Sen. Pete Domenici (R) of New Mexico said Thursday that he intends to retire after 36 years in office due to health reasons. He expects to complete his current term, but as the fifth Republican to announce his retirement before the 2008 election, his departure adds to GOP concerns about holding the vacated seats. Domenici has long been a key lawmaker in budget matters.

In what immigration officials called the largest sweep of its kind in the US, more than 1,300 foreign-born criminals and immigration violators were rounded up during the past two weeks in southern California. Most of those arrested and facing deportation are Mexicans.

The Federal Salary Council recommended at least a 2.5 percent pay raise for nearly 1.8 million federal workers next year, The Washington Post reported.

Cash payments to Americans who survived the Holocaust and descendants of victims have reached $8 billion with the help of US intervention in class-action lawsuits beginning in the 1990s, the State Department's special envoy for Holocaust issues told a House subcommittee Wednesday.

Rep. Ron Paul (R) of Texas, a long-shot GOP presidential candidate with an avid Internet following, reported raising $5 million during the past three months, a surprisingly high amount that trails the front-runners but is well ahead of the rest of the field.

Jobless claims by newly laid-off workers climbed to 317,000 last week, the most in four months, the Labor Department said Thursday. Analysts cite a housing slump and credit crunch as contributing factors to the labor market slowdown.

Missouri is moving ahead to repair or replace 800 state bridges using an innovative strategy described as a model for the rest of the country, according to, a state news website. The plan calls for contractors to fast-track the work by financing it themselves, with the state paying back the companies over 25 years for work done in five.

Houston Intercontinental Airport led the US with an 82 percent on-time flight arrival performance in August, according to the Transportation Department.

A 50-yard-long stretch of four-lane road in the upscale La Jolla neighborhood of San Diego collapsed Wednesday, leaving a 15-foot sinkhole that destroyed one home and damaged five others. No injuries were reported.

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