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US exports to Iran increased 10-fold during President Bush's years in office despite politically chilly relations between the two countries and on-again, off-again sanctions, according to a seven-year analysis of US government trade data released Tuesday by the Associated Press. Cigarettes are the leading exported item.

Defense officials said Tuesday that mounting insurgent attacks in Afghanistan have prompted the relocation of the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln from the Persian Gulf to the Gulf of Oman so that strike planes can better support combat efforts in Afghanistan.

Nearly half of coral reef ecosystems in US territory are in fair or poor condition, according to a new "call to action" report released by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Healthy reefs are an important habitat for many seafood species, which use them as breeding grounds. Rising water temperatures and land-based pollution are cited as major threats.

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Marc Gonsalves, one of three American hostages freed last week in Colombia by a daring rescue operation, called his captors "terrorists with a capital 'T'" during a press conference Monday at Fort Sam Houston, Texas. Gonsalves joined with his fellow military contractors in thanking those who contributed to their safe return home and describing their 5-1/2 years held by the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia after their surveillance plane went down in the jungle.

The Pentagon has announced a policy shift meant to align it more closely with new international standards on cluster bombs. By 2018, more than 99 percent of the bomblets in US cluster bombs must detonate, thus lessening their danger to innocent civilians in the aftermath of battle.

A conservancy effort in Brooklyn, N.Y., is working toward transforming a smelly, industrially polluted canal into an eco-friendly "sponge" park that would utilize a natural filtering system, The New York Sun reports. The plan to clean up the shores of the Gowanus Canal calls for planting trees, having tree pits on sidewalks, and collecting runoff from rooftops and parking lots.

Seeking to land Milwaukee in the baseball playoffs for the first time since 1982, the Brewers acquired ace pitcher CC Sabathia from the Cleveland Indians Monday in exchange for four prospects. Sabathia was last year's Cy Young Award winner in the American League.

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