Japan volcano death toll hits 48 as new bodies found

Rescue workers board a defense force helicopter heading for Mount Ontake during a search operation on October 1, 2014 following a volcanic eruption near Otaki village in Nagano prefectureTokyo (AFP) - The death toll from a sudden volcanic eruption in Japan hit 48 on Wednesday as rescuers discovered 12 new bodies in so-far unexplored areas of the ash-covered peak.



Saudi overhaul reshapes Islam's holiest city Mecca

FILE - In this Sept. 7, 1954 file photo, Muslims visit the Kaaba, the Sacred House of Allah, during a pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. As Muslims from around the world stream into Mecca for the annual hajj pilgrimage this week, they come to a city undergoing the biggest transformation in its history. (AP Photo, File)MECCA, Saudi Arabia (AP) — As a child, Osama al-Bar would walk from his home past Islam's holiest site, the Kaaba, to the market of spice and fabric merchants where his father owned a store. At that time, Mecca was so small, pilgrims could sit at the cube-shaped Kaaba and look out at the serene desert mountains where the Prophet Muhammad once walked.



Phelps apologizes after another brush with the law

FILE - In this July 11, 2014, file photo, Michael Phelps walks away from the starting block after winning the men's 100-meter butterfly at the Bulldog Grand Slam swim meet at the University of Georgia in Athens, Ga. Authorities say Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps has been arrested on a DUI charge in Maryland. Transit police say they stopped the 29-year-old Phelps at the Fort McHenry Tunnel in Baltimore around 1:40 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014.(AP Photo/David Goldman, File)Michael Phelps can't seem to break a disturbing pattern.



Tim Gunn sizes up first lady fashions do's, don'ts

Fashion guru Tim Gunn joins design experts for a forum on first ladies and fashion, looking at the first ladies’ style and their influence in the fashion world, at the National Archives in Washington, Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014. With Gunn are (L-R) designer Tracy Reese, who has designed for First Lady Michelle Obama, Valerie Steele, Director and Chief Curator, the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology and Lisa Kathleen Graddy, Deputy Chair and Chief Curator of Political History and the First Ladies Collection, Smithsonian National Museum of American History. (AP Photo/Molly Riley)WASHINGTON (AP) — Michelle Obama went under Tim Gunn's fashion microscope and got an approving nod, but not all first ladies fared as well — Hillary Rodham Clinton among them.



Some financial firms moving to back-up sites amid Hong Kong protest fears

By Michelle Price and Stephen Aldred HONG KONG (Reuters) - Some banks and other financial firms have begun moving staff to back-up premises on the outskirts of Hong Kong to prevent growing unrest in the financial hub from disrupting trading and other critical functions, two business services firms said. Thousands of pro-democracy protesters have blocked parts of the Central financial district since Friday in protest against Beijing's decision to limit voters' choice in elections due in 2017. ...


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