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US military deaths in Iraq war at 4,259

Updated: 03/20/2009 - As of Thursday, March 19, 2009, at least 4,259 members of the U.S. military had died in the Iraq war since it began in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.

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AP IMPACT: Many Iraqis held by US to go free

Updated: 03/20/2009 - Thousands of Iraqis held without charge by the United States on suspicion of links to insurgents or militants are being freed by this summer because there is little or no evidence against them.

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Western Kentucky provides 1st big upset of NCAAs

Updated: 03/20/2009 - An upset? Western Kentucky looked and acted like it was business as usual. Yes, these Hilltoppers are no one-year wonders. The party crashers of last year's NCAA tournament did it again late Thursday night. Scoffing at another No. 12 seeding, Western Kentucky booted fifth-seeded Illinois 76-72 behind 17 points from Steffphon Pettigrew and the workmanlike confidence of a major power.

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Obama apologizes for Special Olympics gaffe

Updated: 03/20/2009 - President Barack Obama has apologized to the chairman of the Special Olympics for his late-night talk show quip equating his bowling skills to those of athletes with disabilities.

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Pope takes African pilgrimage to Angola

Updated: 03/20/2009 - Pope Benedict XVI urged Angolans on Friday to continue on the path of reconciliation after nearly three decades of civil war, saying dialogue could overcome all conflict and tension.

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Dodd's political stock tumbles in Connecticut

Updated: 03/20/2009 - Democrats may want to start thinking about a bailout for Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd, whose political stock has slipped amid the financial meltdown.

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Stock move in narrow range before Bernanke speech

Updated: 03/20/2009 - Wall Street fluctuated Friday as investors set aside their inflation concerns and went back to buying as they awaited a speech by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.

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Former AIG head denies he started exec bonuses

Updated: 03/20/2009 - Former AIG chief executive officer Hank Greenberg said the company under his leadership never had the kind of retention bonus system that has subjected it to withering criticism.

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Obama reaches out to Iran with video message

Updated: 03/20/2009 - President Barack Obama is reaching out to the Iranian people in a new video with Farsi subtitles, saying the U.S. is prepared to end years of strained relations if Tehran tones down its bellicose rhetoric.

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US Navy: 2 vessels collide in Strait of Hormuz

Updated: 03/20/2009 - Two U.S. Navy vessels - a submarine and an amphibious ship - collided early Friday in the Strait of Hormuz between Iran and the Arabian peninsula, the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet reported.

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Dodd's Political Stock Tumbles In Connecticut

Updated: 03/20/2009 - As a five-term Democrat who blew out his last two opponents by 2-1 margins in a blue state that President Barack Obama won handily, Dodd, D-Conn., should be cruising to re-election in 2010. Instead, he's feeling heat from a Republican challenger eager to make him a poster boy for the tumult in the housing and financial markets.

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AIG Unit Sues Countrywide Financial Over Loan Losses

Updated: 03/20/2009 - A unit of embattled insurer American International Group Inc. filed suit against mortgage lender Countrywide Financial Corp. in California federal court Thursday, alleging Countrywide misrepresented the health of loans that the company insured, resulting in massive losses.

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Former 'Soul Train' Host Gets Probation

Updated: 03/20/2009 - Don Cornelius has been sentenced to three years' probation after pleading no contest to misdemeanor spousal battery. Court records show Cornelius' attorney entered the plea on the "Soul Train" creator's behalf on Wednesday.

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Obama Cracks 'Special Olympics' Joke On Leno

Updated: 03/20/2009 - Toward the end of the interview on Thursday, Obama told host Jay Leno he's been practicing at the White House's bowling alley but wasn't happy with his score of 129. Leno complimented Obama on the score, but the president quipped, "It was like the Special Olympics or something," which prompted laughter from the audience.

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Autopsy: Richardson Died From Bleeding In Brain

Updated: 03/20/2009 - The medical examiner ruled her death an accident, and doctors said she might have survived had she received immediate treatment. However, nearly four hours elapsed between her lethal fall and her admission to a hospital.

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'Tonight' Is Friendly Turf For President Obama

Updated: 03/20/2009 - Leno queried Obama about difficult issues — including AIG's executive bonuses and criticism of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner — but with minor exception allowed the president to answer without challenge.

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US: Airstrike In Iraq

Updated: 03/20/2009 - Military spokesman Maj. Derrick Cheng told The Associated Press on Friday that ground forces searched the site after the strike and found a cache of weapons, munitions and parts to build improvised explosive devices.

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7 Killed When Small Plane Crashes In Ecuador

Updated: 03/20/2009 - An upscale neighborhood in Ecuador's capital turned into a charred, smoky disaster scene when a small army plane crashed into an apartment building, killing seven people and sending a fireball into the evening sky.

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New Break-In At Home Where Briton Slain

Updated: 03/20/2009 - Italian court officials say intruders have for the second time in a month broken into a house where a British student was killed. Lawyers and a judge discussed the break-in Friday during the trial of two people for the death of Meredith Kercher.

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South Korea: North To Restore Military Hot Line

Updated: 03/20/2009 - North Korea informed Seoul on Friday it will restore a military communications hot line severed last week but closed the border dividing the two Koreas for the third time in recent days, South Korean officials said.

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Pirates Seize Greek Cargp Ship

Updated: 03/20/2009 - Greece's Merchant Marine Ministry says pirates have seized a Greek-owned cargo ship in the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Somalia.

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34 Militants Killed In Clashes In Afghanistan

Updated: 03/20/2009 - Thirty of the deaths occurred during a firefight that broke out Thursday when Afghan army and U.S.-coalition troops came under attack in southern Helmand province, the U.S. said in a statement.

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