asia may slow further dragged the price of oil Monday to its lowest close in two months. _ Benchmark crude fell 55 cents to close at $89.33 in New York. On the ICE Futures Exchange in London:.

  • SEATTLE-- The computer problem that has cut off Alaska Airlines' ability to put passengers on planes was caused by a combination of two fiber optic cuts in the Sprint system.

  • NEW YORK, Oct 8- U.S. hedge funds and other clients of Wall Street investment firms raised their level of borrowed money in August, a sign they may be more confident in the markets, data published Monday showed. Leverage rose to $286.6 billion last month, according to New York Stock Exchange margin debt data, up 5.4 percent since August last year.

  • NEW YORK-- Music is not the only way for Ke$ ha to tell a story. It's scheduled to come out Nov. 20, shortly before her new album, "Warrior." According to Touchstone, an imprint of Simon& Schuster, the book will feature Ke$ ha's "thoughts and reflections" and pictures spanning from her childhood to her recent tour.

  • WASHINGTON-- Mitt Romney solely blamed President Barack Obama on Monday for potential defense cuts that Republicans in Congress worked out with the White House and Democrats and left the misimpression that Obama has ignored free trade initiatives.

  • WEST CHESTER, Pa.-- It's a Sunday afternoon, and David Venable is in his element: on the air, in one of the kitchens at the QVC home shopping network, chatting a mile a minute about bakeware on his popular show, "In the Kitchen with David."

  • NEW YORK-- Advertisements preaching religious tolerance and an end to bigotry are going up in Manhattan subway stations. A court decision forced the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to accept ads implying that enemies of Israel are "savages" and urging subway riders to "support the civilized man" and "Defeat Jihad."

  • *Spokesman for Intel Corp's McAfee security division says it plans to.