USA

The number of deaths from the mudslide in La Conchita, Calif., rose to 10 as rescue crews, working around the clock, discovered the remains of a mother and her three children. The slide, triggered Monday by five days of almost nonstop rain, has destroyed or damaged more than 30 homes. Torrential rains and snowstorms have imperiled hillside homes and led to fatal traffic accidents, electricity outages, and flash floods across California and neighboring states.

By a 5-to-4 vote, the Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that the federal criminal sentencing system is invalid, at least in part, and that federal judges have been adding time to sentences improperly. But the high court stopped short of striking down sentencing guidelines. The justices said it should be jurors, not judges, who consider factors that add years to prison terms. About 64,000 people are sentenced in federal courts each year under a system that had been challenged as unconstitutional in two cases before the Supreme Court.

President Bush focused on educational goals Wednesday in his latest effort to trumpet the administration's second-term domestic agenda. Speaking in a Falls Church, Va., school, he underscored his desire for senior high students to take the math and reading tests now required of younger students. Under the No Child Left Behind law, states are required to give fourth- and eighth-graders the National Assessment of Education Progress tests.

New government dietary guidelines issued Wednesday encouraged overweight Americans to eat more vegetables and whole grains while getting up to 90 minutes of exercise a day.

At precisely eight seconds after 1:47 p.m. ET Wednesday, NASA was scheduled to launch Deep Impact, a comet-busting spacecraft. If the mission goes as planned, the craft will collide six months later with a deep-space comet 268 million miles from Earth in hopes of gathering information about the origins of the solar system.

Federal authorities were investigating groups they suspect of helping out-of-state criminals and illegal aliens to fraudulently obtain Michigan driver's licenses. Thousands of such licenses may have been issued, officials said.

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