As hurricane Ike began bearing down on the Texas coastline, officials ordered hundreds of thousands of residents Thursday to evacuate an area with one of the nation's largest concentrations of oil refineries. The storm's expected arrival Saturday could bring 130 m.p.h. winds and a surge in Galveston Bay that could push floodwaters into Houston.

President Bush marked the seventh anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks with a moment of silence at the White House Thursday morning at precisely the time the first hijacked airliner crashed into the World Trade Center. He also helped dedicate a new memorial at the Pentagon, with 184 benches, to honor those who died there.

US oil-field deaths increased about 70 percent between 2002 and 2007, when 598 workers – many in Texas – died on the job, the Associated Press has found. Experts point to a dramatic increase in drilling, an influx of new workers, a high-pressure environment, and rampant drug and alcohol use among workers as factors in the rising fatalities.

The gap between US imports and exports rose 5.7 percent in July, pushing the trade deficit to a 16-month high as oil prices hit record levels, the Commerce Department said Thursday. On the labor front, applications for unemployment benefits dropped by 6,000 from the prior week to a seasonally adjusted 445,000, but not to the 440,000 analysts expected.

The University of Oklahoma plans to rely exclusively on wind power by 2013, said school President David Boren Wednesday of what he called one of the largest-ever commitments to renewable energy by a public university. The University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond switched to 100 percent wind power in 2006.

The Los Angeles Angels, with the best record in baseball, became the first team in the majors to clinch a playoff spot by beating the Yankees 4-2 on Wednesday. The club has secured the American League West four of the past five years and has 17 games left to improve on its .607 winning percentage.

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