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  1. VIRAL Meningitis Outbreak Kills Five Stephan Savoia / AP Photo

    1. Meningitis Outbreak Kills Five

    In the latest outbreak of the deadly virus, a rare strain of fungal meningitis has killed five people and affected 30 across six states. Called “aspergillus,” the virus has been traced back to spinal steroid injections, which are used to treat back pain. The Centers for Disease Control warns the vaccine may have been administered to people in 23 states, suggesting the virus will continue to spread. The FDA is investigating the outbreak, and the pharmacy center responsible has shut down its operations.

    October 4, 2012 5:56 PM

  2. TSK TSK U.N. Condemns Syrian Attack Bulent Kilic, AFP / Getty Images

    2. U.N. Condemns Syrian Attack

    A mortar attack from Syrian troops that left five dead in a Turkish border town was strongly condemned by the United Nations Security Council Thursday. A U.N. statement demanded “such violations of international law stop immediately and are not repeated.” The Syrian attack on the Turkish border town occurred Wednesday, with Turkey retaliating with targeted strikes in Syria later that day and Thursday. Turkey's prime minister has said his country has no intention of starting a war with Syria.

    October 4, 2012 7:14 PM

  3. COMEBACK Obama Goes on Offensive Eric Gay / AP

    3. Obama Goes on Offensive

    Romney may have “won” the debate Wednesday night, but Obama certainly isn’t taking defeat lying down. Joking that the candidate on stage must have been an “imposter,” he told a crowd of 12,000 Thursday that “the real Mitt Romney has been running around the country for the last year promising $5 trillion in tax cuts that favor the wealthy. The fellow on stage last night said he didn’t know anything about that.” Obama’s senior adviser, David Plouffe, said the campaign will be restrategizing accordingly. “We obviously are going to have to adjust for the fact of Mitt Romney’s dishonesty."

    October 4, 2012 10:01 PM

  4. UNREST Protesters Storm Libyan Assembly EPA / Landov

    4. Protesters Storm Libyan Assembly

    Dissidents stormed the Libyan General Conference on Thursday, protesting the formation of a new government they say doesn’t represent all Libyans. At least 100 protesters took their grievances over the new cabinet announced by Prime Minister Mustafa Abushagur to the legislative assembly. Abushagur withdrew his proposed government list as a result of the protest, and told the congress he wants to submit new nominations before Sunday.

    October 4, 2012 4:47 PM

  5. AIR SCARE American Airlines Cancels Flights Matt Rourke / AP Photo

    5. American Airlines Cancels Flights

    Well, that’s reassuring. After airplane seats came loose on three separate planes last week, American Airlines is trying to explain its publicity fiasco Thursday. Officials say the problem stems from a combination of wear, poor design, and spilled soda that is causing pins to pop out of their place. For some reason these seats—which haven’t been problematic in 20 years of usage—are suddenly malfunctioning now. The company is scrambling to install a new locking mechanism on the 48 planes that have been pulled out of service, resulting in several canceled flights.

    October 4, 2012 10:19 PM

  6. ROUGH NIGHT Lehrer Defends Debate Performance Saul Loeb / AFP / GettyImages

    6. Lehrer Defends Debate Performance

    Pundits mostly panned President Obama’s debate performance Wednesday night, but 78-year-old Jim Lehrer was also criticized by many pundits for being too passive as moderator. Now the former anchor of PBS’s NewsHour is responding. “Part of my moderator mission was to stay out of the way of the flow, and I had no problems with doing so,” Lehrer said in an email to The New York Times. “My only real personal frustration was discovering that 90 minutes was not enough time.” The new format, which allowed for 15 minutes per topic, was about facilitating exchanges between the candidates, he added.

    October 4, 2012 8:05 PM

  7. CREEPY Manson Follower May Get Parole Harold Filan / AP Photo

    7. Manson Follower May Get Parole

    Should Charles Manson’s right-hand man be granted parole? That’s the question facing California Governor Jerry Brown after a state board agreed to let Manson-follower Bruce Davis out on parole. Davis, now 69, was, was charged with murder for the 1969 killings of musician Gary Hinman and ranch worker Donald Shea. In the 40 years since, he has become an ordained minister and earned two master’s degrees. The parole board cited his positive adjustment, good behavior and academic progress as reasons for release. Davis was also recommended for parole already in 2010, but the request was denied by then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

    October 4, 2012 10:42 PM

  8. DEBATE REAX PBS Slams Big Bird Comment AP Photos (2)

    8. PBS Slams Big Bird Comment

    Don't mess with PBS. The public broadcaster is calling  Romney's debate-night promise to end subsidies to the Sesame Street network "disappointing" and proof he “does not understand the value the American people place on public broadcasting and the outstanding return on investment the system delivers.” The network also pointed out that PBS’s subsidies amount only to about 1/100th of 1 percent of the federal government’s budget—or about $1.35 per person annually. Kids, can you spell negligible?

    October 4, 2012 5:03 PM

  9. THIS AGAIN? Chris Brown Dumps Girlfriend for Rihanna Scott Gries / Getty Images

    9. Chris Brown Dumps Girlfriend for Rihanna

    You gotta hand it to Chris Brown and Rihanna—they really don’t care about PR. Brownappears to have dumped his girlfriend, Karrueche Tran, in order to pursue a tighter friendship with Rihanna. The two pop stars were spotted in a reported makeout session Monday—inciting speculation that they’re rekindling the romance that ended in 2009,when Brown was charged with assaulting the “Umbrella” singer. "I love Karrueche very much, but I don't want to see her hurt over my friendship with Rihanna,” Brown told CNN. “I'd rather be single, allowing us to both be happy in our lives." What a fella (ella ella).

    October 4, 2012 5:35 PM

  10. CATFIGHT Minaj/Carey Feud Continues

    10. Minaj/Carey Feud Continues

    If American Idol needed some publicity, judges Nicki Minaj and Mariah Carey are sure earning their keep. Earlier this week, a video of the divas butting heads went viral, and naturally Barbara Walters is already getting to the bottom of it. On The View Thursday, Walters said Mariah Carey told her she had hired extra security after people heard Minaj threaten to shoot her. “Nicki walked off the set and multiple people heard Nicki say, ‘If I had a gun I would shoot the bitch,’” Walters said. The fiery rapper quickly took to Twitter to respond. “Hey yAll. Lets just say nicki said smthn about a gun. ppl will believe it cuz she’s a black rapper. Lmao. I’ll then hit up Barbara n milk it.” Viva la diva.

    October 4, 2012 8:48 PM

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  12. SOCIAL POLITICS Debate Sets Twitter Record Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

    11. Debate Sets Twitter Record

    Social media meltdown? Wednesday night’s debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney generated10.3 million tweets in 90 minutes, Twitter reports, setting a political-event record. (The most tweeted moment was not attributed to Obama, Romney, or even Big Bird, but moderator Jim Lehrer’s “let’s not” quip.) But the surge in insta-punditry in 140 characters or less is overwhelming a large number of politicos who find the feverish tweeting unwieldy to sift through and largely unhelpful. “My Twitter feed is like the Tower of Terror of social media,” wrote The Huffington Post’s Eliot Nelson. Other commentators, like The Atlantic’s James Fallows swore off Twitter altogether during the debate, anticipating the onslaught. 

    October 4, 2012 10:33 AM

  13. NOTHING TINY HERE Dunham’s Book Bidding Hits $3.6M Mark Seliger / HBO

    12. Dunham’s Book Bidding Hits $3.6M

    Vignettes from 26-year-old Lena Dunham’s life, also known as the book Not That Kind of Girl, have reportedly hit $3.6 million. As a candidate for voice of a generation, Dunham’s deal is expected to climb even higher. Dunham’s hit HBO television show grabbed four Emmy nominations, despite claims that it featured few strong minority characters—something she’s said will be fixed in the next season.

    October 4, 2012 10:51 AM

  14. SUNNY DAYS PBS Cuts Won’t Kill Big Bird Matt Sayles / AP Photo

    13. PBS Cuts Won’t Kill Big Bird

    Everybody breathe. Big Bird ain’t going anywhere. Despite Mitt Romney’s zeitgeist-seizing comment at Wednesday night’s presidential debate that he planned to cut funding for PBS—and presumably put the Sesame Street character’s very existence in jeopardy—Sherrie Westin, the chief marketing officer of Sesame Workshop, says that Big Bird and Sesame Street are safe. “Sesame Workshop receive very, very little funding from PBS,” Sherrie Westin tells CNN’s Soledad O’Brien. When people say that Romney is “going to kill Big Bird—that is actually very misleading, because Sesame Street will still be here.”

    October 4, 2012 11:07 AM

  15. GROWING UP How Ben Affleck Got Serious Claire Folger / Courtesy of Warner Bros.

    14. How Ben Affleck Got Serious

    Remember Ben Affleck in the early 2000s? When he was known as the less intelligent of Oscar-winning team that wrote Good Will Hunting and during Affleck’s years with Jennifer Lopez (remember his cameo in her video “Jenny from the Block”?)—but since those days, Affleck made the decision to become a serious guy and make serious movies, he tells Time magazine. Affleck decided to start directing after his problematic stint as a celebrity, and now with the release of Argo, a thriller about a fake movie financed by the CIA to free six Iranian hostages, Affleck has achieved such a good image as a filmmaker that Warner Brothers is offering Affleck every script they can.

    October 4, 2012 10:44 AM

  16. CEASEFIRE? Reported Peace on Idol Set Christopher Polk / Getty Images

    15. Reported Peace on Idol Set

    Call it a diva détente. It was reportedly all smiles on the set of American Idol Wednesday, after a video leaked Tuesday of Nicki Minaj cursing out fellow judge Mariah Carey. Sources tell TMZ that the American Idol judges were “embarrassed” and that the leaked video “shocked everyone back into place.” In the hidden-camera footage, Minaj was seen cussing and threatening to “knock out” Carey, saying, “I told them, I’m not f--kin’ putting up with her f--kin’ highness over there.” It may not be all-American, but keep it up, and it would be great television.

    October 4, 2012 12:17 AM

  17. DEBATE REAX Instant Survey: Romney Wins Nicholas Kamm / AFP-Getty Images

    16. Instant Survey: Romney Wins

    Moderator Jim Lehrer may not have declared a winner, but 46 percent of 500 uncommitted voters polled immediately after Wednesday night’s debate said Mitt Romney beat Barack Obama in their first presidential one-on-one. Thirty-two percent called it a tie and only 22 percent saw Obama as the winner. Not only did the Republican contender come out victorious, he also may have gained some new supporters. Fifty-six percent of the voters surveyed said they had a better impression of Mitt after seeing his performance in Wednesday night’s debate. Eleven percent now think less of him and 32 percent said their opinions were unchanged.

    October 4, 2012 1:22 AM

  18. NABBED Two Arrested in Border Killing Alfredo Estrella, AFP / Getty Images

    17. Two Arrested in Border Killing

    An anonymous Mexican Army officer says two suspects were arrested Wednesday in the killing of U.S. Border Patrol agent Nicholas Ivie, Reuters reports. Ivie was responding to a tripped ground sensor in the border area in Arizona. Another officer was injured and a third escaped what officials think may have been an ambush. The suspects are being held in a Mexican military facility just a few miles from the border, in Agua Prieta.

    October 3, 2012 7:41 PM

  19. HOME RUN Cabrera Wins Triple Crown Ed Zurga

    18. Cabrera Wins Triple Crown

    There’s some other baseball news other than Bobby Valentine’s possible demise. Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera achieved the prestigious Triple Crown, only the 15th in history and first since 1967. A Triple Crown is earned by a player leading the league in three statistical categories—batting average, home runs, and runs batted in. Commissioner Bud Selig congratulated Cabrera, saying it was “a remarkable achievement that places him amongst an elite few in all of baseball history.” Meanwhile, the Yankees clinched the American League East playoff title with a 14–2 win over Valentine’s troubled Red Sox while the Oakland A’s clinched the AL West with a 12–5 win over the Texas Rangers.

    October 4, 2012 12:10 AM

  20. FACT-CHECK So Who Lied Last Night? Win McNamee / Getty Images

    19. So Who Lied Last Night?

    “As president you’re entitled to your own plane and your own house, but not your own facts,” Mitt Romney said during Wednesday night’s presidential debate. But both candidates put their own spin on the facts, and the tangle of clashing statistics meant fact-checkers had their work cut out for them. Obama said Romney wants to add $5 trillion in tax cuts to the deficit--not exactly true, since Romney contends he would make up that revenue elsewhere. But Mitt hasn’t explained how, and Obama cited a study that such massive tax cuts can’t be paid for except by raising taxes on the middle class. Romney then claimed there were five other studies that concluded his plan was revenue-neutral—all of which turn out to be conducted by people advising his campaign or by the notoriously math-challenged Wall Street Journal editorial page.

    October 4, 2012 6:47 AM

  21. SPOILED MEAT Vet Sues Over Frostbitten Penis Paul J. Richards, AFP / Getty Images

    20. Vet Sues Over Frostbitten Penis

    You definitely don’t want to lose your new equipment like this: an Army veteran in Louisville, Kentucky, is suing the Department of Veterans Affairs for malpractice after hospital ice packs gave his penis frostbite, causing it to have to be partially amputated. But what’s worse: it was a brand-new penile implant, which the staff suffocated with non-stop ice treatment for 19 hours. The new penis got gangrene, and a five-inch section had to be removed. The department rejected the man’s claim a few months ago, forcing the 59-year-old vet to sue.

    October 4, 2012 7:46 AM

  22. AWFUL

    21. Landslide Buries 18 Chinese Kids

    It was the worst possible end to an already-bad day: 18 schoolchildren in China, who were attending a make-up session on a public holiday, were buried in landslide triggered by recent earthquakes. Four of the students’ bodies have been recovered from the rubble that struck the school and two houses. Another village resident was buried in the disaster, while one family of three managed to escape in time. Earthquakes hit the area around Sept. 7, killing 80 people and injuring hundreds.

    October 4, 2012 7:00 AM

  23. BLEACH BOMBS

    22. Race Attacks Rock U. of Texas

    Is Austin falling down on its job of keeping Texas in line? The campus of the University of Texas is reeling as reports emerge that black and Asian students have been pelted with balloons full of bleach over the past several months. Four minority students have filed police reports after being contacted by campus police, who investigated rumors and found clues on students’ Facebook pages. The students said the “bleach bombs” were dropped onto them from high-rise windows; one African-American student was hit twice. "It's very frustrating to know that it's 2012 and that stuff like this still happens," one student said. Police are continuing to investigate.

    October 4, 2012 7:30 AM

  24. WONKY Stats Fly in First Debate Charlie Neibergall / AP Photo

    23. Stats Fly in First Debate

    Don’t say this campaign lacks substance: in the first presidential debate Wednesday night, President Obama and Mitt Romney dug deep into the specifics of their clashing views on taxes, the federal budget, and economic growth. Obama referred to Romney’s vision as “top-down economic policies,” and Romney coined the phrase “trickle-down government” to describe the incumbent’s four years in office. Though the encounter was sober and almost totally free of ad-hominem bickering, Romney was widely believed to have bested the president by speaking clearly and responding aggressively, taking command of the discussion and smoothing over the more controversial aspects of his record. Obama, by contrast, looked down at his lectern, seemed to take notes, and gave responses that were punctuated with hesitations.

    October 4, 2012 6:38 AM

  25. PAPER TRAIL Sensitive Files Left in Benghazi Gianluigi Guercia, AFP / Getty Images

    24. Sensitive Files Left in Benghazi

    In their hurry to get the hell out of Benghazi, American personnel at the U.S. consulate there seem to have left a few things behind. A few weeks after the Sept. 11 attack that killed 4 Americans, a Washington Post reporter found sensitive documents scattered around in the rubble, including detailed plans for the consulate’s security at certain times of the day and when certain people were present. The gates of the U.S. compound were locked several days after the bombing, but in the initial chaos, looters and others were free to walk around, and many documents seem to have disappeared.

    October 4, 2012 6:58 AM

  26. DAY TWO Turkey's Parliament Debates Syria Action Miguel Medina, AFP / Getty Images

    25. Turkey's Parliament Debates Syria Action

    Turkey extended its strikes on Syria for a second day after a shell fired from inside Syria levelled a house the Turkish village of Ackacale, killing a woman, her three daughters, and another woman. Turkey immediately responded by shooting artillery deep into Syria, and are now continuing to fire on Syrian targets. Turkey has not declared war, but its parliament approved an emergency bill that would allow cross-border action without the help of Turkey’s Western and Arab allies. NATO strongly condemned the attack, calling Syria’s blast a “flagrant violation of international law.”

    October 4, 2012 8:16 AM

  27. NAILED Philippines Ex-Prez Arrested Bullit Marquez / AP Photo

    26. Philippines Ex-Prez Arrested

    If you’re on the run with the loot, maybe don’t stop for medical care? Former Philippines president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, now a representative, was placed under arrest in a hospital on Thursday on charges of plunder. It’s her second arrest and third indictment since she left office in 2010. Nine others were also charged in the case, which involves the misuse of millions of dollars from a charity fund. Arroyo is currently out on bail on charges of electoral sabotage, but she’s not getting away this time: “plunder” is a non-bailable offense, with a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

    October 4, 2012 7:09 AM

  28. FRIENDS Facebook Hits a Billion Users Timur Emek, DAPD / AP Photo

    27. Facebook Hits a Billion Users

    In an interview published Thursday, Mark Zuckerberg revealed that Facebook registered its 1 billionth user on Sept. 14, eight years after the social-networking site launched at Harvard. “It’s really humbling to get a billion people to do anything,” Zuckerberg told Businessweek. The Facebook team came together in the company’s offices to watch the countdown, but did not publicly announce the milestone because of the difficulty of pinpointing the billionth user. Zuckerberg said Facebook has just 1,000 engineers, which means each is responsible for a million users. The social network also released its first commercial on Thursday, which attempts to link Facebook to the human desire to connect.

    October 4, 2012 9:00 AM

  29. CAUGHT ON TAPE

    28. Italian Pol Slashes Disabled Man’s Tires


    Smile, you’re on closed-circuit camera! Italian politician Antonio Piazza, a member of Silvio Berlusconi’s People of Freedom (PDL) party and head of a corporation that manages to public housing, was forced to resign following a spat with a disabled man over a handicapped parking spot. According to The Telegraph, Piazza parked in the spot, which he says he’s used for years, but was reprimanded by the disabled man, who called the police. Piazza was fined €80 and drove away, only to sneak back half an hour later to slash the disabled man’s tires with a knife. The whole thing, unfortunately for Piazza, was captured on closed-circuit TV. Piazza said the dustup was the result of “a technical error, due to a momentary fit of rage.”

    October 4, 2012 12:40 PM

  30. About Last Night Obama: I Debated an Impostor Michael Reynolds, Pool / AP Photo

    29. Obama: I Debated an Impostor

    At a Denver rally Thursday morning President Obama reflected on his opponent's performance in last night's debate. "When I got on to the stage, I met this very spirited fellow who claimed to be Mitt Romney. The man on stage last night does not want to be held accountable for the real Mitt Romney's decisions...for the last year," Obama said. "So Governor Romney may dance around his positions, but if you want to be president, you owe the American people the truth...So here's the truth: Governor Romney cannot pay for his $5 trillion tax plan" without inflating the deficit or harming the middle class. He also mocked Romney for his Sesame Street reference. "Thank goodness somebody is finally getting tough on Big Bird," Obama joked.

    October 4, 2012 12:59 PM

  31. LIFE AFTER POTTER J.K. Rowling Tops Bestseller List Ben Pruchnie / Getty Images

    30. J.K. Rowling Tops Bestseller List

    Just like that, J.K. Rowling has “wingardium leviosa”-d her way right back to the top of the bestsellers list. Moving 375,000 copies in its first six days, The Casual Vacancy, Rowling’s first adult novel, tops USA Today’s bestseller list. Little, Brown, Rowling’s publisher, says the book is “on track to become the year’s best-selling in hardcover.” The Casual Vacancy bumps the popular erotic novel Fifty Shades of Grey off the top of the list, where it has reigned for 21 of the last 23 weeks.

    October 4, 2012 12:53 PM

  32. UNEMPLOYMENT Jobless Claims Up 4,000
 Jae C. Hong / AP Photo

    31. Jobless Claims Up 4,000


    The Labor Department reported on Thursday that 367,000 new jobless claims for the previous week, up 4,000 from earlier in the month. The four-week moving average for new claims stayed steady at 375,000. Economists’ expectation for this week's number was 370,000. Last year at this same time, the new claims number was 402,000 and the four-week moving average was 408,250. On Friday, the Labor Department will release its nonfarm-jobs report for September, which is expected to show.

    October 4, 2012 11:20 AM

  33. SPOILSPORTS NHL Postpones Opening Justin K. Aller / Getty Images

    32. NHL Postpones Opening

    That pucks. The NHL announced Thursday that it will postpone its opening day two weeks as the 19-day-old player lockout shows no sign of ending before Oct. 11, the previously planned start of the season. The delay—the new opening day will be Oct. 24—means 82 games will be canceled. Players and owners are currently at a stalemate on how to divide hockey-related revenue; previously, players were receiving 57 percent and the owners were receiving 43 percent. Sadly, hockey fans are used to this by now. This is the third time in 18 years that the NHL has canceled games because of a lockout.

    October 4, 2012 3:12 PM

  34. CAMEO Ann Romney to Co-host ‘GMA’ Brendan Smialowski / AFP

    33. Ann Romney to Co-host ‘GMA’

    As Election Day draws near, the political wives are taking over morning TV. Good Morning America snagged Ann Romney as a sub for host Robin Roberts on Oct. 10, and Michelle Obama is also reportedly in talks to co-host the show. Roberts is currently undergoing a bone-marrow transplant and recovery after being diagnosed with a rare blood disease. Ann recently offered her encouragement to Roberts via Twitter, posting, “Keep on fighting. We all stand with you!” The Today show has some catching up to do if it wants to get its top ratings spot back.

    October 4, 2012 4:21 PM