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In the Nation

N.Y.: Columbia U. drug ring busted

NEW YORK - Five Columbia University students have been charged with selling drugs on campus and at fraternity houses, authorities said.

The students pleaded not guilty Tuesday at their arraignment on multiple drug-dealing charges alleging that they were supplied by violent traffickers.

Authorities called it one of the largest drug takedowns on a New York City college campus in recent memory.

The five-month investigation began in July. Authorities said undercover officers bought cocaine, marijuana, Ecstasy, Adderall, and LSD. In some cases, the LSD was in breath mints and candy. Authorities said one of the off-campus suppliers plotted to kidnap a pair of rival cocaine traffickers. - AP

House GOP taps new panel chairs

WASHINGTON - Hal Rogers, who over 30 years in Congress has honed his skills at winning pork-barrel projects for his Kentucky constituents, is in line to head the House committee that next year will spearhead the Republican drive to trim the fat off federal spending.

The House Republican Steering Committee said Tuesday that it was recommending Rogers, 72, to chair the Appropriations Committee, which disburses more than $1 trillion every year in non-entitlement-program federal dollars.

The chairmanship lineup for the 112th Congress will be confirmed Wednesday at a full meeting of House Republicans.

Among others designated to head committees are Fred Upton of Michigan for Energy and Commerce; Howard "Buck" McKeon of California for Armed Services; Ileana Ros-Lehtinen of Florida for Foreign Affairs; Peter King of New York for Homeland Security; David Camp of Michigan for Ways and Means; and Spencer Bachus of Alabama for Financial Services. - AP

Setback for GOP in Minn. election

ST. PAUL, Minn. - Republican Tom Emmer's legal options for reversing the outcome of the Minnesota governor's race narrowed Tuesday amid signs that a recount would draw to a quicker conclusion than anticipated.

A state Supreme Court opinion appeared to close off Emmer's ability to disqualify some votes and make up ground on Democrat Mark Dayton, who led by about 9,000 votes.

Emmer had been waiting on the detailed opinion as he weighs whether to pursue a lawsuit over the election. His campaign did not immediately comment, but GOP chairman Tony Sutton wouldn't close the door on a suit.

Dayton wouldn't be permitted to take office until after any court case was resolved. Under the state constitution, departing GOP Gov. Tim Pawlenty would remain in office indefinitely. - AP


U.S. airlines reported no flights stuck on tarmacs for more than three hours in October, the first month with no incidents since the federal government in April imposed a rule that subjects carriers to possible fines for long delays.