Many retailers enjoyed better-than-expected results last month, according to industry results released Thursday. The strong gains were attributed to falling gas prices and seasonal clothes buying. One notable exception was Wal-Mart, whose sales role only 1.3 percent.

In the event of a nuclear test by North Korea, the US would "have no choice but to act, and act resolutely," Christopher Hill, assistant secretary of state, said Wednesday. He also said, without elaboration, that the US has sent a message of "deep concern" to the North Koreans through channels at the United Nations. North Korea has given no date for any test, but said earlier this week it plans one.

After nearly three months of

negotiations, General Motors ended talks with Renault SA and Nissan Motor Co. about a possible alliance. Company executives were unconvinced that the possible manufacturing efficiencies were worth what Renault and Nissan were willing to pay for their stakes in a partnership.

The Amish community in Nickel Mines, Pa., urged the news media to respect its privacy in dealing with what one Amish bishop called "our 9/11" – the slayings of five young girls by a suicidal gunman earlier this week. The funerals conclude Friday. Five other girls are hospitalized and listed in serious to critical condition.

California prosecutors filed criminal charges Wednesday against former Hewlett-Packard chairwoman Patricia Dunn, who resigned last month, and four others involved in the company's spying scandal. The case accuses them of violating state privacy laws in an effort to track boardroom leaks.

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