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By Compiled from wire service reports by Ross Atkin / December 12, 2008



The federal deficit is on track to reach a record $1 trillion in the current budget year, the Treasury Department announced Wednesday. After just three months, the deficit is already $401.6 billion, or nearly as much as the $455 billion shortfall for all of last year. If the gap tops $1 trillion it would be a post-World War II high when measured as a percentage of the economy.

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President-elect Obama is expected to name Lisa Jackson the first African-American to head up the Environmental Protection Agency, Democratic officials said of a selection anticipated in the coming weeks. A Princeton-educated chemical engineer, she serves as chief of staff for New Jersey Gov. Jon Corzine (D), but before that worked for the EPA in Washington and New York for 16 years, as well as in New Jersey's environmental office.

The Marine Corps said it would act swiftly if its investigation of the crash of a Hornet jet earlier this week near San Diego revealed a need to review the entire fleet, as California Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer urged on Wednesday. A Marine spokesman said there's no reason to "suspect a systemic engine-related problem" because of the crash that killed four suburban residents.

The Pentagon must deal with a lack of cost control or it won't be able to buy weapons systems in the needed quantity, Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Wednesday.

The New York Yankees are ironing out details to make free agent CC Sabathia the richest pitcher in baseball history, with a $161 million, seven-year deal. That would surpass the contract of Mets hurler Johan Santana.

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