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Former Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez "abdicated" responsibility in the dismissals of nine federal prosecutors in late 2006, a report released Monday said. In making the report by an inspector general public, the Justice Department appointed a career prosecutor, Nora Dannehy, to explore potential criminal charges against Gonzalez. The report also criticized members of the Bush administration and Republicans in Congress harshly for their roles in the firings, which critics allege were politically motivated.

Spending for consumer goods remained flat in August, the Commerce Department reported, despite the fact that personal incomes recovered almost all of their 0.6 percent drop in July. Analysts said the decline in spending was due in part to the end of the government's economic stimulus program earlier this year.

Precautions taken by residents of coastal Maine proved unnecessary Sunday as late-season hurricane Kyle spared the region all but heavy rain and light damage from wind. The weakening storm then passed over the Maritime Provinces of Canada. In Miami, the National Hurricane Center was watching another strengthening storm over the north-central Atlantic Ocean but predicted it would threaten only shipping.

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Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) of California used his veto pen on 131 more bills Sunday, bringing his total for the legislative year to 278. Due to the late passage of the state's budget, Schwarzenegger has until Tuesday night to kill legislation that isn't "the highest priority" or it will become law without his signature. In 2004, he vetoed a record 311 measures.

Bidders in what's believed to be the nation's first online auction of carbon credits set the price at $3.07 per ton, results showed Monday. Organizers of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) auction in Albany, N.Y., said 59 bidders participated and all 12.5 million allowances were sold. The RGGI covers 10 Northeastern states, all of whose power plants must buy credits to cover the carbon they emit.

For the second year in a row, the New York Mets collapsed in the final days of Major League Baseball's regular season, giving the Milwaukee Brewers a path to the playoffs. As the wild-card entry from the National League, the Brewers will face the Philadelphia Phillies in a best-of-five game series beginning Wednesday. In the American League, the Chicago White Sox were forced to make up a game Monday that was rained out earlier this month. If they win, they and the Minnesota Twins must meet in a one-game playoff Tuesday for the Central Division championship.

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