USA

Retail sales dipped 0.1 percent when economic woes blunted the impact of billions of dollars in government stimulus payments to US households, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. It was the first decline since a 0.5 drop in February.

Senate candidate and former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner (below)will be the keynote speaker at the Democratic National Convention Aug. 26 in Denver, the party announced Tuesday.The plum assignment is the same one that launched Barack Obama into national prominence in 2004.

A federal judge overturned the Clinton-era "roadless rule" on millions of acres of undeveloped US forestlands Tuesday. The ruling, issued in Cheyenne, Wyo., nullifies a 2001 prohibition on logging, mining, and other development on nearly a third of national forests. Environmentalists vowed to appeal the ruling.

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Habitat designated as necessary for the northern spotted owl's recovery will be reduced by 23 percent across three states – Washington, Oregon, and California – the US Fish and Wildlife Service said Tuesday.

Drugstore chain CVS Caremark Corp. will buy Longs Drug Stores Corp. in a deal valued at $2.7 billion, the companies announced Tuesday. Rhode Island-based CVS said the acquisition will help it build a West Coast presence.

Seeking to improve bus safety after a Texas crash that killed 17 people last week, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has temporarily stopped granting licenses nationwide for new bus companies. Officials want to update computer systems to prevent carriers ordered to stop operations from simply changing names, which is allegedly what the company involved in the Texas crash had done.

To help feed low-income and homeless people in Los Angeles, students at Cal Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo have installed so-called "edible walls" in the city's Skid Row area, according to the San Luis Obispo Tribune. The project, done in collaboration with the nonprofit group Urban Farming, uses vertically mounted planters to grow fruits and vegetables.

Correction: An earlier report in this space indicated that Landscape Arch in Utah's Arches National Park fell in 1991. In fact, only a portion fell, making the arch thinner, but it is still standing.

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