USA

Violent crime fell nationwide by 1.3 percent in the first six months of the year, continuing an eight-year decline despite slightly more murders and robberies being reported, the FBI said. By region, crime rates fell in the Northeast and Midwest, but went up in the South and West. Cities with populations above 1 million as well as suburban and rural counties reported declines, while the opposite was found in cities with populations ranging from 100,000 to 1 million.

President Bush's nominee for Labor Department solicitor appeared unlikely to be confirmed by the Senate after majority leader Tom Daschle told ABC's "This Week": "I don't think he has the 60 votes that would be required for [someone] as controversial as he is." Eugene Scalia, son of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, is a conservative Washington labor lawyer who was a vocal opponent of President Clinton's efforts to tighten standards designed to reduce repetitive motion injuries. Democrats maintain his confirmation would undermine worker protections.

An American Airlines flight was delayed for more than three hours after a fake grenade was discovered by a passenger in a bag she allegedly stole from a security checkpoint. Authorities at San Diego's Lindbergh Field are conducting a petty theft investigation to figure out how she took the bag from an X-ray screening baggage ramp. Security personnel had successfully completed a test using the device moments before she entered the checkpoint, airport officials said.

Congressional negotiators sought to resolve partisan differences over healthcare aid for unemployed people. The issue is blocking action on an economic stimulus package. A deal between Democrats and Republicans has remained elusive even though Bush has warned failure to enact a plan soon could cost another 300,000 jobs and cut economic growth by 0.5 percent.

National Football League commissioner Paul Tagliabue asked that New York and Washington be considered as sites for the 2007 Super Bowl, to honor them in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Tagliabue asked the league's policy committee to reconsider a requirement that any Super Bowl in the north be played in an indoor stadium because of the harsh winter weather. Neither the New York or Washington football stadiums has a roof.

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