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Five former US secretaries of State advocated that the next US administration engage in talks with Iran as part of a strategy to stem Tehran's development of nuclear weapons. The bipartisan group of former diplomats -– Colin Powell, Madeleine Albright, Warren Christopher, James Baker, and Henry Kissinger – agreed that Washington's military options are unsatisfactory.

Republican vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin is "unlikely to cooperate" with a state investigation of her firing of Alaska's public safety commissioner, a spokesman for the McCain-Palin campaign said. The probe, which involves Palin's ex-brother-in-law, has been hijacked by Democrats, John McCain's campaign insists.

A bill that permits Americans tortured or held hostage during the 1991 Gulf War to sue Iraq gained House approval Monday. The White House has threatened to veto the measure, which still must clear the Senate, saying it might jeopardize recent political progress in Iraq.

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A plan to allow more than 500 snowmobiles a day into Yellow-stone National Park was scrapped Monday by a federal judge in Washington, who said it would increase air and noise pollution and disturb wildlife.

Using a telescope on Mauna Kea in Hawaii, scientists have snapped the first images of a planet outside our solar system that is orbiting a star very much like the sun. Before, 300 extrasolar planets have been detected using indirect methods. The directly photographed planet is about the size of Jupiter and 500 light-years away.

Hewlett-Packard Co. will cut 24,600 jobs, or 8 percent of its workforce, the California-based company said Monday in announcing its restructuring plans for integrating technology-services firm Electronic Data Systems Corp, which HP acquired five months ago.

With little advance notice, 14 of Pennsylvania's state-owned universities have banned smoking anywhere on campus, including outdoors.

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