Wholesale prices rose by 1.3 percent in January, the biggest increase since last November and more than double the rate anticipated by analysts, the Labor Department reported Thursday. The increase was driven by a 3.5 percent jump in energy costs.

The Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday cleared the way for subpoenas compelling five Justice Department officials and six of the federal prosecutors they fired to tell the story of a purge of US attorneys that has prompted demands for the ouster of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.

The US moved toward resolving a financial dispute Wednesday that, until recently, had prevented North Korea from participating in six-nation nuclear arms talks, the Treasury

Department said. Its investigation into money-laundering activities by a bank in Macau, a semiautonomous Chinese territory, has led to new laws that could result in the release of some $25 million in frozen North Korean assets.

Former Hewlett-Packard chairwoman Patricia Dunn, who resigned seven months ago, was cleared Wednesday of all criminal charges against her in a surveillance scandal. Prosecutors had charged Dunn with organizing a spying scheme to obtain the private phone records of directors, employees, and journalists in hopes of tracing media leaks. Charges against three co-defendants will be dropped after they make restitution and do community service.

The overall rate of drinking among college students has changed little since 1993, but substance use on campus is assuming more extreme forms, according to a report released Thursday by the National Center on Addiction and Abuse. Hundreds of thousands more students are abusing prescription drugs, and intense drinking has become more common.

Authorities arrested Mohiuddin A.K.M. Ahmed Wednesday at his home in Los Angeles in connection with the 1975 assassination of Bangladesh's first prime minister. In 1998, Ahmed, a former Bangladeshi military officer, had been convicted in absentia along with 14 others for his role in the murder but had been avoiding deportation.

Chiquita Brands International, the Cincinnati-based banana company, said Wednesday it had agreed to a $25 million fine for paying right-wing paramilitary groups and leftist rebels in Colombia to protect its farming properties and workers.

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