USA

Speeding around the globe at five miles per second, two shuttle Discovery astronauts worked more than five hours Saturday outside the International Space Station, laying cables and securing handrails in preparation for major construction next year. In March 2002, crew from the shuttle Atlantis plan to use the newly installed cables and handrails as they begin work on a 300-foot-long truss that will hold the solar panels responsible for the $95 billion space station's power. Discovery is set to land Wednesday.

Washington firefighters stopped a forest fire from destroying 170 Cascade Mountain homes Saturday, part of a broader effort to contain eight major blazes throughout the state. Key to their success is fighting the so-called Icicle complex, a concentration of 20 fires around the tourist town of Leavenworth, where 2,000 homes and businesses are threatened. Hot, windy, and stormy conditions have contributed to a tough fire season in the West.

Microsoft's bid to delay its court battle with the Justice Department was denied by a federal appeals court, clearing the way for a new judge to determine the software giant's penalties for antitrust violations. Even as it awaits a fall decision from the Supreme Court on whether to hear its appeal, the Redmond, Wash.-based company may face challenges to its new operating system, Windows XP, due for release in October. Analysts said the Justice Department might revive "conduct remedies" against Microsoft that could spark last-minute changes to Windows XP, or even a quick settlement.

Charges of misconduct have been filed against high-ranking Marine Corps officers for their role in the alleged falsification of reports about the controversial MV-22 Osprey aircraft. Two Osprey crashes last year that killed 23 Marines put the future of the aircraft - which takes off like a helicopter and cruises like an airplane - in doubt.

Latin American leaders made a personal plea to President Bush Saturday to support IMF aid to Argentina, which is in danger of defaulting on its $128 billion debt. US Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill has expressed doubt about the loans.

Millionaire balloonist Steve Fossett rested in Bage, Brazil, after abandoning his quest to circumnavigate the globe because of the threat of Atlantic thunderstorms. Though disappointed in his fifth attempt, Fossett did break the record for duration of a solo balloon flight after 12 days, 13 hours of flight.

Hoping to salvage his troubled faith-based initiative, President Bush, urged the Senate to pass legislation that would make it easier for religious charities to compete for taxpayer money. Few Senate Democrats support the measure.

Showing Jeff Gordon-like speed, an eight-week-old pig darts to the finish line during the "Sue Wee Pig Races," held Aug. 17 at the 25th annual Arlington County Fair in Arlington, Va.

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