Minnesota's efforts to resolve the nation's last undecided Senate election will last at least until February after the state Supreme Court said Wednesday it would take several weeks to consider Democrat Al Franken's request for an expedited election certificate. Franken won the recount by 225 votes, but incumbent Norm Coleman, a Republican, has disputed the results in a lawsuit. The justices said they will hear arguments by Franken, but not until Feb. 5.

Accused Ponzi scheme operator Bernard Madoff didn't speak or show any emotion during a court appearance in New York Wednesday. Prosecutors, who'd hoped to have him jailed, failed to convince the judge that Madoff is a flight risk. He remains under house arrest in his Manhattan penthouse. Meanwhile, on Thursday, New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo issued subpoenas to hedge fund founder Ezra Merkin as part of the state's Madoff probe.

Former Oakland, Calif., transit policeman Johannes Mehserle, was charged with murder midweek in the fatal Jan. 1 shooting of an unarmed black man in a train platform incident that has inflamed racial tensions and caused violent protests. Mehserle, who is white, is the prime suspect based on videotape evidence.

In a move that rankled environmentalists, gray wolves will be removed from the federal endangered species list by the Bush administration in the western Great Lakes and northern Rocky Mountains regions. The wolves will not be delisted in Wyoming because the state hasn't done enough to ensure their survival.

Texas officials approved a license Wednesday to allow disposal of low-level radioactive waste from around the country at a site near the Texas-New Mexican border. Some of the waste will originate at power plants.

Foreclosures rose 81 percent in 2008, with 860,000 of 2.3 million homeowners unable to make loan payments having their properties repossessed, according to RealtyTrac, a foreclosure listing firm.

Apple Inc. chief executive Steve Jobs said Wednesday he is taking a medical leave until June, news that concerned investors and sent the company's stock shares plummeting 7 percent.

Struggling Motorola Inc. announced plans Wednesday to cut 4,000 more jobs this year, many in its mobile devices business, bringing the total reduction since December 2007 to 12,000 employees, or 18 percent of the workforce.

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