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Eager to begin his second term in the White House and what he calls "a season of hope," President Bush met with his Cabinet for the first time since Aug. 2. How much change will occur in its ranks was unclear, but among those said to be considering departures are Attorney General Ashcroft, Secretary of State Powell, Homeland Security Secretary Ridge, and National Security Adviser Condo-leezza Rice. Although Bush is the first presidential candidate since 1988 to win a majority of the popular vote (51 percent), he reiterated at a news conference that he seeks bipartisan support and wants "to reach out to everyone who shares our goals." Simplifying the tax code and overhauling Social Security remain top priorities, he said.

Army reservists and National Guardsmen said looters, who outnumbered them, were able to truck away tons of powerful explosives from Iraq's Al Qaqaa ammunition site after the fall of Baghdad, The Los Angeles Times reported. The witness accounts - the first about the theft that became an election issue late in the presidential campaign - claim a request for help in securing the site went unanswered. The Pentagon said it is investigating the situation.

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Money and succesful campaigns again went hand-in-hand on Election Day, as roughly 95 percent of the biggest spenders in congressional races - mostly incumbents - prevailed, the Associated Press reported.

The motion picture industry was poised to launch a first wave of litigation Thursday in a new campaign against personal computer users who illegally distribute films online. A smiliar effort was undertaken by the recorded music industry. The Motion Picture Association of America claims the industry loses more than $3 billion annually through various forms of piracy and theft.

Despite John Kerry's concession speech, election workers in Ohio planned to spend the next 10 days verifying provisional votes, a state election official said. The effort should be instructive since this is the first year for provisional ballots, which are used when voters believe they are properly registered but their names do not appear in the appropriate records. Such ballots are counted once they are determined to be valid.

Five persons convicted Wednesday in the first criminal trial tied to the collapse of Enron Corp faced possible jail time during the sentencing phase in Houston. The four former Merrill Lynch & Co. executives and a former midlevel Enron manager could be imprisoned from a few months to 30 years for conspiracy and fraud.

Quiz show contestant Ken Jennings, a software engineer from Salt Lake City, became the top TV game show winner of all time Wednesday when he ran his earnings on "Jeopardy" to $2,197,000.


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