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Despite government counterterrorism efforts, the US "margin of safety is shrinking, not growing," according to a draft report by a congressionally mandated task force. A terrorist attack somewhere in the world using nuclear or biological weapons is a very real possibility before 2013, the commission states. It recommends increased attention to biological threats.

JP Morgan Chase will cut 9,200 jobs, or about 20 percent of the workforce, at the former Washington Mutual, the Seattle-based bank regulators sold in September. WaMu is the largest failed US bank.

Governors asked for $136 billion in infrastructure projects and at least $40 billion to cover healthcare for the poor and disabled while visiting Capitol Hill Monday before they met with President-elect Obama on Tuesday in Philadelphia. Forty-three of 50 states face budget deficits as the result of lost tax revenues during what is now officially labeled a recession.

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Detroit's Big Three automakers submitted restructuring plans Tuesday to Congress ahead of hearings later this week in which Ford, GM, and Chrysler executives will make a second bid for $25 billion in federal funding. The separate plans would refinance company debt, cut executive pay, and seek concessions from workers.

With California expected to run out of cash in February, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger called the state legislature into a special session Monday after declaring a fiscal emergency. Among lawmakers thrust into duty were new members of the California Assembly, who were sworn in Monday.

The government released nearly 200 hours of Nixon-era White House tape recordings and 90,000 pages of documents Tuesday. The materials, drawn from 1972 and 1973, cover reelection and Vietnam War decisions.

Mayor Larry Langford (D) of Birmingham, Ala., was released on a $50,000 bond Monday after federal authorities arrested him on 60 counts stemming from a corruption probe. Langford was charged with accepting bribes for steering millions of dollars of bond deals to an investment banker. Birmingham faces possible bankruptcy due to $3.2 billion in bond debt.

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