USA

A US military inquiry into the disputed civilian death toll of an Aug. 22 US airstrike on an Afghan village indicates more than 30 civilians were killed, not the five to seven originally acknowledged, defense officials reported Wednesday.

With the signing of a law approving a US-India nuclear accord Wednesday, American businesses eventually will begin to sell nuclear fuel, technology, and reactors with the rising South Asian power. Such cooperation comes with safeguards and US inspections at India's civilian nuclear plants.

In the latest of a series of plant raids, federal agents Tuesday detained 300 suspected illegal immigrants employed at the House of Raeford's Columbia Farms chicken processing plant in Greenville, S.C. A recent review revealed many worker documents contain false information.

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The US budget deficit reached a record $438 billion for the fiscal year that ended last week, $25 billion above the previous high set in 2004, according to the latest Congressional Budget Office estimates.

Seven Chinese Muslims, held at the US military prison at Guantánamo Bay in Cuba since 2001, were ordered released by a federal judge in Washington Tuesday. The members of the Uighur ethnic group, who were initially detained by Pakistani authorities while living in an Afghan camp, are neither "enemy combatants" nor security risks, the judge ruled. The Justice Department is pursuing a stay of the release order.

New York Mayor Michael Bloom-berg introduced a proposal Tuesday to modify a law that limits him and other city officeholders to consecutive four-year terms. Bloomberg says lifting the restriction would allow him to provide fiscal leadership beyond 2009.

Concerns about California's downwardly revised revenue projections prompted Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to call lawmakers back to the state Capitol Wednesday to address mounting financial problems. A new state budget was passed two weeks ago, 78 days into a new fiscal year, but California's controller says the new budget is "more out of balance than we feared."

Denver's mass transit system is the nation's most outstanding among those in large markets, according to the American Public Transportation Association, which is meeting in San Diego this week. Among its impressive on-time statistics, Denver's Regional Transportation District kept to its light-rail schedule 99.96 percent of the time. Among smaller communities, Richmond, Va., and Muncie, Ind., were the award winners.

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