A military judge declared a mistrial Wednesday in the court-martial proceedings against Army First Lt. Ehren Watada after three days of testimony at Fort Lewis, near Seattle. The ruling hinged on a document signed by Watada, a critic of the war in Iraq who refused redeployment there, that amounted to a confession of guilt without consideration of his intent. A new trial could start in mid-March. In the meantime, Watada will report for duty at Fort Lewis.

Defense attorneys Thursday grilled NBC "Meet the Press" host Tim Russert, the final prosecution witness in the perjury trial of former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby. Russert's credibility was under fire because he and Libby tell very different stories about a 2003 phone call that is at the heart of the case involving the public disclosure of CIA analyst Valerie Plame's identity.

American cyclist Floyd Landis, the winner of last year's Tour de France, promised not to defend his title this year as part of an agreement with a French antidoping agency. The deal was announced Thursday in Paris. In return, the agency said it would postpone a decision to suspend him over a positive doping test until he first makes his case to the US Anti-Doping Agency in May. Landis denies any wrongdoing.

Although 64 percent of Americans hold a "very" or "somewhat" unfavorable view of ailing Cuban leader Fidel Castro, 62 percent believe the US should reestablish diplomatic ties with the communist island nation, according to a new Associated Press-Ipsos poll. The US broke off relations with Cuba in 1961.

The Air Force Academy said Wednesday that 19 freshmen cadets have admitted to using computers to cheat on a test required for advancement to the next grade level. Nine others are under investigation, the academy said. A cadet advisory panel will suggest a punishment, which could include expulsion.

The Food and Drug Administration announced Wednesday its approval of the first diet drug to be sold without a prescription. GlaxoSmithKline says it expects 5 million to 6 million adults to try the pills this year. They will compete against nutritional supplements that don't need FDA approval.

Many of the nation's leading retailers on Thursday reported solid sales gains last month, which were encouraging news after a disappointing holiday season, according to an industry report. Results were mixed, however, with some stores able to clear out winter items, while others prematurely converted to spring merchandise.

Astronauts Sunita Williams and Michael Lopez-Alegria began their third spacewalk in nine days Thursday from the International Space Station, the busiest maintenance schedule yet attempted without a shuttle crew present. The walk called for them to be in space 6-1/2-hours.

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