USA

The Treasury Department says that the IRS should be able to start sending out economic stimulus rebate checks to taxpayers by mid-May under the plan set to receive congressional and presidential approval within weeks. Most taxpayers are expected to receive checks of $600 that will come separately from tax refunds.

The National Security Council said Saturday that it's looking at potential options for mitigating possible damage when a spy satellite containing hazardous materials falls to Earth in late February or early March.

The satellite, which is the size of a small bus, has lost power and is out of control. Other nations are being kept apprised of the situation.

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Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D) of Ohio ended his long-shot presidential candidacy for the Democratic nomination late last week. The six-term congressman said he will focus on a tough reelection race in northeast Ohio.

Flash flood watches were in effect Sunday in three southern California counties (Los Angeles, Santa Barbara, and Ventura) with as much as eight inches of rain expected to fall in the hills outside L.A.

Animal welfare experts who rescued four dozen American pit bull terriers and pit bull mixes from a criminal dog-fighting operation bankrolled by former NFL quarterback Michael Vick have managed to place some in foster homes. Others are being evaluated for their suitability as pets rather than being put down, as some advocate.

Maryland state legislator Tanya Shewell has proposed a "Do Not Deliver" registry to stop free newspapers from being left at homes where they're not wanted. If passed, the measure, which is similar to the "Do Not Call" registry for telemarketers, would be the first in the nation.

Despite winning the women's national title at the US Figure Skating Championships Saturday in St. Paul, Minn., Mirai Nagasu is too young to qualify for March's world championships and will go to the world juniors instead. The 14-year-old from Arcadia, Calif., is the second-youngest skater to ever win the American title.

In what organizers billed as the unveiling of a new, hipper version of the Miss America pageant, Miss Michigan Kirsten Haglund, a 19-year-old college music major and aspiring Broadway star, was crowned Saturday night in Las Vegas.

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