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President Bush on Thursday defended the slow pace of progress in Iraq, asserting "it is not foot-dragging" as Iraqi politicians try to reach agreement on political, security, and economic goals. Speaking in Dayton, Ohio, at the National Museum of the US Air Force, Bush derided calls from Congress for troop withdrawals or deadlines so that the military could focus more on the antiterror battle elsewhere.

Dallas-Fort Worth was the fastest-growing metro area in the country in 2006 and 2007, expanding by 162,000 residents, according to Census Bureau estimates released Thursday. Three other Texas cities – Houston, Austin, and San Antonio – also cracked the Top 10.

American Airlines canceled about 14 percent, or 325, of its flights Wednesday to inspect the wiring on its entire fleet of MD-80 aircraft. The need to examine the spacing of wires in the plane's hydraulic system came to light during a Federal Aviation Administration audit. Delta Air Lines also said it anticipated some cancellations due to similar efforts.

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Louisiana corrections officials moved former Black Panthers Herman Wallace and Albert Woodfox into quarters with other inmates after they spent the last 36 years in solitary confinement at the state penitentiary in Angola. Convicted in the death of a guard, they were put in solitary for their own protection, according to officials. Both men, whose good behavior is acknowledged by the transfer, are appealing their convictions.

New York City expects to save $60 million annually by using palm scanners that streamline payroll operations. McDonald's, Dunkin' Donuts, and Hilton Hotels are among businesses investing in the biometric technology, which dispenses with paper timecards and helps to keep workers honest. Some critics, however, call the use of the scanners demeaning.

The Los Angeles Dodgers anticipate more than 115,000 fans, the biggest crowd in baseball history, will attend an exhibition game Saturday against the World Series champion Boston Red Sox. The game, part of the Dodgers' 50th anniversary celebration in L.A., will be played at the Memorial Coliseum, the team's home from 1958 to 1961.

Florida became the sixth state to apologize for condoning slavery, after the legislature adopted a resolution Wednesday expressing "profound regret for the shameful chapter in the state's history." Alabama, Maryland, New Jersey, North Carolina, and Virginia have previously issued apologies.

Because of "the extraordinary nature of the success" of its men's basketball team, Davidson College in North Carolina has offered to pay for its students to attend Friday night's NCAA regional tournament game against Wisconsin in Detroit – 11 hours away. The offer covers the cost of bus fare, tickets, and two nights' lodging.

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