USA

National Intelligence Director John Negroponte will become Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's deputy, pending Senate confirmation, for reasons yet unclear. His departure comes amid reevaluation of US policy in Iraq, in which Negroponte has been closely involved. The position he wil fill has been open since July.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) of California is expected to propose Monday that all children in the state, including those of undocumented immigrants, be guaranteed medical insurance. The policy would affect 763,000 people, or 10 percent of Californians under 18, and cost an estimated $400 million a year. Only a few other states insure all of their children.

Retailers in all categories saw worse December sales than expected, despite an initially robust holiday season, according to monthly reports released Thursday. A recent drop in home equity loans may have depressed spending. Results don't include online buying and gift- card sales, both of which increased in 2006.

Two Duke lacrosse players are deciding whether to return next week for the spring semester. Collin Finnerty and Reade Seligmann were invited back to school after being cleared of charges of rape in a widely publicized case. The men, along with Dave Evans, who graduated last May, still face charges of sexual assault and kidnapping.

Toyota passed DaimlerChrysler as the No. 3 auto seller in the US for all of 2006 with 15.4 percent of market share, according to sales figures released Wednesday. The change reflects a growing preference for more fuelefficient vehicles, and the company's reputation for quality and understanding of US consumer tastes. says analyst David Healy. Toyota is expected this year to overtake Ford, which ranked No. 2 in 2006 with 16.4 percent of US market share.

The SUV that police say was used in a drive-by shooting that killed NFL player Darrent Williams on Jan. 1 was found near Denver International Airport Thursday. It belongs to a man currently in prison for drug and attempted murder charges, local media reported. Police are unsure who used the vehicle.

Police arrested a suspect in Wednesday's fatal shooting at Foss High School in Tacoma, Wash. Douglas Chanthabouly, a student at the school, was booked for investigation of first-degree murder for the death of Samnang Kok, a classmate and acquaintance. Any motive was unknown. Tiari Johnson holds their son Makhai Kok.

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