USA

In its best showing in more than a year, the gross domestic product rose 4.3 percent in the third quarter, the Commerce Department reported. The GDP measures the value of all goods and services produced in the US.

The US military has been paying Baghdad newspapers to run stories written secretly by American troops that reflect favorably on US-led rebuilding efforts, the Los Angeles Times reported, attributing its account to military officials and documents. Through a small Washington-based defense contractor, stories are translated and placed that, according to the Times, "trumpet the work of US and Iraqi troops" and "denounce insurgents."

Gov. Mark Warner (D) of Virginia granted clemency to a convicted killer who would have been the 1,000th person executed in the US since the Supreme Court allowed resumption of the death penalty in 1976. Robin Lovitt's sentence was reduced to life in prison without parole. He was scheduled to be executed by lethal injection Wednesday night.

Hurricane-ravaged New Orleans is developing a wireless Internet service that should cover the entire city within a year, Mayor Ray Nagin (D) announced. Private companies, including Intel Corp., have donated much of the equipment, which the mayor said will help with economic recovery. The free, municipally run Wi-Fi system already has begun operation in the French Quarter and downtown.

After a period of increased drug seizures along its southern flank, the US could face a growing risk of cocaine trafficking in the "transit zone" - the area between the US and South America - a new government report said. The increased vulnerability occurs as military and Homeland Security attention is diverted to wars and Gulf Coast relief, according to the Government Accountability Office, an investigative arm of Congress.

After falling short of its recruiting goals last year, the Army has turned to enticing former service members back into uniform, according to a report in the new issue of the Army Times newspaper. More than 70,000 people who've served in the Army, Navy, Air Force, or Marine Corps within the last five years were recently sent mailings, indicating that by reenlisting they can regain their old rank, skip basic training, and receive a bonus of up to $19,000, depending on their specialties.

The Transportation Security Administration is planning to allow airline passengers to bring scissors of four inches or shorter and other sharp objects in carry-on bags because the items no longer pose the greatest threat to airline security, The Washington Post reported. TSA officials say they want screeners to spend more time looking for improvised explosive devices instead of sharp objects.

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