USA

Aiming to shore up homeland security, the Pentagon will ask President Bush for approval to set up a four-star command that will coordinate federal forces defending North America, officials disclosed. Up until the domestic security demands placed on the military in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, the idea of a homeland regional commander-in-chief (CINC) was resisted, reflecting a traditional aversion to - and legal limits on - the use of federal armed forces for domestic law-enforcement.

Defense Secretary Rumsfeld arrived at Camp X-Ray, where 158 Al Qaeda and Taliban captives from Afghanistan are being held. The trip marked his first visit to the US Navy base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, since the arrival of the captives there and an ensuing international furor over their alleged mistreatment and the US's refusal to designate them as prisoners of war (POWs). Rumsfeld's visit to the base followed that of a congressional delegation (above, being briefed by Marine Gen. Michael Lehnert) last Friday.

In a related development, Secretary of State Powell asked President Bush to review his administration's stand on the foreign captives. Powell reportedly wants them covered by the rules designed to handle prisoners of war under the 1949 Geneva Convention, without granting them official POW status, The Washington Times and other news organizations reported. But his position clashes with that of Bush, who believes the detainees are not entitled to those protections. A senior State Department official said administration lawyers are divided over whether the Convention applies to the detainees, although it is widely agreed they aren't POWs. (Story, page 2; editorial, page 8.)

Afghanistan's interim leader, Hamid Karzai, is due at the White House today for a highly symbolic visit and talks with Bush that will mark one more step out of his country's age of isolation under Taliban rule. Administration officials said they hope Karzai's visit will prove that the US, criticized for deserting Afghanistan after the guerrillas it backed ousted Soviet forces in the late 1980s, is engaged in the country for the long haul. (Story, page 7.)

A Massachusetts man will spend the next six to 10 years in prison for the beating death of a fellow hockey dad at their sons' practice, a Cambridge, Mass., court ruled Friday. Thomas Junta was convicted of involuntary manslaughter earlier this month for the death of Michael Costin. His lawyers are appealing the sentence.

The Monitor's Clay Bennett, a three-time runnerup for the Pulitzer Prize, was named first-place winner in the Fischetti Editorial Cartoon Competition. The award is sponsored by Columbia College, the US's largest arts and communications school, in Chicago. It is given each year in memory of famed cartoonist John Fischetti.

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