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By Compiled from wire service reports by Robert Kilborn / July 1, 2008



President Bush signed the $162 billion bill that provides funding for military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan through his successor's first several months in office. The measure also doubles college tuition benefits for members of the armed forces and veterans.

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A scheduled 10 percent cut in payments to doctors who treat Medicare patients was suspended Monday by the Bush administration. The move gives Congress time to legislate a renewal of the program once members return from their Independence Day recess. Doctors' groups had been running advertisements suggesting that the cuts could make their members less willing to treat senior patients. The cuts were to have gone into effect Tuesday under a formula that requires them when Medicare spending exceeds preset targets.

No new wildfires were reported in northern California as of Monday morning, but 1,420 were still burning, and meteorologists said no significant rainfall was likely in the days ahead. Residents along the 440-mile corridor from Bakersfield to Redding were advised to remain indoors to limit exposure to the smoky air. State officials said federal assistance will be needed to help pay the cost of fighting so many blazes this early in the summer. In Arizona (where a crew loads flame retardant into a Forest Service plane, above), another wildfire threatened an area of Prescott National Forest where many trees have been killed by a bark beetle infestation.

Prices for products made from corn likely will increase further because farmers will harvest 9 percent fewer acres this year, the Agriculture Department said. It blamed some of the decrease on flooding in the Midwest. On commodities markets, futures prices for corn rose from $6 a bushel at the beginning of June to $7.54 at the close of trading last Friday.

Saying, "I won't forget this moment," teenager Inbee Park of South Korea became the youngest player to win the US Women's Open golf championship Sunday. The victory was her first as a professional, and the $585,000 prize is the richest on the women's tour. The tournament was held at Edina, Minn. Above, Park kisses her trophy.

Federal investigators were expected Monday at the scene of a helicopter crash in Flagstaff, Ariz., that killed six people and critically injured a seventh. Reports said a copter bringing an ill tourist from the Grand Canyon to the city's medical center collided with another attempting to land at the same time Sunday.

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