Although fire crews in La Conchita, Calif., extended their rescue operations by another day, officials said they no longer believe anyone is missing in the mudslide that struck the seaside town northwest of Los Angeles. A 30-foot-deep mound of earth killed 10 people and swallowed 15 houses there. Authorities still want to contact 19 people who had a "low probability" of being in the area at the time of Monday's rain-triggered slide. Controversy has arisen over whether the hamlet should remain in the slide-prone area, where a retaining wall built in 1995 has been swept away.
Democrat Christine Gregoire, Washington State's former attorney general, was sworn in as governor Wednesday, at least temporarily snuffing out the hopes of opponent Dino Rossi. After the original balloting and two recounts, the Republican candidate was declared to have lost by a mere 129 votes. Gregoire's inaugural speech was met with silence by Republicans, who've asked the courts to set aside the election and order a revote. The case is expected to end in the state Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the federal government may not indefinitely detain criminals who also are illegal immigrants. The case centered on two men who were part of a 1980 boatlift from Cuba, in which criminals and and psychiatric patients entered the US illegally. The plaintiffs have completed prison sentences but remain in custody because the Cuban government has blocked their deportation. The Bush administration had argued for wide discretion in holding foreigners.
Heavy fog, limiting visibility to 20 feet in places along I-96 in Michigan and Indiana, led to a flurry of traffic accidents Monday, involving 200 vehicles and resulting in two deaths and 37 injuries.
Major League Baseball was expected to announce a plan for a tougher drug-testing program at its owners meeting in Scottsdale, Ariz. The agreement reportedly will call for a 10-day suspension for a first positive test, with penalties increasing thereafter. Until now, the first positive test resulted only in treatment.
Driven by appetites for foreign oil and foods, the US trade deficit hit an all-time high $60.3 billion in November, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday. It was 7.7 percent higher than the previous record of $56 billion set in October.