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Senators voted Thursday to reject a Republican effort to shrink taxes on inherited estates during this election year. Consideration of a House bill that would wipe out what Republicans call the "death tax" was blocked by a 57-41 vote, leaving it three votes shy of advancing. Sen. Trent Lott (R) of Mississippi said he expected the estate tax to find its way into an unrelated bill headed for the president's desk sometime this year.

For the second time in two years, the AFL-CIO petitioned the Bush administration Thursday to impose trade sanctions against China for violations of US trade law. The labor federation said China's unfair trade practices, which include suppression of unionizing efforts, have contributed to the loss of more than 1 million US jobs. The administration rejected a similar AFL-CIO petition in 2004 in hopes of making greater headway with China through constructive engagement.

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Congress moved forcefully to clean up TV and radio broadcasts by imposing fines 10 times larger than before for indecent content. President Bush, who has promised to sign the Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act into law, said stiffer penalties will make TV and radio "more family friendly." The new legislation authorizes the Federal Communications Commission to increase the maximum fines for indecent content from the current $32,500 to $325,000 per incident.

Florida wildlife officials removed manatees from the state's endangered species list because the population of 3,100 "sea cows," as the marine mammals are often called, no longer faces extinction. The lumbering herbivores, however, remain on the federal endangered species list.

Hispanic members of Congress and Latino groups announced plans to conduct nationwide citizenship workshops July 1 aimed at harnessing the momentum of recent peaceful protests organized to oppose a proposed border security bill. The workshops will be open to all immigrants and will provide assistance in completing citizenship applications. An estimated 8 million legal immigrants are currently eligible for citizenship, according to the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

Relief pitcher Jason Grimsley was released by the Arizona Diamondbacks, a day after his home was searched by federal agents following his admission that he used human growth hormone, steroids, and amphetamines. The raid - and Grimsley's implication of other major leaguers - was the latest sign that widespread investigations into drug use by athletes are still active, even in the era of tougher testing.


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