Saying he wanted to spend more time with his family, Tom Ridge resigned as the first secretary of homeland security, a post he assumed in the month after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The former governor of Pennsylvania has overseen a massive merger of 22 disparate federal agencies with 180,000 employees. Ridge said he'll remain on the job until Feb. 1 unless the Senate confirms his replacement earlier.

November was the deadliest month for the US military since last year's invasion of Iraq, with at least 135 combat fatalities, among them the first New York City firefighter to be killed, a Pentagon report said. Sgt. Christian Engeldrum, who spent months digging through the rubble of the World Trade Center after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, was killed Monday when his vehicle came under attack outside Baghdad.

In actions that angered some environmentalists, the Bush administration Tuesday proposed reducing the protected Western habitat for salmon and steelhead trout by 80 percent and keeping hydropower dams that some analysts believe have contributed to the steady decline of those species. The plan relies on building removable fish weirs on eight dams to increase the survival of young salmon migrating to the ocean.

Republican Dino Rossi was declared the certified winner of Washington State's incredibly close Nov. 2 election for governor Tuesday, but Democrats were expected to request a hand recount of some or all of the ballots. Rossi defeated Christine Gregoire (D) by 42 votes out of 2.8 million cast, official results showed. Meanwhile, in San Diego, an appellate judge threw a closely contested mayoral election a new curve, blocking the registrar of voters from certifying that incumbent Mayor Dick Murphy (R) had beaten write-in candidate Donna Frye (D), a city councilwoman.

After nine years as president of the nation's oldest and largest civil rights group, Kweisi Mfume submitted his resignation to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Tuesday. The former congressman and Baltimore city councilor is credited with rescuing the NAACP from debt and scandal and steering it into an era of stability and growth.

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