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Retail sales in December dropped 2.7 percent, more than twice as much as in Wall Street forecasts, and a record sixth straight monthly decline, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday. For the year, overall retail sales fell for the first time (by 0.1 percent) since government statistics on the subject were kept in 1992.

Timothy Geithner, President-elect Obama's pick to head the Treasury Department, is expected to come in for tough questioning at his confirmation hearing, which could begin Friday, after public revelations about his personal tax-paying errors. The Senate Finance Committee released information Tuesday that he belatedly paid $34,000 in self-employment taxes.

The manhunt for the Indiana investment adviser who allegedly crashed his small plane in northwest Florida in order to fake his death ended Tuesday when authorities arrested Marcus Schrenker at a campsite in Milton, Fla. The suspect, who had slashed one of his wrists, may have been trying to escape divorce proceedings and accusations of business wrongdoing.

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After taking over as chief executive of Yahoo Inc. Tuesday, Carol Bartz said the struggling Internet company had "enormous assets," but "could use a little management." Lured away from softwaremaker Autodesk Inc., Bartz replaces Yahoo cofounder Jerry Yang, who stepped down after potentially lucrative deals with rivals Microsoft Corp. and Google Inc. collapsed.

The US Navy was granted permission for one year to conduct submarine-hunting drills in Hawaii using sonar and bombs so long as it takes precautions to protect marine life.

The Tennessee Valley Authority must install pollution controls at four coal-powered plants closest to the Smoky Mountain National Park, which straddles the Tennessee-North Carolina line, a federal judge ordered Tuesday. The case, brought by the state of North Carolina in 2006, predates last month's 1.1 billion-gallon spill of coal ash and sludge near the TVA's Kingston, Tenn., plant.

Hard-liners in the 120,000-member Screen Actors Guild deflected attempts Tuesday to move ahead with a strike referendum or oust negotiators over stalled talks with Hollywood's major studios. Guild members, whose contract expired June 30, are concerned about how they are paid for work distributed over the Internet.

The NBA's Orlando Magic set a league record with 23 three-point baskets Tuesday in a 139-107 victory over the Sacramento Kings. The Toronto Raptors held the old mark with 21 in 1995. Orlando hit 62 percent of its shots from beyond the three-point arc, which is nearly 24 feet from the basket at its maximum distance.

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