USA

"My feelings and recollections about this matter have not changed," Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said Thursday before the House Judiciary Committee. Democrats' questions focused on the firing of prosecutors, while Republicans echoed Gonzales's call to move on. The official admitted to mistakes in overseeing the dismissals and acknowledged that the scandal had hurt morale at the Justice Department.

April sales for Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and most other major retailers were lower than expected. The numbers, released Thursday, raised concerns about slower consumer spending due to rising gas prices and a weak housing market. Predictions for April had already been set low because of unfavorable weather and an early Easter, which pushed holiday shopping to March.

Boulder High School, Colo., was locked down Thursday morning amid unconfirmed reports that two men in camouflage, one wearing a ski mask, were seen entering the building.

China kicked off its "buying mission" in the US Wednesday, in an effort to make business deals and dampen criticism about its $232 billion trade surplus with the US. Day 1, in San Francisco, ended with a commitment to buy $4.3 billion in US technology. California Lt. Gov. John Garamendi called the agreement an "important step," but many lawmakers remain frustrated at the trade imbalance. About 200 Chinese companies will visit 23 states, a Chinese official said.

Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski (D) signed into law Wednesday the creation of "domestic partnerships," to give gay couples many of the benefits that married couples get. He also signed a law banning discrimination based on sexuality. Eight other states grant gay couples some form of rights.

Churches in five US cities plan to offer illegal immigrants legal counsel and sanctuary if they face deportation, as part of the "New Sanctuary Movement" launched Wednesday. Organizers say the effort will expand to more than 50 cities.

The US will have "operational control" of its border with Mexico by 2013, US border patrol director David Aguilar said Wednesday. The current plan is to monitor most of the 2,000-mile border using radar, satellite technology, unmanned aerial vehicles, and communications equipment, as well as to put up 370 miles of wall.

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