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An estimated 20,000 people were expected to attend welcome home celebrations in Midland, Texas, late Tuesday for former President and Laura Bush on their arrival from Washington. The city was to be the first stop on the couple's return to private life, although they planned to continue on to their 1,600-acre ranch in Crawford, Texas. They also have bought a house in suburban Dallas, where the former president will maintain an office.

In one of his final official acts, Bush commuted the prison sentences of two border patrol agents who were convicted of shooting an unarmed Mexican drug smuggler. José Compean was sentenced to 12 years and Ignacio Ramos to 11 years for the 2006 incident, which drew an outcry from supporters on grounds that they'd only been doing their jobs. The agents are due to leave prison March 20 after serving 26 months each.

With the sale of contracts for delivery next month expiring, crude oil prices were rebounding in Tuesday's trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The per-barrel price appeared likely to close at or near $38, or about 3 percent higher than Monday's rate. Analysts said, however, that they expected March contracts to resume the "downward arc" in pricing, barring an unforeseen increase in demand.


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