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Cuba Willing to Work with US to Stop Ebola Outbreak in West Africa

Cuba Willing to Work with US to Stop Ebola Outbreak in West Africa

Daniel Loncarevic//iStockphoto/Thinkstock(HAVANA) -- Cuban President Raul Castro says that Cuba and the United States can work "side-by-side" in the effort to stop the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

At the ALBA-TCP Summit on Ebola, Castro called the situation "a dreadful epidemic," and noted that the outbreak, "poses a huge challenge to humanity, one that should be met with utmost urgency."

"At the moment," Castro highlighted, "more than 4,000 Cuban healthcare collaborators are working in 32 African countries and...they are all joining in the preventive effort against Ebola."

Over the weekend, Fidel Castro wrote in the state-run newspaper Granma, that ,"the hour of duty has arrived," for Cuba, and that Cuba, "did not hesitate one minute in responding to the request made by international bodies for support to the struggle against the brutal epidemic which has erupted in West Africa."

"We will happily cooperate with U.S. personnel in this task," the former Cuban president wrote, "not in search of peace between these two states which have been adversaries for so many years, but rather, in any event, for World Peace, and objective which can and should be attempted."

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Children of Ebola Specialists Shunned, Hospital Says

Children of Ebola Specialists Shunned, Hospital Says

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Children whose parents work with Ebola patients are being disinvited from birthday parties, according to one hospital.Dr. Mark Rupp, an infectious disease specialist at the Nebraska Medical Center, spoke at the hospital in an attempt to calm fears surrounding the Ebola virus. During his remarks he mentioned that a child belonging to a staff member in the biocontainment unit, where a freelance cameraman is being treated for Ebola, was invited to a birthday party. Later the child was disinvited once the host found out where the child’s parent worked.

Rupp said employees don’t plan on speaking to the media, but earlier on Monday the hospital tweeted about their experiences."Children of parents who are working in our Biocontainment Unit are being shunned. This isn't helpful or appropriate,” read one tweet."Having children shunned at birthday parties or soccer games because their parent works in the Bio Unit is irrational,” read another tweet.Nebraska is one of four hospitals in the country that is fully equipped and has a staff trained in dealing with highly infectious diseases such as Ebola. The CDC has said that among the many misconceptions the public has about Ebola is that the virus can easily spread from casual contact.Follow @ABCNewsRadio Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

What President Obama And 2 Million Early Voters Can Tell Us About Election Day

What President Obama And 2 Million Early Voters Can Tell Us About Election Day

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- President Barack Obama joined almost 2 million voters who have voted before Election Day as he cast his ballot Monday at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center in Chicago.“I’m so glad I can early vote. It’s so exciting. I love voting,” Obama said, making a not-so-subtle pitch to voters around the country.Both parties are hoping voters in the 35 states who have early voting heed Obama’s words and either mail in a ballot or go to a polling station before November 4. Nineteen million voters did so in 2010, the last strictly midterm election, and University of Florida associate professor and elections guru Michael McDonald expects 2014’s early vote total to surpass that. He spoke with ABC News about some of the trends he’s seen so far, and what they could mean for Election Day.1. Bigger turnout within both parties:

Republicans have been stepping up their early-vote mobilization game, meaning they’ve been catching up to Democrats who have been leading that charge the past few cycles, McDonald said. That’s helped Republicans close wide deficits they had at this time in 2010 in Iowa and North Carolina, and they have a 14-point lead in Florida. But it’s not clear whether these are only temporary gains for Republicans; McDonald said he suspects that Republicans are only reaching registered Republicans, which means they might have propelled more GOPers to the polls early, but those voters may be ones that would have gone to the polls on Election Day anyway, meaning fewer total new Republican votes.2. More first-time voters:

There is a big chunk of voters who have cast early ballots but who did not vote in 2010, McDonald noted, which right now is a trend that seems to favor Democrats. In North Carolina and Georgia, Republicans are pulling strong early-vote numbers among those who also voted in 2010, but Democrats are doing better with voters who don’t have a history of voting in 2010. (Georgia doesn’t track party affiliation, but in that state’s case, race provides a useful proxy.) That’s a point in favor of Democrats reaching out to new voters, not just likely ones – and if that’s true, those numbers could get even higher once early voting starts in a number of states, a method that traditionally favors Democrats.3. Unaffiliated push:

McDonald points to Iowa as a potentially illustrative example of how many unaffiliated voters are casting early ballots, and with which party they might be more closely affiliated. “The Democrats and the people who have no party registration tend to be tracking together,” McDonald noted. “The Republicans, on the other hand, are completely uncorrelated from the people with no party registration.”Regardless of the early-voting-tea-leaf reading, McDonald said the bottom line is that both parties believe their marquee races around the country are going to be close – and no one is taking any race for granted. Even McDonald issued a caveat when he said election turnout would continue in an upward trajectory in future cycles: “Trends can always be broken. You never know.”

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NHTSA Urges Immediate Action for Owners of 4.7 Million Vehicles with Air Bag Issue

NHTSA Urges Immediate Action for Owners of 4.7 Million Vehicles with Air Bag Issue

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is urging the owners of over four million recalled vehicles to take immediate action to ensure driver safety.According to the NHTSA, the recall affects 4,744,309 Toyota, Honda, Mazda, BMW, Nissan and General Motors vehicles. Owners of those vehicles, especially those in hot and humid climates, including Florida, Puerto Rico and Hawaii, should have their air bags replaced. A mechanism that inflates the air bags in a crash could potentially burst, the NHTSA says, causing metal shrapnel to hit the driver. The agency says the issue may be linked to hot and moist climates.A full list of recalled vehicles can be found at the NHTSA’s website.

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Dallas Nurses Call Colleagues Who Contracted Ebola ‘Heroes’

Dallas Nurses Call Colleagues Who Contracted Ebola ‘Heroes’Pham family/ Debra Barry(DALLAS) -- On Monday, nurses at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital hailed as "heroes" their two colleagues who contracted Ebola caring for Thomas Eric Duncan -- the Liberian national who became the first person to be diagnosed ...

Wall Street Posts Gains, Despite Survey Indicating Slowed Wage Increases

Wall Street Posts Gains, Despite Survey Indicating Slowed Wage Increases

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Wall Street built on Friday's gain by posting another positive day on Monday, with all three major indices finishing the day higher than they began.The Dow Jones Industrial Average finished up 19.26 to 16,399.67.The Nasdaq gained 57.63, closing the day at 4,316.07, and the S&P 500 jumped 17.25, finishing at 1,904.01 -- the first close above 1,900 in over a week.A survey released by the National Association for Business Economics found that just 24 percent of responding firms increased wages and salaries in the third quarter of the fiscal year. That figure, lower than the preceding months, "signals a slowdown in the trend toward wage and salary increases that began with the January 14 survey."Still, the NABE notes, 32 percent of firms saw larger employment figures, with just seven percent reporting declining employment.

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Valuable Ebola Lessons the US Can Learn From Nigeria

Valuable Ebola Lessons the US Can Learn From Nigeria

iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- The Ebola virus continues to rage through West Africa, but a few countries in the region have managed to contain the outbreak. Case in point: After six weeks with no new cases, the World Health Organization declared Nigeria Ebola-free on Monday.Ebola entered Nigeria, a country of 178 million people, in July when a sick passenger flew from Liberia into Lagos, Nigeria’s largest and busiest city. Once Nigerian health officials confirmed the traveler -- Liberian-American financial consultant Patrick Sawyer -- had Ebola, they acted quickly to contain it, said Erin Hohlfelder, the global health policy director for U2 frontman Bono’s ONE Campaign.

"From the minute they were aware of the first case, they established an emergency operations center with a coordinated effort by a central body with clear lines of accountability rather than a dispersed response," Hohlfelder said.John Vertefeuille, head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Ebola response team in Nigeria, said contact tracing also played a key role in stopping the spread of the virus."Tracing was central to the success of the response," he said.Health officials set up a case management system to track and monitor patient contacts, Vertefeuille said. They followed nearly 900 people who were potentially exposed to Ebola, making 18,500 visits to check for symptoms, he pointed out.And unlike many other West African countries where the virus has spread rapidly, Nigeria has a robust health care system in place, Vertefeuille said."Lagos has a lot of health assets including a large hospital system and a fleet of ambulances. It has a large health care workforce," he said.To strengthen its response even further, the government enlisted the help of international nonprofits such as ONE, Save the Children and Doctors Without Borders, groups that already had a presence in Nigeria with a staff experienced in responding to disease outbreaks. It also relied on the expertise of groups such as the CDC and WHO.However, there were some missteps. One person infected with Ebola was too scared to come forward, evading a manhunt for several days before public health authorities were able to track him down. He eventually recovered from the virus but not before being treated by a doctor who later died.Another setback: an elaborate social media prank urging Nigerians to drink excessive amounts of salt water to avoid catching the Ebola virus. The hoax spread like wildfire for several days in August. Two people died and at least 20 people were hospitalized as a result, according to the Nigerian newspaper Vanguard News.To clamp down on the hysteria, the government asked politicians, teachers, religious leaders and celebrities to help communicate accurate information, said Edwin Ikhuoria, the Nigerian representative for the ONE campaign."Information on the dangers and method of spread of the virus was on radio, TV, billboards and SMS [text messaging] platforms," he said, adding that the government also began promoting a message of anti-stigma to prevent any potentially infected people from going underground, which would have allowed the disease to spread off the public health radar.In total, Nigeria had 20 confirmed cases before the outbreak was contained. Eight died of Ebola.Vertefeuille said if there are lessons for the United States and the rest of the world for how they deal with Ebola, it’s that it can be controlled with standard public health efforts."What we saw was two outbreaks in Nigeria –- we saw an Ebola outbreak and an outbreak of fear," he said. "Countries can communicate the basics before there is an outbreak so that the public and health care workers know how to respond ahead of time."

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Guardrail Company Defrauded Government, to Pay $175M

Guardrail Company Defrauded Government, to Pay $175M

iStock/Thinkstock(MARSHALL, Texas) -- A jury found Monday that a leading guardrail company made false statements to the government relating to a nearly decade-old modification that critics say made the guardrails more dangerous for motorists across the country, and ordered the company to pay $175 million in damages.The jury in Marshall, Texas, found in favor of Josh Harman, a competitor of guardrail company Trinity Industries who sued the company over what he called fraudulent behavior.At the center of the trial, which began Monday, were modifications made by Trinity Industries in 2005 to the design of guardrail end terminals used alongside many roads from coast to coast, and the company's failure at the time not to disclose the changes to the federal government or any state transportation departments.The modified guardrail, called the ET-Plus, was the subject of an ABC News 20/20 investigation in September that looked into allegations from crash victims that the modified guardrail malfunctioned when struck from the front by their vehicles. Rather than ribboning out and absorbing the impact as designed, the guardrails "locked up" and speared straight through the cars, severing the motorists' limbs in some cases.In an internal email obtained by ABC News, a company official said that one particular design change – the shrinking of a metal piece in the end guardrail terminal from five inches to four -- would save the company $2 per guardrail, or $50,000 a year. The company also admitted that it had “inadvertently omitted” documentation that was required to be turned over to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) about the change.Harman alleged the guardrail maker sold states a product that was different from the one they believed they were getting.Attorneys for Harman used the $2 email as evidence against Trinity as well as crash test videos produced by Trinity of a different configuration for the guardrail system – which weren’t disclosed to the government – that Harman’s team said showed the end piece failing. Trinity maintained those crash test videos were for an experimental system that was never produced for the real world and didn’t need to be turned over for review.In their own fiery closing arguments Monday, attorneys for Trinity said the company had been the target of a “grand conspiracy” constructed out of “baseless allegations.” An attorney for the company, Ethan Shaw, noted that even after the FHWA learned of the modification in 2012, it was repeatedly approved for use on the nation’s highways.Trinity told ABC News for its original report that the aftermath pictures of the fatal and serious accidents don’t prove anything – that each accident has its own unique circumstances and that their product has a proven record of safety. Trinity has a “high degree of confidence in the performance and integrity” of the ET-Plus system, the company said.After the verdict, the company said it "respects the jury's decision.""However, Trinity believes the decision cannot and will not withstand legal scrutiny. The Company strongly believes the courts will affirm its position," Trinity said.In recent months, four states have suspended use of the modified guardrail system as they investigate further. Florida, for instance, has given Trinity until the end of the week to prove to them through new crash tests and crash test data that the system is safe.

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Ebola Quarantine Ends for Louise Troh with ‘Praise to God’

Ebola Quarantine Ends for Louise Troh with ‘Praise to God’

ABC News(DALLAS) -- When Louise Troh, the fiancee of Ebola victim Thomas Duncan, emerged from a three week quarantine Monday she reached both hands up to heaven and said, "Praise to God."Troh has been in quarantine since Duncan was diagnosed with the disease. She was among 43 who were released from quarantine Monday.Troh was delighted to no longer be confined."Praise to God. I am free. I am so happy…All thanks to God," she said, according to a spokesperson for Troh who spoke to ABC News.

Troh was delighted to no longer be confined, but her pastor said she currently has nowhere to go. Her lease was up on Sept. 30, and she and her family were temporarily staying in a donated apartment for part of the quarantine.

"She doesn't have a permanent residence at this point," said Pastor George Mason of Wilshire Baptist Church. "She's lost everything that she owns in the apartment. She lost the man she loves."

Duncan, the Liberian national who arrived in Dallas in late September to visit family, went to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas with Ebola symptoms on Sept. 26, but was sent home with antibiotics. He returned in an ambulance two days later when his symptoms worsened and was diagnosed with Ebola and placed in isolation.But he spent more than a week around friends and family, who have been under close observation for the last three weeks amid fears that they, too, contracted the deadly virus. But none of them have shown any Ebola symptoms, officials said. Forty-three people are no longer under active monitoring, but about 120 people are still being monitored for possible Ebola symptoms, according to the health department.The eight children who were released from Ebola quarantine Monday were expected to return to school on Tuesday, but four of the children surprised school officials by arriving on Monday, according to a statement from the Dallas Independent School District."While we had planned on them coming back to school Tuesday. They were obviously eager to return back to the school environment and decided on their own to attend," said Superintendent Mike Miles. "Because they have been cleared by medical authorities and pose no health risk to any students or staff, we have no intent on sending them home. Their interest in getting back into school is encouraging."Duncan died on Oct. 8 at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. Two nurses contracted the virus from him, Nina Pham, 26, and Amber Vinson, 29. They are being treated for Ebola at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, and the NIH hospital in Bethesda, Maryland, respectively.Troh, Duncan's fiance, released a statement last week, announcing that she'd received an apology from the hospital for failing to save him. Although members of her family said he was treated unfairly, she said, "It is my position that God is the judge of others and their actions, and vengeance is not mine to demand. God is the judge, and God will take care of me."The last people being monitored should Ebola should be out of the 21-day incubation period on Nov. 7, according to the health department.

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Hannah Graham Abduction Suspect Indicted in 2005 Sex Assault

Hannah Graham Abduction Suspect Indicted in 2005 Sex Assault

Galveston County Sheriff's Office(CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va.) -- The suspect in the abduction of University of Virginia student Hannah Graham is being indicted in a 2005 sexual assault.

Jesse Matthew has been charged with attempted capital murder, abduction and sexual penetration with an object, according to the indictment from the Fairfax County Circuit Court.

The victim, who was 26 at the time, was identified only as "R.G." in court papers.

The indictment claims Matthew "did feloniously, willfully, deliberately, intentionally and with premeditation attempt to kill R.G. in the commission of or subsequent to an abduction with the intent to defile."

Matthew, 32, is being held without bail in Charlottesville for the alleged abduction of Graham with intent to defile. The student has not been found, but a search was called off this weekend after police found human remains. Those remains have not yet been identified.

Virginia State Police earlier said they found a forensic link between Graham's disappearance and the 2009 abduction and murder of Morgan Harrington in 2009. When Harrington's body was found in early 2010, police made a connection to the 2005 sexual assault in Fairfax. The woman survived.Before Monday, police had not made a direct connection between the 2005 assault and Graham's abduction.Matthew has not been charged in connection to the 2009 Harrington abduction and murder, even though the suspect in that case was previously linked to the 2005 case, and the Virginia State Police have already said that there is a forensic link between Harrington's murder and Matthew."Morgan Harrington's case is still ongoing," Virginia State Police spokeswoman Corinne Gellar told ABC News.More details about the 2005 assault are expected at a press conference Monday afternoon.

Matthew's attorney Jim Camblos had no comment on the new indictment.

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UK Trash ‘Skipping’ Turns Food Waste into Meals

UK Trash ‘Skipping’ Turns Food Waste into Meals

ABC News(LONDON) -- It's no secret that millions of tons of food are wasted every day, but solutions to this issue are few.But one response can be found at a pop-up café that opened this month in Bristol, United Kingdom, exclusively serving intercepted waste food. Launched by a group of volunteers, the purpose of the café is to serve food to the needy and raise awareness about food waste.One-third of all food produced worldwide gets lost or wasted, according to a recent report by the United Nations Environment Program and the World Resources Institute. Consumers in industrialized countries waste almost as much food annually as the entire net food production of sub-Saharan Africa.

The food served at the Skipchen varies, according to what the volunteers are able to rescue. In the evenings, teams go out and do "skipping," or finding edible food from the trash. Some of the food is also donated from restaurants and food banks or collected from farms.Volunteers wash and peel discarded foods, and don’t used anything that "doesn't look or smell right."Sam Joseph, one of the co-founders, took an official course on sanitary practices that allows him to handle and serve food. He makes sure his volunteers use appropriate tools and cutting boards and have "a high level of personal hygiene," washing their hands regularly, he told ABC News.He said they only use meat that comes under sealed packets and checks for any holes. Everything is refrigerated and cooked as soon as possible.

Customers who came in the café were overwhelmingly people already sensitive to the issue of waste, sometimes doing "skipping" themselves.Customers are not charged a set price and asked to "pay-as-you-feel."Until December, Skipchen will be operating daily at The Crofter's Rights, a pub that is leasing its 20-seat space for free.

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Woman Trapped in Chimney of Man She Met Online

Woman Trapped in Chimney of Man She Met Online

LAPD(LOS ANGELES) -- A woman was arrested in Thousand Oaks over the weekend after firefighters rescued her from a man's chimney. She had been trying to break into the house and had gotten stuck, police said.

The homeowner told Los Angeles station KABC he had met the woman, Genoveva Nunez-Figueroa, online and they had gone out on a few dates, but recently ended the relationship.

Sunday was the second time the woman was found on his roof, he told the station.

Unfortunately, online dating can lead to scary situations and it doesn't matter if you're a man or a woman, relationship expert Rachel DeAlto said.

"Guys think they're so much safer and that they don't have to worry about security issues," she said. "But obviously, a woman in a chimney proves that wrong."

"You need to protect yourself and you don't know who's on the other side of the computer until you meet them in person. Have a couple of dates with them before you bring them into your bubble. Be very protective of where you live," DeAlto added.

She suggests people have a separate email address to use for online dating.

"Most of our emails have our full names attached to them and there is a lot of information people can get from that," she said. "Unfortunately in this day and age, it is very easy to find people."

And be wary of red flags like an online dating profile written in all caps, for example.

"It sounds so bad, but it's true," DeAlto said. "When you have a creepy person talking in all caps and not making sense in a sentence, then you might want to question who you're talking to. Don't just look at the photo."

Nunez-Figueroa was arrested for illegal entry and providing false information to a police officer, and later released. ABC News was not able to reach her for comment. The Ventura County Sheriff's Office does not know if has an attorney.

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Meet 2014’s Top Mega-Donors

Meet 2014’s Top Mega-Donors

iStock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The overwhelming number of Americans who will vote in the mid-term elections on Nov. 5 won't have contributed a penny to their candidates' campaigns. But a handful of people will have given a lot more.

More than a quarter of the $6 billion contributed to campaigns in 2012 came from about 31,500 individual donors, according to the Sunlight Foundation, which found that not a single candidate won two years ago without the help of the group dubbed the "one percent of the one percent."

As politics becomes more expensive with every election cycle, these super donors have never been more important.

Here are the top 10 individual donors of the 2014 election cycle, compiled for ABC News by the Center for Responsive Politics from a study of the most recent publicly available campaign financial disclosure reports.

1. Tom and Kathryn Steyer, $42.95 million, DemocratThe San Francisco billionaire made a splash on the political scene when he pledged $100 million to turn climate change into marquee political priority. After spending big in the Massachusetts Senate race and Virginia governor's race in 2013, Steyer, 57, has been active in seven midterm races across the country, opposing candidates skeptical of climate change in North Carolina, Iowa and Colorado. For now, Steyer is focused on helping others, but he’s rumored to be eying a future bid for governor or U.S. Senate in California.

2. Michael Bloomberg, $12.2 million, IndependentThe former mayor of New York City is still working to shape the national political agenda. His anti-gun group Everytown for Gun Safety has endorsed candidates in 28 states, and is supporting a Washington ballot initiative to expand background checks for firearm purchases. Through his Independence USA PAC, Bloomberg, 72, will also spend $25 million in support of centrists in statewide and national races, including Massachusetts Republican Charlie Baker, who is running for governor, and Democratic Rep. Gary Peters, who is running for Senate in Michigan, according to the New York Times.

3. Fred Eychaner, $7.84 million, DemocratSelf-effacing and press-shy, Eychaner is at odds with his outsized footprint in Democratic politics. He's described himself as a "basic social activist with small-business experience," but the Chicago media mogul was the top individual liberal donor in the 2012 election cycle, pumping $14 million into liberal Super PACs. In 2013, he bankrolled successful efforts to legalize same-sex marriage in Illinois. This cycle, he’s cut checks for the Senate Majority PAC in hopes of protecting Democrats’ control of the Senate, and contributed to the Senate campaigns of Democratic Sens. Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Mark Begich of Alaska, and Kentucky Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes.4. Paul Singer, $5.3 million, RepublicanSinger, a New York hedge fund manager pejoratively called a "vulture capitalist" for his firm's ownership of Argentine debt, is the top individual Republican political donor of the cycle. He was the driving force behind New York's legalization of gay marriage, and has spent millions on legalization efforts in other states, including Maryland and New Hampshire. This cycle, he’s also supporting Republicans opposed to same-sex marriage, such as Rep. Tom Cotton in Arkansas, Alaska Senate candidate Dan Sullivan and South Carolina Sen. Lindsay Graham.

5. Richard and Elizabeth Uihlein, $5 million, RepublicanSince 2010, the Uihleins, owners of the Wisconsin-based packaging supply company Uline, have given millions to local and national tea party organizations and Republican candidates. In 2012, they supported Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker's campaign to fight a recall and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz's Senate bid. This year, they've given to the Senate campaigns of Rep. Tom Cotton in Arkansas and Col. Rob Maness in Louisiana. “I'm a conservative Republican, and I'm trying to help people who believe as I do in limited government and free markets," Richard Uihlein told Crain's Chicago Business. "I'm not one to hide from that."

6. Robert and Diana Mercer, $3.71 million, RepublicanRobert Mercer, a New York hedge fund manager, spent millions in 2012 contributing to GOP establishment groups like American Crossroads. This cycle, he's also spent big on tea party Republicans. According to disclosure records, Mercer, 67, and his wife Diana have contributed to the Senate campaigns of Chris McDaniel in Mississippi, Greg Brannon in North Carolina, Joni Ernst in Iowa and Rep. David Vitter in Louisiana.

7. James and Marilyn Simons, $3.41 million, DemocratAt 23, James Simons had earned his PhD in mathematics. Three years later, he was a code breaker for the National Security Agency. In the half century since, Simons, 76, has made billions revolutionizing investment banking -- Robert Mercer, who appears on this list, runs the firm Simons founded -- and establishing himself as a leading political and philanthropic donor. This cycle, he's given $3 million to Democrats' House and Senate Super PACs. His wife, an economist, has contributed to Planned Parenthood’s political arm and Ready for Hillary. The couple has also contributed to the campaigns of New York Reps. Steve Israel and Tim Bishop.

8. John "Joe" and Marlene Ricketts, $3.2 million, RepublicanJohn, the billionaire founder of online brokerage TD Ameritrade and head of the family that owns the Chicago Cubs, is best known in political circles for spending millions to defeat and discredit President Obama in 2012, including efforts to design an ad campaign that would have connected Obama to incendiary comments made by former spiritual adviser Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and financing the controversial film 2016: Obama's America. This cycle, his wife Marlene has contributed millions to the Ricketts' Ending Spending Action Fund, and supported the campaigns of Republicans like Michigan Senate candidate Terri Lyn Land, Arizona Congressional candidate Martha McSally and Virginia Congressional candidate Barbara Comstock.

9. Robert and Doylene Perry, $3.12 million, RepublicanRobert Perry, the late Houston development magnate and longtime Bush supporter who passed away in April 2013, made headlines for bankrolling Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, the conservative veterans' organization that discredited John Kerry's Vietnam War service record during his presidential bid in 2004. In 2013, Perry's wife, Doylene, wrote checks to Senate Conservatives Action and the reelection campaign of Texas Sen. John Cornyn.

10. George Soros, $2.5 million, DemocratSoros, the dean of liberal mega-donors, famously told the Washington Post that defeating President George W. Bush in 2004 was the "central focus of my life," and backed up his words with $24 million in 2003 and 2004. This cycle, Soros, 84, has given more than $2 million to American Bridge, a Democratic opposition research firm, and Democrats including New York Rep. Tim Bishop, Delaware Sen. Chris Coons, and at-risk Sens. Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Mark Udall of Colorado and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire.

This ranking does not take into account unreported donations made to 501(c) 4 nonprofit organizations, which are not required to disclose their donors. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, spending by these “dark money” groups in the midterm elections could hit $1 billion.

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Indiana Serial Killer Suspect Says Spree Dates Back Two Decades

Indiana Serial Killer Suspect Says Spree Dates Back Two Decades

Gary Police Dept(GARY, Ind.) -- The man suspected of murdering seven women in Indiana told police his crime spree dates back two decades, authorities said at a press conference Monday.Suspect Darren Deon Vann, 43, helped authorities locate the bodies of six victims in Gary, Indiana, after he was arrested in the murder of 19-year-old Afrika Hardy, whose body was found at a Motel 6 in Hammond."He's been giving us descriptions, cooperating and accompanying us to locations," police said."We don't have a specific reason why he does this," a spokesman said.Police said there could be more victims, based on Vann's statements.Vann told police he "messed up" by committing a crime in Hammond.He is cooperating because "he was looking for a type of deal with prosecution," police said.

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LA Kings Player Arrested for Domestic Violence

LA Kings Player Arrested for Domestic Violence

iStock/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- Los Angeles Kings defenseman Slava Voynov has been arrested in Redondo Beach and accused of domestic violence.

He was immediately suspended by the National Hockey League.

The collective bargaining agreement between the NHL and its players says it can suspend a player during a criminal investigation. Voynov will continue to be paid while the investigation is ongoing, but he will not play. 

The last NHL player arrested for domestic violence was not suspended, but that was before the National Football League was criticized for how it handled Ray Rice's domestic violence arrest.

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Obama Casts His Vote Early in Chicago

Obama Casts His Vote Early in Chicago

Official White House File Photo by Pete Souza(CHICAGO) -- A day after hitting the campaign trail to get out the vote, President Obama cast his ballot early in Chicago.

"The most important office in a democracy is the office of citizen," the president told reporters at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center on Monday, as he took advantage of the first day of early voting in Illinois.

"I'm so glad I can early vote. It's so exciting. I love voting," the president said, in a not-so-subtle sales pitch. "Everybody in Illinois, early vote. It's a wonderful opportunity."

After filling out the necessary paperwork, the president spent several minutes behind the voting booth. He would not say who he voted for, but said Sunday night he planned to cast his vote to re-elect Sen. Dick Durbin and Gov. Pat Quinn.

Obama often quips that Democrats have a "congenital disease," that they don't vote in midterms. Now, with just two weeks until the critical elections, the president is stepping up his effort to encourage Democrats to vote.

Obama hit the campaign trail Sunday for the first time this cycle, appearing at rallies for Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown in Maryland and Quinn in Illinois. While the president is ramping up his campaign appearances in the run-up to the elections, he is stumping mostly for Democratic gubernatorial candidates in deep blue states.

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How Jake Gyllenhaal Lost 30 Pounds for Latest Movie “Nightcrawler”

How Jake Gyllenhaal Lost 30 Pounds for Latest Movie “Nightcrawler”

Open Road Films(LOS ANGELES) -- Jake Gyllenhaal's latest movie Nightcrawler is due out at the end of the month and a Halloween release date is fitting since the actor's appearance in set photos could easily be categorized as "creepy."

The Oscar-nominated actor takes on the role of Lou Bloom, a photographer who scours the night looking for horrific photos to get the most online traffic.

To take on such a role, Gyllenhaal went to the extreme.

"I made a lot of choices physically," he told Entertainment Weekly for its latest issue, adding he lost upwards of 30 pounds for the film.

Some of the actor's staples were kale salad and chewing gum to be able to drop such intense weight, he told the magazine. He also ran 15 miles each night and didn't see his friends for weeks.

"The running thing, you're pretty hungry because you're not eating a lot of food," Gyllenhaal added. "You're lonely because you're not meeting your friends for dinner. People go, 'Hey you want to meet for dinner after work?' I go, 'Well, I'm shooting all night.' 'Alright, you want to meet for lunch?' I'm like, 'I can't!' So I'm gonna go run."

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Police Trying To Identify Remains Found in Hannah Graham Search

Police Trying To Identify Remains Found in Hannah Graham Search

Charlottesville Police Department(ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va.) -- Investigators are working to confirm the identity of remains found on Sunday during the search for missing University of Virginia student Hannah Graham, who disappeared last month.Searches for the 18-year-old sophomore have been suspended after police found human remains in a shallow creek bed near a vacant home. Officials said it could take several days to complete the identification process.Jesse Matthew, the only suspect in the case, is being held in the Ablemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail awaiting his Dec. 4 hearing. The Virginia resident was arrested in Galveston, Texas, on charges of abduction with intent to defile.Matthew is being held in isolation in a 6 foot by 9 foot cell with a toilet and a sink. Superintendent Col. Martin Kumer told ABC News that Matthew sleeps on a concrete bed with a plastic covered mattress and a blanket. He can request books from the jail's library, but it isn't clear if he has yet.

Matthew, 32, worked as a technician at the University of Virginia hospital and was seen on surveillance footage with Graham shortly before she vanished.His attorney, Jim Camblos, released a statement Sunday confirming that he had heard of the discovery of the human remains in Ablemarle County, but did not comment on the case.Sgt. Dale Terry of the Chesterfield Sheriff's Department said that his five person team found a skull, bones, and vertebrae that appeared long, making it consistent with a tall person's body. Graham was 5-foot-11. A pair of dark-colored pants similar to those Graham was described as wearing on the night of her disappearance were found near the remains.The remains were found in a dried-up creek bed behind a vacant home off Old Lynchburg Road, roughly 10 miles south of where Graham was last seen in the early morning hours of Saturday Sept. 13.The exact address has not been publicly confirmed, but it is believed to be about 3 miles away from a home where Matthew and his mother lived a few years ago.

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Matthew McConaughey’s Lincoln Commercials Generate Lots of Buzz

Matthew McConaughey’s Lincoln Commercials Generate Lots of Buzz

The Lincoln Motor Company(NEW YORK) -- Matthew McConaughey may be an Oscar winner but it is his commercials for a car company that are generating all the buzz.McConaughey, 44, who starred in 2011's The Lincoln Lawyer, is now the pitchman for another Lincoln, the car company Lincoln Motors."I've been driving a Lincoln since long before anybody paid me to drive one," the Texas-born father-of-three says in one commercial. In another, McConaughey stares down a bull and says, "1,800 pounds and do whatever the heck I want. I can respect that."The mood-filled ads have become viral hits -- drawing over 1.5 million hits and counting on YouTube.The ads featuring McConaughey, who won an Oscar for Dallas Buyers Club, have also drawn the attention of comedians like Ellen DeGeneres who spoofed the ads on her TV talk show."Maybe we should ask him to mooooove along. Mooooove it along," DeGeneres says in the spoof, during which she's superimposed behind McConaughey in a car.

Luckily for Lincoln, the online buzz is translating into big business for the brand. The company reports sales are up 13% year-to-date so far."The Lincoln brand has sort of been out of sight for so many years,"Benjamin Zhang, transportation reporter for Business Insider, told ABC News. "People are talking about Lincoln again."

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Woman Buys a Year’s Supply of Pumpkin Spice Lattes to Feed Addiction

Woman Buys a Year’s Supply of Pumpkin Spice Lattes to Feed Addiction

Sherry Lynn Gustafson(MOLINE, Ill.) -- If you're in Moline, Illinois, you might have some trouble finding a pumpkin spice latte.

"My husband went to three of the stores Saturday night, and they were all three already empty," Sherry Lynn Gustafson told ABC News. "I was smart to get mine."

Gustafson, 58, started stockpiling Keurig boxes of her favorite coffee drink after the gas station she got them at would sometimes run out or it would be weak.

So far she's bought 52 boxes.

"I started wanting it all the time. I thought, 'I'm tired of waiting,'  so I started getting five or six boxes at a time here or there," she told ABC News.

She now has three or four cups of the beverage a day.

"Somebody had mentioned something about shelf life, but they're good until August 2016 so I'm good until next fall when I need my other fix," she said.

Gustafson’s favorite part of the drink is that it tastes like her favorite fall treat, but with only 35 calories.

"It tastes like pumpkin pie with cream on it. It's really sweet and pumpkin, and I put my creamer in it myself so it tastes just like pie," she said. "I can make it a cup at a time and it’s really fresh and smells good."

This habit has set Gustafson back nearly $260, but she said it's well worth it.

"We get 5 cents per box off a gallon of gas, so we only paid 76 cents a gallon for gas here after I got my monthly stash," she explained. "I'm just a normal mom and grandma, but if I like something, at my age I try to make sure that I get it now. I juts figure why not."

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