USA

Federal prison officials aren't reading all mail sent and received by convicted terrorists and other high-risk inmates, a security gap that could prove deadly, a Justice Department review concluded Tuesday. Prison officials read less inmate mail now than a year ago at seven of 10 prisons surveyed. The mail investigation was launched after three convicted terrorists at a maximum-security prison were found to have written nearly 90 letters between 2002 and 2004 to Islamic extremists, including some with links to the 2004 Madrid commuter train attacks.

Nearly 600 Alaskan soldiers are preparing to head to Iraq in their state's largest deployment of National Guard troops since World War II. "We've been at this war longer than we thought," Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Richard Cody told the Killeen Daily Herald, but added that he sees today's Army as the best in US history.

Low crude oil prices depressed energy stocks Tuesday. Oil fell close to $60 a barrel on forecasts of a further increase in fuel inventories. Merrill Lynch cut the energy sector to "underweight," saying earning growth and pricing power have eroded.

Nearly two-thirds of Americans age 15 to 25 are disengaged from political and civic life and only a quarter regularly vote, a University of Maryland survey showed. The study also found an increase in anti-immigrant sentiment.

Despite some rainfall last month in parts of the country, moderate to extreme drought conditions continue in 40 percent of the country.

Americans John Mather and George Smoot won the 2006 Nobel Prize in physics on Tuesday for work that helped cement the big-bang theory of the universe. Mather, of NASA, and Smoot, of California's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, also helped demonstrate how galaxies form. Since 1986, Americans have either won or shared the physics prize 15 times.

The Atlantic hurricane season will see just two more tropical storms and no more "major" hurricanes, predicted top hurricane forecaster William Gray on Tuesday. El NiƱo conditions dampened the force of storms this year, creating a below-average season.

Miami Herald publisher Jesus Diaz Jr. resigned Tuesday, citing the recent revelation that three journalists with the Herald's Spanish-language sister paper El Nuevo Herald were paid to appear on US-government broadcasts aimed at promoting democracy in Cuba. The three journalists were fired.

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