USA

President Bush delivered a vigorous defense of continued US military presence in Iraq Wed-nesday, promising that American forces will remain "until victory is achieved." He touted Thursday's parliamentary election as proof that Iraq is making inroads toward peace and democracy. The speech, at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, was his fourth in a series aimed at rallying public support for the war.

The trade deficit rose sharply in October, surprising analysts who expected declining oil prices to reduce the cost of imports. The Commerce Department said the gap had widened by 4.4 percent, reflecting a surge in imports of oil and Chinese-made electronics. The $68.9 billion deficit set records with China, Europe, Canada, Mexico, and the OPEC cartel. The increased volume of crude shipped to the US offset the recent slight decline in the price of gasoline.

Federal air marshals were preparing to expand their jurisdiction to some modes of ground transportation in a three-day test this week. Transporation Security Administration documents released late Tuesday said the efforts are part of increased vigilance to combat terrorist attacks. Undercover and uniformed officers will be posted at bus depots, train stations, ferries, and other transit hubs across the nation.

A Lebanese-born Swede was charged in federal court with conspiring to establish a terrorist training camp in Oregon. Oussama Kassir was arrested Sunday in the Czech Republic and is awaiting extradition to the US. Prosecutors say he and several others set up a camp in Bly, Ore., in 1999 but later abandoned the plan due to a lack of resources and participation. Two of Kassir's alleged co-conspirators also have been indicted and are awaiting extradition from Britain.

DuPont Co., the chemical giant, agreed to pay $10.25 million in fines and another $6.25 million toward environmental projects in a settlement over its alleged failure to report the dangers of toxic materials used in the manufacture of Teflon. The Environmental Protection Agency said the out-of-court settlement is the largest so far resulting from an environmental statute.

American Red Cross President Marsha Evans resigned Tuesday amid criticism of the charity's handling of the response to hurricane Katrina. A spokesperson for the organization said friction with the board of governors led to Evans stepping down.

A dam break caused extensive property damage in southeast Missouri. Investigators at the scene said it was not immediately clear why waters from the Black River breached the AmerenUE's Taum Sauk Lake Hydroelectric Plant Dam. The region had received only 0.1 inch of rain Tuesday night.

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