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US military leaders are recommending a shift of focus in Iraq from battling insurgents to strengthening Iraqi forces, the Washington Post reported Thursday. The US Joint Chiefs of Staffs said they do not favor troop buildup, but view support of the Iraqi Army as vital to stabilization.

Escondido, Calif., which is 42 percent Hispanic, reversed course Wednesday and rescinded plans to enforce a law that punishes landlords for renting to illegal immigrants. A US district judge must still approve the city council's decision.

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The Federal Election Commission slapped fines totaling $629,500 on three independent fundraising groups Wednesday for transgressions during the 2004 presidential campaign, according to The Washington Post. Penalties were meted out for serving as indirect conduits for big-money donations from individuals and corporations. Two of the groups favor Democrats (MoveOn.org's Voter Fund and a League of Conservation Voters fund); the other favors Republicans (Swiftboat Veterans and POWs for Truth).

Claims on public lands by uranium-mining interests shot up nearly 50 percent since 2002 as renewed interest in nuclear power has caused a tripling in price, according to the Environmental Working Group. Using satellite images, the group reveals the siting of mines near the Grand Canyon and other treasured areas.

Japanese pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka reached an agreement with the Boston Red Sox Wednesday for a six-year contract that will pay him a minimum of $52 million. The Sox must also pay the right-hander's Japanese team, the Seibu Lions, $51 million to release him.

The statute of limitations on reparations for injustices done to slaves ran out more than a century ago, a federal appeals court in Chicago ruled Wednesday. Descendents can't collect damages for any past wrongs done by some of the nation's biggest banks and insurers, but the court said corporations may be guilty of consumer fraud if they hide ties to slavery.

Two studies published Friday in the journal Science cast doubts on the existence of water on a Saturn moon and on the formation of comets. One study argues that buried ice clathrates, not liquid water, are responsible for eruptions on Enceladus. The other study is an analysis of comet samples, and it posits that comets might form from hot particles migrating to the colder, outer fringes beyond Pluto, rather than from ancient stars that exploded and died.

Football visionary and Kansas City Chiefs owner Lamar Hunt, who died Wednesday in Dallas, was instrumental in the merger of the National Football League with the rival American Football League, which he founded in 1966. He is credited with coining the term "Super Bowl."


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