The cost of the Iraq and Afghan-istan wars is about $1.6 trillion, roughly double the $804 billion the Bush administration has requested for the period between 2002 and 2008, according to a new congressional report of the Joint Economic Committee. The larger total takes "hidden" costs into account, such as oil-market disruptions, interest on borrowed money, and long-term care for injured veterans.

Erosion of the black middle class and black pessimism about racial progress are among the findings of a wide-ranging study released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center in Washington. Forty-five percent of black children in middle-class households in 1968 today find themselves among the lowest 20 percent of US earners as adults, while only 16 percent of white children experienced a similar retrogression.

As directed by a US district judge Monday, the White House will preserve taped copies of all of its e-mails, an administration spokesman said. The order grew out of a suit brought by two private groups, alleging that 5 million White House e-mails have disappeared.

Once snow covers Vermont's Catamount Trail, a 25-year project completed last month, outdoor enthusiasts will be able to ski the longest backcountry trail in North America, a 300-mile path that runs the length of the state. Volunteers played a key role in converting old logging roads and abandoned railroad beds that form much of the route. Above, John Stearns, a trail association member, posts a marker on the last finished section.

In mid-April Pope Benedict XVI will travel to Washington and New York during his first trip to the US, according to an itinerary released Monday at the fall meeting of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore.

Former US Open champions Curtis Strange and Hubert Green, along with Se Ri Pak, a South Korean pioneer on the women's pro tour, were inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame Monday in St. Augustine, Fla.

Boston Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia was the runaway winner in media balloting for baseball's American League Rookie of the Year, presented Monday. Milwaukee Brewer third baseman Ryan Braun edged Colorado shortstop Troy Tulowitzki for the National League honor.

Former Vice President Al Gore said Monday that he's joining Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm interested in "clean tech" investments.

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