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Homeland Security officials said they're prepared to send in the military if mounting drug-related violence in Mexico should spill over into the US. More than 5,000 people have been killed the past year as Mexican drug cartels have fought each other and the government for control of lucrative drug and human-smuggling routes across the US-Mexican border.

President Bush turned down a plea from Israel last year to bomb Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program, according to a weekend report by The New York Times. Bush opted to pursue unspecified covert efforts, former and current US officials told the Times.

President-elect Obama plans to honor Sen. John McCain (R) of Arizona, his election rival, at an inaugural-eve dinner Jan. 19. It is one of three dinners arranged to salute Americans who put their country ahead of their political party. Demo-cratic Vice President-elect Joseph Biden and Colin Powell, a former secretary of State under the current president, are the other honorees.

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