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The $700 billion government rescue program will not be used to purchase troubled assets as originally planned, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said Wednesday. He said the administration is exploring other options, including possibly injecting more capital into banks on a matching basis.

Possible aid to the ailing US auto industry has received increasing attention in Washington. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday she wants Congress to consider "emergency and limited financial assistance." White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said the Bush administration had gone as far as it can go with the authority Congress has given it, but that the president was open to helping automakers.

The Great Lakes and Mississippi River watershed, connected more than a century ago, need to be separated to stop the transfer of some species, such as the Asian carp, the Alliance for the Great Lakes said in a study released Wednesday. The carp, which are within 50 miles of Lake Michigan, can grow to more than 4 feet long and eat all the food available to other species.

President-elect Obama has opened the door for lobbyists, under limited conditions, to work for him. Although he campaigned against lobbyists' influence, he said Tuesday they work in his transition if they stop their advocacy efforts and avoid working in any field they lobbied on in the last year. They also must not lobby the Obama administration for a year after leaving its service.

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