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Gene therapy improves ‘bionic ear’ technology

A procedure that uses a series of electric jolts to inject lab-designed DNA molecules into cells of the inner ear may help to regrow auditory nerves in people with profound hearing loss, according to researchers.

Ravens can figure out who’s the boss by watching unfamiliar birds

LOS ANGELES — Humans and other primates aren’t the only members of the animal kingdom who can watch total strangers interact and figure out who’s in charge. Ravens can do it too, according to a new study in the journal Nature Communications.

Dear Abby: Parents are appalled by man’s indifference to his young son

Dear Abby: My 23-year-old son, “Wayne,” who is single, has a 3-year-old son. We didn’t learn about the child until he was more than a year old, when Wayne was asked to take a paternity test. Luckily, we have been able to form a good relationship with our grandson’s mother and see him often. However, our son has shown no interest. He pays child support, but has little interaction.

Wall Street

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks edged mostly lower Wednesday, breaking a six-day winning streak, as investors were disappointed by the latest round of earnings from U.S. companies. A surprise drop in new home sales also weighed on the broader market.

Metals futures

NEW YORK — Spot nonferrous metal prices as of 7 a.m.

Portland grain

PORTLAND, Ore. — Bids as of noon Wednesday for grains delivered to Portland, by rail or barge, in dollars per bushel. Information from USDA Market News Service.

Fire alarm delivered with newspaper

VANCOUVER — A woman delivering newspapers early Wednesday discovered a fire at a Vancouver house and helped the family safely escape.

S. Korea ferry toll hits 150 as search gets tougher

JINDO, South Korea — The grim work of recovering bodies from the submerged South Korea ferry proceeded rapidly today, with the official death toll reaching 150, though a government official said divers must rip through cabin walls to retrieve more victims.

Bomb, shooting in Egypt kills 2 police officers

CAIRO, Egypt — A senior Egyptian police officer was killed by a bomb placed under his car in a western Cairo suburb today, the latest in a series of targeted attacks on police and the military as Islamic militant groups keep up a campaign of violence since last summer’s ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi.