USA

Democratic presidential candidate Howard Dean shook up his campaign staff after Tuesday's loss in the New Hampshire primary, his second straight disappointing finish. He named Roy Neel, a longtime aide to former Vice President Al Gore, as his campaign's chief executive officer. The appointment prompted campaign manager Joe Trippi, who helped to craft Dean's Web-savvy populist strategy, to announce his resignation. In another sign of tumult at the once high-flying campaign, Dean asked workers to defer their next paycheck for two weeks.

The last suspected member of a western New York State terror cell was taken into custody in Yemen, reports said. Jaber Elbaneh, sought by US authorities for attending an Al Qaeda training camp, was being held in Yemen with negotiations continuing for his extradition. Six men from Lackawanna, N.Y., pled guilty to aiding a terrorist organization by attending the camp in Afghanistan in 2001.

The Army will temporarily boost its forces by 30,000 during the next four years, Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Schoomaker (above) told Congress Wednesday. Although strained by operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, Schoomaker rejected calls from lawmakers to enact permanent increases, arguing that would undermine efforts to streamline and modernize the Army. Schoomaker also told lawmakers the Army plans a larger troop presence in Iraq through 2006. The Army is in the midst of its largest troop rotation in decades as soldiers who participated in the invasion of Iraq are replaced with fresh units.

A Texas death-row inmate confessed to more than a dozen killings shortly before his execution Wednesday night for the 1993 slaying of a grocery store owner. Billy Frank Vickers admitted for the first time that he had shot the owner during a botched robbery attempt and took responsibility for several other killings for which he was never charged. He mentioned no names, except in the case of a former Texas oil millionaire who was accused - and later acquitted - of killing his stepdaughter in 1976.

A federal judge ordered Exxon Mobil Corp. to pay $4.5 billion in punitive damages, plus interest, to victims of the 1989 Exxon Valdez tanker disaster off the southern coast of Alaska. The oil giant said it would appeal the decision released Wednesday by US District Court judge Russel Holland. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has twice vacated Holland's punitive damage awards and the issue has already reached the Supreme Court. The money would be distributed among 32,000 fishermen, Alaska natives, landowners, small business owners, and municipalities affected by the 11-million gallon spill of crude oil in Prince William Sound.

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