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Some of the nation's top colleges and universities have postponed their early application deadlines, prompted by continued reports that students and high schools are stumbling over technical problems with the Common Application. Nov. 1 deadlines have been pushed back to Nov. 8 at Northwestern, the University of Chicago, Duke, Columbia, Barnard, Dartmouth and Tufts. Boston University announced a delay until Nov. 15, while Syracuse postponed its Nov. 15 deadline to Dec. 1. Earlier, the Georgia Institute of Technology and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill extended their Oct. 15 deadlines until Oct. 21. The Common Application, which students fill out online, is used by 517 colleges and universities, including nearly all of the most prestigious schools. The problems have been reported with a new version of Common Application released in August.

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Regional transit strike thwarts commute

Commuters in San Francisco spent much of Friday scrambling for buses, ferries and car pools after workers for the Bay Area Rapid Transit System walked off the job for the second time in three months. Traffic jams clogged the Bay Bridge on Friday evening, and long lines of weary homeward-bound passengers waited at San Francisco's TransBay Terminal. The transit system, known as BART, is the area's main commuter railroad, carrying 400,000 passengers daily between the East Bay and San Francisco.

Six months of on-again, off-again negotiations have brought agreement on key issues such as raises and health care. BART managers have said they want flexibility in changing procedures without having to get permission from the unions for each change.

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Autopsy inconclusive for fetus found in bag

An autopsy of a fetus found in a teenage girl's shopping bag at a New York City lingerie store was inconclusive, and more tests will be needed to determine how the fetus died, the city medical examiner's office said Friday.

Preliminary reports from detectives were that the fetus was born alive and possibly had been asphyxiated, but police spokesman John McCarthy said police were awaiting the medical examiners' determination of the cause of death.

The case began Thursday when a security guard stopped Tiana Rodriguez and Francis Estevez, both 17, to examine their bags at a Victoria's Secret store in midtown Manhattan. The guard found the fetus in a bag Rodriguez was carrying, police said.

Rodriguez told detectives she was carrying the remains because she had delivered a day earlier and didn't know what to do, authorities said.

Both girls were arrested on petit larceny charges.

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HARTLAND TOWNSHIP, MICH.: Wal-Mart said Friday that it is offering back the job of a Michigan worker who said he was fired when he tried to help a woman being assaulted in a store parking lot. Wal-Mart spokeswoman Brooke Buchanan said Kristopher Oswald broke company policy but a review showed that his intentions were good.

SAN FRANCISCO: The firefighter who ran over and killed a survivor of the Asiana Airlines crash at San Francisco International Airport in July will not be charged with a crime, prosecutors said Friday.

NEW ORLEANS: A federal judge refused Friday to throw out criminal charges against ex-Mayor Ray Nagin, who is accused of accepting bribes, trips and other gratuities from contractors.

UPPER ARLINGTON, OHIO: A police cruiser responding to a robbery report, lights flashing and siren blaring, struck a car at an intersection early Friday, killing six members of a family and injuring an officer, officials said. A social worker said the dead were Iraqi refugees who were driving home from visits with family and friends.