USA

General Motors Corp. and bankrupt parts supplier Delphi Corp. announced Wednesday that they'd reached an agreement with the United Auto Workers to offer buyouts to 13,000 Delphi workers and up to 100,000 GM union laborers. If a bankruptcy court approves the arrangement, which would facilitate the return of 5,000 workers to GM, released wage earners would be eligible for payouts of between $35,000 and $140,000 each, depending on years of service.

In a 5-to-3 decision, which involved the first written dissent by new Chief Justice John Roberts, the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the police cannot always search a home when the residents disagree about permission. The court said police didn't have the authority to search the home of a Georgia lawyer even though the man's wife invited them in.

A family that disappeared March 8 when their RV got stuck on a remote, snowbound road in southwestern Oregon was found alive Tuesday. Two adults who ventured out from the vehicle were first spotted by landmanagement workers, then reunited with four other family members, including two children, in Glendale, Ore. They had survived on dehydrated food and snow, while using propane fuel to heat the RV.

The Homeland Security Department called on Congress to give it the authority to regulate security measures at an estimated 15,000 chemical plants, which it considers prime targets for terrorists. The plan outlined by department Secretary Michael Chertoff would allow the industry to tailor its own minimum standards. Currently, chemical plants voluntarily secure their facilities.

The sentencing phase in the court martial of Sgt. Michael J. Smith, an Army dog handler found guilty of using a canine to torment Iraqis at Abu Ghraib prison, continued Wednesday at Fort Meade, Md. He faces up to 8-1/2 years in prison.

To meet growing demand, public colleges have enrolled 14 percent more students since 2001, but educational appropriations haven't kept pace, according to a report released Wednesday by State Higher Education Executive Officers. State and local support amounted to $5,833 per student nationwide in 2005, down from $7,121 in fiscal 2001 in comparable dollars.

Colgate-Palmolive Co. purchased 84 percent of Tom's of Maine, the family-owned maker of natural toothpaste, for $100 million. With the purchase, Colgate hopes to take advantage of the 15 percent annual growth in so-called natural oral and personal care products.

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