USA

A far-reaching, $26.5 billion education bill requiring new reading and math tests was signed into law by President Bush. To showcase the bipartisan achievement of a campaign promise, the president signed the measure in Ohio, home of US Rep. John Boehner (R); gave an education speech in New Hampshire, the home state of GOP Sen. Judd Gregg; and toured a school in Massachusetts, the home state of Sen. Edward Kennedy (D). The "no child left behind" legislation's fourth principal sponsor, Rep. George Miller (D) of California, was traveling with the president.

In a ruling that could affect millions of workers, the Supreme Court narrowed the reach of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act. The justices unanimously ruled that a worker's partial disability did not obligate her employer, Toyota, to tailor a job to suit her wrist, arm, and shoulder problems. They said a lower court had used the wrong standard in determining whether an impairment that prevents an employee from doing a specific, job-related manual task qualifies as a disability under federal law. (Story, page 2.)

The Justice Department has identified about 6,000 men of Middle Eastern origin who have ignored deportation orders, giving their arrest top priority, the Washington Post reported. Unidentified sources said the men are from countries that the US believes are strongholds for members of Osama bin Laden's Al Qaeda terrorist network. The plan to give priority to a group of Arab and Muslim men over 300,000 other foreign nationals who have disregarded deportation orders has concerned advocacy groups.

Carrying out a threat to bypass the Democratic-controlled Senate, Bush installed former Secret Service director John Magaw to head the new Transportation Security Administration. The president announced Magaw's nomination four weeks ago, but gave him the "recess appointment" Monday because the Senate had not acted quickly enough for him, reports said. Developing and deploying new security equipment at airports will be the principal task of the Transportation Department agency, created by Congress last fall.

A federal court issued an order barring the Forest Service from logging 46,000 acres of burned timber in Montana, saying the agency had violated its own rules in approving the plan. In Missoula, US District Judge Donald Molley ruled the decision to bypass an internal Forest Service appeals process was illegal and violated the public's right to be involved in decisionmaking. A coalition of environmental groups sued over the Bush administration's decision to approve the plan.

Schoolmates of the teenage student pilot who crashed a small plane into a Tampa, Fla., skyscraper last Saturday were doubting the sincerity of a suicide note in which he expressed sympathy for bin Laden and support for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Charles Bishop, a former flag-bearer at school assemblies who said he wanted to join the Air Force, had expressed anger and disgust at the attacks, a friend said.

Actress/comedian Whoopi Goldberg was named as host of the 74th annual Academy Awards March 24, the Los Angeles Times reported. It will be her fourth such role - the last was in 1999 - but the first time for the Oscars in the new Kodak Theatre in Hollywood.

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