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By Compiled from wire service reports by Ross Atkin / December 15, 2008



President Bush made an unannounced visit to Baghdad Sunday to say thanks to the US troops, meet with Iraqi leaders, and herald a security pact reached last month that calls for US forces to withdraw by the end of 2011. The brief trip marked Bush's fourth visit to Iraq since the 2003 US-led invasion.

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Northeast utility crews worked Sunday to restore power to 800,000 customers in the region after an ice storm late last week left 1.4 million people in the dark. In hard-hit New Hampshire, officials said it could take until Thursday to restore power.

Scandal-saddled Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) of Illinois might step down Monday according to insider reports, Lisa Madigan, the state's attorney general, told NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday. On Saturday he met with Ed Genson, a Chicago criminal lawyer. Genson said a "mutual decision" will be made as to whether he defends Blagojevich, who is accused of trying to sell President-elect Obama's vacated Senate seat, among other "pay to play" schemes.

New York housing official Shaun Donovan is Barack Obama's choice to lead the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the president-elect announced Saturday. Donovan is credited with leveraging public dollars to encourage private investors and nonprofits to add 165,000 affordable homes in the city.

University of Oklahoma sophomore quarterback Sam Bradford won the Heisman Trophy Saturday in New York as this season's most outstanding player. Bradford completed 48 touchdown passes for the highest-scoring team in major college history, and beat out two other QBs: last year's winner, Tim Tim Tebow of Florida, and Colt McCoy of Texas.

Delta Air Lines Inc. said it will offer voluntary severance payouts to a majority of 75,000 employees in January in anticipation of a 6 to 8 percent systemwide capacity reduction.

A team of local, state, and federal officials is investigating a bomb blast at a bank in Woodburn, Ore., that killed two police officers and injured another officer and a bank employee Friday. The bomb, which was found outside the bank, went off as it was being moved.

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