The US and Russia have reached agreement on further nuclear arms cuts, President Bush announced. He said he would sign the long-sought deal May 24, when he meets with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow. "The treaty will liquidate the legacy of the cold war," Bush said at the White House, before leaving on a brief trip to Chicago. The treaty, which must be ratified by the Senate, would require each side to reduce its nuclear arsenal to no more than 2,200 warheads, from the 6,000 now allowed under the 1991 START I accord signed by the previous President Bush and former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev.
Declaring that the "success of farmers and ranchers is essential to success of the American economy," Bush (below, center) signed a 10-year, $190 billion farm bill into law. The measure raises crop and dairy subsidies by 67 percent, conservation spending by 80 percent, and makes legal immigrants again eligible for food stamps. The European Union, Canada, and other trade partners complain that it runs counter US calls for freer trade. It may also provide a boost for Republicans in key farm states in the November elections. (Story, page 2.)
The Supreme Court partly upheld a 1998 law designed to protect children from online pornography, deciding its use of "community standards" to determine what's objectionable does not necessarily violate free-speech rights. But, in a divided ruling, the court said the Child Online Protection Act contains other potential constitutional problems, and sent it back to a lower court for review.
In a separate ruling, the justices upheld a key provision of a government plan to boost competition among local phone-service providers. Verizon Communications and GTE Corp. had objected to limits set by federal regulators on what they could charge rival firms seeking to lease their lines. At present, such leases affect only about 3 percent of the former Bell telecommunications system.
Jury selection was nearing completion in the trial of Bobby Frank Cherry, a former Ku Klux Klan member accused in a 1963 bombing that killed four black girls at a church in Birmingham, Ala. Opening statements were expected to begin as the Monitor went to press. Cherry is the last of four main suspects in the blast at the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, a rallying site for civil rights protesters at the time. Two other suspects were convicted of murder in the case. Another died without being charged.
Finding a job may become easier in the next few months. According to Manpower Inc., a Glendale, Calif.-based staffing firm, 27 percent of the 16,000 companies it surveyed plan to add staff by September. With April's unemployment rate at a near-eight-year high of 6 percent, one economist said the survey underscored expectations of a slow and moderate recovery for the second part of the year.
Cooler temperatures helped firefighters battling a 5,000-acre wildfire north of Los Angeles. The blaze, which erupted Saturday near Santa Clarita, Calif., injured two people.