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Take things slow, celebrate International Sloth Day

If the world is moving too fast, Thursday is the day to sit back and take it slow. 

While sloth may be one of the seven deadly sins, Thursday celebrates the animal that has won the hearts of many, the (s)lowly sloth.

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October 20th is known as International Sloth Day.

Here are five fast facts about the sloth, according to the World Wildlife Federation

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news  

1. They move only about 40 yards a day and have a very low metabolic rate. 

2. They spend 15 to 20 hours per day sleeping. 

3. Despite living in the tree canopy of Central and South America, their long arms make them great swimmers.

4. There are two types of sloths: Two-toed and three-toed. The types are broken down into six species.

5. The pygmy sloth is critically endangered and the maned sloth is vulnerable.

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Can Halloween mask sales predict the winner of the presidential election?

Many would argue that the 2016 presidential election is scary enough, with claims of elections being rigged and the specter of phantom emails ready to pop out at any moment.

The election is three weeks away, and while polls change and pundits argue over what will happen next, a Halloween costume chain said it knows who will be the next president of the United States.

Spirit Halloween has been selling costumes and Halloween accessories for 33 years, and the chain lays claim to an interesting fact. By tracking the sales of the presidential nominee masks, Spirit Halloween has accurately predicted the winner in presidential election years since 1996. 

The company, according to a press release, uses the “Presidential Mask Index” to track the progress of the sales of candidate’s masks in its 1,200 stores and uses that information to make its prediction.

“With such a historic and eventful year in politics, we are eager to track the progress of our candidate mask sales as a fun comparison to more traditional polls,” said Steven Silverstein, Spirit Halloween’s president and CEO.

The store sells several versions of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump Halloween masks from the “Tax Evasion Trump,” to the “Cackling Clinton.”

The store’s survey of mask sales does have a few flaws – as scientific polls go. Only about 4 percent of adults who will dress up for Halloween will wear a political-inspired costume. People are more likely to run into a witch or a pirate, as they are a Trump or a Clinton, according to the National Retail Federation

But within those boundaries, Spirit Halloween has had remarkable success in picking the next commander-in-chief.

Masks of President Barack Obama outsold those of his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, by a 60 percent to 40 percent margin in 2012. In 2008, Obama’s image outsold masks of Sen. John McCain, (R-Arizona), the Republican nominee for president, by the same margin.

The George W. Bush mask outsold John Kerry’s mask in 2004 and Al Gore’s mask in 2000. Bill Clinton’s mask was the clear winner over Sen. Bob Dole, (R-Kansas), in 1996.

According to a press release from Spirit Halloween, the company has partnered with the Harris Poll to survey more than 2,000 adults, asking why they would dress up as either candidate this Halloween. What they found out:

• Fifty-five percent of those who said they would dress up as a candidate chose Donald Trump. Forty-five percent chose Clinton. 

• The top reason Americans chose Donald Trump is to be funny (39 percent), whereas the top reason Americans choose Hillary Clinton is because they like her (31 percent).

• About 1 out of 4 Republicans (23 percent) and Democrats (27 percent) indicated that they would dress up as the opposite party's candidate because it would be scary.

• Thirty-two percent would dress as Donald Trump to mock him; 16 percent would dress as Clinton to mock her.

7 things to know now: Presidential debate; Baldwin brothers disagree; spacecraft is missing

Here's a roundup of news trending across the nation and world today.

What to know now:

 1. Presidential debate: Donald Trump refused to say in Wednesday’s final 2016 presidential debate whether he would accept the Nov. 8 General Election results should he lose, but instead said he’d keep the world “in suspense.” Trump has been saying on the campaign trail recently that the election is rigged against him and that the results cannot be trusted, angering both Democrats and Republicans. Hillary Clinton said Trump’s statement was horrifying. In other news from the debate, the evening took a nasty turn soon after it started with Clinton calling Trump a “puppet” of Russian leader Vladimir Putin, and Trump calling Clinton a “nasty woman.” 

2. Rose cleared of charges: New York Knicks point guard Derrick Rose was cleared Wednesday of charges he participated in the gang rape of his former girlfriend. The woman, in a civil lawsuit, accused the NBA star and two of his friends of raping her while she was unconscious from alcohol and drugs. "I am thankful that the jury understood and agreed with me," Rose said in a statement. "This experience and my sensitivity to it was deep. I am ready to put this behind me and focus on my family and career."

3. Another missile test: Military leaders in South Korea say that, once again, North Korea appears to have conducted a missile test that ended with the device exploding shortly after launch. The medium-range Musudan ballistic missile is believed to have a range of nearly 2,500 miles. South Korean and American officials again stated their opposition to the North's missile testing.

4. What happened to the lander: A spacecraft set to touch down on Mars Wednesday went quiet moments before it was to land on the Red Planet, leaving scientists scrambling to find out what happened. The European Space Agency lost contact with its Schiaparelli lander just before a 10:48 a.m. ET landing time. “It’s clear that these are not good signs, but we will need more information.” said Paolo Ferri, the ESA’s head of mission operations.

5. Together again: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are both scheduled to attend the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner in New York on Thursday. It’s tradition at the white-tie fundraiser hosted by the Archdiocese of New York for presidential candidates to take jabs at their opponents and themselves, but considering that Clinton and Trump called each other names at Wednesday’s debate, the evening could take an interesting turn. At least they will be separated by a chair -- with a Cardinal in it.

And one more

While actor Alec Baldwin has received good reviews for his portrayal of Donald Trump in sketches on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live,” he does have at least two detractors – Trump, himself, and Baldwin’s brother, Stephen. Stephen Baldwin admits Alec’s imitation of Trump is pretty good, but disagrees that the presidential election should be made fun of. “He’s got the voice down very well. I think it’s getting a little too nasty right now. I don’t want to be a party pooper here, but I don’t think it’s very funny,” he continued.

In case you missed it

This cat takes a stab at saving its human from the waters of the bathtub, then, well, whatever.


This chimpanzee smokes a pack of cigarettes every day

Azalea, the smoking chimpanzee, is a star at Central Zoo in Pyongyang, North Korea.

The 19-year-old female chimp smokes about a pack of cigarettes a day, according to the zoo. They say she doesn’t inhale, however.

According to the Associated Press, visitors roared with laughter while watching her smoke. If given a lighter, she is able to light her own cigarette. She can also light up off an already lit cigarette.

>> Read more trending stories

Thousands of people visit the zoo each day. It is home to two chimps.

The Central Zoo also features performances by other animals trained to do tricks, including a monkey who can slam dunk, dogs who appear to do addition and subtraction, and does that land on a woman skating on a stage.

– Information from the Associated Press was used in this report. 

>> Click here or scroll down to see more photos

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Photos: Obamas host final state dinner

7 things to know now: Debate night; WikiLeaks without the net; new Macs on the way; Social Security

Here's a roundup of news trending across the nation and world today.

What to know now: 

1. Debate night: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will meet tonight in Las Vegas for the third and final presidential debate before the Nov. 8 General Election. Chris Wallace of Fox news is the moderator for the debate set for 9 p.m. (ET) at the University of Nevada Las Vegas. Barack Obama’s half-brother, Malik Obama, and Pat Smith, mother of Sean Smith who was killed in the raid in Benghazi, will be Trump’s guests. Clinton invited Mark Cuban and Meg Whitman to attend the debate.

2. Internet cut: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has had his internet access “temporarily” restricted by the government of Ecuador. Ecuador's Foreign Ministry published a statement on Tuesday saying it "exercised its right" to "temporarily restrict access to some of (WikiLeaks') private communications network within its Embassy in the United Kingdom." The move came hours after WikiLeaks published information about Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s speeches to the financial giant Goldman Sachs. Assange is in the Ecuador embassy building in London and has been since he sought asylum there following charges of sexual assault.

3. Updated Macs: According to reports, Apple plans to unveil an updated Mac line-up next week. The company will show off new versions of the iMac desktop, MacBook Air laptop and a thinner MacBook Pro laptop, among other products, according to Bloomberg.

4. Social Security Cola: Social Security recipients will get a raise next year, but it may be tough to find it in their checks. The typical retiree's monthly check will increase by $3.92 in 2017 – or 0.3 percent. The increase is the smallest cost-of-living adjustment ever put into place for the government program. More than 66 million people get the checks. The average retiree's monthly benefit is $1,305.30.

5. Phone exchange booths: Samsung is manning exchange booths in airports around the world to get passengers carrying its Galaxy Note 7 to swap their phone for another device. The phones have been shown to catch fire without warning. Customers are being helped by Samsung employees at the exchange points to transfer their information to the new phones. 

And one more

Chuck Berry, who turned 90 on Tuesday, said he will release an album next year, his first in 38 years. The album will be called “Chuck,” and is expected to have new, original material from Berry. So far, no news about the date the album will be released.

In case you missed it

More than 5 million people have seen this elephant “rescue” the man who once rescued her.

Third presidential debate: What time, what channel, live stream, invited guests

With only three weeks until the General Election, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are set to meet in Las Vegas Wednesday for the final presidential debate.

While there are a series of topics debate moderator Chris Wallace will draw questions from, it’s likely that the candidates will come up with their own topics - for Clinton, Trump’s remarks about women and his fitness to serve; for Trump, Clinton’s email scandals and the continuing release of information about the campaign and the Clinton Foundation’s workings via WikiLeaks.

Here's a quick look at the logistics for the thrid debate.

What time does it start?

The debate begins at 9 p.m. (ET). It will be 90 minutes long, without commercial interruption.

Where can I see it?

The debate will be broadcast live on cable news networks, the three major networks and other media outlets including social media.

Where is it being held?

The debate is being held at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas (UNLV).

Who will moderate the debate?

Chris Wallace, the anchor of Fox News Sunday, will moderate the final debate.

What is the structure for the debate?

The debate will be divided into six 15-minute segments covering topics picked by Wallace. Both candidates will have 2 minutes to respond to a question and then another chance to respond to their opponent. Wallace will use the leftover times to expand on the discussion topic.

What are the topics?

The six topics will be immigration, entitlements and debt, the Supreme Court, the economy, foreign policy, and each candidate's fitness to serve as president.

Will anyone else be on the debate stage?

No, the Libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson, and the Green Party candidate, Jill Stein, both failed to meet the 15 percent polling threshold to qualify for the debate.

Special guests?

Donald Trump has invited Pat Smith to attend the debate. Smith is the mother of Sean Smith, a State Department IT consultant who was killed in the 2012 Benghazi terrorist attacks. Smith, who spoke at the Republican National Convention in July, is an outspoken critic of Hillary Clinton and says she blames her son’s death personally on Clinton.

Time Magazine is reporting that Trump has invited President Barack Obama's half-brother to attend the debate. Malik Obama, who is now an American citizen, announced in July that he supports Trump.

Hillary Clinton has invited Mark Cuban and Meg Whitman to the debate.

 Live updates

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Voids discovered in Great Pyramid; scientists now try to figure out what they are

The Great Pyramid has been a puzzle for scientists for centuries, but new discoveries are leading to new questions about one of the wonders of the classical world.

Scientists, using state-of-the-art technology, have found voids in the massive structure, which was built in 2560 BC, The Telegraph reported.

A group of experts from universities, companies and institutes worldwide comprise "Scan Pyramids" and are using muography, thermography and 3-D simulation to map the pyramid.

Muons are able to penetrate thick rocks like X-rays penetrate the body, Discovery's Seeker website reported earlier this year.

>> Read more trending stories  

The group also scanned the Bent Pyramid, named for the slope of the upper section of the structure, as the first in its year-long project.

Thermography uses infrared to map structures. The different techniques are then combined to render a 3-D reconstruction to study the ancient buildings.

The team has found chevron patterns made of stone that it said were not used as decoration, but possibly to seal voids in structure.

Chevrons were used to cover the king and queen chambers, to either protect a room or keep a roof from collapsing, Scan Pyramid reported

Now researchers are trying to determine why so many chevrons were put in to protect a small area on a descending corridor

Scientists said they performed multiple tests to make sure it was not noise or "statistical fluctuation" and the results suggest that there is a void, or voids, behind the stonework.

The teams confirmed the void on the north face of the pyramid. Now they are trying to find the precise size and shape. 

They are also examining the queen's Cchamber. The results are expected to be released early 2017, The Telegraph reported.

To read more on the discovery and the technology used, click here.

Is the fix in? Trump campaign says election is rigged, supporters agree

The continuing campaign message from Donald Trump that the General Election will somehow be rigged against him may be hitting its mark as a new poll shows 41 percent of those surveyed believe November's election could be "stolen" from the Republican nominee.

According to a Politico/Morning Consult poll conducted Oct. 13-17, nearly three-fourths of the Republicans polled said they think it is a real possibility the election could be taken from Trump. Seventeen percent of the Democrats surveyed in the poll agreed. The poll was conducted among 1,999 registered voters.

Kyle Dropp, co-founder and chief research officer at Morning Consult, told Politico that Trump supporters feel a very real lack of confidence in the country’s voting system.

“The results show that voters are increasingly losing confidence that votes around the country will be counted accurately on Election Day," Dropp said. "The sentiment especially rings true among Trump's supporters, with half expressing concern about a 'rigged election.'"

Half of the respondents in an Associated Press poll – those who favored Donald Trump over Democratic rival Hillary Clinton -- say they have little to no confidence that votes will be counted fairly.

Trump ramped up his assault on Clinton, the media and the integrity of the vote-counting system over the weekend, tweeting Saturday: "Hillary Clinton should have been prosecuted and should be in jail. Instead she is running for president in what looks like a rigged election."

It is not a new theme for Trump, who in August told a crowd of supporters in Pennsylvania that he would only lose the state "if cheating goes on."

Many people both in and out of the Republican Party have expressed concern over Trump’s claims of a rigged process, as they have struck a chord with a growing number of his supporters. Nearly 60 percent of those polled in the Politico survey said they believe it's necessary to raise questions about the accuracy of the election results.

They cited voter fraud or involvement by a foreign government as the basis for their concerns.

Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, at first this weekend tried to walk back some of Trump’s remarks, saying the Republican Party would accept the results of the Nov. 8 election as the will of the people.

However, on Monday Pence’s position changed a bit when he said the national media is trying to rig the election for Clinton.

"I have no doubt the national media is trying to rig this election with their biased coverage in Hillary Clinton’s favor,” Pence said said.

Trump has doubled down on critics, especially fellow Republicans, claiming they are naïve for ignoring “large-scale voter fraud.”

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, (R-Wisc.), has been a vocal opponent of Trump’s claims that voter fraud is rampant in America. A spokesman for Ryan issued a statement Saturday saying, “Our democracy relies on confidence in election results, and the speaker is fully confident the states will carry out this election with integrity.”

Trump does have some supporters, though they may not be as full-throated as the candidate would wish they were.

Rep. Pete King, (R-N.Y.), agreed with Trump that a close look at how votes are counted is needed, but stopped short of saying the election would be rigged.

"Is it legally rigged? No it's not. Whoever wins, wins,” King told radio host Don Imus, “But, I do think there's a lot to what he's saying, whether it's conscious or not, of having people in the so-called establishment, whatever that is, the big money people, the media, the political leaders, they are petrified of the thought of Trump being elected. So they consciously and unconsciously just do everything they can."

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), told CNN on Monday that while he agrees somewhat with Trump, he does not believe there is a conspiracy to keep the GOP candidate from winning the election.

“… I don't want to say anything on this program that delegitimizes the elections because I don't want the American people to lose faith in our process. If we do, this entire constitutional republic could come tumbling down," King said. “We have a mainstream media that there's plenty of evidence to point to that they have been tilted in favor of Hillary Clinton, by and large. We have evidence out there that illegals have been voting by the hundreds, if not the thousands. It only took 537 in Florida. Those are things that do concern me.”

A Los Angeles Times story pointed out that presidential elections are carried out on a state level, not a national one, and that a majority of the states seen as “swing” states have a Republican overseeing the ballot counting.

Jon A. Husted, the secretary of state of Ohio, said Monday it was “wrong and engaging in irresponsible rhetoric” to question the integrity of the vote counting.

“We have made it easy to vote and hard to cheat,” Husted said Sunday in an interview. “We are going to run a good, clean election in Ohio, like we always do.”

7 things to know now: Melania Trump; State pressured FBI on emails; Bush fired

Here's a roundup of news trending across the nation and world today.

What to know now:

1. Email re-classification: According to an FBI investigation, a senior State Department official asked the agency to reduce the classification of an email from Hillary Clinton’s private server in exchange for a deal that would have given the FBI the authorization to deploy more agents in foreign countries. The accusation against State Department official Patrick Kennedy was revealed in the latest release of interviews from the FBI's investigation into Clinton's sending and receiving classified government information through a private email server. One FBI official told investigators that Kennedy repeatedly "pressured" FBI officials to declassify information in one of Clinton's emails about the 2012 attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya.

2. Bush is out: NBC News has fired Billy Bush from the “Today” show. Bush, who was heard and seen on tape in a degrading conversation about women with GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump, was only recently named as a host for the show’s 9 a.m. hour.

3. Cartwright pleads guilty: Retired four-star Gen. James Cartwright pleaded guilty in federal court Monday to lying to the FBI about whether he provided journalists top secret information in 2012. Cartwright, who was vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 2007, admitting he lied to the FBI when questioned about whether he provided top secret information to two journalists. Cartwright retired in 2011, but retained his top security clearance.

4. Walking out on Schumer: Two hundred people walked out of a performance by Amy Schumer in Tampa over the weekend after she attacked Donald Trump during one of her shows. The crowd booed after Schumer called Trump an “orange, sexual-assaulting, fake-college-starting monster.” Schumer called a Trump supporter up to the stage then questioned him about his decision to support the New York billionaire. As more people began booing, Schumer told them they could leave, then said they would be thrown out if they continued to yell during the show.

5. Supporting her husband: Melania Trump told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that she was surprised by the tape of her husband using crude language about women, but that she considered it only “boy talk.” Trump said she had not heard her husband speak that way before. "No. No, that's why I was surprised, because I said like I don't know that person that would talk that way, and that he would say that kind of stuff in private," Melania Trump said. "I heard many different stuff -- boys talk," she said. "The boys, the way they talk when they grow up and they want to sometimes show each other, 'Oh, this and that' and talking about the girls. But yes, I was surprised, of course."

And one more

Fox News Channel anchor Shepard Smith told The Huffington Post that he saw ex-Fox News boss Roger Ailes as a “father” and denied Ailes ever prevented him from publicly  announcing that he is gay. “He treated me with respect, just respect,” he said. “I wasn’t new in the business when I came here ― I’d been doing reporting for 12 years ― but I wasn’t old in it either, and he gave me every opportunity in the world and he never asked anything of me but that we get it right, try to get it right every day. It was a very warm and loving and comfortable place.” Ailes left the network last month after he was accused by several women there of sexual harassment.

In case you missed it

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