Hurricane season ends without ‘major’ US storm

Posted Nov. 30, 2011, at 10:13 p.m.

LOS ANGELES — The 2011 Atlantic hurricane season officially ended Wednesday, marking the sixth consecutive year that a “major” hurricane did not make landfall in the United States.

The season spared the usual victims, the Southern states, but it did manage to produce Hurricane Irene. Although it wasn’t considered a major hurricane, the storm pummeled the Northeast to such an extent that it became one of the costliest storms in U.S. history.

Irene killed at least 47 people in the United States, and eight more in the Caribbean and Canada.

That hurricane was the only one to make landfall in the United States in 2011 and the first since Hurricane Ike, which in 2008 caused $10 billion in damage across Texas, Arkansas and Louisiana, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The season produced an above-average total of 19 tropical storms, which includes hurricanes. That’s the third-highest total since 1851, the agency reported.

Want a toy with that Happy Meal? 10 cents please

SAN FRANCISCO — A new city law aimed at making fast food for kids follow nutritional guidelines won’t be making Happy Meals healthier, just more expensive — if you want a toy.

Beginning Thursday, it will cost an extra dime in San Francisco to get a toy in a Happy Meal, a move one county supervisor called a marketing ploy prompted by the new law.

San Francisco was the first major U.S. city to prohibit fast-food restaurants from including toy giveaways with children’s meals that don’t meet nutritional guidelines for sodium, calories and fat.

The goal of the law was not to micromanage fast-food chains but to raise awareness about the nutritional content of the food, he said, pointing to McDonald’s switch to apples and smaller portions of french fries in Happy Meals as an example of the success of the law.

Dog steps on gun, shoots Utah hunter in buttocks

SALT LAKE CITY — A Utah bird hunter was shot in the buttocks after his dog stepped on a shotgun laid across the bow of a boat.

Box Elder County Sheriff’s Deputy Kevin Potter said the 46-year-old Brigham City man was duck hunting with a friend when he climbed out of the boat to move decoys.

The man left his 12-gauge shotgun in the boat and the dog stepped on it, causing it to fire. It wasn’t clear whether the safety on the gun was on at the time.

Potter said the man was hit from about 10 feet away with 27 pellets of birdshot. He said the man wasn’t seriously injured.

Britain orders Iran’s diplomats to leave UK

LONDON — Britain ordered all Iranian diplomats out of the U.K. within 48 hours and shuttered its ransacked embassy in Tehran on Wednesday, in a significant escalation of tensions between Iran and the West.

The ouster of the entire Iranian diplomatic corps deepens Iran’s international isolation amid growing suspicions over its nuclear program. At least four other European countries also moved to reduce diplomatic contacts with Iran.

Foreign Secretary William Hague said Britain withdrew its entire diplomatic staff after angry mobs stormed the British Embassy compound and a diplomatic residence in Tehran, hauling down Union Jack flags, torching a vehicle and tossing looted documents through windows.

The hours-long assault Tuesday was reminiscent of the chaotic seizure of the U.S. Embassy in 1979. Protesters replaced the British flag with a banner in the name of a 7th-century Shiite saint, Imam Hussein, and one looter showed off a picture of Queen Elizabeth II apparently taken off a wall.

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