These are freely available datasets from here and around the world. Some are accessible via API's, which are an automated way to mine data into software like Google Refine.
Data.gov.au - Is hosted by the Australian Government. At present it contains over 1000 datasets, including datasets on Planning, Property, Transport and Culture. Contains a bunch of interesting apps also.
Datacatalogs.org - Is a portal to open Datasets from around the world. API compatible. Contains a few datasets under the banner of 'news'
DSDR - Data Sharing for Demographic Research - At the University of Michigan. Contains a range of mineable demographic information from the US.
Eurostat - Business and demographic statistics from the Eurozone. Also contains specialist datasets like information society.
KEDS - Kansas Event Data System - From Kansas University. Uses automated coding of English language news stories in overseas locations to predict political change.
Statista - A wonderful data portal with an easy to use search interface. Try searching for anything you like - 'internet shopping', 'US Elections', 'social media' and see what it can do!
World Bank Data Catalog - A wealth of datasets from all parts of the globe. Contains World Development Indicators, World Bank Finances, Health, Education Stats and specialist sets like Information and Communication Technologies. Largely API compatible.