AP U.S. NewsBrief at 7:34 p.m. EST
(Associated Press Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) N. California community mourns family swept to seaSAN FRANCISCO (AP) _ Howard Kuljian and his family were out for a walk on a damp, overcast morning at Big Lagoon beach, playing fetch with their dog as 10-foot surf churned the water just feet away like a washing machine. Signs near the beach warned of "sneaker waves," the kind that suddenly roar ashore.
Cyber Monday likely to be busiest online sales dayNEW YORK (AP) _ Americans clicked away on their computers and smartphones for deals on Cyber Monday, which is expected to be the biggest online shopping day in history. Shoppers are expected to spend $1.5 billion on Cyber Monday, up 20 percent from last year, according to research firm comScore. That would not only make it the biggest online shopping day of the year, but the biggest since comScore started tracking shoppers' online buying habits in 2001.
FDA halts operations at peanut butter plantWASHINGTON (AP) _ The Food and Drug Administration has halted operations of the country's largest organic peanut butter processor, cracking down on salmonella poisoning for the first time with a new enforcement authority the agency gained in a 2011 food safety law. FDA officials found salmonella all over Sunland Inc.'s New Mexico processing plant after 41 people in 20 states, most of them children, were sickened by peanut butter manufactured at the Sunland plant and sold at Trader Joe's. The suspension will prevent the company from distributing any food.
Despite talk of compromise, fiscal deal elusiveWASHINGTON (AP) _ Talk of compromise on a broad budget deal greeted returning lawmakers Monday, but agreement still seemed distant as the White House and congressional Republicans ceded little ground on a key sticking point: whether to raise revenue through higher tax rates or by limiting tax breaks and deductions. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, pressed his case for revenue derived by reducing tax loopholes rather than raising tax rates on wealthy taxpayers, as President Barack Obama insists.
Cuomo: Sandy cost NY, NYC $32B in damage and lossALBANY, N.Y. (AP) _ Top political leaders in New York put their heads together Monday on big requests for federal disaster aid as Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that Superstorm Sandy ran up a bill of $32 billion in the state and the nation's largest city. The cost does not include more than $32 billion for repairs and restoration and an additional accounting of over $9 billion to head off damage in the next disastrous storm, including steps to protect the power grid and cellphone network.
US twin astronaut, Russian to spend year in orbitCAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) _ A former space shuttle commander whose twin brother is married to former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords will attempt the longest spaceflight ever by an American. NASA astronaut Scott Kelly and Russian cosmonaut Mikhail Kornienko will spend an entire year aboard the International Space Station beginning in 2015.
AP IMPACT: NYC flood protection won't be easyNEW YORK (AP) _ Inside tunnels threading under a Houston medical campus, 100 submarine doors stand ready to block invading floodwaters. Before commuters in Bangkok can head down into the city's subways, they must first climb three feet of stairs to raised entrances, equipped with flood gates. In Washington, D.C., managers of a retail and apartment complex need just two hours to activate steel walls designed to hold back as much as a 17-foot rise in the Potomac River. If metropolitan New York is going to defend itself from surges like the one that overwhelmed the region during Superstorm Sandy, decision makers can start by studying how others have fought the threat of fast-rising water. And they must accept an unsettling reality: Limiting the damage caused by flooding will likely demand numerous changes, large and small, and yet even substantial protections will be far from absolute.
Judge mulls new trial for dad in family slayingsJOLIET, Ill. (AP) _ A judge will decide Tuesday whether an Illinois man convicted of killing his wife and three children deserves a new trial, based in part on claims that the behavior of lawyers next door during Drew Peterson's murder trial made it impossible for the man to get a fair trial. Christopher Vaughn was convicted of fatally shooting his family in their SUV so he could start a new life living in the Canadian wilderness. His September trial overlapped with the high-profile trial of Peterson, the former suburban Chicago police officer convicted of murdering his third wife.
'Two and a Half Men' actor calls his show 'filth'NEW YORK (AP) _ The teenage actor who plays the half in the hit CBS comedy "Two and a Half Men" says in a video posted online by a Christian church that the show is "filth" and that viewers shouldn't watch it. Nineteen-year-old Angus T. Jones has been on the show, which used to feature bad-boy actor Charlie Sheen and remains heavy with sexual innuendo, since he was 10 but says he doesn't want to be on it anymore.
Millions chase record $425M Powerball jackpotCHICAGO (AP) _ Eight months after a trio of ticket buyers split a $656 million Mega Millions jackpot to set a world lottery record, Powerball is offering up a prize that would be the second-highest. The $425 million jackpot, the largest in Powerball's history, represents a potential life-changing fortune. But before shelling out $2 for a ticket, here are some things to consider:
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