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In the Nation

Edwards service Saturday in N.C.

RALEIGH, N.C. - Elizabeth Edwards' older daughter will give one of the eulogies at a public memorial service Saturday.

Cate Edwards, 28, will offer her memories, as will two of her mother's longtime friends, Hargrave McElroy and Glenn Bergenfield, details provided Thursday show. Elizabeth Edwards' estranged husband, former Sen. John Edwards, is not scheduled to speak.

Elizabeth Edwards, 61, died Tuesday, six years after her initial cancer diagnosis. Saturday's service, at 1 p.m. at Edenton Street United Methodist Church in Raleigh, is open to the public; burial will be private. The church is the same one Edwards turned to after losing her son Wade, 16, in a 1996 car accident. - AP

Obama hasn't smoked in months

WASHINGTON - White House victories are rare these days, but President Obama can claim solid progress in his lonely battle to quit smoking. He has gone a full nine months without sneaking a cigarette, press secretary Robert Gibbs reported Thursday.

Every day is a struggle and there's no guarantee Obama won't light up tomorrow, it seems. Still, for a president who has been trying to quit for years, the nine-month hiatus is a welcome sign that he's breaking the addiction.

Obama still chews nicotine gum, which his doctors have advised. In a March physical, Obama was pronounced fit but told to "continue smoking cessation efforts." It was around that time that Obama smoked his last cigarette, according to the timetable laid out by Gibbs.

Smoking "is not something that he's proud of," Gibbs said at his daily briefing. "He knows that it's not good for him." - Los Angeles Times

Life expectancy dips a bit in U.S.

NEW YORK - U.S. life expectancy has dropped slightly - by about a month - after mostly inching up for many years, the government reported Thursday.

The preliminary report indicates that a baby born in 2008 can expect to live to 77.8 years if current trends continue. That's down a bit from an all-time high of 77.9 years for 2007. A similar dip occurred in 2005, and life expectancy also dropped in 1993.

The report's lead author, Arialdi Minino, called the 2008 change minuscule and said it would take years of data to determine if it's a trend.

Life expectancy was down for both men and women. The gap between blacks and whites closed a little, to a 4.6-year difference in life expectancy; black men for the first time topped 70 years. Overall, women continue to live longer, until about 80, compared with 75 for men.

The report was released by the National Center for Health Statistics. - AP


Sen. Jim Bunning (R., Ky.), the onetime Phillies pitcher, bid farewell to Congress on Thursday in a retirement speech that was by turns emotional and scolding. He labeled Democrats "stubborn" for pushing through the health-care law and blamed the Federal Reserve for destroying the dollar and the economy.

A federal jury began deliberations Thursday in the Salt Lake City trial of Brian David Mitchell, charged with abducting teen Elizabeth Smart in 2002.