Despite the urging of Australia's government, the Bush administration filed terrorism charges Thursday against David Hicks, an Australian citizen suspected of aiding the Taliban in Afghan-istan. He has been held at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, for more than five years without trial.

Personal incomes rose in January at the fastest clip in a year (1 percent), while spending on housing construction fell sharply (1.8 percent) amid an industry slump, the Commerce Department said Thursday.

Suspected Al Qaeda operative Jose Padilla is competent to stand trial despite defense arguments that his 3-1/2 years in a military brig have impaired his mental capacities, a US district judge ruled Wednesday in Miami. The trial of Padilla, a US citizen, and two co-defendants is set to begin April 16.

The Recording Industry Association of America said Wednesday it has begun sending out letters to college students, warning them of potential copyright infringement lawsuits for downloading pirated music. In the first wave, 400 letters were sent to students at 13 universities, saying they can avoid lawsuits by paying a fine and promising to cease illegal downloads.

California could become the first state to give all newborns a $500 savings account if a bill, introduced Wednesday in the state Senate, passes. Recipients would have to repay the principal once they turned 18, and the money could be used only for education, house down payments, or retirement accounts.

Federal prosecutors charged 19 people Wednesday of taking guns purchased by individuals with clean records in Mississippi and selling them to street gangs in Chicago, a violation of interstate law.

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said Wednesday that a federal sting operation had dealt a serious blow to a Mexican drug cartel that is "one of the largest and most significant [drug] trafficking organizations" in the US. The multistate bust netted nearly 37,000 pounds of marijuana and cocaine and dozens of arrests, authorities said.

The independent Commission on the National Guard and Reserves concluded Thursday that reserves don't get enough money or equipment and that the leadership is left out of planning for national emergencies.

Historian Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., who died Wednesday in New York, served in the Kennedy White House and won Pulitzer Prizes for books on two presidential administrations: Kennedy's and Andrew Jackson's.

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