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Another tragedy in Australia...Pakistani offensive...Contaminated caramel apples

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SYDNEY (AP) — Australia's prime minister is calling it "heartbreaking." The bodies of eight children have been found in a home in Manoora, a suburb of Cairns (kanz) in northern Australia. They were discovered by officers responding to a report of an injury to a woman. Police have yet to say what killed the children, who ranged in age from 18 months to 15 years. A relative says the children were siblings and that the injured woman is their mother. An ambulance official says the woman is being treated for stab wounds.

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan's military says its jets and ground forces have killed at least 32 militants in a northwestern tribal region near the Afghan border. The offensive, in the Khyber tribal region, comes days after Taliban extremists attacked an army-run school in the northwestern city of Peshawar (puh-SHAH'-wuhr), killing 148 people. Most were children.

BOSTON (AP) — Two men at the center of a 2012 fungal meningitis outbreak that killed 64 people around the U.S. will be released from custody in Boston on Friday, pending their criminal trials. Barry Cadden is co-founder of the New England Compounding Center. Glenn Chinn was pharmacy supervisor. They and 12 others face federal charges.

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota health officials say two people died and two others became ill this fall after eating prepackaged caramel apples contaminated with the bacterium listeria. State officials are warning consumers to wait for more information before eating any pre-packaged, commercially-produced caramel apples, including those topped with nuts, chocolate and sprinkles.

NEW YORK (AP) — The Colbert (kohl-BEHR') Nation is no more. After nine years, Stephen Colbert has wrapped up "The Colbert Report" (KOH'-ber ree-POHR'), the Comedy Central satirical-news show. Colbert will transition from playing a pompous conservative to being the new host of CBS' "Late Show." He'll replace David Letterman, who exits in May.

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