The US manufacturing index posted its 12th straight month of contraction in January, the private Institute for Supply Management reported Monday. Still, activity in the sector rose slightly from a record low of 32.4 in December to 35.6 (readings above 50 signal growth).

In the first act of its kind for the new administration, the State Department Monday barred four companies in China, three in North Korea, and two in Iran from trading with the US.

US wartime spending in Iraq and Afghanistan reveals considerable waste and corruption, according to a report and recent testimony to the Wartime Contracting Commission. There are 154 open criminal investigations into allegations of bribery, conflicts of interest, defective products, bid rigging, and theft.

A dozen US banks that received a total of $150 billion in government rescue money requested visas for more than 21,800 foreign workers over the past six years, according to data compiled by the Associated Press. The average annual salary for the jobs the banks sought to fill was $90,721.

All 4,600 of Kentucky's National Guard troops have been pressed into service to deal with the aftermath of an ice storm that Gov. Steve Beshear calls the worst natural disaster in state history.

The US Maritime Administration says about 10,000 replacements are needed in the graying officer corps just as a Coast Guard study predicts a doubling or tripling in shipping demand by 2020.

California tax refunds will be delayed for at least 30 days as the state struggles to close a $15 billion shortfall in its current budget, State Controller John Chiang has said. Besides withholding tax refunds, Chiang also plans to issue IOUs to businesses providing goods and services to the state.

The Pittsburgh Steelers held off the gritty Arizona Cardinals with a picture-perfect 6-yard touchdown completion with 35 seconds left to win a record sixth Super Bowl title Sunday in Tampa, Fla. Above, receiver Santonio Holmes cradled the ball after his catch gave Pittsburgh a 27-23 victory. The Steelers also scored on linebacker James Harrison's 100-yard interception return, the longest play in SB history, which ended the first half.

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