USA

Special prosecutor David Barrett, who led a 10-year, $21 million probe of Clinton administration Housing Secretary Henry Cisneros, released his report Thursday, ending the longest independent counsel investigation on record. According to The New York Times, Barrett claims the Justice Department refused to grant him sufficient jurisdiction to investigate alleged income tax evasion properly. Justice Department and Internal Revenue Service officials, who rejected the conclusion, said the inquiry was poorly managed.

The State Department will begin shifting staff diplomats from Europe and department headquarters to countries in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said in a speech in Washington. This year, 100 positions will be affected by what she called "transformational diplomacy," with more to follow. The goal is to raise the US diplomatic posture in China, India, Nigeria, Lebanon, and other developing countries.

Louisiana's state medical examiner called for resumption of searches for 3,200 Gulf Coast residents still listed as missing since hurricane Katrina struck almost five months ago. Although officials at a call center believe relatives may have failed to report that some missing persons were later found, the remains of others may be buried under rubble. Still others may be avoiding detection because of legal problems.

Claiming it needs information about how pornography shows up in online searches, the Justice Department filed papers against the popular search engine Google in San Jose, Calif. Google has refused to comply with a subpoena because it says doing so would violate user privacy rights. The Bush administration is seeking to revive an Internet child-protection law.

Education Secretary Margaret Spellings, who is credited with getting help quickly to schools hit by the Gulf Coast hurricanes, announced $230 million in new federal aid to colleges in Louisiana and Mississippi. She also told an interviewer that her office "is on the way" to keeping its promise to give states more leeway in enforcing the No Child Left Behind law.

Sunday's NFL conference championship games will determine which teams advance to Super Bowl XL, to be played Feb. 5 indoors in Detroit. Denver hosts Pittsburgh for the AFC title at 3 p.m. (EST), with Carolina at Seattle in the NFC matchup at 6:30.

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