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February 11, 2009



General Motors Corp. will reduce its salaried workforce worldwide from 73,000 to 63,000 this year, with 3,400 of the 10,000 cuts coming in the US, the company said Tuesday. The layoffs, plus plans to trim US salaries by 10 percent, are part of a restructuring strategy the automaker must submit to the government by Feb. 17 in order to secure a $9.4 billion, low-interest loan.

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As part of a tentative order to lessen California's overcrowded prisons, a three-judge special panel proposed reducing the current prison population of about 158,000 by as many as 55,000 within three years. State officials said they would appeal any final release order to the US Supreme Court.

Wholesale inventories fell 1.4 percent in December, their largest drop-off in 16 years, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday.

Virginia's House of Delegates passed restrictions Monday on smoking in public places. Although the bill incorporates various compromises, proponents view it as a turning point in a state with the world's largest cigarette factory.

Linda Thomsen, the enforcement director of the Securities and Exchange Commission, resigned Monday less than a week after a congressional hearing critical of the SEC's failure to detect money manager Bernard Madoff's alleged $50 billion Ponzi scheme. The SEC said Thomsen will pursue work in the private sector.

Nationwide peanut butter sales dropped 22 percent during the four weeks ending Jan. 24, according to new consumer data, even though a salmonella outbreak has been traced to only one Peanut Corp. of America plant in Blakely, Ga. On Monday, federal agents raided the plant and the company's headquarters in Lynchburg, Va.

More than half of 305 bird species are spending their winters an average of 35 miles farther north than they did 40 years ago, according to a study released Tuesday by the Audubon Society. Researchers said the only explanation for so many birds changing locales is global warming.

The Navy relieved the captain of the USS Port Royal of his duties Monday pending the results of an investigation into why the warship became grounded for three days off the coast of Honolulu. The vessel, now freed, is one of the Navy's most advanced.

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