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STANSILAUS. DEPUTIES SHOOT MOUNTAIN LION AFTER BREAK-IN: Authorities say they have shot to death an 80-pound mountain lion after it took a door off its hinges and broke into a Stanislaus County home. Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department officials said Thursday that deputies shot the animal while investigating a possible burglary in progress. They say a homeowner in Denair, near Turlock, called 911 on Sunday morning after hearing a loud crash and commotion coming from inside the house. Spokesman Royjindar Singh says deputies did not find a burglar, but spotted a female mountain lion hiding in a nearby tree. Deputies shot the animal after it came out of the tree, deeming it a menace to public safety. Authorities say the animal was likely trying to get away from the homeowner's dogs and panicked, then broke into the house.



SYRIA CONFLICT INVOLVES PALESTINIANS: Syrian troops assault a neighborhood in Damascus after anti-regime protests, echoing the story of other communities sucked into Syria's civil war. There's a key difference: Most of Yarmouk's residents are Palestinians. Young Palestinan refugees are joining protests and taking up arms against the Assad regime, despite efforts by their community's political leadership to keep them out of the conflict.

ROMNEY IRKS  BRITAINS: Mitt Romney wanted to highlight U.S.-British bonds — and show off his diplomatic skills, too — but manages to rankle the Olympic hosts instead, from Prime Minister David Cameron on down, by calling problems so far with the games "disconcerting." His plans to attend a fundraiser with scandal-linked bankers also cause a stir.

MERICNA CIVILIAN DEATH COUNT IN IRAQ: In the first tally of its kind, a federal investigative agency has calculated that at least 719 people -- nearly half of them Americans -- were killed working on projects to rebuild Iraq following the 2003 U.S. invasion.

MORE RIGHTS THAN IN US CONSTITUTION? Somali leaders debate a new constitution that protects the right to abortion and bans the circumcision of girls. An international law group says the draft guarantees more fundamental rights than the U.S. Constitution, one reason that women are celebrating the document and hardline conservatives are protesting some of its promises.




OBAMA FOR MORE GUN CONTROL: President Barack Obama stirs up the prospect of greater gun control, raising election-year questions about what he means when he says he will prod Congress to help him stop the killings and keep assault weapons off the streets. For days, the White House line had focused solely on enforcing existing laws, which is exactly what Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney insists is needed.

COLORADO SHOOTING-BATMAN MYTHOLOGY: The role that Batman fiction might have played in motivating alleged attacker James Holmes in the "Dark Knight" theater shooting remains unclear nearly a week after the massacre. Although investigators reportedly found a Batman mask inside Holmes' apartment, any connection to the storied comic character could be simple coincidence. Or it could be a chilling aspect of the murderous plot, and that has Batman fans worried.



AIDS AGING IN AMERICA-: It's the graying of AIDS. By the end of this decade, more than half of Americans living with HIV will be over 50 — and scientists are trying to determine the impact of their battling the virus for decades. "I'm 54 but I feel older," says Carolyn Massey of Laurel, Md., who has lived with HIV for 20 years.

HEAT WAVE ENOCURAGES SPREAD OF WEST NILE VIRUS: Life's a picnic this year for the small, sneaky mosquitoes that carry West Nile virus and pose a deadly risk to humans. A mild winter and hot, dry summer have created the perfect conditions across the Midwest in the ditches and underground stormwater basins where the culex mosquito breeds. The heat speeds up the mosquito's life cycle and the West Nile virus replication. What's more, the pesky floodwater mosquito is scarce, which makes people think mosquitoes aren't a problem this year. Some states are reporting higher rates of infected mosquitoes, and Oklahoma and Illinois have seen earlier cases of human infection.

HEPATITIS C OUTBREAK: Hospitals in at least a half-dozen states scramble to find and test thousands of patients who may have had contact with a traveling medical technician accused of stealing drugs and contaminating syringes that were used on patients at a New Hampshire hospital.

BREAK-UP HELP FOR TEENS: Dating advice for young people is coming from an unlikely source in Boston these days: the government. The city's Public Health Commission is teaming up with a college to host its third annual "Break-Up Summit," bringing together more than 250 youths to talk about "engaging in healthy break-ups and boundary setting" as part of a national program aimed at preventing dating violence





LONDON — People around the world briefly experienced problems accessing Twitter on Thursday, a day before the 2012 Olympic Games are expected to cause a spike in use of the micro-blogging site.