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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — YouTube says more than 1 billion people are now visiting its online video site each month to watch everything from zany clips of cute kittens to sobering scenes of social unrest around the world.

The milestone announced Wednesday marks another step in YouTube's evolution from a quirky startup launched in 2005 to one of the most influential forces in today's media landscape.

YouTube crossed the 1 billion threshold five months after Facebook Inc. said its online social network had reached that figure for the first time.

The vast audience has given YouTube's owner, Google Inc., another lucrative channel for selling online ads beyond its dominant Internet search engine.

Google bought YouTube for $1.76 billion in 2006 when the video site had an estimated 50 million users worldwide.
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JERUSALEM (AP) — Israeli police say Gaza militants have fired two rockets at southern Israel on the second day of President Barack Obama's visit to the region.

Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld says one rocket exploded in the courtyard of a house in the border town of Sderot, causing damage but no injuries. The other landed in an open field.

As a presidential candidate in 2008, Obama visited Sderot, which is frequently targeted by rocket attacks from the nearby Gaza Strip. The territory is ruled by the militant Palestinian Hamas group.

No group immediately claimed responsibility for Thursday's attack, which came as Obama was in Jerusalem. He is to visit the West Bank city of Ramallah later in the day.
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SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — The Illinois Senate has approved on a second vote Senate President John Cullerton's proposal overhauling teacher pensions.

Minutes earlier senators rejected the plan; it was shy one vote to pass. Cullerton used a parliamentary procedure to recall the bill. The second vote yesterday was 30-22.

Cullerton's amended plan addresses the Teachers' Retirement System and is estimated to save up to $40 billion over the next 30 years. It also offers employees a choice on whether they want retirement health care or reduced annual cost-of-living increases.

Opponents say the plan doesn't go far enough in addressing Illinois' pension crisis. Illinois has nearly $100 billion in unfunded pension liability.

Earlier in the day senators rejected a total overhaul sponsored by state Sen. Daniel Biss.
Thursday, 21 March 2013 02:40
Published in Local News
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Residents in one north city neighborhood are back in their homes after a car crash forced their evacuations. It happened at Theodore and Oriole in the Walnut Park neighborhood about 7:30 Wednesday evening.

St. Louis police say a car struck a Laclede Gas service pipe. There was initial concern about a possible gas leak. Half a dozen nearby homes were evacuated as a precaution.

Laclede Gas crews determined that there was no gas leak, so the residents were allowed back home.

There's no word what led to the crash.
Thursday, 21 March 2013 01:57
Published in Local News
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