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Severe winter weather that affected 30 states could have contributed to the sharp drop

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The number of people applying for unemployment benefits plunged last week to the lowest level in nearly three years, continuing a downward trend that suggests hiring could pick up this year.


Oklahoma, Arkansas and much of deep South remains under ice, snow

TULSA, Okla. (AP) -- A second powerful blizzard in a week roared through parts of the nation's midsection on Wednesday, bringing biting winds and dumping more than a foot of snow on areas still digging out from last week's major storm.


Electronic flaws were not to blame for runaway vehicles

TOKYO (AP) — Toyota shares jumped 4.6 percent to a nine-month high in Wednesday morning trading in Tokyo, following a U.S. government report that ruled out electronic flaws in runaway Toyota vehicles.
The Japanese automaker welcomed the findings as confirming the reliability of its products.


Official to determine whether revamp of execution chamber fixed 'cruel and unusual' conditions

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- California hasn't executed anyone in more than five years and its death row population has risen, recently reaching 720 inmates - the largest in the country.


Jurors reject Muzzammil Hassan's claims of spousal abuse

The founder of a Muslim-oriented TV station in western New York has been convicted of beheading his wife after jurors rejected his claim that he was the victim of spousal abuse.


Initial $8 billion in spending part of budget plan Obama is set to release Monday

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama is calling for a six-year, $53 billion spending plan for high-speed rail, as he seeks to use infrastructure spending to jumpstart job creation.


AOL is in the midst of a turnaround effort

Internet company AOL Inc. is buying news hub Huffington Post in a $315 million deal that represents a bold bet on the future of online news.


If you have a job, you're less likely to lose it than at any point in at least 14 years

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. labor force has been split into two groups: the relieved and the desperate.
If you have a job, you can exhale; you're less likely to lose it than at any point in at least 14 years.


Entertainer was stressed by gruelling schedule

Michael Jackson's mother can go forward with her civil lawsuit against entertainment giant AEG Live involving the death of the pop superstar, a judge ruled Wednesday.


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) -- A county-level GOP official who refused to cut his ties to a group that calls itself ``pro-white'' resigned from his position with the Republican Party of Arkansas on Wednesday, the state party chairman said.


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