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The supply of cocaine has been reduced in 37 US cities, federal antinarcotics officials said Tuesday in reporting some of the most significant progress in the war on drugs during the past 20 years. The real challenge, said White House "drug czar" John Walters, is in sustaining the progress. Toward that end, the US and Mexico are close to announcing a deal to combat the cocaine trade.

The trial of seven men accused of plotting to bomb Chicago's Sears Tower and spark an Al Qaeda-affiliated guerrilla war to overtake the US began in Miami Tuesday. Defense attorneys called the conspiracy charges "nonsense" and said they were scripted by the government.

The National Federation of the Blind said Tuesday that hybrid vehicles that make virtually no noise at slow speeds pose a hazard to blind pedestrians, who benefit from hearing traffic. The NFB's Maryland chapter wants hybrids to meet a minimum sound standard.

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Madison Square Garden and its chairman, James Dolan, must pay former New York Knicks executive Anucha Browne Sanders (above) $11.6 million in a sexual-harassment case, a federal jury decided Tuesday. The suit stemmed from interactions with Knicks coach Isiah Thomas, who doesn't have to pay any punitive damages.

Five contractors working to apply a sealer to a large underground water pipe in Georgetown, Colo., were killed Tuesday when an equipment malfunction ignited a fire that trapped them, an official with the Excel Energy hydroelectic plant said.

The number of energy-efficient compact-fluorescent light bulbs sold in the US this year could double to 300 million, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council, with much of the boost attributed to Wal-Mart. With an aggressive marketing campaign, the world's largest retailer said Tuesday it had reached its annual target of selling 100 million of the bulbs.

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