USA

The government proposed adding polar bears to the protected species list Wednesday, marking the first time the administration identified climate change as a threat to a species. The move was prompted by legal pressures from three environmental groups, The Washington Post reported. The government examined data on receding sea ice and information from the Fish and Wildlife Service, concluding that polar bears could be endangered within 45 years, the Post said. There are about 22,000 to 25,000 polar bears living in Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Norway, and Russia. The government also plans to remove the bald eagle from the protected species list, saying population has rebounded.

Arrests of illegal migrants on the US-Mexican border has dropped by more than a third since US National Guard troops began helping with security, the US Border Patrol said Tuesday. Agents arrested about 150,000 fewer people from July to November from the same time last year, suggesting fewer migrants try to cross. National Guard troops' duties are limited to surveillance; 6,000 troops were in place by August.

The Ohio Supreme Court voted Wednesday to publicly reprimand outgoing Gov. Bob Taft (R) for ethics violations. Taft pleaded no contest in 2005 and was fined $4,000 for not reporting golf trips and other gifts.

More than 150 police officers died on the job in 2006, with traffic-related deaths making up the majority, according to a study released Wednesday by two law enforcement nonprofit groups. The number of officers killed in traffic accidents (73 in 2006) continues to grow, while the number of gun-related deaths (54 in 2006) is dropping.

Sales of new homes grew an unexpected 3.4 percent in November, offering hope that a slump in housing could be ending. Sales increased in all parts of the country except the South.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune was sold by the McClatchy Co. to private equity group Avista Capital Partners for $530 million Tuesday, less than half what the company paid in 1998. McClatchy says it will offset the loss with the profits from selling 12 Knight Ridder papers, a chain it bought earlier this year.

Sen. Joseph Biden, (D) of Delaware, said Tuesday he intends to run for president in 2008. Biden, the incoming chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, plans to hold hearings early next year on Iraq, which he called "President Bush's war." He also said he opposes troop increases.

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