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Tours of duty in Iraq are being extended to a full year for National Guard and Army Reserve soldiers, US military officials confirmed. The extension, approved Friday but first reported Tuesday by The Washington Post, means some 20,000 people will serve as much as six months longer. It follows similar orders for active-duty troops and comes amid ongoing violence against coalition forces in Iraq and complaints by some soldiers and their families about delays in troop rotations. Meanwhile, the Bush administration said the president's request for $87 billion for operations in Iraq and Afghanistan would add as much as $60 billion to the federal deficit.

Boston's Roman Catholic Archdiocese reportedly reached a tentative $85 million settlement with lawyers for 500 alleged victims of clergy sex abuse, the Associated Press said, although a church spokesman called that "premature." Word of the possible breakthrough emerged after new Archbishop Sean O'Malley personally took part in the long-running negotiations Sunday, remaining on the scene until after midnight. He succeeded Cardinal Bernard Law, who was forced to resign over his handling of abuse claims that first surfaced in Boston and touched off a nationwide scandal.

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A state judge agreed to move the second trial of Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols to McAlester, Okla., Monday due to pretrial publicity. Proceedings will begin March 1. The site is about 110 miles from the scene of the 1995 blast. Sentenced to life in prison by a federal court for the deaths of eight federal agents, Nichols also is charged with 161 state counts of murder for other victims, and could face the death penalty if convicted. Bomber Timothy McVeigh was executed in 2001.

In a long-anticipated crackdown, a recording industry trade group sued 261 individuals for copyright infringement over online music swaps. The Recording Industry Association of America said the lawsuits, filed Monday in federal courts around the US, target people who shared an average of 1,000 songs each. An estimated 60 million Americans use the file-sharing networks that the group blames for a 31 percent drop in compact-disc sales in three years.

Indiana Gov. Frank O'Bannon (D) was reported in critical condition after being found unconscious at a hotel in Chicago, where he was attending a business conference. Lt. Gov. Joe Kernan assumed many of the O'Bannon's duties, and state legislators signaled they are prepared to name him acting governor, if necessary.

Just under $1 million in multicolored $20 bills will begin circulating Oct. 9, the Federal Reserve announced. The $20 bill is the most-counterfeited US denomination, and the change - adding splashes of peach, blue, and yellow - is the latest attempt to deter forgers. Revamped $50s and $100s will arrive in 2004 and 2005, respectively.


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