Jobless claims last week increased by 32,000 to a seasonally adjusted 516,000, a seven-year high, the Labor Department reported Thurs-day. The total was much higher than analysts expected and was only the second time since 1992 that claims topped 500,000.

By a 5-to-4 margin, the Supreme Court ruled for the Navy in its battle with environmentalists for the right to conduct sonar submarine-hunting exercises off the coast of southern California. The Natural Resources Defense Council and other groups had won restrictions in lower federal courts to restrict the use of sonar because of possible injury to whales. Chief Justice John Roberts said Wednesday that without proper training, naval personnel would be jeopardized.

As a precaution to prevent food contamination by the industrial chemical melamine, the Food and Drug Administration slapped a sweeping detention order Thursday on dozens of imported foods from China.

A pact to balance long-disputed water needs in the Klamath River basin in Oregon and California was slated for formal signing Thursday by the US Interior Department, governors of the two states, and dam owner PacifiCorp, which uses the river to generate hydroelectric power. The $1 billion blueprint calls for restoring fish habitat by removing four dams while guaranteeing sufficient water and electricity to farmers.

A federal government's "tarmac task force" approved voluntary guidelines but no specific rules Wednesday for how airlines should deal with passengers stuck on planes for hours waiting for takeoff. Passenger advocates had hoped for time limits before planes are returned to the gate.

Nearly 280,000 homeowners received at least one foreclosure-related notice in October, a 25 percent jump over the same month in 2007 and a 5 percent increase over September, according to RealtyTrac Inc. Nevada led the nation in the rate of foreclosures for the 22nd consecutive month.

Shockwaves continue to reverberate and forecasts darken for major US retailers entering the holiday season. Sales at established stores in October were the worst since 1969, with luxury stores recording some of the biggest drops, including a nearly 27 percent falloff at Neiman Marcus.

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