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Sen. Ted Stevens (R) of Alaska, lost his bid for reelection Tuesday when a tally of absentee ballots made Anchorage Mayor Mark Begich (D) the winner of a tight race. Stevens, the longest-serving Republican in Senate history, was convicted on federal corruption charges days before the election. He wound up with 46.58 percent of the vote compared with 47.76 for Begich.

A bonfire college students failed to extinguish led to one of three major wildfires in California, authorities said Tuesday. The Santa Barbara blaze, now reduced to embers, destroyed 210 homes. "Malicious intent" doesn't appear to be a factor.

NASA flight controllers revamped plans for spacewalks scheduled Thursday, Saturday, and Monday after a tool bag came untethered from astronaut Heidemarie Stefanyshyn-Piper Tuesday and floated away during a repair trip to the International Space Station. She continued working for seven hours by sharing tools with a colleague.

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Construction of new homes and apartments plunged 4.5 percent last month to the lowest level on records going back nearly 50 years, the Commerce Department said Wednesday.

Congressional Democrats decided to forgive Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut for his support of John McCain's Republican presidential campaign by letting him remain chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. Flanked by Democratic caucus members, Lieberman told reporters he regretted some statements he made during the campaign. He ran for vice president in 2000 as a Democrat, but became an independent in 2006, when he lost his state's Democratic primary.

In a plea to Congress, the CEOs of Detroit's Big Three auto manufacturers warned Tuesday that millions of Americans could lose their jobs without $25 billion in emergency loans from the government.

President-elect Barack Obama pledged strong annual targets to put America on course to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, he said Tuesday in a video address to a global warming summit in California. By 2020, he wants a return to 1990 levels. By 2050 he seeks an additional 80 percent cut.

Scrappy Dustin Pedroia of the Boston Red Sox was named the American League's 2008 Most Valuable Player Tuesday in media balloting. The 5 ft., 9 in. slugger became the first second baseman since Nellie Fox of the Chicago White Sox in 1959 to earn the honor.

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