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Construction spending edged up 0.1 percent in November as a continued slump in housing was offset by record spending on government and business projects, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday. Meanwhile, the US manufacturing sector ended 10 consecutive months of growth, when an index kept by the Institute for Supply Management fell nearly 3 percent in December.

The two brothers who survived a Christmas Day tiger attack that killed a friend at the San Francisco Zoo claimed they were denied help for at least 30 minutes by zoo security who didn't take their pleas seriously, their attorney said Tuesday. A zoo official, however, called the claim "unreliable."

According to preliminary FBI crime statistics, New Orleans registered 209 homicides last year, a nearly 30 percent increase from the 161 recorded in 2006. The upswing comes despite continued patrols by the National Guard and state police and the addition of two new classes of police recruits in the past year. City officials believe addressing social problems and upgrading city life, including the schools, will help stem the tide.

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A 13-year study of hospital emergency room practices found that doctors are more likely to prescribe strong narcotics for pain relief to white patients than blacks, according to a report in Wednesday's Journal of the American Medical Association.

In the first outdoor National Hockey League game played in the United States, the Buffalo Sabres set a league attendance mark Tuesday as a crowd of 71,217 witnessed the visiting Pittsburgh Penguins take a 2-1 shootout victory. The NHL Winter Classic was played amid snow flurries at Ralph Wilson Stadium (above), the home of the NFL Bills.

In trying to bring down high rates of juvenile recidivism, some policymakers are taking a fresh look at treatment-oriented approaches like Missouri's, where only 7.3 percent of teen offenders were recommitted to juvenile centers for new offenses last year. In the Missouri model, teams of 10 teens are housed and educated together in 42 community-based centers that facilitate family visits and participation in family programs.

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