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Paul Walker memorial in California draws thousands
Written by Associated Press   
Monday, 09 December 2013 07:20

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (AP) — The sounds of high-performance car engines filled the air Sunday as thousands of fans, friends and car enthusiasts headed to the Los Angeles suburb of Santa Clarita to pay tribute to Paul Walker at the site where the "Fast & Furious" actor died in a car crash.

The memorial, planned through social media, was scheduled to begin at noon, but mourners began arriving hours beforehand to leave flowers, candles, stuffed animals and other tributes.

By afternoon, about 5,000 people, including entire families with children, dropped by, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Capt. Mike Parker said, adding that the gathering was mostly peaceful. A man was arrested after deputies spotted him carrying a partially hidden, loaded gun, and 40 citations were issued for illegal parking, Parker said.

Many arrived in cars built for speed, and the sounds of engines revving echoed close to where Walker and his friend died on Nov. 30. The event concluded Sunday evening with a cruise through the area 30 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles.

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Invasive cockroach found in N.Y.C. can take the cold
Written by FRANK ELTMAN, Associated Press   
Monday, 09 December 2013 07:19

NEW YORK (AP) — The High Line, a park that turned a dilapidated stretch of elevated railway on Manhattan's West Side into one of New York's newest tourist attractions, may have brought a different kind of visitor: a cockroach that can withstand harsh winter cold and never seen before in the U.S.

Rutgers University insect biologists Jessica Ware and Dominic Evangelista said the species Periplaneta japonica is well documented in Asia but was never confirmed in the United States until now. The scientists, whose findings were published in the Journal of Economic Entomology, say it is too soon to predict the impact but that there is probably little cause for concern.

"Because this species is very similar to cockroach species that already exist in the urban environment," Evangelista said, "they likely will compete with each other for space and for food."

That competition, Ware said, will likely keep the population low, "because more time and energy spent competing means less time and energy to devote to reproduction."

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Purge sends chilling message to N.Korea's elite
Written by JEAN H. LEE, Associated Press   
Monday, 09 December 2013 07:13

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — While the rest of North Korea's top brass leaped to their feet before Kim Jong Un, clapping wildly in a requisite show of respect at high-level meetings, his uncle, Jang Song Thaek, often seemed nonchalant, at times even bored. Once considered the force behind the young leader, he displayed a bold insouciance that seemed calculated to show he was beyond reach.

So by purging his own uncle, Kim has delivered a more chilling message: No one is beyond the rule of law, not even family.

Jang's fall from grace, accompanied by allegations from corruption to womanizing and capped by his dramatic arrest at a party meeting Sunday, has no doubt spooked Pyongyang's elite. It also suggests Kim is still trying to consolidate the power he inherited from his father two years ago.

This is far from Kim's first purge. Several defense ministers and army chiefs have been replaced as the Workers' Party has asserted control over the military after 17 years of military-first rule under late leader Kim Jong Il.

But it is the ouster of Jang, who had been considered North Korea's second-most-powerful figure, that sends the strongest signal to anyone seeking to challenge Kim Jong Un.

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Big storm dumps snow on East Coast, travel dicey
Written by DAN GELSTON, Associated Press MICHAEL RUBINKAM, Associated Press   
Monday, 09 December 2013 07:18

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A plodding storm that dumped heavy snow on the unsuspecting Mid-Atlantic region threatened to make roads dicey in the northeast corridor for Monday's commute while travel disruptions continued to ripple across the country days after the same system first began wreaking havoc in the skies.

The seemingly never-ending storm that coated parts of Texas in ice struck with unexpected force on the East Coast, blanketing some spots in a foot of snow and grinding highways to a halt.

Travel problems could linger into Monday afternoon, with freezing rain and icy conditions sticking around as wintry weather stretched from Missouri to Maine.

The storm canceled more than 2,500 flights Sunday and delayed thousands more, according to estimates from the website Flightaware.com. More than 1,000 of Monday's flights were already canceled, the greatest share from Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, which was still reeling from the effects of the ice storm that brought North Texas to a standstill.

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Gene therapy scores big wins against blood cancers
Written by MARILYNN MARCHIONE, AP Chief Medical Writer   
Sunday, 08 December 2013 07:00

In one of the biggest advances against leukemia and other blood cancers in many years, doctors are reporting unprecedented success by using gene therapy to transform patients' blood cells into soldiers that seek and destroy cancer.

A few patients with one type of leukemia were given this one-time, experimental therapy several years ago and some remain cancer-free today. Now, at least six research groups have treated more than 120 patients with many types of blood and bone marrow cancers, with stunning results.

"It's really exciting," said Dr. Janis Abkowitz, blood diseases chief at the University of Washington in Seattle and president of the American Society of Hematology. "You can take a cell that belongs to a patient and engineer it to be an attack cell."

In one study, all five adults and 19 of 22 children with acute lymphocytic leukemia, or ALL, had a complete remission, meaning no cancer could be found after treatment, although a few have relapsed since then.

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