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Legislation imposing the most sweeping campaign-finance reforms in 25 years was signed by President Bush shortly before he left on a trip expected to raise millions of dollars for GOP candidates in South Carolina and Georgia. "The president believes it improves the system, but it's a far-from-perfect bill," spokesman Ari Fleischer said. Among other provisions, the measure bans "soft money" – the currently unlimited contributions to national political parties. It doesn't take effect until after the November election.

Thousands of cheering supporters greeted the USS Theodore Roosevelt on the aircraft carrier's return to Norfolk Naval Station in Norfolk, Va., after a six-month deployment that included air strikes in Afghan-istan. The carrier, the first to go to sea after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, was one of five vessels and dozens of aircraft bound for bases in Virginia, New Jersey, South Carolina, Florida, and Washington State. Its 5,500 sailors spent a record 159 days at sea without a port call. Above, Yvette Morales waves a flag from the carrier.

In a decision affecting an estimated 7 million undocumented workers, the Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that illegal immigrants do not have the same rights as citizens when wrongly fired by employers. Mexican national Jose Castro was seeking back pay from a California company that fired him after he tried to form a union.

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The high court rejected a Virginia death-row inmate's request for a new trial because his court-appointed lawyer also had represented the man he was convicted of killing. The court found that Walter Mickens Jr. received effective counsel, despite his attorney's failure to disclose the association.

Low mortgage rates and mild weather are credited with a rise in new-home sales last month. Sales of new, single-family houses increased 5.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 875,000 in February , the Commerce Department reported, after falling 15.8 percent the previous month.

Bush's choices for two top health posts drew initial support from Senate Democrats. Edward Kennedy, (D) of Massassachusetts, whose committee oversees health nominees, pledged prompt confirmation hearings for Richard Carmona and Elias Zerhouni. Carmona, a Tucson, Ariz., surgeon and part-time SWAT team member, is nominated for surgeon general. Zerhouni, an Algerian-born radiologist at Johns Hopkins University, would head the National Institutes of Health.

A Sacramento, Calif., couple are new parents to identical quadruplets, described as a 1-in-11 million event. The four girls were born Monday to Ornsee Khamsa and Verek Muy. The heaviest weighed just 2 pounds, 8 ounces. Doctors said they're all doing well.

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