Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas (below), who is considered a long shot to become the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, is expected to drop out of the race Friday, according to people close to the conservative lawmaker. His campaign has struggled to raise money. The $800,000 he logged during the third quarter is his lowest amount since entering the race.

Gov. Sonny Perdue (R) of Georgia said he will sue the Army Corps of Engineers for what he called a "nonsensical action" to empty reservoirs in his drought-stricken state in order to send water downstream to Alabama and Florida. The corps says it is abiding by federal guidelines but is "exploring possible drought contingency options." The three states disagree about regional water management.

Applications for jobless benefits shot up last week by 28,000 to 337,000, the largest one-week surge since early February, the Labor Department said of the higher-than-expected jump. A severe downturn in the housing market was cited as a possible contributing factor.

A federal panel recommended Thursday that the State Department urge Saudi officials to temporarily close the Islamic Saudi Academy, a private K-12 school with two campuses and nearly 1,000 students in northern Virginia. The Saudi government supports the school. The US Commission on International Religious Freedom wants the school's textbooks and procedures reviewed to ensure that they don't promote intolerance associated with radical Islam.

A vessel-management program aimed at protecting endangered humpback whales in Alaska's Glacier Bay is working well, according to officials. No whales were struck in the 3.3-million-acre marine wilderness this summer, thanks in part to efforts to educate boat operators to slow down and keep a safe distance from the whales.

Now that the Boeing Co. has ironed out most of the computer glitches, the first section of a high-tech "virtual fence" can be tested along the US-Mexico border, a federal official said Wednesday. The installation has been delayed for months.

As the result of a cost-of-living adjustment, Social Security benefit checks will increase 2.3 percent in January for about 50 million recipients, the Social Security Administration said Wednesday. That means an extra $24 a month on average, the smallest increase in four years.

In naming UPS its 2007 Vision for America winner, Keep America Beautiful Inc. this week called the delivery company "one of the nation's preeminent corporate citizens" for its commitment to volunteerism and community service.

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