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Sales Of New Homes Rise Again, Hit Five-Year High

New home sales rose 8.3 percent in June to an annual rate of 497,000, the Census Bureau and Department of Housing and Urban Development reported Wednesday.

At that pace, sales were the strongest since the 504,000 rate of May 2008.

The housing sector has been one of the economy's brighter spots in recent months as it continues to recover from a bubble that burst in 2007 and 2008. Reuters says that housing is "showing no signs of slowing in the face of higher mortgage rates."

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An Exuberantly Dark First Novel Explores The Chaos Of Central Africa

Fiston Mwanza Mujila's novel, Tram 83, is a freewheeling tale about life in an imaginary place inspired by the author's home country, the Democratic Republic of Congo. Critic John Powers has a review.

Berkeley's Sugary Drinks Are Getting Pricier, Thanks To New Tax

Berkeley, Calif., passed a 1-cent-per-ounce tax on sugary beverages in 2014. Researchers say soda prices went up three months after it was implemented — a first step toward reducing consumption.

Best Twitter Reactions To McCarthy Withdrawing From Speaker Race

The political world was shocked when the GOP House leader took himself out of consideration for speaker. Rep. Charlie Rangel tweeted that unlike his smoothie, things weren't "smooth" for McCarthy.

How Skyscraper Construction Ties Into Tech Bubbles

There's a lot of talk in Silicon Valley about a tech bubble.Our Planet Money podcast team examines one possible indicator of a bubble: architecture. Very, very tall architecture.

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