USA

Auto dealerships, department stores, specialty clothing stores,and hardware stores all enjoyed strong sales in May, when consumer spending rose 1.4 percent, about double the rate analysts anticipated, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday. It was the biggest surge in retail sales in 16 months and a positive sign after a 0.1 percent drop-off in April.

Ambitious goals to halve the energy consumption of computers by 2010 were announced Tuesday in Mountain View, Calif., by a coalition of technology and environmental groups led by Google Inc. and Intel Corp. The initiative is expected to save $5.5 billion in electricity costs by 2010 and reduce greenhouse gases by an amount equivalent to what 11 million cars emit.

About 165 workers at a Del Monte fruit and vegetable processing plant in Portland, Ore., were detained Tuesday on possible immigration violations in the latest of a series of raids by federal agents. The raid targeted an American Staffing Resources office at the plant, where a records check once revealed that most workers didn't have valid Social Security numbers.

NASA managers considering how to repair a 4-by-6-inch exposed area on the Atlantis space shuttle said Tuesday that steel wire might be used to sew down a thermal blanket that peeled back during last week's launch. The blanket protects the shuttle from searing heat upon reentry.

Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers pitched the second no-hitter of the baseball season Tuesday, when he struck out 12 batters in shutting out the Milwaukee Brewers, 4-0. It was the first no-hitter in Detroit since 1973 and the first at Comerica Park, which opened in 2000.

The delayed replacement of an aging weather satellite used in predicting the intensity and path of hurricanes could bring more uncertainty to weather forecasts, according to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration document obtained by the Associated Press. The QuikScat satellite conceivably could fail at any moment, and plans to launch a replacement have been pushed back seven years to 2016 due to technical and budget problems. A loss of data from the satellite could widen areas placed under hurricane watches.

Antioch College, a private liberal arts school in Yellow Springs, Ohio, founded in 1852, said Tuesday that it will close in July 2008 because of financial difficulties but expects to reopen four years later. The school, which is known for nontraditional ways and social activism, has 400 students, down from 2,000 during the 1960s.

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