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AT&T union contracts expire; strikes averted

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About 40,000 AT&T landline workers are staying on the job this week without a contract, their union said Sunday according to the Washington Post.

According to the Post, workers' contracts expired over the weekend, raising the possibility of a strike, but the Communications Workers of America and AT&T Inc. said that they'll keep working on a new deal.

CWA spokeswoman Candice Johnson said union representatives met with AT&T on Sunday after talks ended late on Saturday, according to the Post. She doesn't know how long it will take to reach an agreement, the Post said.

The Post said the employees will continue to receive the same wages and benefits as before, meanwhile. If negotiations break down, they still have the option to call for a walkout, the Post said.

AT&T Inc., which is based in Dallas, is the country's largest employer of unionized workers and about 140,000 of its 256,000 employees are union members, according to the Post.

1940 census records to be released Monday

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Records being released by the U.S. National Archives online after 72 years of confidentiality expires, according to the Washington Post.

According to the Post, more than 21 million people who are alive in the U.S. and Puerto Rico were recorded in the 16th federal decennial census.

Census records include names, addresses and, in the case of the 1940 census, income and employment information, the Post said.

Access to the records will be available to anyone on the Internet, and free of charge. The Post said while a name index may not be immediately available to search, thousands of researchers across the country are expected to go through the digitized records for details on 132 million people this week.

Since 1942, the National Archives has made available records from past censuses every decade, according to the Post. However, some privacy advocates have opposed releasing such large amounts of personal data about living people.

A Chicken McNugget bearing a striking resemblance to founding father George Washington is still up for sale, according to the L.A. Times.

According to the New York Times, Rebekah Speight of Dakota City, Neb., made headlines this week when she almost sold the McDonald's delicacy for $8,100 on Ebay. But the winning bidder apparently changed their mind.

Speight was disappointed at the turn of events because she planned to use the money from the auction to send 50 children to a church summer camp, according to the New York Times.

According to the L.A. Times, she told the Sioux City Journal that she noticed the startling resemblance between the McNugget and George Washington when she was cleaning up after her kids. She thought it may be worth something, so she wrapped it up and put it in her freezer 3 years ago.

The Journal said the Ebay page has had plenty of interest from buyers and observers. The item has received 44,795 views and more than 1,600 people watched the auction unfold, according to the L.A. Times.

France woke up Monday with elation for the impressive Oscar success of "The Artist," the French production that was filmed in Los Angeles, according to the L.A. Times.

The Times said Nicolas Sarkozy, the president of France called the film's five-Oscar victory "a testament to the vitality of our cinema," in a statement.

Headlines at newstands at Gare Montparnasse and beyond loudly saluted the near-silent film's achievement as a "renewal of French cinema," according to the Times.

The Times also said, 'There seemed no end to the images of Jean Dujardin's winning smile, and minor variations on the catchy phrase used on television as well as in print: "How a Frenchy seduced Hollywood."'

Nelson Mandela released from hospital, doing well

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Former South African President Nelson Mandela was discharged from hospital on Sunday, after spending the night following tests for a stomach complaint, according to the L.A. Times.

Mandela was discharged after a keyhole abdominal examination showed there was nothing seriously wrong with the 93-year-old anti-apartheid leader, the government said.

According to the Chicago Tribune, his departure from Pretoria's "1 Military" hospital marks the end of an anxious 24-hour wait for South Africa's 50 million people, after Mandela was admitted on Saturday morning.

Mandela, who won the Nobel Peace Prize and who also spent 27 years in prison for fighting apartheid, became South Africa's first black president in 1994 and served one five-year term. He is officially retired and last appeared in public in July 2010, according to the Times.

According to the Tribune, his health has been poor since he was hospitalized with respiratory problems a year ago, and this latest scare hit home for many that Mandela may not live for much longer.

44 killed in Mexico prison riot

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44 people were killed in a riot Sunday inside a prison in Mexico that may have been staged to cover up a breakout, according to the Miami Herald.

Public security authorities in Nuevo Leon state, outside of the northern industrial city Monterrey, said inmates rioted in one cell block around 2 a.m. and the violence spread to a second block.

Initial reports blamed the violence on efforts to transfer some inmates to another facility elsewhere in the country. There were conflicting reports about whether guards were taken hostage and if fires broke out in some of the cells, according to the L.A. Times.

Jorge Domene Zambrano, the state's public security spokesman, said authorities had regained control of the institution. He said most of the prisoners were incarcerated on drug-trafficking charges and related crimes.

He also said the fight between two cell blocks, each with about 750 prisoners, may have been staged as a cover for a prison break.

All the dead were killed by knives, other sharp instruments, clubs or stones, Domene said.

Whitney Houston dies at age 48

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Whitney Houston, the successful pop singer who's voice and image were deteriorated by drug use and an abusive marriage, died in Beverly Hills, Calif. on Saturday, according to the New York Times. She was 48.

Houston was found in Beverly Hilton hotel room at 3:55 p.m. where paramedics spent about 20 minutes trying to revive her, authorities said. The authorities also said there was no sign of foul play.

Houston was staying at the Beverly Hilton hotel on Saturday to attend a pre-Grammy party hosted by her mentor Clive Davis, the founder of Arista Records, according to the Times.

Lt. Mark Rosen, a spokesman for the Beverly Hills Police Department, said that detectives had arrived on the scene to conduct a full-scale investigation of the death. He also said, as of 8 p.m. Saturday, Ms. Houston's body would not be removed from the hotel room until the said investigation was completed.

Houston was one of the top-selling artists in pop music history, according to the L.A. Times, with more than 55 million records sold in the U.S. alone.

According to the New York Times, Houston is survived by her daughter Bobbi Kristina, 18, and her mother, gospel and pop singer CIssy Houston.

Mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, is pledging up to $250,000 to Planned Parenthood to help offset funds that were discontinued by Susan G. Komen for the Cure, according to the Miami Herald.

Mayor Bloomberg said Thursday that he would give Planned Parenthood Federation of America $1 for every new dollar the organization raises up to $250,000.

"Politics have no place in health care," Mayor Bloomberg said in a statement. "Breast cancer screening saves lives and hundreds of thousands of women rely on Planned Parenthood for access to care. We should be helping women access that care, not placing barriers in their way."

According to the New York Times, the controversy erupted this week when the Komen foundation said it would no longer donate funds to Planned Parenthood for breast cancer screenings. Planned Parenthood had received about $700,000 a year from the Komen foundation.

Mayor Bloomberg has been a long-time supporter of both Planned Parenthood and the Komen foundation, according to the Times. His office said that he has given about $555,000 to Planned Parenthood over the years, as well as $200,000 to the Komen foundation.

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