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A letter to Obama

TEHRAN, Iran — President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran sent a letter congratulating President-elect Barack Obama on Thursday for his victory, even though the two nations have had no diplomatic ties for nearly 30 years. Ahmadinejad has written letters to world leaders in the past, including one to President Bush. But this is the first time an Iranian leader has congratulated the winner of an American election, at least since the Iranian revolution. Diplomatic ties between Iran and the United States were severed in 1979.

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Relaxing protections

WASHINGTON — In the next few weeks, the Bush administration is expected to relax environmental-protection rules on power plants near national parks, uranium mining near the Grand Canyon and more mountaintop-removal coal mining in Appalachia. The administration is widely expected to try to get some of the rules into final form by the week before Thanksgiving because, in some cases, there's a 60-day delay before new regulations take effect. And once the rules are in place, undoing them generally would be a more time-consuming job for the next Congress and administration.

Gun sales jump

DENVER — Sales of handguns, rifles and ammunition have surged in the last week, according to gun store owners around the nation who describe a wave of buyers concerned that an Obama administration will curtail their right to bear arms. "He's a gun-snatcher," said Jim Pruett, owner of Jim Pruett's Guns and Ammo in Houston. What is clear is that every gun seller has an incentive to stoke the concern that can prompt a gun sale. Political uncertainty, gun dealers say, is great for business. "Clinton was the best gun salesman the gun manufacturers ever had," said Rick Gray, owner of the Accuracy Gun Shop in Las Vegas. "Obama's going to be right up there with him."

Spitzer won't be charged

NEW YORK — Federal prosecutors said Thursday they won't charge former Gov. Eliot Spitzer with any crimes stemming from his use of prostitutes from the Emperors Club VIP scandal. In a statement issued Thursday afternoon, U.S. Attorney Michael Garcia of Manhattan said his office found no misuse of government or campaign funds by Spitzer in the payment for the services of prostitutes.

Herald-Leader wire services

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