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By Compiled from wire service reports by Ross Atkin / October 17, 2008



The American Insurance Group Inc. came under fire from New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo Wednesday, when he raised the specter of reviewing and rescinding any inappropriate spending by the huge insurer as long as it's benefiting from a multibillion-dollar government bailout. The warning occurred after reports surfaced that AIG had spent $86,000 on a hunting event for customers in England. AIG said the event was planned long before the bailout and that it will work to end such expenditures.

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Starting next week, Mexican laborers, or braceros, who helped the US meet its labor demands during World War II, will be able to apply for wages withheld from their paychecks by their American employers and sent to the Mexican government as an incentive for them to return home. Potentially thousands of braceros are still alive, and a US judge has ruled that either they or surviving family members may file claims for compensation at the Mexican Embassy in Washington or Mexican consulate offices.

Californians must cut greenhouse gas emissions by about four tons per person annually over the next 12 years, according to a final draft of a state plan to address global warming released Wednesday. The plan will be implemented over the next few years through lengthy regulations that haven't yet been written.

Beginning in 2011, new school buses weighing 5 tons or less must have lap-and-shoulder seat belts, the federal government announced Wednesday. Unlike full-size buses, which have flexible seating capacities, the smaller vehicles are already required to have lap belts.

Wildfire evacuation orders for residents of California's San Fernando Valley were lifted Wednesday after strong, flame-fueling winds abated and after reports that fires responsible for blackening 34 square miles were 90 percent contained. Risky fire conditions, however, were forecast in many parts of southern California through Friday.

Nik Wallenda of the famous circus family set a world record Wednesday for the longest bicycle ride on a wire without a safety net, pedaling 235 feet between a crane and an arena rooftop in Newark, N.J., some 135 feet above the street.

The Philadelphia Phillies won their first pennant since 1993 Wednesday by completing a 4-games-to-1 triumph over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Championship Series. Next stop: the World Series, where the Phillies will take on either Tampa Bay or Boston, beginning next Wednesday.

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