USA

Housing construction rose by 3 percent in October, the first increase after three months of declining activity and the biggest advance since last February, the Commerce Department said Tuesday.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission called on parents Tuesday to "stay informed" about safety risks by reading product warning labels and checking recalls at www.cpsc.gov. Meanwhile, the Center for Environmental Health said that 9 out of 100 toys it purchased from major US retailers had high lead levels.

The Hope Now Alliance, a partnership between mortgage companies and nonprofit housing counselors, launched a nationwide mailing campaign to offer help to about 300,000 homeowners who may be in danger of defaulting on their mortgages. Meanwhile, Freddie Mac set aside $1.2 billion in the third quarter to account for bad home loans.

In what his lawyer called a show of repentance, Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick surrendered to US marshals Monday three weeks before his scheduled sentencing for pleading guilty to operating a dogfighting business.

In an effort to relieve a logjam of hundreds of death-row appeals, California's chief justice said Monday that he is seeking a constitutional amendment to change the process.

Coast Guard Rear Adm. Craig Bone Monday told a panel investigating the Nov. 7 cargo ship crash into a bridge tower in San Francisco Bay that the ship's operator was solely at fault.

Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Christopher Dodd (D) of Connecticut is spending so much time in Iowa campaigning that he and his wife Jackie enrolled their 6-year-old daughter Grace in a Des Moines public-school kindergarten Monday. Above, Grace is dropped off by her parents, who will reenroll her at a Washington, D.C., school after the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses.

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