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Jobless claims fell to the lowest level in four months, the Labor Department reported Thursday, with 293,000 jobless applications filed last week. The drop surprised analysts, who have expected jobless claims to rise during the economic slowdown.

 

The Senate was expected Thursday to pass a nonbinding resolution expressing support for US troops in Iraq. The measure – which was worded broadly so as to ensure approval – was meant to be a legislative mechanism to begin negotiations with the House on the controversial issue of funding for the Iraq war.

 

Five global banking institutions and four energy service companies have committed to "greening" buildings in 16 cities, in a partnership arranged by the Clinton Foundation announced Wednesday. Former President Bill Clinton discussed the deal at the C40 Large Cities Climate Summit he is cohosting in New York with the city's Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Buildings account for about 50 percent of energy use in newer cities and more than 70 percent in older ones. Retrofitted buildings could reduce energy use by 20 to 50 percent, Clinton said.

 

The number of people in the US from ethnic or racial minority groups has reached more than 100 million, or about one-third of the population, the US Census Bureau reported Thursday.

 

US lawmakers labeled China and Russia the world's leading sources of piracy Thursday, in an annual list released by the Congressional International Anti-Piracy Caucus. US movie, software, music, and book companies lost $2.21 billion in sales in China last year and $2.18 billion in Russia due to piracy, according to the International Intellectual Property Alliance.

 

The New York Court of Appeals ruled Wednesday that a gay marriage, approved in Massachusetts in 2004, deserved legal recognition in New York because New York hadn't banned same-sex marriages until 2006. Massachusetts began allowing gay marriage three years ago, but not for out-of-town couples whose home states don't recognize the practice.

 

James Tillman received $5 million from the Connecticut legislature Wednesday after 18 years' imprisonment for a rape that he didn't commit, according to DNA tests last year. Both chambers voted unanimously for the compensation and gave Tillman a standing ovation.

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