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Here comes El Nino; good news for U.S. weather woes
Written by SETH BORENSTEIN, AP Science Writer   
Thursday, 06 March 2014 11:37

WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal forecasters predict a warming of the central Pacific Ocean this year that will change weather worldwide. And that's good news for a weather-weary United States.

The warming, called an El Nino, is expected to lead to fewer Atlantic hurricanes and more rain next winter for drought-stricken California and southern states, and even a milder winter for the nation's frigid northern tier next year, meteorologists say.

Globally, it can mean an even hotter year coming up and billions of dollars in losses for food crops.

The National Oceanic Atmospheric and Administration issued an official El Nino watch Thursday. An El Nino is a warming of the central Pacific once every few years, from a combination of wind and waves in the tropics. It shakes up climate around the world, changing rain and temperature patterns.

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Girl Scouts asked to end partnership with Barbie
Written by DAVID CRARY, AP National Writer   
Thursday, 06 March 2014 11:36

NEW YORK (AP) — A few weeks after her foray into the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition, Barbie is entangled in controversy again, this time over her ties with the Girl Scouts.

Two advocacy groups often critical of corporate advertising tactics — the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and the Center for a New American Dream — on Thursday urged the Girl Scouts of the USA to end its partnership with the doll's manufacturer, the Mattel toy company.

The partnership, announced last August, includes a Barbie-themed activity book, a website, and a Barbie participation patch — the first Girl Scout uniform patch with corporate sponsorship.

"Holding Barbie, the quintessential fashion doll, up as a role model for Girl Scouts simultaneously sexualizes young girls, idealizes an impossible body type, and undermines the Girl Scouts' vital mission to build 'girls of courage, confidence and character,'" said Susan Linn, director of the Boston-based commercial-free childhood organization.

Last Updated on Thursday, 06 March 2014 11:37
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General to admit guilt on three counts; denies assault
Written by MICHAEL BIESECKER, Associated Press   
Thursday, 06 March 2014 07:00

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A U.S. Army general accused of sexual assault was set to plead guilty to three lesser charges Thursday in a move that his lawyer says will strengthen his position going into trial.

Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair plans to enter the plea before opening statements scheduled for the morning in his court martial at Fort Bragg. The primary accuser in the case is a female captain who claims Sinclair twice forced her to perform oral sex and threatened to kill her family if she told anyone about their three-year affair.

Sinclair still faces five charges including sexual assault in his trial before a jury of five two-star generals. The former deputy commander of the 82nd Airborne could be sentenced to life in prison if convicted on the most serious charges.

Sinclair's lawyer Richard Scheff said the general will plead guilty to having improper relationships with two other female Army officers and to committing adultery with his mistress, which is a crime in the military. He will also admit violating orders by possessing pornography in Afghanistan and to conduct unbecoming of an officer and a gentleman.

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Game show host Geoff Edwards dies at 83
Written by LYNN ELBER, AP Television Writer   
Thursday, 06 March 2014 07:04

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Geoff Edwards, the hip-looking 1970s and '80s host of TV game shows including "Jackpot!" and two incarnations of "Treasure Hunt," died Wednesday, his agent said. He was 83.

Edwards died of complications of pneumonia at St. John's hospital in Santa Monica, agent Fred Westbrook said.

Edwards also worked as a radio DJ and actor, appearing on TV shows including "Petticoat Junction," ''I Dream of Jeannie" and "Diff'rent Strokes."

"Geoff was one of the cleverest, funniest radio and television personalities I've worked with," said fellow game show host Wink Martindale. The two were DJs at pop radio station KMPC in Los Angeles.

Edwards, a native of Westfield, N.J., hosted "The New Treasure Hunt," a revival of a 1950s quiz show, from 1973 to 1977 and hosted "Treasure Hunt" in 1981-82. He also emceed the 1980s game show "Jackpot!" and appeared on other shows including "Starcade."

Westbrook said his longtime client made a splash on TV by shedding the conservative look worn by his peers.

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Facebook to delete posts for illegal gun sales
Written by MICHAEL VIRTANEN, Associated Press   
Wednesday, 05 March 2014 14:11

ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) — Under pressure from gun control advocates, Facebook agreed Wednesday to delete posts from users selling illegal guns or offering weapons for sale without background checks.

A similar policy will be applied to Instagram, the company's photo-sharing network, Facebook said. The measures will be put into effect over the next few weeks and will apply worldwide at Facebook, which claims 1.3 billion active users.

"We will remove reported posts that explicitly indicate a specific attempt to evade or help others evade the law," the company said in a statement.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman has been asking Facebook to adopt such restrictions, as have Mayors Against Illegal Guns, the group backed by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and Moms Demand Action. Moms Demand Action collected more than 230,000 signatures on petitions calling on Facebook to act.

"Responsible social media sites know that it is in no one's interest for their sites to become the 21st-century black market in dangerous and illegal goods that place our families and communities at risk," Schneiderman said.

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