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ARKANSAS

Fireworks blamed in bird deaths

BEEBE | Researchers say fireworks probably startled thousands of blackbirds that fell dead from the skies in a small Arkansas town shortly before midnight on New Year’s Eve.

Townspeople in Beebe, northeast of Little Rock, spent the holiday weekend cleaning up more than 3,000 carcasses. Necropsies performed Monday showed the birds suffered internal injuries that formed blood clots that helped kill them.

Birds were “littering the streets, the yards, the driveways, everywhere,” said Robby King, a county wildlife officer. “It was hard to drive down the street in some places without running over them.”

The red-winged blackbirds rained onto rooftops and sidewalks and into fields. One struck a woman walking her dog. Another hit a police cruiser.

The tests showed lightning was probably not to blame, and poisoning was ruled out early on.

NEW YORK

Facebook gets $500 million cash

NEW YORK | An injection of cash that values Facebook at $50 billion will help it delay going public for at least another year, giving the company breathing room to focus on long-term ambition rather than short-term profit.

The infusion — $500 million from elite investment house Goldman Sachs and a Russian investor, according to a report by the New York Times — represents the most emphatic endorsement yet of Facebook’s potential to make money in online social networking.

It places the company at twice the value of Internet giant Yahoo and about equal to what well-established names such as Boeing and Kraft Foods are worth on the open market.

More important, it buys time for Facebook to keep its books private and not have to cater to the demands of the market. And it gives 26-year-old founder Mark Zuckerberg room to grow into his role as the public face of a multinational company.

PENNSYLVANIA

Donald Duck lawsuit can go forward

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