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April 16, 2008



Wholesale prices rose 1.1 percent last month, triple the rate that had been expected and the second-largest increase in the past 33 years, the Labor Department reported Tuesday. Core inflation, which excludes energy and food, climbed by a less worrisome 0.2 percent in March.

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Wal-Mart, the nation's largest seller of firearms, said it plans to institute tougher policies to monitor the retailer's gun business. The news, which was denounced by the National Rifle Association, was shared Monday at a Mayors Against Illegal Guns meeting. Wal-Mart will record images of gun sales, act to weed out criminal buyers, and expand background checks of gun sales personnel.

Hawaii will become the first state to employ radio-frequency identification technology for improving food safety, it said Monday in introducing a three-year pilot program that will use paper-thin antennae stuck onto produce boxes to help track the path of products to market.

Texas district Judge Barbara Walther said Monday she didn't know how the logistics of a massive child custody hearing involving 416 children seized by the state would work on Thursday. More than 350 lawyers from across Texas have volunteered to represent the children removed from the ranch of a renegade Mormon sect, where abuse was reported.

The first two women to serve as US Secretary of State, Madeleine Albright and her successor and current top diplomat Condoleezza Rice, unveiled a portrait of Albright at the department Monday. Despite policy differences, both said they were inspired by Albright's father, an émigré Czech diplomat who taught Rice at the University of Denver.

US food prices last year rose 4 percent, well above the 2.5 percent average for the previous 15 years, and the Department of Agriculture said the figure could jump to 4.5 percent in 2008 as the nation wrestles with the worst food price inflation in 17 years.

Using newly available data, scientists said Monday that there's a high degree of certainty that a magnitude 6.7 quake or larger will strike California during the next 30 years. Calculations made by the US Geological Survey indicate a slightly higher probability in southern than northern California (97 percent versus 93 percent). Above, geophysicist Ned Field shared study results using a state map.

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