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President Bush pressed the House Wednesday to pass a bill, approved by the Senate, that would retroactively provide telecommunication companies with legal immunity for cooperating with the government in eavesdropping on suspected terrorists. He said such assistance is needed because terrorists are planning attacks on the US "that will make Sept. 11 pale by comparison."

In a surprise to analysts, retail sales rebounded from a dismal performance in December by rising 0.3 percent last month, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. The increase was led by a strong demand for new cars. In another positive sign, business inventories rose by 0.6 percent, the fastest pace in 17 months.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency said Tuesday that it may temporarily house people left homeless by last week's Southern tornadoes in unused trailers it purchased for 2005 Gulf Coast hurricane victims. The trailers are viewed as a way to supplement limited rental housing in rural areas of Tennessee and Arkansas. The agency says the trailers are safe despite earlier reports of formaldehyde contamination.

Some of the nation's early black homeowner neighborhoods are trying to win recognition before their place in history fades, the Associated Press has learned. Many of the developments marketed to blacks were built after World War II with the help of the GI Bill.


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