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They found that people who got Facebook messages that their friends had voted were a bit more likely to go to the polls than those who did not get the same reminder. And from there the effect multiplied in the social network, they reported in Thursday's journal Nature.

The friend-prodding likely increased voter turnout by as much as 340,000 in the non-presidential election that voted in a new Republican congress, the scientists calculated. They said that it could potentially change the outcome of close elections.

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YouTube blocks video inciting violence in Mid East

NEW YORK (AP) â¿¿ YouTube has blocked a video attacking Islam's prophet Muhammad in Egypt and Libya, where angry protests were sparked by outrage at the video.

Ultraconservative Muslims enflamed by the video stormed the U.S. embassy in Cairo on Tuesday and replaced an American flag with an Islamic banner. Later Tuesday evening, protesters in Libya burned down the U.S. consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi, killing the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three members of his staff.

The 14-minute video is a trailer to an amateurish, low-budget movie titled "Innocence of Muslims," which depicts Muhammad as a feckless philanderer who approved of child sexual abuse. Muslims find it offensive to depict Muhammad in any manner, let alone insult the prophet.

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US wholesale stockpiles up in July but sales fell

WASHINGTON (AP) â¿¿ U.S. wholesalers increased their stockpiles in July from June, but sales fell for a third straight month. Declining sales could force companies to cut inventories in coming months, a troubling sign that economic growth could weaken.

The Commerce Department said Wednesday that wholesale stockpiles grew 0.7 percent in July, the biggest increase in five months.

Sales fell 0.1 percent following declines of 1.4 percent in June and 1.1 percent in May. That marked the longest stretch of weakness since seven straight monthly declines ending in January 2009, a period when the country was in recession.

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