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City skyline blinks in nightly ritual to cheer up sick kids

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — For one sparkling minute each night, blinking lights from skyscrapers, tugboats, hotels, a yacht club and police cruisers send a goodnight message to sick kids inside a children’s hospital.

A gesture that began with a single bike light cheering up a patient six years ago has become a nightly ritual in Providence, Rhode Island.

Clinton puts Trump on the defensive in combative debate

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. — Donald Trump aggressively tried to pin the nation’s economic and national security problems on Hillary Clinton in the first presidential debate, belittling the former senator and secretary of state as a “typical politician” incapable of delivering the change many Americans crave.

Hundreds of Romanian couples cash in on lasting love

BUCHAREST, Romania — A district of the Romanian capital on Monday celebrated hundreds of couples who have been married for at least half a century by handing out cash awards and inviting them to a joint lunch.

Bucharest’s fifth district town hall says it has given each golden anniversary couple 1,000 lei ($255) to honour family and marriage.

Scholars who studied liars, put pants on rats win Ig Nobels

BOSTON — A Swede who wrote a trilogy about collecting bugs, an Egyptian doctor who put pants on rats to study their sex lives and a British researcher who lived like an animal have been named winners of the Ig Nobels, the annual spoof prizes for quirky scientific achievement.

The winners were honoured or maybe dishonoured Thursday in a zany ceremony at Harvard University.

Almost diplomacy: US ex-officials, N. Koreans quietly meet

Officially, the United States and North Korea barely speak to each other, their communications often limited to public exchanges of insults.

The U.S. ambassador in Seoul is “a villain, a crazy person,” a North Korean diplomat says. North Korea is a “wasteland” compared to South Korea, President Obama tells the United Nations.