USA

CIA Director Michael Hayden, who designed President Bush's domestic spying program, told the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday that international calls targeted by warrantless surveillance are the most valuable in protecting national security and that requiring court orders for such surveillance inside the United States was ill-suited for tracking Al Qaeda and other militant groups.

General Motors Corp. reported a $3.2 billion loss in the second quarter as it absorbed heavy charges for its massive restructuring program. But the world's largest automaker reported an operating profit that beat Wall Street estimates, and its sales surged 12 percent. Investors sent GM shares up 6.2 percent in morning trading Wednesday.

Democratic congressional investigators released a report Wednesday showing that at least $12 billion in contracts that the government claimed it gave to small companies last year wound up in the coffers of large companies like Microsoft and Wal-Mart. For the sixth straight year, the government failed to meet a requirement that 23 percent of its $314 billion in annual contracts go to small businesses, the report said.

The Securities and Exchange Commission was expected to approve measures requiring public companies to file annual tables showing the total yearly compensation for their chief executive officers, chief financial officers, and the next three highest-paid executives. The planned regulations amount to the biggest change governing disclosure of executive compensation since 1992.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki addressed a joint session of Congress Wednesday trying to shore up a US military commitment in Iraq from Washington politicians who are increasingly skeptical of his criticism of Israel and concerned about the rising violence in Baghdad.

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