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    An African spotted-necked otter named Mugo examined a floating pumpkin in her exhibit Wednesday at the San Diego Zoo. Keepers had placed pumpkins smeared with peanut butter and hollowed-out gourds with fish inside in the otter’s exhibit in Ituri Forest.

Chinese firm buys Waldorf Astoria

MCLEAN, Va. » Hilton Worldwide is selling the Waldorf Astoria New York to Chinese insurance company Anbang Insurance Group Co. for $1.95 billion.

Hilton Worldwide will continue to manage the storied hotel for the next 100 years as part of an agreement with Anbang.

The Waldorf Astoria New York has restaurants including Peacock Alley, Bull and Bear Prime Steakhouse and Oscar’s. The companies said Monday that the property will undergo a major renovation.

In March 1893 millionaire William Waldorf Astor opened the 13-story Waldorf Hotel. The Astoria Hotel opened four years later. The Waldorf Astoria New York, on Park Avenue in Manhattan, opened in 1931, according to the company’s website. At the time it was the largest hotel in the world. The hotel became an official New York City landmark in 1993.

Hilton Worldwide plans to use proceeds from the hotel’s sale to buy additional hotel assets in the U.S.

Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc. was taken private in 2007 by private equity firm Blackstone Group LP. It returned to public stock markets in December. The McLean, Va., company is the world’s largest hotel group with more than 690,000 rooms across 93 countries and territories.

Aside from Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts, its brands include Hilton Hotels & Resorts, DoubleTree by Hilton and Embassy Suites Hotels.

Lottery set for national tree lighting

WASHINGTON » The National Christmas Tree lighting is set for Dec. 4.

The National Park Service and National Park Foundation said Wednesday that free tickets for the lighting ceremony at the White House Ellipse in President’s Park will be given out through an online lottery.

The lottery opens at 10 a.m. Oct. 17 and will close Oct. 20. Ticket requests can be made through the website

Those without computer access can call 877-444-6777 to request tickets.

Those who win tickets through the lottery will be notified beginning Nov. 3.




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