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Speaking on the deadliest day for American forces since they invaded Iraq 22 months ago, President Bush urged Iraqis to defy terrorists by voting in Sunday's elections and said Americans who see the violence there as "very discouraging" should focus on long-term US goals in the region. He spoke of "firmly planting the flag of liberty," but also expressed sadness over the deaths of 36 soldiers, including 31 in the crash of a US helicopter.

Two commuter trains collided and derailed Wednesday morning in Glendale, Calif., a Los Angeles suburb, killing at least four passengers and injuring many others, according to rescue workers. Both Metrolink trains were traveling outbound from Los Angeles's Union Station and apparently sideswiped each other. One of the trains then struck a locomotive parked on a siding. Firefighters were searching for passengers possibly trapped in the toppled cars. Early reports did not include details on what led to the accident.

The White House, in figures released Tuesday, said its drive to halve federal deficits by 2009 remains on track, although it projected that the cost of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan may serve to drive this year's shortfall to a record $427 billion. Although this exceeds last year's $412 billion deficit, the administration views the projection as a sign of progress because the gap is less than last year's, in relation to the growing US economy.

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The FBI said the rumored "dirty bomb" terrorist plot reported against Boston last week was a false alarm, apparently the hoax of a Mexican who said his tip was only a joke.

A federal appeals court upheld a lower court's stay of execution in Connecticut of Michael Ross on Tuesday, the day before his scheduled death by lethal injection. The ruling allows more time to determine whether Ross, who murdered eight young women in the 1980s, was mentally competent when he waived his own appeals to expedite his death.

Reversing an earlier decision, Rolling Stone magazine will accept an advertisement for a new translation of the Bible, according to Zondervan, publisher of Today's New International Version (TNIV). The publisher is aiming the TNIV particularly at young adults. "We have addressed the internal miscommunications that led to the previous misstatement of company policy and apologize for any confusion it may have caused," a spokeswoman for Wenner Media, Rolling Stone's parent company, said earlier this week.

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