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"The heavy rains have passed," the National Weather Service said Tuesday, after more than eight inches fell on New Orleans, forcing school closures across the city and creating challenges with waist-high water in areas still recovering from hurricane Katrina. The city's drainage pumps worked, even if not as fast as the rain fell. Area rainfall had been 11 inches below normal this year.

President Bush said Tuesday that plans for a US-led missile-defense system in Europe are urgently needed to counter an emerging threat of attack by Iran. He shared his remarks at the National Defense University in Washington.

Because of a muddle of payment records, auditors temporarily suspended their review of what the US received for the $1.2 billion it paid contractor DynCorp International LLC for services in Iraq, Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction Stuart Bowen Jr. said Monday. The company trained Iraqi police, but specific reasons for various payments remain unclear.

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In a White House ceremony, Navy SEAL Lt. Michael Murphy was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, the first service member in the Afghanistan war and the first sailor since Vietnam to receive the nation's highest combat award. Murphy took heavy Taliban fire in order to make a satellite call for help.

As the result of an environmental cleanup, trout have begun to repopulate Montana's Silver Bow Creek, once considered dead because of mine waste. A complete habitat restoration now seems possible.

Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff waived a temporary restraining order Monday that had halted construction of a 1.5-mile section of border fence between the US and Mexico because of environmental concerns.

Researchers at the University of California have developed a nanometer-sized radio detector, a few atoms across, capable of converting radio waves into music. The breakthrough is viewed as an important step in microscopic radio technology.

At a major Christian film festival and academy in San Antonio this week, hundreds of film-makers have studied how Walt Disney infused his movies with such "19th-century values" as monogamy, faithfulness, and patriotism.

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