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USA

January 7, 2008



Northern California officials said they believed three storms in as many days caused a section of a rain-swollen canal in Fernley, Nev., to rupture and flood hundreds of homes in the high desert town 30 miles east of Reno. One official suggested that burrowing rodents might have contributed to the break. By Saturday, waters had receded after the Truckee River, which flows into the canal, was diverted upstream. Above, a crew distributes sand bags from a truck in Fernley.

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Senior US officials are considering approaching Pakistan's government about conducting more aggressive covert CIA and military operations in that country to counter Al Qaeda and Taliban influences, The New York Times said Sunday.

US Customs and Border Pro-tection officials have proposed a change in cruise industry requirements designed to make US ships more competitive with foreign-based lines on trips between California and Hawaii. The rule change would force foreign ships departing from Los Angeles and San Diego to spend two days rather than one in Mexico before sailing on to the islands. This would make cruises more costly for foreign lines, possibly bolstering US business.

The National Society of Film Critics named "There Will Be Blood," a story about a quest for oil riches partly based on Upton Sinclair's 1920 novel "Oil," the best picture of 2007. The group's opinion often differs from that of Oscar voters, whose nominees will be announced Jan. 22.

The San Francisco Zoo briefly reopened late last week and had twice as many visitors (782) as it had during the same day a year earlier. The facility had been closed for eight days following a deadly attack by an escaped tiger that is still under investigation.

Light-rail is growing faster than any other other form of public transit, according to the American Public Transportation Association. Ridership on trolleys, streetcars, and modern light-rail trains rose 8.9 percent between the third quarters of 2006 and 2007. Cities with the largest increases were New Orleans, Denver, and St. Louis.

Korry Holtzlander, the sales manager of a car dealership in Portland, Ore., agreed to let a homeless man sleep in a car on the lot in 2006. One thing has led to another since then, and now he counsels jailed men in desperate straits, hires some of them after their release, and has purchased a home that serves as a transition residence for homeless people. "A man must find something in his heart more important than his own life," he says.

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