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USA

US greenhouse-gas emissions in 2006 fell 1.5 percent from 2005 levels, the Energy Information Administration reported, a modest reduction relative to the 15 percent increase in such emissions since 1990. Milder weather and increased natural- gas use were cited as factors in the first annual drop in greenhouse emissions in five years.

Of 43 local counterterrorism centers set up after 9/11, only two, those in Kansas and Rhode Island, still focus solely on their original mission, according to a Government Accountability Office survey. The others now devote time to street crime and natural disasters as well.

Smoking prevention and cessation programs could save America's Medicaid system an estimated $9.7 billion within five years if all smokers were to quit, according to a study released by the Legacy Foundation Thursday.

With $100,000 in funding won in an innovation contest, William Cleary, an engineer for Boeing in Long Beach, Calif., is working to create 240-gallon biodegradable water balloons for use by aerial firefighters. The balloons, which have yet to be tested on a real wildfire, hold the potential for accurate targeting from safe altitudes. Air tankers have to work much closer to the flames.

Striking Broadway stagehands reached a tentative agreement with theater producers that found both groups scurrying to reopen shows Thursday that had been closed for 19 days. Details of a new five-year contract were not disclosed, but Charlotte St. Martin (above), speaking for the producers at a news conference, called the deal a "good compromise."

Henry Hyde, who spent 32 years as a Republican congressman for Illinois before retiring at the end of the last session, died Thursday in Washington. A leading foe of abortion and an advocate for a strong national defense, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in November.

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