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By Compiled from wire service reports by Ross Atkin / February 13, 2009



US retail sales jumped 1 percent in January after six straight months of decline, the Commerce Department reported Thursday. Analysts said the results, boosted by postholiday sales, were considered short-term. Meanwhile, the housing market continued its slump, with the median sales prices of existing homes falling in nearly 90 percent of major cities in the fourth quarter of last year, according to the National Association of Realtors.

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To investigate surging corporate corruption connected to the nation's current economic crisis, the FBI may reassign counterterrorism agents to antifraud probes, FBI Deputy Director John Pistole told the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday. The FBI is working 530 corporate fraud cases.

A bill to allow Arkansas churchgoers to carry concealed guns was passed Wednesday by the state's House of Representatives by a 57-to-42 vote. The measure, introduced in response to a series of church shootings across the country, now moves to the Senate.

Nationwide, more than 274,000 homeowners received at least one foreclosure-related notice in January, down 10 percent from December but 18 percent higher than a year ago, according to RealtyTrac Inc., a foreclosure listing service.

The first of four new Lincoln pennies, the front of which remains unchanged, were put in circulation Thursday. The night before, on the eve of Lincoln's 200th birthday, President Obama and the first lady attended a gala at the newly renovated Ford's Theatre in Washington, where Lincoln was assassinated.

A test of 39 Minnesota lakes and three rivers reveals an "alarming" level of salinity, according to a study by University of Minnesota researchers of the impact of road salt applications since the 1950s.

Sixty-nine computers are missing from the Los Alamos, N.M., nuclear weapons laboratory, but none contains classified information, a lab spokesman said Wednesday. They do, however, contain personal information like names and addresses.

As part of a wave of national demonstrations at marriage bureaus and county clerks' offices, hundreds of same-sex couples seeking to marry were turned away Thursday in New York City's marriage bureau. The protests were designed to bring attention to decisions restricting the right of gays to wed.

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