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WASHINGTON (AP) Streets in downtown Washington are closing for the annual National Christmas Tree Lighting. The ceremony on the Ellipse, south of the White House, begins at 5 o'clock this afternoon. Streets will be closed a half hour earlier.

WASHINGTON (AP) The D.C. Council has given preliminary approval to budget cuts that include furloughs for city employees but no new tax hikes for residents. The council approved the cuts in order to close a $188 million gap in the current year's budget.

WASHINGTON (AP) Mayor-elect Vincent Gray has named Allen Lew to be the next city administrator. Lew has led the multibillion dollar school-modernization construction campaign under Mayor Adrian Fenty.

WASHINGTON (AP) Wal-Mart is unveiling urban store designs slated for four Washington sites during small, neighborhood meetings. A spokesman for Wal-Mart says the company is designing smaller, grocery-oriented stores to fit the city's needs.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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Centenarian Poet Was A Fearless Guide To 'The Country Of Old Age'

Poet and author Margaret Howe Freydburg died last week at 107; she wrote and published well past her 100th birthday. Her friend Nancy Slonim Aronie has an appreciation of a remarkable woman.
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Margaret Hamburg Ends Six-Year Run As FDA Commissioner

Margaret Hamburg ended her run this week as one of the longest serving Food and Drug Administration commissioners in recent decades.
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Sen. Robert Menendez Indicted On Corruption Charges

Sen. Menendez of New Jersey has been indicted on corruption charges. These are the first criminal charges brought against a sitting U.S. Senator in seven years.
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U.S. Creates First Sanctions Program Against Cybercriminals

President Obama signed a new executive order that will allow the administration to freeze the assets of any individual or group involved in "malicious" cyberattacks.

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