USA

Precisely three months after the first hijacked jetliner struck the World Trade Center, simultaneous remembrance ceremonies were held nationwide, in 70 other countries around the globe, and at the International Space Station. President Bush (below, leaving the stage with first lady Laura Bush) said at a White House ceremony that the US does not need monuments to the more than 3,000 people killed Sept. 11. "We'll remember where we were and how we felt.... We'll remember what we lost and what we found," he said.

House majority leader Richard Armey (R) of Texas was expected to make public his decision on retiring from Congress today, informed sources said. Armey reportedly told a few colleagues of the possibility, among them Speaker Dennis Hastert. It is widely expected that Armey's departure would set in motion a battle for leadership in the GOP, which has remained largely unchanged since a series of contests for top posts following the party's 1998 election losses.

The White House commission on Social Security reform will present three options to Bush and will urge lawmakers to debate the issues for at least another year before taking action, reports said. A draft released ahead of the commission's final meeting said all three reform models involved voluntary investment accounts, as requested by the president, and ensured that future retirees could expect benefits that were at least as high as those received currently, adjusted for inflation.

Police were searching for a gunman who fired on co-workers outside a fast-food restaurant in suburban Philadelphia, killing two and wounding a third. The victims were in their late teens or early 20s, East Whiteland Township Police Chief Frederick Rosato said. The shootings occurred late Monday as employees of a KFC/Taco Bell in Chester County were closing the restaurant for the night.

Car theft is rising in the US after a 10-year decline, with auto-theft rates increasing 1.2 percent from 1999 to 2000, the National Insurance Crime Bureau's annual study, based on FBI data, has found. Robert Bryant, president of the nonprofit group, said the increase was troubling, and called for urgent action to ensure that it does not become a trend. He attributed the rise to the declining economy, the reassignment of police officers to other responsibilities, and porous borders.

Four years after it was closed for a $33.5 million renovation, the US Botanic Garden at the foot of Capitol Hill reopened, featuring a miniature tropical rain forest towering 93 feet.

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