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The White House said Thursday that President Bush will attend an Oct. 17 ceremony to award the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan Buddhist leader, the Congressional Gold Medal despite objections by China.

US exports of wheat, soybeans, and corn, as well as of chemicals and steel, reached record levels in August, helping to shrink the US trade deficit by 2.4 percent to its lowest level ($57.6 billion) in seven months, the Commerce Department said Thursday.

A federal judge in San Francisco Wednesday issued a temporary injunction to a proposed rule, viewed as too punitive, requiring employers to fire workers whose names don't match their Social Security numbers. The decision is a setback to the Bush administration's crackdown on illegal immigration.

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Future wars will be less a "matter of imposing one's will and more a function of shaping behavior," Defense Secretary Robert Gates told the Association of the US Army Wednesday. In laying out his vision for transforming the military, he said greater attention is needed on training foreign militaries, mastering other languages and customs, and fighting insurgents.

The League of American Bicyclists has bestowed its "Friendly Community" designation on New York for the city's efforts to improve cycling infrastructure. New York expects to have 400 miles of bike lanes and paths by 2009 and is adding 400 to 500 bike racks per year.

Los Angeles, which has an estimated 48,000 homeless people, will allow overnight sleeping on sidewalks as long as doorways and driveways are not blocked, the city council decided.

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