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By Compiled from wire service reports by Ross Atkin / January 30, 2006



At least 19 missiles have been fired at suspected overseas terrorists from unmanned Predator aircraft since 9/11, unnamed US officials told the Los Angeles Times. According to the report, the US is expanding the highly classified "targeted killing program" as terrorist networks splinter into smaller cells.

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In his weekly radio address, President Bush said the Senate has a "constitutional responsibility" to hold a simple up-or-down confirmation vote Tuesday on Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito. The remarks countered an uphill effort led by Massachusetts Democrats John Kerry and Edward Kennedy to mount a filibuster.

To keep cohesive, combat-ready troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Army has forced about 50,000 soldiers deployed to those countries to continue serving past their commitments, Reuters reported.

Scientists have found a deposit of frozen methane gas, which may hold huge energy potential, just off the southern California coast, according to a report in the February issue of the journal Geology. In recent years, interest has grown in tapping methane hydrates, ice-like crystals that form at low temperatures and high pressure in some seabeds. It's unclear how such deposits can be mined safely and economically.

In what constitutes a break with traditional State Department- supervised funding, the Pentagon can now spend as much as $200 million a year to fund foreign militaries, The Washington Post reported.

About 250 people, including many family members, gathered over the weekend at Cape Canaveral, Fla., to honor the seven Challenger astronauts who died 20 years ago when the shuttle exploded shortly after liftoff.

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