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NATIONAL BRIEFS


WASHINGTON: Buying spree empties gun shops

The number of federal background checks for firearms sales declined last month, as retailers continue to run out of guns to sell during a buying spree driven by Washington's new focus on gun control. Background checks decreased 10 percent nationally between December and January, with large declines in Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Virginia and Texas, according to an Associated Press analysis of new FBI data published Tuesday. Firearms sales surged around the country after the December shooting rampage in Newtown, Conn. A gunman killed 20 children and six adults at the school.


NATIONWIDE: Facebook fatigue setting in

Too much drama, boredom and scads of irrelevant information are just some of the reasons Facebook users give for taking a break from the world's biggest social networking site for weeks at a time, according to a new study. A report from the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project found that some 61 percent of Facebook users had taken a hiatus of at least several weeks for myriad reasons, whether they were weary from an onslaught of gossip or, for the more pious, the arrival of Lent. Yet the use of Facebook, whether constant or not, is pervasive in America. Of the American adults who use the Internet, 67 percent are on Facebook, Pew found. That compares with 20 percent who use LinkedIn and 16 percent who are on Twitter.


CALIFORNIA: Two lose fingers in tug-of-war

A simple length of rope tore off the fingers of two teenagers during a schoolyard tug-of-war staged to boost campus spirit. The boy and girl had stable vital signs Tuesday after undergoing hours of surgery, but no information was disclosed on whether doctors had reattached their fingers. Counselors at the South El Monte High School in the Los Angeles area consoled students after the horrific start Monday to the traditional Spirit Week celebrating homecoming.

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