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Despite the nation's credit woes, American confidence in the economy grew last month, the Conference Board reported Tuesday. Analysts had predicted the Consumer Confidence Index would sink, but the private research group said it rose to 59.8 in September from August's 58.5.

A mission to carry out repairs on the Hubble Space Telescope will have to be postponed until February at the earliest, NASA announced Monday. A spokesman said a computer that relays data to scientists on Earth failed and a spare must be tested first before it can be installed. The repair mission was scheduled for Oct. 14.

With his state's motorists waiting in long lines to buy gasoline, Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue (R) appealed to President Bush for help. Citing damage to oil platforms in the Gulf of Mexico from recent hurricanes, Perdue asked for the release of "a significant amount" of crude from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve to be refined into motor fuel. The gas shortage in Georgia has been projected to last for up to two more weeks. Parts of Tennessee and North Carolina also are affected.

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"Deeply concerned by the instances of suicide" among its recruiters, the Army is setting up a prevention board, a spokesman said. Its mission will be to evaluate the mental health of recruiting officers, four of whom have taken their own lives in the past three years in Houston.

Six years after publishing its first issue, The New York Sun was producing its last Tuesday, having failed to secure new financing. In attempting to bring a conservative voice to a crowded media market, the newspaper regularly took editorial stances that were unpopular in a city dominated by Democrats. Its paid circulation was a small fraction of those of rivals such as the Times, the Post, and the Daily News.

A late-season wildfire in Cali-fornia's Los Padres National Forest has grown from 925 acres to more than 1,700, federal officials said Tuesday. The blaze was only 5 percent contained.

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