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Consumer borrowing fell by a record amount in October, the Federal Reserve reported. It said borrowing, on an annually adjusted basis, dropped $7.2 billion, the biggest amount yet in dollar terms. That translates to a 4 percent decrease in overall borrowing, the largest percentage in almost 15 years.

Defense Secretary Rumsfeld raised the possibility of drawing down US troop strength in Iraq next year to below 137,000, depending on conditions after next week's election and the recommendations of US commanders. On Wednesday, the Pentagon said it has tentative plans to halt the scheduled deployment of two Army brigades to Iraq, sending small teams to support and train Iraqi forces instead.

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Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice told a news conference at the NATO meetings in Europe she cannot guarantee that terrorism detainees won't be abused again. But she reiterated the rules against torture and said any abuses would be investigated and violators punished.

Former Presidents Bush and Clinton announced $90 million in grants from money they've raised to benefit victims of hurricane Katrina. The largest chunk, $40 million, will be divided among the states hit hardest: Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. Colleges and universities will receive $30 million, and $20 million will be donated to faith-based organizations.

Pop singer Mariah Carey, rapper Kanye West, and John Legend led the field with eight nominations each for the Grammy Awards as announced Thursday. Carey and West are up for best album and record of the year, among others. Legend is a contender for best new artist. Ex-Beatle Paul McCartney also was nominated for best album. Earning six nominations each: rap star 50 Cent, Beyoncé Knowles, and Stevie Wonder.


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