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Top News & Analysis United States

  • LOS ANGELES-- Celebrity charity work has been around as long as celebrity itself. "Beethoven was doing charity concerts," says Myrlia Purcell, founder of LooktotheStars.org, a website that tracks celebrity charity events around the world. Good thing Annie Lennox is around.

  • LOS ANGELES-- The Beverly Hilton's International Ballroom will soon be filled with flowers, chiffon, fine china and crystal stemware for a starry black-tie ball costing couples as much as $20,000 to attend.

  • ALBANY, N.Y.-- The nation's two largest breast cancer charities have adopted guidelines for fuller disclosure by those selling pink products and services in their names, New York's attorney general said Thursday.

  • CHICAGO-- As Chicago struggles to quell gang violence that has contributed to a jump in homicides, a top elected official wants to tax the sale of every bullet and firearm _ an effort even she acknowledges could spark a legal challenge.

  • BISMARCK, N.D.-- Dwight Thompson is a solid conservative businessman who will be voting for a Republican for president and a Democrat for Senate.

  • It cited a consultant's findings, indicating that between July 2008 and February 2012, the program generated an estimated $2 in economic activity in Alaska for every $1 in tax credits issued. Eighty-four percent of direct wages for qualified productions went to non- Alaska residents.

  • HARRISBURG, Pa.-- The union representing faculty at Pennsylvania's 14 state-owned universities is taking the first step toward a possible strike. Union officials say delegates from each campus will meet Saturday in State College for a strike authorization vote.

  • Steve King of Iowa has little use for the Humane Society, particularly when it comes to laws designed to give calves, pregnant sows and hens a little more freedom on the farm.

  • BILLINGS, Mont.-- Owners of a proposed railroad serving southeastern Montana's coal fields have applied to the federal government to build an 83- mile line carrying up to 20 million tons of fuel annually.

  • PITTSBURGH-- The Pennsylvania Supreme Court had an unusual standing-room-only crowd Wednesday, as lawyers debated a new law that regulates the state's booming natural gas industry. The Supreme Court currently has three Republicans and three Democrats, and cannot overturn a lower court decision on a 3-3 tie vote.

  • WASHINGTON-- A measure of U.S. economic activity designed to give signals about the future posted a solid gain in September, rebounding after a dip in August. The index is still signaling weak growth, however. The major areas of weakness came from a decline in the Institute for Supply Management's new orders index and in consumer confidence.

  • JACKSON, Miss.-- Mississippi has the nation's highest infant mortality rate, and experts are trying to change that by teaching people about healthy pregnancies and proper sleep conditions for babies. Yvonne Maddox, deputy director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at the National Institutes of Health.

  • HARRISBURG, Pa.-- A state-run health insurance exchange is unlikely to be ready for a scheduled January 2014 rollout, Pennsylvania's top insurance regulator said Wednesday.

  • Xcel Energy Inc. says the blackouts affected about 50,000 customers in Denver, Fort Collins and Greeley starting at 10 p.m. Tuesday. The National Weather Service said gusts of up to 60 mph were reported in the Denver area and the northeast Colorado plains Tuesday night. Fort Morgan, Akron and Holyoke in northeastern Colorado reported 40 mph gusts.

  • COLUMBUS, Ohio-- State regulators in Ohio are allowing aluminum manufacturer Ormet Corp. to defer electric bill payments for the remainder of the year. Ormet, located near Hannibal in eastern Ohio, has benefited from a unique electric-rate subsidy with American Electric Power Co. that has reduced its costs by more than $150 million since 2009..

  • On Tuesday, the NHL made its strongest, and most public, pitch yet to save a full season. "I hope we can get going ASAP," Red Wings defenseman Niklas Kronwall told The Associated Press on Wednesday. " Fehr met with the union to formulate a response, and in a letter to players and agents said the management plan would cost his members more than $1.6 billion over six years.

  • Utah and industry officials say oil and gas production was up across the region and country last year because of drilling on state and private lands, not federal lands.

  • LOS ANGELES-- A Los Angeles judge has dismissed a defamation lawsuit brought by former UCLA player Reeves Nelson against Time Inc., the parent company of Sports Illustrated, and a reporter who wrote a story about problems in the school's basketball program.

  • SHELTON, Conn.-- Electrical products maker Hubbell Inc. said Thursday that its third-quarter net profit rose 6 percent, as residential construction and lighting sales gained strength. The Shelton, Conn., company said it earned $87.1 million, or $1.45 per share in the three months ended Sept. 30. That compared with $82.4 million, or $1.37 per share, a year earlier.

  • NEW YORK-- The Big East and The Madison Square Garden Co. have agreed to a multiyear extension of their contract that will keep the conference's postseason tournament in New York City. Madison Square Garden has been the home of the Big East tournament since 1983, making it the longest running conference tournament held at the same site in college basketball.