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The US Census Bureau said Thursday that New Orleans was the fastest-growing American city last year, with an estimated 13.8 percent population jump to 239,124, about half its pre-hurricane Katrina size. Victorville, Calif., grew next fastest: 9.5 percent.

Sen. Edward Kennedy (D) of Massachusetts, who has been undergoing cancer treatments and hadn't appeared in the Senate since mid-May, made a surprise visit to the chamber Wednesday to cast a decisive vote on long-stalled Medicare legislation. Above, he entered the Capitol accompanied by niece Caroline Kennedy. After the vote he returned home.

Former White House adviser Karl Rove ignored a subpoena from congressional Democrats to appear at a House Judiciary subcommittee hearing Thursday to testify about whether he was involved in the firing of federal prosecutors.

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